Drop’s Darren Fung on the Power of Experiences
Everyone likes free stuff, but no one likes being bombarded with the wrong vouchers or unhelpful offers. Plus, it’s easy to forget a loyalty card at home.
Toronto-based start-up Drop wants to change that. We sat down with co-founder and chief technology officer Darren Fung to hear how the app allows consumers to earn rewards seamlessly on their debit and credit card purchases. The solution uses banking APIs to read payment card data, automatically generating points that can be redeemed on personalized offers at companies like Uber or Starbucks.
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No time? No worries! Read our 4 key takeaways from the conversation
- Millennials want experiences, not things
Millennials and Gen-Zs value experiences over consumer products and goods, and savvy fintech companies should cater to this. Drop overhauls inflexible, old-school customer loyalty programs to give consumers the flexibility to redeem points on what they actually want.
- It’s all about user experience
Millennials expect convenience, speed and delivery in an application. Banks that underestimate the importance of a frictionless user experience will be left behind, regardless of how functional their product is.
- Build fast, build sustainably
The mantra in software development has long been to build fast and break things. But that shouldn’t mean building as little as possible, as quickly as possible. Successful experimentation and scaling rely on long-term thinking and investing in solid technical infrastructure and testing.
- The future of banking is open banking
Open banking benefits consumers, banks and fintech firms. In the UK, banks have open APIs and consumers can take advantage of a range of third-party applications that drastically improve their user experience.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation.
Delivering value differently
Simon: There’s a pretty big difference between reward and loyalty. Are you more in the business of reward or loyalty?
Darren: People are able to tie loyalty to a particular concept. You go to Starbucks, you get Starbucks stars and you tie that concept of earning things when you spend somewhere for the future potential redeeming those for something else. That’s what loyalty is.
We’re more of a rewards platform. We’re really trying to change that concept.
“It’s less about the loyalty to a particular brand, but how do you get more value from the way you are spending?”
Our mission and motto is really around just making every day more rewarding — whatever that means to you. The most obvious value you can get is dollars. But we’re trying not to box ourselves into that idea of what value is, and we really focus on making your life more rewarding.
Darren: Millennials spend their money differently. They tie a lot of what they spend their money on experiences instead of tangible goods. So really we thought hey why not make this a rewards platform that millennials can really agree with?
“Millennials are more conscious of the benefits and power of tech.”
Allowing you to use your financial data to get you more value in your life is the way we’ve started to go.
Millennials are all about convenience, all about instant gratification, all about the experience. As we look at older companies – and we look at, say, banks specifically – the functionality is there, but they don’t truly believe in the experience that they are building.
So you get companies nowadays like robo-advising companies. That concept isn’t really new, you can always invest in private investment firms. What they do is they’re really making the experience of investing your own money a lot more convenient, and a lot more fun.
Build fast, experiment, think ahead
Darren: I think the original idea of [‘build fast, and break things’] just boils down to an experimentation culture. A lot of people are taking that way too literally – going way too fast, breaking things to the point where you can’t keep up. Yes, you have to have an experimentation culture, yes, you have to embrace failure, but building fast means also building sustainably.
A lot of people don’t see that building fast doesn’t mean building as little as possible as fast as possible. There’re some things that enable you to build fast that you have to invest in early on.
Together we go further
Darren: There needs to be more collaboration between banks and fintechs. What the banks need to realize is that by committing to open banking – having the consumers able to get their data and get value over their data in various ways – it’s actually better for the consumers and better for the banks.
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