27 June 2018
- Nationwide launches new FinTech fund to support its future technology strategy
- First start-up investment in prop-tech start-up acasa announced
- Start-ups will benefit from direct support from Nationwide to help develop products and services
- Society’s mutual status means focus is on creating new long-term partnerships
Nationwide is prioritising new partnerships that deliver benefits to members over profit alone, as the Building Society challenges start-ups to deliver technology that makes a difference for its 15 million members.
The world’s largest building society is today launching a £50 million venturing fund that will see the mutual invest and partner with early stage start-ups who are exploring innovative products and services that could provide real benefits for the Society’s members.
Technology is redefining how members want to be served and the Society is investing to stay ahead of expectations. In the last year, Nationwide has grown the number of its active mobile banking members by 44 per cent, with 200 million more logins. It is important that Nationwide continues to invest for the future and the new FinTech fund will be integral to the Society’s future technology strategy. The investments will ensure Nationwide remains at the forefront of innovation and places it in as strong a place as possible to drive better customer outcomes by identifying new capabilities and technologies.
Tony Prestedge, Nationwide Building Society’s Deputy CEO, said: “The financial services industry has changed dramatically over the last ten years, and continues to evolve at pace as customer experiences are being transformed by innovative organisations and the rise of disruptive technology.
“While Nationwide doesn’t always shout about its latest innovations, we have a strong track record of delivering real technological advances that actually make an impact to the everyday lives of our 15 million members. These include being the first financial services provider to launch internet banking in the UK, introducing a new core banking platform and unlocking help and advice in branches with the power of Nationwide NOW – our in-branch high definition video link.
“By investing in early stage start-ups, we can be at the forefront of helping develop innovative products and services that will benefit our members both now and in the future, allowing us to deliver our ambitious future technology strategy.”
Nationwide is an organisation with a history of disrupting the market and the Society is keen to remain a main challenger despite the rise of smaller disrupters. In 1997, the Society became the first financial services provider to introduce Internet Banking and at the peak of the financial crisis the Society invested in a new core banking platform. In 2014, more than 4.5 million accounts were successfully migrated to the platform, which has been key in supporting Nationwide’s record current account growth.
The Society was also the first to launch 24/7 customer service on social media and amongst the first to launch Apple Pay in 2015. In addition, the building society became the first to introduce an in-branch HD video link service – Nationwide Now. This was used for around 125,000 appointments last year for services such as mortgages.
The new fund is focussed on creating partnerships which help solve societal issues and ultimately improve members’ lives. Therefore, the Society is offering more than money to its new FinTech partners. As part of the investment, Nationwide will have a senior member of staff with relevant experience to provide support, guidance and expertise to the start-up. The Society sees venturing as a two-way collaboration and it is looking to benefit from new ways of working, innovative thinking and different approaches as its learns from the start-ups it invests in.
The Society’s investments will be focused around seven main themes which are linked to the Society’s core purpose:
- House and home: Looking at all aspects of how people live their lives in and out of the home
- Personal data and identity: Exploring secure verification, validation and storage of data
- Financial wellness: Driving financial inclusion and wellbeing now and into the future
- Communities and society: People coming together to achieve more than they could as individuals
- Banking as a platform: Exploring the changing role of financial services as consumers evolve
- Operational efficiency: Promoting efficiency and sustainability by investing members money wisely
- New segments: Exploring other areas where we can bring the benefit of mutuality
Emma Huntington, who leads Innovation and Venturing at Nationwide Building Society, said: “We are delighted to announce that acasa has become the first investment from our new fund. We know more people are living in shared houses for longer and we look forward to working in partnership with acasa to help sharers get more from their money.
"Our focus is on developing partnerships which deliver long term benefits to our members. We’ll work together to make the most of our partnerships through sharing experience, our established networks and by drawing on our complementary skills. This is about more than money, and we are excited to learn from our new partners to ensure we deliver real benefits to our organisation, our members and the start-ups.
“We look forward to announcing further details about our next investments over the coming weeks and months.”
Case study – Meet our first partner, acasa
Nationwide announces it first investment with prop-tech start up acasa as part of its new venturing fund.
- acasa is focused on supporting both landlords and tenants living in shared accommodation with their everyday finances. Not everyone can afford to buy or rent on their own and many of our members choose to share a home with other people, creating a need to share financial responsibilities and split household bills.
- acasa is a home management platform designed to create seamless living. It's live on iOS, Android and web, and automates and streamlines the process of moving in, managing and moving on for the resident, utility companies and landlords.
- acasa helps users set up, manage and auto split utility bills in once place, taking the stress out of running your home. Users can get clarity on household spending and track all household expenses within the App helping users get more from their money as well as choosing the best offers which suit their needs, with the potential to save users up to £200 a year.
- The vision expands much more widely than just utilities, as the platform will become a full fledged marketplace for households, covering the critical needs of every household (ie utilities and rent payments) and wider more delightful services that the team are exploring with their customer base and the Nationwide member base.
- acasa already has around 150,000 registered users and we look forward to working with them as they explore new tools to support landlords alongside tenants.
Nick Katz, CEO of acasa, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be announcing our partnership and funding round with Nationwide Building Society. Our vision at acasa is to create a unified, frictionless and deeply integrated platform that will bring the home into the digital age. With our flexible payments platform and billing infrastructure, we now have the ability to integrate with any provider who offers a useful or delightful service to these young renters who are hungry for simplicity and value. Partnering with Nationwide is going to allow us to accelerate our growth plans, deliver on our mission and make renting better for everyone in the UK and beyond.”
The Society will shortly be announcing further partnerships, and you can find out more at www.nationwide.co.uk/venturing.
Notes to Editor:
Spokespeople are available on request for interview.