BankiFi is a technology platform on a mission to make business banking better. It enables banks and financial institutions to provide a set of integrated services, including accounting, invoicing and payments.
Marijke Koninckx is chief product officer at BankiFi. She is an experienced leader in the fintech industry with vast knowledge of the technology and payments space.
Prior to joining BankiFi, Koninckx held various roles at Integri, Clear2Pay, FIS and BPC.
Here Koninckx reveals how breaking a bone led to a growth in her fintech knowledge. We also learn more about Bankifi’s 2023 expansion plans.
Tell us more about your company and its purpose
BankiFi is a technology platform designed to make business banking better. We enable banks and financial institutions to provide a set of integrated services to their customers such as accounting, invoicing and payments.
These services are built around the processes customers use to run their business. Essentially, we give banks and financial institutions the tools they need to become customer centric, rather than product centric, helping business customers thrive whilst increasing revenues and reducing costs. By doing this, we are aiming to help more than two million SMBs globally by 2024.
What are some of your recent achievements you’d like to highlight?
We’ve released several exciting new features in our product, including paying in instalments, automated billing and cashflow forecasting that will enhance the overall customer experience considerably. We also announced our launch in the US this year, demonstrating our successful growth into new markets.
We’re always looking to drive awareness and bring positive change for the SMB community, and the banks that serve them. We recently released a white paper on embedded banking around the concept of ‘Inside Out’ to ‘Outside In’ banking. This highlights the opportunities that will reopen for legacy banks who choose to engage with SMB customers in this way. From attracting more customers to generating greater levels of customer engagement.
It’s been an exciting year in terms of awards. The team won the Sibos Perfect Pitch winner in the Partnership category and we were shortlisted for BAI global innovation.
How did you get into the tech industry?
By coincidence actually. When the company I was working at previously announced a major reorganisation, I decided it was time for me to move on and I came across a job advertisement that caught my eye. A company that was building test tools for payment systems was looking for a new test engineer and they listed great coffee and fresh fruits in the office as one of the benefits they were offering. This was before the days of pool tables and pets at the office.
You would typically find job perks such as a company car, medical insurance or meal vouchers in the benefits list, but this company seemed to acknowledge the idea of employee wellbeing long before it became more widely adopted. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about this company because they seemed to be thinking outside of the box. I sent them a note with my CV and a week later, I signed my contract. I’ve been working in fintech ever since.
What’s the best thing about working in the tech industry?
The fact that the fintech industry is always changing and that it has the potential to make a real difference to the world. In most industries, change is a given but the fintech industry moves at a very fast pace. While financial services appear to be something purely run in the background and not centre stage, financial technology does have the potential to make a difference by lowering the barrier to entry through simplifying the usage of complex financial products.
“We are continuing to expand our business services in the platform to better help businesses manage their cashflow”
What frustrates you most about the fintech industry?
We still operate in a highly regulated environment. These regulations are there for the right reasons however, it does mean that fintechs must operate within certain boundaries which consequentially introduces complexity and slows certain innovations down. We need to create an environment which allows innovation to thrive whilst protecting the end user simultaneously.
How have your previous roles influenced your career?
I have never had a clear career plan in mind and have always had a ‘why not?’ attitude towards trying new roles. It helped me to discover what I like doing most by just giving it a try, sometimes not knowing 100% what I was getting into. Trying new things and being out of my comfort zone has helped me to develop as an individual and I have never regretted taking on a new challenge.
I’ve held a wide variety of roles which has without doubt helped me a lot in the work I do today. I can easily work with developers, testers, marketeers, presales consultants or delivery managers because I have been in their shoes and can relate to their challenges.
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
It might sound a little crazy, but breaking my wrist on a ski holiday. Because of my injury, I couldn’t drive and had to find a way to get to work for the next five weeks. One of my colleagues who had been in payments for much longer than I did was living close to me and we ended up carpooling. Not only did I make a new friend, but I also learned a lot about fintech during those weeks. It is one of those situations where something good can come from something bad.
What has the future got in store for your company?
Our goal is to support two million small businesses through our banking partners across four continents by 2024. We are continuing to expand our business services in the platform to better help businesses manage their cashflow – from getting paid faster to increasing visibility and control over their finances.
We recently launched in North America, winning our first bank customer in less than five months. I think this is testament to our technology platform and the people behind it. And we now have further expansion within the US and Europe planned for 2023, and we are really excited to see the business growing from strength to strength.
What are the next key talking points or challenges for your industry as a whole?
I think the current economic climate will, to a large extent, drive the agenda. We specifically focus on small businesses. As an industry we should focus on solving their key pain points, including getting paid on time, having a good understanding of the financial health of a business, being able to make informed decisions and have the tools to assist in making those decisions without necessarily being a financial or payments expert.
For me the key challenge is to address the needs of businesses (and individuals) with a 360-degree view. Solving cashflow issues is not just a matter of making loans available, it is a much broader set of challenges that we need to overcome.
How do you prevent cashflow issues from happening in the first place? How do you reduce administrative overheads to free up more time for the business to generate new revenue? And how do you equip a business with the necessary insights to better understand their financials? These are just some of the questions and challenges we are looking to tackle right now and helping to provide a true end-to-end solution.