When I first learned about startups, what people were able to accomplish in short periods of time fascinated me. I remember distinct technology players revolutionizing legacy industries - such as Venmo, Square, Uber. I can barely remember how my friends and I split the bill at dinners prior to Venmo, but that was probably the last time I felt the need to carry around cash. While admiring Silicon Valley from afar, I simultaneously struggled to navigate the politics and layers of the corporate world, especially with so many defined processes in place. I wanted the opportunity to innovate and prove a company’s worth to the world unshackled by bureaucracy.
What I hadn’t realized was how much heavy lifting was required outside of the scope of a startup’s idea. Startups wanted to stand their companies up fast, but innovating came with its fair share of barriers. These startups were slowed down by having to address and solve for basic requirements from billing, to payments, to procurement and infrastructure.
Insert Amazon. They built AWS, which has enabled startups to go live with a product at unprecedented speeds. AWS created the environment to streamline the process of any company to establish a software infrastructure to build on quickly, rather than spend time on servers or software licenses. Now, any startup is able to focus on innovating on their application and not on the infrastructure to develop and run the application. Infrastructure as a service -- genius.
Fast forward to 2020 when problems are innumerous as are the startups aiming to solve them. Many of those startups are vying to be the leader in their own corner of the market, to be the household name when you're searching for the right CRM for your company or looking for a monthly clothing subscription.
How can companies differentiate themselves from similar players? By adding additional revenue streams and expanding the addressable market. One way to do this is to offer some form of financial services. Think about all of the technology companies who have started down this path like Apple, Amazon, Shopify. How can we make it easier for companies to launch their own financial product without taking away from what they want to build organically? This is the exact problem Bond is working to solve.
Anyone who has worked at a company that offers a financial product knows that building the infrastructure required to do so in a timely manner is no small feat. Integrating with a new bank can take anywhere from 12-18 months, depending on how extensive of a RFP a company conducts. For a pre-product startup, the opposite is true - it’s a challenge to find any bank that is willing to take a risk on you. At Brex, onboarding a card production vendor took us 12 months just to replicate an existing card design. There are so many dependencies - namely extensive third-party vendor integration that is required between the bank, processor, card fulfillment and supply chain complexities of shipping a physical product. My experience has only been in fintech but just imagine an apparel business taking resources away from their product to try and navigate financial infrastructure - it’s not scalable or sustainable.
The challenge to solve this problem is what drew me to Bond. Bond stands to make an outsized impact on fintech and I wanted to be a part of that.
How do we enable companies to focus on their innovation and do most of the backend work to get them there faster? Rather than a specific product, Bond is changing the way we think about offering financial products with a marketplace for buyers (brands) and sellers (banks). Infrastructure as a service, the finance edition.
I learned early on in my career that passion takes you further - being passionate about what you do and working with others who share that same level of passion. I’ve been lucky to have worked alongside these types of people in past roles and therefore knew the value of working with a passionate and mission-driven team as I contemplated the next step in my career. When I met various members of the team at Bond, I could sense that there was something special about their vision and was immediately drawn to the leaders. It resonated with me just how much they were able to focus on building a company differently, taking learnings from all of their experiences in the corporate world and other startups. The founders’ ability to articulate such a clear mission was what made me realize this was not only an opportunity to help build Bond’s strategic partnerships but also one for me to learn from such a talented team.
I am excited to share that I have joined the rocket ship as a Strategic Partnerships Associate, so keep an eye out on what's next from Bond - here we go!