BankSimple Makes Mysterious “Key Hire”

Former Twitter Engineer Readies Much-Hyped Banking Product

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BankSimple, the startup that’s supposed to disrupt the banking industry, has apparently made an important hire that may or may not have a direct impact on whether that actually happens. 

BankSimple was co-founded by Alex Payne, a former Twitter engineer, who was there from the beginning, and worked primarily on building Twitter’s developer platform and on the service’s core infrastructure. Think about how much of Twitter’s success has been based upon the developer ecosystem around it. "It was an education in scaling, optimization, and systems architecture, not to mention all the joys and stresses that come with working at a growing startup," says Payne of his time at Twitter.

Today, Payne tweeted the following:

Just made a key hire. Can’t wait to announce it, but it’ll have to wait.less than a minute ago via Echofon

BankSimple says it is designing "true mobile banking", and shouldn’t be confused with Square, another startup from a Twitter vet (co-founder Jack Dorsey) looking to disrupt the credit card industry. 

"BankSimple is doing something no bank has ever done: We’re designing our web and mobile experiences in tandem," the company says. "Deposit checks by phone. Authorize transactions by phone to prevent fraud. Categorize spending on your phone as it happens. That’s just the beginning."

"Part of Banksimple’s secret sauce is its predictive money management model," wrote Jennifer Van Grove, who interviewed Payne about the company last summer. "While users only need to concern themselves with a single account, there are actually checking, savings and credit accounts tied to that one login. Those will function behind-the-scenes with Banksimple automatically managing funds and transferring money between the accounts as needed."

Based on the interview, it sounds like much of BankSimple’s success will depend on the developer community, not unlike Twitter. It’s a whole new ballgame when you’re talking about bank accounts, though, and Facebook/Twitter integration (which it is supposed to have) could be a little scary for some people. 

BankSimple says its team is made up of people with backgrounds in a range from bank strategy to data science to software engineering, and has worked in financial services, information security, "top-tier" consulting firms, and successful startups. 

Last week, the company announced a new customer relations team, which should be key in its quest to provide customers with a Zappos-like customer experience as described in the interview with Payne. 

The product will be coming this year, according to BankSimple’s website, and they’re currently letting people sign up to be on their beta list.

BankSimple Makes Mysterious “Key Hire”
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