Next-gen neobank and AI-driven financial wellness app Douugh began trading on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX:DOU) today, having raised $6m in Series A funding via an oversubscribed placement.
Douugh is an evolution of the ‘neobank’ concept, taking the original idea of banking disruption and pushing it past the capital-heavy models currently making headlines. Founder and CEO Andy Taylor said while neobanks had gone part way toward their stated goal, the model was fundamentally flawed.
"Most of the well-known neobanks are just rebuilding the same old banks in digital form - selling traditional products competing on price, reliant upon getting their customers into debt to turn a profit, while outsourcing their software development," he said. "This is an incredibly capital-heavy approach and I’m not sure how ‘neo’ it is or whether it resonates with the Millennial and Gen Z target market. Our research shows that money management is the fundamental problem that needs solving in banking, and that calls for a new kind of business model."
Douugh uses individual banking data to provide intimately tailored financial solutions that help people spend smarter, save more and build wealth. Douugh utilises the banking licenses of its partners, U.S-based Choice Bank and Australian Regional Australia Bank, to deliver core banking services via its software-as-a-service model.
"What this means is we can offer a government-insured bank account and debit card just like a first-generation neobank, without the high cost structure, clunky business model and risk profile of becoming a licensed bank," Taylor said. "For our banking partners, they can deliver innovative products and services to a new customer segment, without having to do the very extensive R&D."
Having forged a strategic global partnership with Mastercard, Douugh has been in beta with select U.S consumers since mid-2019 and is preparing for its full market launch. Taylor said the choice to list early was made to capitalise on the strong growth opportunity in the U.S before launching in Australia.
"We will use our IPO funds to scale up our U.S customer base and continue to invest heavily in R&D to improve our AI-driven platform," Taylor said. "We are focused on helping people better manage their money, with our long-term goal to become a fully autonomous financial control centre for our customers, which will eventually see us expand into SME banking."
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