A marketing mastermind is an unlikely figure to become the founder of a challenger bank, but that’s exactly what Nazim Valimahomed has done.
Some 10 months into the launch of Kroo, the digital bank expects to achieve profitability in the first half of 2025 — twice the speed of Starling Bank.
“We’re going to be able to deliver profitability two times faster [than Starling] and much faster than Monzo,” Valimahomed told City A.M., “It’s the technology, it’s the efficiency and it’s the business strategy”.
Valimahomed, who previously founded and sold a Russian ad company to Publicis, decided to found Kroo after becoming disenchanted with the “terrible” banking experience in the UK.
“I thought the banks were doing nothing to help me with my financial life and it felt like they were ripping me off,” he said.
Valimahomed could see fintech drawing nearer on the horizon, he had connections in the space already and so the idea of something which could disrupt the banking status quo germinated.
According to the founder, who has marketed big-name brands such as Schweppes and Cadbury’s, it is the quality of the customers times the quantity, as well as having a very strong loan strategy, that will make Kroo profitable so quickly.
Listed as one of Europe’s fastest-growing fintechs by Sifted, Kroo has amassed £800m in deposits within 10 months post-launch, with an average deposit base of over £5,000 per customer.
“We want to use technology, we want to use artificial intelligence, we want to use good processes to lower the cost to serve and this affords us to give money back to customers, make their finances stronger and give them a much richer experience through customer experience or around ads,” he explained.
Technology is a big part of the vision, said Valimahomed, a self-professed Steve Jobs groupie.
“I am passionate about the way [Jobs] thinks about bringing simplicity to design, and in our case, it’s digital design.”
However, designing something simple and intuitive is difficult. “It takes way more time, it’s much harder, but at the end, the result is so much better.”
Last week, Kroo announced it has raised over £2m in a crowdfunding round, more than double its initial target. A third of this money was from its own customers.
Going forward, the bank’s main aim is to reach profitability as fast as possible and build a solid foundation in the UK.
“Once we’ve established in the UK we definitely have dreams to take our proposition and expand it in Europe, potentially the US and other parts of the world too,” said Valimahomed.