Bunq: Traditional Banking Made Simple
If endless possibilities and contemporary banking features are your cup of tea, you'll love Bunq's story!
A modern, mobile-first neobank packed on services and key features yet unseen, this company is the pundit in modern-day banking.
Ali Niknam, the man behind Bunq, is a visionary with one clear goal in mind - to develop a unique and multilayered mobile app for all generations.
A more versatile and time-saving take on banking, Bunq lets you fall head over heels even with something as technical as finances. While it's relatively new on the market, Ali's Bunq incorporates intelligent banking solutions and efficiency in one purposeful and easy-to-use platform.
So what's the secret that sets Bunq apart from the rest?
Read it here:
A Teenage Entrepreneur on a Mission
Ali Niknam was born in Canada in 1981, to Iranian parents. At the age of seven, he moved to the Netherlands with his family in the pursuit of a more suitable life.
From a very young age, Ali developed an interest in entrepreneurship, especially in coding and computing. While other kids from his generation were outside playing, Ali was busy making it big. A natural coder since the age of nine, Ali first invested in stocks at just twelve-years-old, and founded his first company before he turned sixteen.
When Ali turned twenty-one, he founded TransIP - a web hosting and domain name provider, which recently became one of the top three companies in the field.
Having tasted success so early on, Ali briefly entertained the idea of building data centers in the Netherlands, before moving on to greater projects. Namely, as a visionary, Ali was driven by the idea of revamping the traditional banking system - a change that would require a volume of vocational studies.
So, from 2002 to 2007, Ali attended the Delft University of Technology and earned a Bachelor's Degree in computer science. From a university graduate to becoming Bunq's founder and CEO - Ali's ride of success was nothing short of intentional, elaborate and banking-essential.
But, let's not get ahead of ourselves!
Inspired by a Crisis
Ali first conceived the idea of building a digital bank as a direct response to the biggest financial crisis the world had ever seen. In his mind, there had to be a better way to provide people with effective and in-demand financial services.
Building a bank from the ground up was no easy task for Ali. But, although he lacked the professional background, it was his acquired knowledge that ultimately led him to business success.
Inspired to reinvent the way banks operate amid the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis, Ali began playing around the initial idea of creating a tech-focused, socially responsible challenger bank - and the idea for Bunq was born!
His project launched the market in 2012 and in the peak of the crisis, vowed to serve the common folk while enforcing a notable financial impact worldwide. Encouraged by those around him - namely, people who still struggled with mortgages - Ali noted the obvious frustration among his peers and became even more instilled in resolving the conflict. His idea was potentially a dangerous one as no one had dared to offer a solution to the problem yet.
However, in Ali's mind, one thought kept circling on a loop - build an online bank to serve all humankind, and serve it well!
Bank of the Free & Independent
Bunq is a mobile challenger banking platform that redefines the way financial institutions operate and ultimately, engage with their customers. Having already tested the waters of business success, Ali felt confident enough to launch Bunq on the market - and have clients love it!
First thing on the menu? Finding a suitable location for the enterprise. Having lived and worked out of Amsterdam for most of his life, Ali established his first bank there - in the land of tulips and promising industries!
Few people trusted the idea to work, but Ali beat the odds of the impossible and brought a solution to the table no one had dared think of before.
Bunq initially began its journey counting a mere fifteen employees, and using a facility that offered no heating and barely any running water at the time. Among other challenges Ali had to face on his way to succeeding was also obtaining a banking permit - especially in a country that hasn't issued one in decades!
Not only did Ali acquire the permit, but today, Bunq works under a full Dutch license - his platform also became a worldwide leader in modern-day finance management! But we'll get to that.
As for the business itself, it offers a fundamentally different approach to banking - by replacing traditional banking systems with an all-in-one banking app, where customer satisfaction and loyalty remain top priorities.
Aside from offering distinctive services to its clients, Bunq also believes in doing business fairly- by undertaking zero-risk investments and ultimately transforming into the undisputed bank of the free.
Unlike other challenger banks, most of whom depended on heavy funding, Bunq remains privately funded in full. Ali's previous businesses and experience made sure of that.
In 2014, Bunq became a fully-fledged bank, acquiring its official banking license from the Dutch Central Bank (DNB). Moreover, the world got a first glimpse of the future of banking in 2015, when Bunq's first closed beta was launched. Although initially intended for a limited 1,000 users, Bunq wasted no time selling out its product - in less than an hour!
Given the overwhelming demand, Bunq launched its full app in September 2015 - and the first fully mobile bank of the Netherlands was live!
Together with 2020, Bunq expanded in various countries worldwide, including Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and Ireland, among others.
Based on 2019 records, Bunq boasts over 1.1 million members, along with assets of incredible €668 million.
Thanks to Ali's own fundings, Bunq now enjoys a clean road ahead, without having to depend on future, third-party fundings. Not that there's anything wrong about external funding, but if asked, Ali would surely agree: the fruits of your own labor always taste the sweetest!