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A series of interviews with innovators working at the intersection of consumer behavior trends and business transformation: Miguel Santos, Co-Founder and CEO, Technisys.
Bruce Rogers: Tell us about Technisys and how it came about?
Miguel Santos: We are living in incredible times within the financial service industry which is finally getting caught by the digitalization wave in dramatic ways. It’s not only FinTech and BigTech coming into the banking and financial services businesses and adding more competition to an already existing very competitive industry. The biggest changes and pace of change are not coming from Europe or the US, but really happening all around the world in places like Africa, Latin America and China, where it’s not only about transforming an existing business but also we are seeing new products, new ways of doing business from the financial services.
Given this global transformation, Technisys decided to focus on helping mid-tier banks, tier two, tier three banks that are typically in a difficult position because of course they need to compete with big ones, with BigTechs, with FinTechs. And they typically don’t have the ability to do it or sometimes the resources. They’re world is slowly becoming ‘platformized’, if you will.
We’re a digital banking tech company that offers solutions that allow banks to stand out through their customer experience, increase their sales and dramatically reduce their time-to-market when it comes to launching new financial services.
We came up with a platform that allows these type of banks to rapidly, effectively, and within the ecosystem to create positive, digital experiences, smart digital experiences, even opening their APIs to play with the ecosystem in a way that probably takes them a few months compared to maybe a few years and a lot of money.
Secondly, we are also helping newcomers like new digital banks, who are in a very good position because they are unburdened by legacy systems.
There’s a first wave of digital banks that chose to be build on top of legacy platforms and nowadays they’re having problems launching new services or remaining agile or remaining competitive enough in terms of cost. And that’s why we decided to disrupt the market with a completely new Cloud based, API based, next generation banking platform specialized for digital banks, helping new digital financial services grow and tier two and tier three banks to transform. That’s the sweet spot for Technisys.
Rogers: Where are you focusing your efforts?
Santos: We are of course focused on Latin America where we came from in the first place, but also in the U.S. and Canadian markets. We think there is a huge opportunity also in those markets. In the U.S. alone you have almost 600 tier two and tier three banks and financial services.
Rogers: Are you competitive with banking and financial service platform companies like Temenos?
Santos: In a way we are competitive because they are market leaders of the core banking industry in general. That’s a fact. So for a new bank, for instance for digital banks they can decide either run on top of Temenos or FIS or some other player. But they can also choose to run on a modern, Cloud-based platform like Technisys. We belong to this new breed that is targeting the legacy companies. But in the case of Temenos we respect what they did, what they do. And in a way we want to be like them but digital so to say.Temenos is considered a core banking platform. And on top of that customers need to build or to buy internet banking or mobile banking applications. In the case of Technisys, they can build the apps, the mobile apps and the web interactions or even Alexa and Google Assistant voice applications using the same platform. They can deploy personalized applications end to end from the experience to the very core. That’s why we think we can be the perfect solution for new digital banks such as Bright Side.
Rogers: What can you share in terms of where the business is now, whatever metrics of success that you can share.
Santos: We just landed $50 million in funding with Riverwood that will allow is to accelerate growth and to continue to invest in our technologies. Our revenue is approaching $50 million this year. We have 600 employees all across the Americas. We have our platform running in customers in more than 15 countries right now. And we have about 50 customers already on the platform.
Rogers: What are your hopes and dreams for what Technisys could become?
Santos: From the very beginning, my two co-founders Adrian Iglesias and German and I shared the vision of creating a transcendent company, a company that can really bring value to the market, value to the customers, help them excel at customer experience, help them be more competitive, help them differentiate from the competition and at the same time create value to end users, to stakeholders and to employees.
We are here to stay and the plans are big. The next stage is probably a public offering in say, three to four years. The market trend is clear. Banks and financial service company’s working to differentiate themselves and provide what customers want, don’t like to plug into like plain vanilla, me too type of digital offerings. So I think there’s really a huge market to address and we’re really excited of now having the tools to do it and a partner like Riverwood with the strength to not only to cover us in this phase of the business, but also to help us down the road if we decide to go to Europe or Asia or even other Middle East type of markets. Which would be the logical step behind having traction in North American market.
We were created in Buenos Aires, Argentina and are now going global. From the very beginning, we had this idea of the internet transforming the financial services industry in 1996. That’s when we originally founded Technisys. We were ten years too early to the market at that time. So for many years were really small and with only few customers willing to give us a try. We were doing payments and loans and investments on the internet when Internet Explorer didn’t exist just to give you an idea how radical our ideas were at the beginning.
Rogers: What kept you and your two co-founders together during those difficult building years?
Santos: From the very bottom of the heart and mind I think we knew this was going to happen and that it was about time to be prepared. And I like Seneca’s phrase that “luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation.” We are where we are because of the time and effort we’ve put into the business. Nothing comes free. Of course tough times and we had to survive not only the Argentina crisis but the dotcom bust and then the financial crisis in 2009. But I think we’re happy with the results and excited for opportunity that we have in front of us.
Rogers: Where did the idea that you could be master of your own destiny by building a business come from growing up in Buenos Aires?
Santos: Partly the inspiration came from the likes Bill Gates. Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison. Seeing what was happening with the early days of the internet was inspirational for us. And an organization called Endeavor was also inspirational.. We were selected Endeavor entrepreneurs by the Endeavor Foundation founded by U.S. entrepreneurs Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner. They believe that a good way to make the world a better is to better enable and teach entrepreneurs, connect them with investors with different possibilities of creating fast growing companies and generating jobs and indirectly improving the way of life of thousands or maybe millions of people.
Rogers Was there anyone in your family that were entrepreneurs?
Santos: I come from a family of intellectuals. My grandfather was an architect and was named Amancio Williams. My father, Luis Santos was also an Architect. He was one of the brightest architects in Argentina. My mother worked as a psychologist. They were not very connected to businesses or to money or entrepreneurs in general. So I cannot say I got the inspiration from my family. But I got the the interest for technology, science and R&D and creating.
Rogers: Perhaps your curiosity came from there?
Santos: Yes. I certainly owe that to my mom and dad. When I was 13 years old, they sent me to a computer academy where I got my hands on an Apple. I fell in love with technology in general, science and chose to work in computer science as a result..
Rogers: Thank you.
June 3, 2019 at 12:14PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs