How the failing neobank of FrankieOne founder Simon Costello led him to success

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“He’s a catalyst, not a disruptor,” Young says. “By using tools, it enables users to spot risks earlier, get transparent information and make better business decisions. And to ensure the security of the system. ”

Costello wanted to create a product that helped banks and neobanks comply with complex anti-money laundering laws. Armed with his new leadership, Costello returned to the same investors for money. They admired his honesty and agreed.

Today, Frankie’s newest incarnation – FrankieOne – brings in millions of dollars a year and has raised $ 3 million in capital, with backers such as Tidal Ventures, Liberman Family Office, and Apex Capital.

Three of the Big Four banks, including Westpac, use FrankieOne’s technology which gives banks access to over 300 databases that allow compliance officers to use huge amounts of information to verify identification documents and monitor high risk customers.

Using cloud-based technology, FrankieOne’s databases can be continuously updated to ensure that banks have access to the most recent information. Previously, banks stored these databases on-premises, which meant that updates took years, during which time the information was already out of date or out of date.

Costello says it’s these legacy IT systems that have created weaknesses for big banks in managing AML compliance.

“The big four started before computers were invented. They started before the Internet was invented. They have systems that are over 40 years old, ”he says.

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FrankieOne employs 30 people in its offices in Sydney and Melbourne, and Costello plans to double its workforce over the next three months as the company establishes itself in America and plans its global expansion.

“For every CEO of a bank, it’s a priority for them. They reexamine their systems and wonder how can we do a better job? ” he says. “This is why things are moving so fast. We signed three of the big four in 12 months, that wouldn’t normally be the case. “

Costello began his career in traditional finance, holding various positions at Liberty Financial in Melbourne and Amro Bank in London. This experience taught him discipline and “soft skills,” like sending emails and attending meetings, which he says become “really important” afterwards.

“Getting training, wisdom and guidance from smart people in an established organization is extremely important first,” he says. “Then when you don’t have a guardrail, you can lean on certain principles, and then you can take what you’ve seen in the market and apply it. “

But he always wanted to go out on his own. “I wanted to build something. It wasn’t called a start-up at the time, it was a small business.

Costello has launched four startups since 2013, each of which has been successful in its own way. He says the most important lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs are to surround themselves with smart people and, above all, patience.

“It’s not an overnight success. It’s a lot of incremental improvements. ”


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