Revolut financial service that offers multi-currency credit cards is now one of the most rapidly growing startups in Europe. The company’s founders may soon be included in the Forbes ranking of Russia’s wealthiest people. Thanks to the funding from the DST Global venture fund, Revolut itself has become a unicorn, or a company with a capital of $1 bln and up. Revolut CEO Nikolai Berezovsky speaks about the company’s potential expansion to new markets, competitors and obtaining a banking license in Western countries.
— Nikolai, Revolut is growing fast. You started with commission-free money transfers to anywhere in the world. Last August you launched commission-free stock trading services for your customers. What other new services do you have up your sleeve?
— Yes, we plan to develop more new services but I can’t share any more details with you at this point. I can tell you one thing: there will be many and we want to try everything. Our goal is to become an Amazon of the banking industry.
— By the way, how does your cryptocurrency exchange service work that allows exchanging bitcoins for Fiat money? After the tsunami that ripped through the cryptocurrency market last year, are customers less interested in it?
— Yes, there is less interest but the service still has its target customers. When there was a lot of hype around cryptocurrencies, the number of our customers soared. Now they are less enthusiastic and it is difficult to predict what happens next. Honestly, I am not a big fan of cryptocurrencies myself and I don’t follow them too closely.
— In what countries do you want to develop the project first of all?
— We are targeting Great Britain, the European Union and Australia. Also quite soon, we are going to expand to the United States, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand.
— When do you plan to hit the Russian market?
— As soon as we get the opportunity. Stay tuned.
— The company announced that it wants to obtain a banking license in the EU and the United States. How far into the process are you?
— Regulations and licenses are a tricky matter. Nobody can predict the outcome. Licensing takes time, it is a slow process. Therefore, we are not obsessing about it but instead working in several niches and launching multiple different products at the same time.
— Who are your competitors?
— Globally, any digital bank. However, no two banks are alike and each has its own strategy. Some want to improve the already existing products. Others strive for globality and larger scale by offering new services one after another. We chose the latter. As concerns the European market, there are no rivals there. We remain the only company that offers no-charge money transfers.
— Where are your offices located?
— Our headquarters is in the UK. We have offices in some other European countries as well as in St Petersburg and Moscow.
— How big is your team?
— This is a very difficult question. Only two and a half years ago, we had 100 people. Now we have over 1.5K employees and continue to grow.
— And finally, perhaps the most pressing question. Recently media reported that Revolut founder Nikolai Storonsky’s father works for Gazprom (as Deputy Director for Science at Gazprom Promgaz, which is currently under US sanctions). It was suggested that in the very beginning, Revolut was funded by this state-run monopoly. Is it true?
— Now, these reports have nothing to do with reality.
By Alexander Stolyarov