Our latest Startup for 10 is Bath-based Roqqett. Founded in 2019 the 11-strong team at fintech-company, Roqqett are building a next-generation payments platform built on open banking systems.

Here to answer our 10 questions is Roqqett Founder & CEO, Glenn Smith.

1 – In your own words – what do you do?

Headshot of Glenn SmithRoqqett is the better money app.

We’re here to make payments better: for consumers, retailers and anyone who needs to pay or get paid safely and securely. Most of the card payment systems people use daily were invented 60 years ago, we think it’s time for an upgrade.

Our app is designed for 2020 and beyond, with socially-distant payments and incredibly affordable fees for business owners. Our tech is agnostic about what bank or phone you use, so there’s no switching required. It’s available to download today.

2 – What’s the most exciting thing about what you’re doing?

We’re empowering everyone to make and take payments through our app, without switching banks. We’re also excited about how much money our app can save our high streets in the first instance.

With Roqqett, retailers keep more of the money they make as we offer much lower fees than any competitors. Yes we’re saving people money, but it’s so much more than that – we want to turn payments on their head: there are no terminals that merchants have to buy and they’re not locked in. For consumers, you can see all of your money in one place, no matter who you bank with. You can pay friends and buy goods and services, including making secure payments in shops from two metres away.

3 – What are you most proud of so far?

Being able to create the first socially distant payments system at a time when we need it most. Our high streets are hurting and we want to improve the payments experience for retailers and shoppers. When you choose Roqqett you don’t need to touch any cards or tap any terminals, it runs entirely on your own mobile phone. It’s clean and secure.

4 – What have you found most difficult about being a startup?

Launching during 2020 means we’ve all worked remotely from day one. We’re huge advocates of remote and flexible working, but not being able to get the team together or meet our suppliers in person has been unusual. I’m a sociable person! It would be nice to have the option to grab a coffee or a beer together with the Roqqett team.

The upside is we’ve been able to get the absolute best team together, regardless of location, including of course many experts in and around Bristol and Bath.

5 – What would you do differently if you started now?

I’m really happy with how Roqqett has developed.  To get regulated by the FCA, and to build and deliver a game-changing app, having had to integrate into all the major banks in the time frame we did it in is sort of unbelievable. I am very proud of what our small team has achieved.

If I’d had a crystal ball we’d have launched our socially-distant payments app during March of 2020, but that certainly would have required a time machine or scary powers of foresight.

6 – Where do you think you’ll be in 12 months?

In 12 months we’ll have raised further investment, refreshed our app with more exciting new capabilities and further grown our talented team. We’ll have listened carefully to feedback from the first-movers to benefit from our app and continued to develop in an agile way, while maintaining our incredibly high standards around security and privacy. It’s possible we might have made our fees, which are already the lowest on the market, even lower too!

7 – What tools/people/services/organisations from the cluster have helped you most?

I have been an active participant in the fantastic tech cluster we have here in Bristol and Bath as a founder, investor and mentor. Roqqett is based in Set Squared in Bath and we get great support from the team there as well as the Engine Shed team. Abby and Briony at TechSPARK are great and we got to pitch at the Silicon Gorge event earlier this year.

The biggest contributions in the cluster have been from our partners. We interviewed a number of companies across Europe for KYC and open banking platforms. After many conversations, we found the best suppliers for us to be located locally in the South West Fintech cluster. Our KYC supplier is W2 Global Data. Warren and his team gave us great advice on an implementation strategy that was world class on top of a flexible platform. Even better, in one of the hottest areas in fintech, we found the best open banking connection layer supplier to be Moneyhub. We have since formed an amazing relationship with arguably the best team in the open banking space.

Also crucial to creating our app has been the fantastic partnership we have formed with Backslash Build, a development agency in Bath with some of the smartest young developers around.

8 – What’s the best thing about the Bristol & Bath tech cluster?

We love the South West and genuinely think it has been the best location we could have established ourselves in. The talent and suppliers we have been able to access have meant we are further ahead than some of our competitors that have spent over 20 times more. It’s not an insignificant advantage!

The four universities are great as we had 143 applications for two internship places this year. We were amazed by the quality of applications we received and decided to take on four interns. They were all excellent, and we have given permanent positions to the two graduates and are still in contact with the two who returned to University to continue their studies. And the best thing, I reckon it’s the Wave, the best man-made surfing lake in the world, an amazing resource on our doorstep!

9 – Who will you be nominating for a SPARKie next year?

I would have to say Moneyhub. They are genuinely one of the best companies in Europe in open banking, and have impressed us technically with the depth of their understanding in this space. We reckon they are better than their better-known and better-funded London and European competitors.  With Visa buying Plaid in January for $5.3 billion, I think it is one to watch.

10 – Where can we find out more about you?

As well as our website at www.roqqett.com you can interact with us on Instagram @roqqett where we’re championing businesses we love in Bristol, Bath and beyond.