"When you look closer at the neo-bank industry, you can notice two waves" Morgan Wirtz, CEO & co-founder, Upy
Our team recently met Morgan Wirtz, CEO & co-founder of Upy, the money app & debit cards for teens. He tells us more about himself and how its company works.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get the idea of Upy and how does it work?
I'm a young entrepreneur (22) passionate about neo-banking, product & marketing. My background is from sailing; I used to make an intense sports career in high school. And marketing, I launched a marketing agency in college before building Upy.
The idea of Upy started because it always bugged us that schools don't teach about money, families don't talk about money. Still, personal finance & money management is such a significant pillar of your education as a teenager. And the product that has been developed by traditional bank for teens is usually out of their core business and purely a transactional product.
So we decided to start building a banking experience exclusively for teens and their parents to learn about money. Teens can learn to manage money with real money & real account, and parents can supervise with their own interface and flexible parental controls.
The teen-oriented neo-bank market has been pretty active in the past few weeks. We've seen many US competitors increasing their user base massively & raising a lot of funds.
Who were your first supporters/partners and why?
I believe entrepreneurship is all about surrounding yourself with experts. That's what we've been doing since day 1. We've met a lot of talented people with expertise in specific domains. It's hard to tell who has been the first, but we're supported by a solid advisory board of banking executives who guide us a lot. We also have Mastercard and some tech entrepreneurs who are pretty hands-on in the company.
I believe what has motivated them is the market opportunity, they have spotted it as well, and the team in place behind Upy to execute the strategy.
How your neobank could disrupt/revolutionize the market? When do you plan to launch your cards?
When you look closer at the neo-bank industry, you can notice two waves.
The first wave: the first neo-banks appeared in Europe and positioned themselves to provide a better digital experience than traditional banks. This model is pretty hard to crack as you have to reach a considerable scale to succeed. Therefore, a few of them will be massively successful, but many of them won't succeed. I believe we've reached the tipping point of this wave a few months/year ago.
The second wave: which is coming right now, has a different approach. It's not about creating a better banking experience; it's about addressing uses cases that are not the core business of traditional banks, therefore, not well addressed by those traditional players. The way to address those use cases, it to create a neo-bank and a set of features around it specific to the use case. We've seen the emergence of neo-banks oriented towards entrepreneurs & SME, teenagers, sustainability, etc.
We're starting a much more intense teasing in terms of communication this summer. We'll also launch our product in private beta. We plan to be ready for the back to school period in September.
How do you see yourself in five years?
Being the account of reference for teens in Europe