Interview with Burnmark Co-Founder and CEO Devie Mohan

In our latest interview, we chatted with Burnmark CEO and industry analyst, Devie Mohan, about the importance of FinTech research and networking with potential clients over popcorn and pancakes.

To see Devie, alongside over 200 other leading speakers from the world of FinTech, at this year’s Money20/20 Europe, buy your tickets now and take advantage of Adastra’s very special discount code to get €200 off admission:

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Firstly, can you tell us a little about what got you into the FinTech industry?

I worked in traditional financial services and technology industries for over 15 years, but when I saw disruptive innovation happening in 2010-2012, I was keen to be a part of it. I started writing about the wave of digitalisation, and how banks were threatened with disintermediation, disruption and de-aggregation, leading to highly innovative offerings in the market.  

What is Burnmark and why is it special?

Burnmark is a FinTech research company that supplies research, data and use cases to banks, startups, regulators, governments, and academicians. Burnmark was set up to deal with the challenges of hype around the FinTech industry, as it was getting harder and harder for banks and investors to understand the use cases that actually worked, and see the impact of implementing FinTech solutions. We watch and share use cases from banks around the world, and provide concrete numbers about how the market is performing on a regular basis. We have also published several co-sponsored reports with Alvarez & Marsal, The Financial Brand, Saxo Banking Circle, Yes Bank, etc.

“It was getting harder and harder for banks and investors to understand the use cases that actually worked, and see the impact of implementing FinTech solutions”

You’re speaking at this year’s Money20/20 Europe. How has the show developed for you over time, and what are you most looking forward to this year?

I attended Money2020 for the first time last year, in Copenhagen, and chaired the stream on challenger banking. This year I will be attending both their European and Asia events. The event is one of the biggest successes in the FinTech industry, gathering all the key stakeholders from the banking and FinTech sectors in one place. I love how they make the speakers feel special by sending personalised gifts to their homes. I also really enjoy how we can network over popcorn and pancakes at the venue.  It’s these small flourishes that really make a difference before and during an event.

Can you give us a clue as to what you’ll be discussing in your talk at Money20/20 Europe?

I don’t know about Money2020 Europe yet! At Money2020 Asia, in mid-March, I will be speaking on the “India Stack”, one of the most powerful and innovative technology stacks built anywhere globally. I will be chairing the stream in which we will have speakers from MakeMyTrip, Uber, Google, RazorPay, MobiKwik, etc.

Burnmark have published two great reports on challenger banks and digital wealth, what’s next for these disruptive movements?

Our report on challenger banking was incredibly popular when it launched, with over 150,000 views on Twitter in just one week! I’ve never seen such numbers in my time at large corporates – it was fantastic! It’s a chaotic space with a lot of new entrants, and different banks are adopting multiple strategies to deal with the challengers, so it was an interesting research topic and, hopefully, useful to our readers interested in navigating the space. Digital wealth was also an incredibly popular topic – and we continue to see a rise in B2B roboadvisors just as we predicted in the report several months ago. We recently published another huge report on RegTech, that is definitely worth checking out.

“I also really enjoy how we can network over popcorn and pancakes at the venue.  It’s these small flourishes that really make a difference before and during an event”

Do you ever advise your friends and colleagues to switch to new/challenger banks?

It really depends on what they are looking for. If they are looking for ease, flexibility, and a superb customer experience, I would recommend some of the fantastic challenger banks out there. If they are looking to manage their entire product portfolio in one place, or have a complex set of advisory needs, then I would recommend a traditional bank. I still primarily use my traditional current account that I took out whilst still at university – it’s incredibly hard to switch (as other UK consumers also testify) when things are not going wrong with your primary bank.

Lastly, in terms of ethos and innovation, what FinTech startups do you recommend everyone keeps an eye on?

Definitely the challenger banks! Starling Bank, Monzo, Atom Bank and ClearBank in the UK are all doing very well, with clear value propositions around their strengths. In continental Europe, firms like Backbase and Mambu seem to be raking in clients. In Asia, the Aadhaar stack is clearly of interest, with several payments players building offerings around it.  

About Devie Mohan

Devie is a FinTech industry advisor and analyst based in London. She is the co-founder and CEO of Burnmark, a FinTech research company. She is a panel member on the ING group Think Forward initiative on better financial decision making. She writes extensively on innovation, disruption, and digitalisation and is a columnist with several publications. She is actively involved in the FinTech community and has been listed in the top 10 of City AM newspaper’s FinTech Powerlist and in Innotribe’s FinTech Power Women list.