FinTech Australia Podcast

EP 05: Travis Tyler - 86 400

March 22, 2020 Tier One People - Dexter Cousins Season 1 Episode 5
FinTech Australia Podcast
EP 05: Travis Tyler - 86 400
FinTech Australia Podcast
EP 05: Travis Tyler - 86 400
Mar 22, 2020 Season 1 Episode 5
Tier One People - Dexter Cousins

Travis is Chief Product and Marketing Officer of 86 400 - an Australian Neo Bank at the forefront of open banking innovation.

I talk to Travis about his experience building a fully cloud based bank and how the people, systems, processes and working practices at 86 400 have enabled a rapid and seamless switch to fully remote working.

The Fintech Australia Podcast is produced and hosted by Tier One People, Australia's leading Fintech Executive Search Consultants

Thanks to our partners FinTech Australia, a member-driven organisation that is building an ecosystem of Australian fintechs to advance the global economy and culture.

We share their mission to build a strong community, foster connections and support innovation. To become a member go to

Tier One People is Australia's leading FinTech Executive Search firm. If you are looking to hire game changing talent contact [email protected]

If you would like to sponsor the show please contact [email protected]

Show Notes Transcript

Travis is Chief Product and Marketing Officer of 86 400 - an Australian Neo Bank at the forefront of open banking innovation.

I talk to Travis about his experience building a fully cloud based bank and how the people, systems, processes and working practices at 86 400 have enabled a rapid and seamless switch to fully remote working.

The Fintech Australia Podcast is produced and hosted by Tier One People, Australia's leading Fintech Executive Search Consultants

Thanks to our partners FinTech Australia, a member-driven organisation that is building an ecosystem of Australian fintechs to advance the global economy and culture.

We share their mission to build a strong community, foster connections and support innovation. To become a member go to

Tier One People is Australia's leading FinTech Executive Search firm. If you are looking to hire game changing talent contact [email protected]

If you would like to sponsor the show please contact [email protected]

Dexter Cousins:   0:05
Welcome to Fintech. Game changers brought to you by Tier One People and FinTech, Australia. I'm your host, Dexter Cousins. I'm joined today by Travis Tyler, Chief Product and Marketing Officer of 86 400, an Australian Neo Bank at the forefront of open banking innovation. I talk to Travis about his experience of building a fully cloud based bank.  

Dexter Cousins:   0:30
Travis, welcome to the show. We've got a global audience. Would you be able to tell them a little bit about 86 400?

Travis Tyler:   0:37
Thanks for having me Dexter. 86 400 is Australia's first smart bank. We launched in September 2019 and we're a purpose driven company that is looking to help Australians take control of their money. Rapidly growing, we've launched seven products already since then, and we're looking forward to helping more  Australians take control of the money.  

Dexter Cousins:   0:59
How's the launch going?  

Travis Tyler:   1:01
It's going great. So we've helped tens of thousands of people save and get a better rate. We are starting to scale mortgages and then we've got really good advocacy with our customers. So we've gone through launch any new business, you work through your little bugs and nuances and now we're getting into really good operating rhythm, which is great,

Dexter Cousins:   1:20
A little bit different to the UK model, you went for a full banking licence. What's being the advantages and disadvantages?

Travis Tyler:   1:29
Well, the advantages is firstly from a custom perspective, their money is protected up to $250,000. So having a government guarantee is really import for people because it's their money and their livelihood. The other advantage is launching, we can then build a sustainable business. We've launched deposits and home loans within 10 weeks of each other. So in the current climate, that's really really helpful because you need to get to a sustainable business model very, very quickly. Obviously, it takes some time. It took us from start to finish, probably two years so that's a really time consuming, expensive process. But you also want it to be. The financial stability of the country is incredibly important.

Dexter Cousins:   2:11
What's being the big difference between that build phase? And now that you are live, is there a change in the pace or the rhythm of the business?

Travis Tyler:   2:18
That is a really great question. There's probably a couple of different ways of looking that. Firstly from a people perspective. The people that were there at the start when you're building tend to have very different skills to when you launch and you're still building. So in the start it's very much around generalists and hustling and getting through the week. And then as you're running the business and still building it because it's  never finished. You need more specialists and you need operating rhythm, and you need to look at more facets rather than getting to that next milestone. I thought building a bank was hard building and running a bank is a lot harder.

Dexter Cousins:   3:01
Yeah, there's a lot of armchair critics out there who feel they can do a great job of running a neo bank, and it's not that easy.

Travis Tyler:   3:08
86 400 is named after the number of seconds in a day, and I'd say that that's what we are working to at the moment!

Dexter Cousins:   3:18
You came from a big four bank in Westpac. How have you found that transition into a neo bank?

Travis Tyler:   3:26
Look, it was definitely an adjustment. I was at a couple of banks for  20 odd years. Luckily one of the banks was smaller and nimble. Then the other one, I actually learned in a big bank a lot about risk management, which right now is really, really important and structures and process. I had a bit of the best of both worlds, but moving in to start up nothing can prepare you for that.  

Travis Tyler:   3:51
I had the benefit of having three months gardening leave, which was helpful. So spent a bit of time with my one year old and three year old. I actually read a couple of books that were really helpful. Chris Hadfield, who was the second Canadian astronaut. And he talked about resilience. But he had this model of minus one, zeros and ones. We all aspire to be a plus one, always adding value on. Obviously minus ones you can guess what they are. And then the zeros, they are just people that come in, do the job and get it done. And part of the way he looked when he went into a new environment is how do I go in, contribute but not create too much friction and noise until I can work out how I fit within the culture. That was actually really helpful. All be it I don't think I think I may have tried to be a plus one a little bit too much And then another one I found really helpful was First Ninety Days. How do you have an impact in your first 90 days and build culture? That was a big learning for me as I had been somewhere that I had, history and form. I really stretched myself where I didn't have any.  

Travis Tyler:   4:59
The other one was getting the importance of culture. Everyone talks about it when you're in a big organisation culture and the way things are done get driven by process and operating model and rules  

Dexter Cousins:   5:14
And words on a wall.  

Dexter Cousins:   5:15
Correct. Whereas culture, if they talk about culture eats strategy for breakfast culture is execution. That was that was a massive learning coming. You have to work on it every day, and in smaller team that's more important. One of the other being learning's for me was around the pace of change. So communication, I thought that bad communication and people not being aligned was a function of size. It's actually a function of speed.

Dexter Cousins:   5:49
What makes you say that?

Travis Tyler:   5:51
Being in a start up the speed is just and start up banks slightly different because you do have the r egulation and a bit more structure and things that maybe other startups don't have to do. To start off with. You've got new inputs, everyday new environmental moves every day and then you learn new things that you literally have to adapt. You find out in the morning and you have to adapt in the afternoon. So you need to keep people aligned with that direction. That was one of the things that I spent a lot of time in my first 3 months working across the organisation. So I know what success looks like for us when we launch and then continuing to reinforce that and then culture as a team, we had to work on, because we went from 8 to 80  in 12 months, so we didn't have a culture. So you're working out what your culture is and  again. If you don't have a solid culture you can't execute on. That was probably the biggest learning out of anything. The other thing is, it does start from the top around. What you do also for us super flat structures. You imagine, for a bank on DH, you work with everyone in the company A cz long as you're less than 200. You know everyone's name. You know what they do. And that's the thing. We're approaching 100 now. And if looking at that, the executive and what you do as an executive and how you how you carry yourself and what you do every day and what you contribute every day's is far more impactful than it would be in a traditional large bank.

Dexter Cousins:   7:23
So we're kind of a weak on now from the decision that you made at 86 400 for people that work remotely and from home after with Corona virus. I guess First of all, how were you able to deploy that so quickly?

Travis Tyler:   7:39
S o. We've We're banking the clouds. Everything we do is cloud based. So actually, one of the big things that I love when I joined 86 400 is I could open my laptop anywhere and start working on. I wasn't used to that because I had to get this, this dongle or this And then I had to log into this system. So that's the first thing. There's no friction toe work wherever you are. S o. We had all the systems and process than we spent a lot of time and money upfront doing that so we could operate anywhere. The next one then was we already work remotely across the team's, albeit where agile and we do need to be together. And most people are in the office 3 to 4 days a week. People are 1 to 2 days a week working elsewhere. S o. We have a culture that already embraces that that way of working all bit I'll share some learnings of this has changed it to it toe bigger degree but in the tools we use, so we don't really use email, we the predominant way of interacting is through slack. So it's really natural for us to go from slack messaging to slack video on DH. That's that's helped us enormously. We did a showcase with 100 people yesterday on Slack, eh? So we're still sticking to the same operating rhythm. So then we'll have a drink carts

Dexter Cousins:   9:00
that was. Everybody's sitting at home with the Domino's Pizza Way.

Travis Tyler:   9:05
Actually, we had four o'clock. We have what we call drink cart Friday, where drink cartons, nonalcoholic an alcoholic drinks. Last Friday, that did happen. A cz Well, someone did have the quarantine. E. They named that in Named. But having having won the culture on the set up from Day one's made it made it easy for us. And then the 3rd 1 that is, we wear out our exact CO last Thursday, and then we literally had a conversation within half an hour, told our teams, and the next day the whole business work from home.

Dexter Cousins:   9:41
That's pretty rapid deployment than

Travis Tyler:   9:43
yeah, well, they are. Risk Officer looked at us and said, It's going to happen so we don't do it now or were forced to do it.

Dexter Cousins:   9:51
A lot of the questions that I'm feeling from chief exacts on monitoring performance. If you haven't already got that culture instilled, going remote now is going to be very difficult for you. Then create a culture where people are just productive. Are there any kind of tools that you guys use that have helped you, Teo, get yourselves productive and keep them focused on what they should be doing, what they need to deliver on a daily basis.

Travis Tyler:   10:17
So from a hole of organisation where a weekend. So if maybe they'll get back together later, I'll tell you how they on DH. The first thing is it starts with trust. Do you trust your people and do your people trust you? And that takes some time. The 2nd 1 operating rhythm that we've built is agnostic of whether you're in the office or not, you're on DH, then having those tools. So when we have stand ups, people are. It's natural for someone to be come in via zoom or slack. Then I still had my foot on the team meeting yesterday, and we went through our team 90 day plan. Where on DH that stand. So these are the things you're signing up for the month for us. We may have just some things that we're doing. So if we looked at the sort of singular tasks, it's fantastic to get things done because you could get no distractions and just shut off routine again. Fine, we found some of the more creative activities can be done are a bit a bit more challenging, though, but the video has has helped that a lot because it's hard to draw a wall. Just have that physical proximity. And then the solving problems and complex things have have proved to be a little bit more challenging. So we're revising how we do those. So, for instance, we did our first feature deployment remotely from home yesterday. We got a new feature going live next week. Hopefully, our refer friend, we'll be live next week's on the public road map anyway. But that one of the things we learnt there is because so many people are involved. Then you got to P i V and a post implementation verification that maybe that makes sense to go every three weeks rather than every two weeks. So we're looking at the things that were just to make sure that we remain productive and we're just not following the same rhythm for killing ourselves, doing it on then ao we run our business on okay. Ants are objectives and key results. We got five as you were across the business. We all know what they are. They're measured every week on then you know We've got a flywheel. So we've adopted that on the Amazon concept of how we're going to rapidly grow the business, and that doesn't change. So they are visible and measurable, measurable. Teo every every one of their team members. We don't It's not there. They published just the board. Those numbers are visible to the whole team every day, and most of them are in real time.

Dexter Cousins:   12:44
I want to talk about your job table, chief product and marketing officer. It's fairly unique to see both roles kind of put under one person. What have you found it being the benefits of bringing marketing and product together?

Travis Tyler:   13:00
Yeah, so it comes back to when when Chairman and CEO was setting up the business. And so Chairman, Which is Which is, which is great for Mae Eye's a 30 year marketer, Anthony Thompson, who started our audience well, very, very well, brilliant marketer. And he's written a book on marketing, for instance, no small change. So, and his view is that that marketing is end into the discipline. It's not just doing advertising campaigns and brained, it's actually the end end experience, so we set up the business in that way where my role is to make sure that we have a wonderful customer experience all the way through from when you first hear about us, how we feel in terms of the use of the AARP, you know, the way that issues are handled, Andi, even the way that our products are constructed, that all rolls up to our purpose of helping Australians take control of their money. So everything we do that's our North Star. That's the benefit from a customer perspective. Organizationally, in productivity wise, we have one strategy we have. No one owns the customer. I learned this actually from a boss of mine that came from Disney Disney that no one owns a customer. You just on the moment you say I work, I work horizontally. So I worked with the contact centre every day soon in the morning. See midnight. How we going? Engineers? But I'm really clear on. Actually, the service delivery there is delivered by the CIA. Technical delivery is the technologists on DH were really clear on boundaries in the organisation as well, and not that I can't go there, but there's someone that's better than make it something. So from having that remit to go right across from an experience. And then just having these incredibly talented people to execute has been magnificent.

Dexter Cousins:   14:51
And I think you touched on this earlier that once you get this size that euro, you really do need help those specialists in those leadership positions

Travis Tyler:   15:00
you really do. And look, the other one is There's just no politics, and there's a singular point of accountability. So customer numbers or balanced growth advocacy CEO has one personal look at There's no its product distributional marketing's fault. It's I just come back with Here is a problem and here's Here's a solution that we're going after

Dexter Cousins:   15:20
this was highlighted in the Fintech Australia census, but I think launched in October last year, it was really interesting that the number one challenge for founders had bean talent and it was replaced by product market fit. Have you found is an advantage to you being across everything to stop that from happening.

Travis Tyler:   15:43
Yes, over reflect on my previous experience, everyone had their own strategies in depending on which Department of Division urine. So it was hard to get a red thread and therefore make sure you're delivering a consistent customer experience and I'll give you an example. We had one copy writer in the business who wrote copy for every part ofthe calms that has touched the customer, whether it's operational marketing app. So you just have that same tone and feel. We spent a lot of time up front using a bunch of different design techniques. I firstly, we did all the quality stuff you'd expect, but we actually employed the job's to be done framework. We then took that used some quantitative techniques around maxed if Andi que no model toe understand advocacy and we actually tested. So before we launch, we tested our experience 19 times. You still don't know what that's going to be like. It was also in our staff hand for nearly 12 months before we launched on. Then we're focused on two measures of success. So number one, customer satisfaction and number two advocacy. So we're not doing that. We can't grow and to your point or the only way you can grow them is through marketing dollars. And that's not a sustainable business. So So

Dexter Cousins:   17:04
you talked about the flywheel hypotheses. Advocacy means people referring, and you're getting more customers through the current customer base. Correct

Travis Tyler:   17:14
on DH. It's a really different way of looking at a business tham how you would traditionally in a bank. And

Dexter Cousins:   17:21
if you look at the success of straight at last year, it's a It's a pretty small wave of growing a business.

Travis Tyler:   17:29
We've actually brought a bunch of people with the commerce backgrounds into the business on its really challenged everything I've learnt so much from some of these people. It's just mean it is humbling on DH. Fascinating. Your point that that's really made us. And I'm really glad you actually ask question around product market because there's something we talk about regularly. One of things I do every morning is part of my daily routine is I respond to 30 people in our MPs survey on dit Zo goed to ask that second question to understand Well, how are we getting that product market fit? You also understand where's the friction on DH? Then I can get those issues solve pretty quick as well, just good.

Dexter Cousins:   18:09
So if we can't go back, I guess early days of the business. And you know, I think the market was maybes. Ah, little bit sceptical of course, Skull building and your bunk on DH. I've bean. I put my hand up in really pleasantly surprised by not only the quality of the product that you've released, but I think everything from the branding, the calibre of people that you've hired a CZ Well, what's been your own experience of that? And how How is 86 400 kind of managing that relationship with Pascal?

Travis Tyler:   18:44
Well, before I joined because I was, I was stuck in the bubble of the big fall. I didn't know who Casca wass on. Most Australians don't that they're Australia's biggest independent payments company in power. Most most people nearly 30% of people that making payments a day and my experience the best way would sum it up. Is there one of our partners S O were in separate office separate board thie only tyre myself, my team or any other teams. Talk to Cusco is about our payments andare payment services. So from a day to day, there is absolutely no interaction with them. Obviously they're one of our shareholders on DH. They've started the bank, which has been fantastic, and that has been really helpful that Craig Kennedy, whose managing director there. I've got to give him the kudos that he set it up, was his baby. And he is then given it to someone else and said, You need to make this work And they are CIA Rob Bell on deviously the chairman, and it is set us up for success. Biggest payments is unforgiving and having that level of expertise that the capital has been amazing. But the payments capability is seo. There's very little revenue in it on an enormous amount of risk and operational challenge on DH. That's really helped. And then I've been part of the capital raise for the last 12 months. From an executive perspective that takes an enormous amount of energy and time. So way were blessed tohave 12 18 months just focused on building and a business that Australians deserve from a bank perspective, and that has made a massive difference for us. But you know, there is complete separation and there's others others in the market that I think I've done a really good job of backing some of these new brains on, enabling them to do what they do and then providing services that actually let now that part of business focus on what they could be best at and acknowledging that Cusco know they aren't a retail bank. They don't have the skill set. So smart enoughto get the right people in to do

Dexter Cousins:   21:06
it on the world's a little bit uncertain right now. What you got a clear product roadmap. What things can we expect from 86 400 over this next 12 months?

Travis Tyler:   21:16
Yeah, it is definitely interesting times, Dexter. So for those of us that went through the this is number two, but different

Dexter Cousins:   21:26
number three form A C

Travis Tyler:   21:32
S. O. So from a product roadmap. Firstly, we've set ourselves up for three versions of banking in the future. So banking is an experience, which is what we're doing right now through the up we've also built for day one for banking is a service. So we actually are working on that on DH with Castro and there'll be a distributor of those services on DH then the 3rd 1 is banking is a marketplace. So we've put our toe in the water with that with the our energy switch service on DH. Ultimately that we see that one is a sort of further further along the spectrum and CDR

Dexter Cousins:   22:10
because we should mention that you're part of the pay, let group for open banking.

Travis Tyler:   22:15
We are yeah, and that's been interesting in itself. Open banking. We're a big believer in it. That's what we're putting a disproportionate amount of resource into district in tow, open banking in our organisation because we believe that customers on the data on DH then we empower customers with that data. They're only going to get better services and better value. It's great. We're starting with banking. It'll be even better when we go into other industries on it's just it'll spur innovation, but it will put more money back into people's pockets, which will be great for everyone. So in terms of price robot, we see those three futures in terms of what we're doing. Look it, Sze Bringing smart banking the life and incite driven banking is what we're really, really focused on. We have spent an enormous amount of time, energy and money building our capability, which we call our customer experience engine, which will drive insight driven banking. So call banking systems just really true is alleged for us alot of our code and all that. We got 30 engineers. They've all been building what will drive our insight Driven banking going forward?

Dexter Cousins:   23:24
Well, Travis, it's Bean. Absolute pleasure having on the show and really interesting to hear about the journey of 86 400. We wish you well, another gate in this tricky period, but I'm confident you'll come up through the other and strong on DH. Thanks very much.

Travis Tyler:   23:39
Thank you very much, Dexter. And also they run out there. Just keep safe and all the best

Dexter Cousins:   23:44
Thanks, Travis, for a super interesting discussion on a big shout out to our partners. Fintech, Australia. Make sure to subscribe on iTunes and Spotify. Cheque out Tear one people dot com forward slash podcast on saying up to get new episodes under latest and fintech sent Direct your in box