September 26th, 2018
MONEY:TWO GUYS WITH A BIG DREAM TRANSFORMING BANKING
When most of us go about our daily banking, without really thinking about what happens to our money. We deposit our cheques, invest in a GIC or pay our mortgages with the comfort that our money is safe and secure. But seldom do we consider the mechanics of the banking system, such as where our money is invested and what ventures it supports.
Paul Allard and Andy Krupski want to change all that. This pair of disruptors ran into each other a few years ago and realized they had similar goals. Allard, from Montreal, Krupski, from Toronto, wanted to make two changes in the financial industry: a) change the ways banks do business and b) change the way customers interface with their banks.
That's the concept behind impak Finance – an enterprise that isn't only in the business of making money but also wants to help individuals and companies improve the world.
Changing an entrenched industry like the banking sector is a lofty dream. Allard and Krupski spoke recently at ideacity 2017. Here's their story:
Allard and Krupski came to the financial world from diverse backgrounds. Krupski ran Sprint Canada before moving into the marketing and communications field, with The Hive. Allard's path was more eclectic: he studied music and engineering, became a stage performer (touring with Les Miserables) before becoming highly successful in the world of tech start-ups, including Engagement Labs. Both were doing well in their fields. Yet both felt something was missing.
Krupski: "About 10 years ago, I decided that, when all the shouting is done, can I leave a legacy somehow? I reframed my company's mission to do what's right for the customers and, where possible, what's right for the world."
Allard: "I was seeking something with more purpose. I wanted to combine my entrepreneurial skills with my knowledge of tech but to give a purpose to all of it."
When they bumped into each other, they batted around ideas before eventually settling on transforming the banking industry.
Krupski: "About two years ago, I was studying the financial business trying to understand how Millennials are interfacing with their banks and a lot of the research coming out was that they were distrustful – the financial institutions were certainly safe (especially here in Canada) but their motivations were questionable, especially with the amount of money they were making."
Allard: "Through my work raising money through investment bankers, I got really interested in understanding the mechanics of the financial economy. And the more I read, the more and more pissed off I became. I read all the thought leaders and I began to understand that banks don't work for most of the people on the planet."
This led to the novel idea of not trying to take on the big banks but to offer an alternative to the way banks carry out their business. Traditionally, financial institutions take your deposits and much of it is invested in complex financial vehicles (derivatives, hedge funds, financing transactions) that have nothing to do with the real economy. While bank profits are massive, their motivation is solely to make profit, not improve the world. Both men saw an opportunity to change this construct.
Krupski: "The big banks have the ability to leverage money. There's a lot of money swirling around but not enough of it is going into the real economy."
Allard: "There's been sort of a disconnect with the financial economy and the real economy. I always felt finance and financial tools should help support the real economy. The real economy creates job and creates wealth."
The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1500+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at ncfacanada.org.