Interview with Will Billingsley (co-founder and CCO at ApTap)

In this video we are talking with Will Billingsley, co-founder and CCO at ApTap (London, UK). The project is designed to help manage recurring bills and subscriptions. The startup also compares the prices of different service providers, e.g. for the internet, mobile communications, and offers various options for the user.

Topics of dialogue:

  • How ApTap began?
  • First investments
  • Using artificial intelligence to filter transactions
  • ApTap business model
  • Potential market size for ApTap
  • Current difficulties in identifying goods and services in transactions
  • Advantages of OpenAPI
  • FinTech startups cooperation 
  • How to find first partners?
  • Existing competitors of ApTap
  • Traditional guest tips

Key insights:

  • If you are still at university, but already see opportunities to implement some projects – you should try. That’s what Will and his partners did.
  • If the original idea was wrong, you can always do pivot. The most important thing is to always communicate with potential clients and try to understand their needs.
  • In the UK alone, there are around 3000 different services with regular payments and consumer spending is around £2 billion annually. For banks, such service as AppTap is not a core activity, but it can help generate additional loyalty and revenue. Especially due to extremely low interest rates. Therefore, partnering with an external startup seems to be the most advantageous solution than creating such a service in-house. 
  • For AppTap, combining the client database from different banks allows to get more advantageous terms of cooperation with service providers. Besides, it allows reducing the cost of attracting end users. By the way, this is the third startup, which says that working through partners is much more profitable than working with users directly.
  • The problem that AppTap solves is understanding how much money is spent on subscriptions, as well as the opportunity to save money by changing providers.
  • To track payments, AppTap is connecting to bank accounts via OpenAPI. At the same time, they are headed not only to monitor expenses (sometimes users may not even notice that they are paying for a particular service), but also to create a marketplace of subscriptions within their application.
  • AppTap is also considering a similar service for business users of banking services. 
  • The attention of AppTap is aimed not only at comparing prices, but also to compare the nature of services, why people use one or another service. This will help personalize the offers.
  • Because of the appearance of OpenAPI, there will be many interesting startups that can work with large amounts of data and create value from analytics.
  • It is very difficult to compare transactions and goods/services in UK, as company names can be different and there is often no detail about each payment.
  • In order to ensure that your startup will not have problems with the implementation of ML technologies, you need to keep it in mind while planning the architecture from the very beginning. Also, if your team does not have enough expertise, allocate time for yourself or your employees to get to know this niche better, study courses or attend specialized webinars/meatups. Striving for growth should be very important and should help you learn new technologies that your team is not familiar with.
  • There is a particular problem with chicken and egg when a startup must have experience and designed models of operating with big-data in order to sell its product, on the other hand it is difficult to find first partners who would make their data available to the startup without a traction in this area. 
  • Since everyone has access to OpenAPI, the entry threshold for creating a new application becomes very high. Your project should be different from what already exists, including in terms of user experience.
  • When connecting the very first banks to your startup system, you need to be flexible, because the amount of modifications and consultations can be much higher than you expected.
  • Existing companies dealing with data should unite to engage in dialogue with government and regulators (including access to more data), as well as for mutual cooperation.
  • Traditional guest tips: 
    • Do not try to create a product too early, instead try to check the idea by research and sales. Then choose the most important features and focus your development on them.
    • Do not wait too long before starting networking with investors. Start building relationships as early as possible. Fundraising is a complicated and long process. Having contacts with potential partners can help when you need funds. 

Recommended Articles