Local startup Koho launches with aim to finally fix banking

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Local startup Koho, has launched with an aim to fix the ripe for disruption banking system. Think of all the things you dislike about banking alongside all the spending habits you wish you could control and you start speaking Koho’s language.

Last year ‘The Big 5’ banks owned 85% percent of the market, while amassing $29 billion in profit and paying out over $10 billion in executive bonuses. Despite the wealth of our banks, Canadian consumers have little to show for it, paying some of the highest bank fees in the world, while dealing with old technology and bad customer service.

Leveraging the success of models such as Simple, Koho is a technology company which replaces your bank account. With a card, a web app and a mobile app, Koho does everything you do with your normal bank account, while removing fees and adding innovation.

I sat down with co-founder, and CEO, Daniel Eberhard to learn more.

Let’s start at the beginning, why did you set out to build Koho?

We looked at the current banking system and thought it seemed unfair that banks were making all this money, while we’re dealing with an expensive, antiquated experience. Once we started exploring, we found all these other ways we could improve the banking experience. Things took off from there.

So how are you different than the bank card in my pocket?

Well, a lot of ways. First, we don’t talk, think, or act like a bank, which spills over into all kinds of functions, designs, and philosophies. However, we built a lot of things we thought a bank account should have. We provide customers with two balances, one that shows them how much money they have, and another that shows them how much they have to spend, which is an important distinction.

To help people save, we came up with a feature that lets people make automatic daily contributions toward their goals. We’ve also added spending insights, spending filters, a revamped loyalty program, and more. Our current build map has about 25 items on it, so we have a lot more in the pipeline.

I’ve heard about these spending filters. How do they work?

We’ve spent a lot of time talking to customers. The conversations we got into around filters were always entertaining. Something that came up consistently was regret over late-night spending at bars. So we built spending filters to solve that problem. Basically, you can password protect the maximum you’re allowed to spend on a given night, or you can block your card during certain hours, say 1 to 4 a.m., for example.

That’s pretty cool. So, how do you do all of this without being a bank?

We partner with a CUDIC insured credit union who holds our customers assets in a specialized account. Basically, they hold the money, while we focus on the technology, functionality and customer service.

Why haven’t we heard about you?

Well, we’ve been working on this for close to a year now, but we chose to keep our heads down. When you’re attempting to go after a market like banking, it pays to get it right before you make any announcements. I feel like we’ve come up with a model that our customers will love.

So how can customers get access to Koho?

If you’re interested in learning more, the best place to start is Koho.ca. Customers can enter their email on the website, and we’ll hold a spot for them. If they want to jump the line, they can share Koho with friends and family.

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*End of interview

Great product and founding team, if you want to learn more, make sure to check out Koho and sign up.

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Paul Davidescu Founder of Tangoo, the pocket concierge app that delivers the most personal and seamless way to organize the perfect social outing at restaurants and social venues matched to your mood: (www.tangoo.ca/app). Former editor of Vancouver Entrepreneurs series, UBC Sauder alumni, public speaker, startup mentor.
@pauldavidescu

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