Founded on 16 May 2012, Muinmos has been on a memorable journey so far. With ten years under its belt, what do the next ten years have in store for the company? We spoke to Founder and CEO Remonda Kirketerp-Møller to find out more.
Several key milestones stand out for Kirketerp-Møller when considering the highlights of Muinmos’ first ten years in existence. The first of note was when the company received the keys to its first office, “It was a tiny little office with nothing but a carpet and empty desks, so we started with a laptop, a blank whiteboard and a dream.”
Following on from establishing its base, seeing the first version of the Muinmos platform was also a memorable moment for the Muinmos CEO. She said, “My ex-colleague met me in a café and showed me the first prototype of our product. Seeing my idea come to life and engineered into code – having developed it on lots of pieces of paper – was so exciting. And what’s fantastic, is that this coder – one of the most experienced in the Fintech space – is still involved in the business today. He is now one of our shareholders and a member of the Board.”
While many companies can set off with an original mission, changing circumstances and shifts in consumer expectations can lead a company to shift on its mission axis. Has this happened with Muinmos?
“No, we haven’t changed direction at all”, Kirketerp-Møller stressed. “I started out with an idea to bridge the gap between financial institutions’ obligations to perform multiple regulatory tasks prior to on boarding a client (which make the onboarding process costly and cumbersome); and clients’ expectations for a quick, seamless registration. The first two years of the company were R&D. We ultimately locked ourselves up in a room to start identifying how we are going to engineer this. How will our platform look? How is it going to be visualised? And how can we connect all the pieces together to turn it into code? We were essentially digitising regulation across multiple jurisdictions and it was an incredibly complex task so it really took quite a long time to get to the point of release – but we needed to get it right from the outset.”
Ten years is a long time in any industry, but in a nimble, fledging one like RegTech, it can seem like an eternity. With the last ten years seeing considerable social and economic upheaval, the industry Muinmos started in has evolved massively beyond what it was in 2012.
In the eyes of Kirketerp-Møller, some of the biggest change agents have been Covid-19 and Brexit, alongside increased competition. She remarked, “More players have come into the industry and that has helped to create credibility for the RegTech sector and has propelled us forwards. At the beginning of this journey, people told me to give up on this dream – they said the market is not and never will be ready to automate the onboarding process at the level we envisaged it, many laughed at the idea and said it was impossible – and that the dream I had in mind is just going to crumble. I am glad I didn’t listen and have been able to prove them wrong!”
Has the market changed Muinmos? Despite the aforementioned upheaval, Kirketerp-Møller believes the company has stayed fairly rooted to its core values. “We didn’t need to change, we continue doing exactly what the company was born to do – every piece in the platform has always been engineered to be there. In fact, I would say that because we thought about the journey, the product and the vision and had a real understanding of the challenges facing compliance officers, we haven’t changed one single bit in terms of our vision and journey. The market has actually moved towards us rather than us moving towards the market.
“We have, of course, evolved our platform and continually invested in our offering so it is now far more sophisticated than the product we initially launched with. We are the only solution that fully automates the whole onboarding chain, from AI powered client cross border categorisation, suitability, and appropriateness clearances to fully automated risk assessments and KYC/AML checks, and I am very proud of that. It’s a highly complex web, to get this right you really need to understand the connections, the regulations across borders and the market.”
As the company reminisces of a positive and prosperous first decade, it also has its eyes firmly on the next one. Where does the company go next?
Kirketerp-Møller stated, “I think now it’s about conquering the world. We’re definitely ready for growth, as we’re now at a stage where we compete with the biggest players in the space. We’re ready for the next step up, to make that shift and scale the business, particularly in terms of sales and marketing.
“We’re working at forming some strong partnerships in our space. We are definitely attracting bigger and much larger brands. In the past, some companies steered away as they thought us too small. However now, we’re hearing from a wide range of very well respected companies who want to discuss partnerships with us after seeing the sophistication of our platform and the seniority of our team. We are also hearing from a number of large investors, too.”
Predictions and trends
With 2022 getting off to a very rocky start with the Russia-Ukraine war, topics such as sanctions in RegTech have very much come to the fore as well as focuses on money laundering. What else does the industry have to focus on?
Kirketerp-Møller said, “I think there is going to be a lot of consolidation in our space. I think the financial sector is going to get increasingly excited about RegTech to the point that they begin to realise that with more automation and more connection, they can face one provider and don’t have to face multiple, they can have one team and one API instead of multiple. I also believe we’re probably going to see not just partnerships at a light level, but at a much more technological level where companies are joining forces to offer the market a one-stop solution.”
As for key trends in the industry, hot-button topics like KYC and AML stand out for Kirketerp-Møller in terms of what is leading right now. She stated, “KYC/AML is going to remain a hot topic. The media attention being given to financial institutions being fined for non-compliance – even if done inadvertently – ensures that this topic is on everyone’s radar. We’re also seeing more from a regulatory umbrella level where more power is being given to local regulators, which I think is a good thing.”
For RegTech companies starting today, what advice would Muinmos give to them to make sure they can survive? To Kirketerp-Møller, one of the absolutely imperative tips is to be serious and committed to their product.
She said, “I think the start-ups need a great product, not just a good marketing budget – they need to spot a gap in the market and be committed to solving an issue and driving the RegTech sector forwards. If there is just marketing-hype but the product doesn’t deliver, then it really undermines the value of other companies in the RegTech sector which are built to last, built with a foundation and a purpose, and built with a vision to solve a problem.
“There are an increasing number of companies that claim to provide a compliance solution but aren’t able to deliver against these claims. I think this is detrimental to our sector. RegTechs starting up today must be serious about it, meaning they must have something that adds value in terms of regulation and distinction. Financial institutions rely on these providers so it is essential that they get their offering right.”
To help to professionalise the sector, Kirketerp-Møller is a strong advocate of regulating RegTech firms. “At the end of the day, our focus is on investor protection and helping the compliance and legal teams within financial institutions to operate more efficiently and effectively whilst delivering an enhanced client experience. If RegTech firms are regulated, this would give reassurance to financial institutions wishing to outsource relevant aspects of the compliance function to RegTechs. Essentially, it would really drive the RegTech sector forwards, help the best companies within the sector to succeed, and ensure that fast, compliant and efficient systems are in place 24×7 at financial institutions.
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