1. A brief overview on what Aequilibrium is about:
Aequilibrium was founded on the idea that great design can change the way consumers and brands interact with each other. We focus on user experience design coupled tightly with the technology that can achieve it, in order to solve complex business problems. Simply put, we place the user at the center of everything we do.
“Aequilibrium is very much in the right place in the right time because of the digital transformation trend going through financial services and the skills we have to assist financial institutions with. We’re poised for a really exciting stage of our growth.”
2. What are some of the most important digital banking solutions you see that could help fulfill society needs?
“It’s not specific features or capabilities right now that will make the difference, but rather the way the entire industry is shifting so that it will evolve more rapidly. When it comes to the digital solutions that financial institutions are using — they’re currently going through a stage that is taking the solution built in the 90s or early 2000s, and they’re growing it out with a flexible, digital platform that will help them evolve over the next 20 years.
Right now, and during the next 5 years, we’re going to see this change of the underlying digital platform that powers their digital channels (i.e., their website, online banking, mobile apps, etc.) and the change in the technology will allow them to add FinTech partners and new capabilities at a new rate. So, what really benefits the end users is that the pace of change and the evolution of financial services is about to accelerate. The end users will benefit from that acceleration.”
3. How has Aequilibrium been able to differentiate itself from competing with digital banking providers?
“We play a role in the ecosystem, but we don’t provide the platform — and that’s important because there are multiple platforms in the ecosystem. Our differentiation is a partnership with a very specific platform, called Backbase. Because we’ve developed such a deep expertise with Backbase, which is a very powerful market leading digital platform, we have a set of skills and experience that other companies who might want to enter the space simply don’t have and it’s not easy to acquire.
When it comes to our ability to consult or to do UX design in financial services, we’ve acquired people with plenty of experience and knowledge. But the truth is, if I were on the other side of that statement, I’d be very skeptical. That’s just people and knowledge. In fact, it’s the specialized skills where we know how to apply our UX design and how to develop in this huge Backbase platform ecosystem that really makes us different. If you look at Gartner, Ovum, Forrester Research — Backbase is the top ranked platform for digital financial solutions. As a market leader, they’re getting a lot of market share and we’re helping financial institutions get value from that.”
4. What is the most impactful project that Aequilibrium has been able to deliver?
“We have a three way partnership with Backbase and Central 1 where we’re developing a digital platform that 250 financial institutions in Canada will use. With this project we are playing a significant role in the development and implementation of the capabilities. This is a big reason why we have experience other companies don’t have, because we’re taking part in a project of that scale – it’s millions of dollars of budget and multiple years long with a huge amount of financial institutions.”
5. Why did Aequilibrium choose to specialize specifically in digital banking noting that you had been developing multiple different solutions before?
“We still develop other solutions. We have 3 different divisions, one of which (Aeqdigital) develops new digital products or other digital work in any industry. We developed the banking division to provide specialized professional services – Strategy, design and development – because of where the financial service industry is and its readiness for digital transformation. If we think about the hype cycle, at the extreme right end we would see an industry like the video rental industry where Netflix and Hulu have completely changed the way digital media is distributed and consumed, and now blockbuster is dead. At the other end of the spectrum, you might have the federal government. Somewhere in between you will see industries like financial services that has a ton of potential to go through rapid transformation.”
6. On that note, would you consider an industry like healthcare that is beginning to go through lots of digital transformation?
“We’re exploring that and a couple different verticals. This is speculative, but just like in banking, we will use Aeqdigital to spin up a division to serve that industry. There are other service industry that is poised to change as well. We’ve noticed that service industries are trying to figure out how to transform the way they interact with customers, as a personalized interaction with customers is often needed. Think of physio therapy, where they are small businesses that have a hard time implementing tools and changing there processes. Because of this, often times you will walk into one of these offices and still fill out a paper form, and to book your appointment you will often still need to call someone. There are verticals like this, where there are a lot of things that could be done digitally, and the pressure to adapt is getting stronger.”