FrankieOne: from Melbourne startup to global regtech in 4 years

FrankieOne is a global regulatory technology (regtech) company, headquartered in Melbourne. It helps financial services companies comply with regulations and prevent fraud. FrankieOne’s customers including banks, buy-now-pay-later companies and crypto-currency businesses.

Founded in 2017 by Simon Costello and Aaron Chipper, FrankieOne has experienced rapid export-led growth during the pandemic. It is now a global company. In this case study, Costello explains:

  • FrankieOne’s early days in Australia
  • the company’s global scale-up strategy
  • how Austrade has helped global expansion.

New customers and regulatory compliance

Digital finance must cope with an array of compliance requirements. The challenge is escalating. Millions of citizens switched to pure digital banking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Online fraud or failures in regulatory compliance carry huge costs for financial service providers,’ says Costello. ‘Besides immediate penalties, the loss in customer trust can have long-term effects.’

Big banks’ legacy IT systems pose a major challenge. This is because information is stored in multiple databases. For example, data that enables banks to comply with ‘Know your own customer’ (KYC) rules are typically kept in one system. Anti-money laundering (AML) checks typically take place in another.

‘Clunky onboarding processes make it hard for established banks to gain new customers,’ says Costello. ‘They are also a major barrier to entry for neobanks with fresh ideas.’

Australian regtech solves a global fintech challenge

FrankieOne has developed a unified solution for customer onboarding and fraud prevention. The company’s easy-to-use, online service draws data from over 320 sources around the world. It enables finance companies to manage KYC and AML checks swiftly and securely.

‘We make it easier for our clients to bring new customers onboard,’ says Costello. ‘We also create a more friendly experience for customers.

‘Our services enable financial companies to save millions of dollars in regulatory fines and loss of goodwill.’

Speed and agility power rapid global growth

Australia’s A$4 trillion financial markets spurred initial growth for FrankieOne. The company’s clients included three of Australia’s four biggest banks – including Westpac – and a growing range of neobanks and fintechs.

Since 2020, however, FrankieOne has become a global company. Overseas sales power expansion. In 2020, income from overseas sales was worth approximately 1% of revenue. By early 2022, overseas customers delivered approximately 50% of revenue. This proportion continues to grow.

Costello says speed is vital to export growth.

‘The key to export success is moving quickly in response to client needs,’ says Costello. ‘Financial businesses across the world face multiple KYC and AML compliance challenges. The sheer pace of pandemic-induced change in financial landscapes requires an agile response.’

FrankieOne is now focused on growth in the US, Asia, the UK and other major financial markets. Costello says that on-the-ground capabilities are critical for building up regtech exports.

‘The product and the team must be able to serve the customers where they are located,’ he says. ‘This is because regulations are regional and compliance issues are very diverse.’

FrankieOne works with Austrade to enter new markets

Austrade supports FrankieOne’s global expansion. The company has taken part in programmes and trade missions organised by Austrade. This includes events in the US, the UK, Singapore and Taiwan.

‘FrankieOne was part of a Virtual Fintech Academy that Austrade curated in the UK,’ says Chris Cobb, Senior Business Development Manager for Austrade in London. ‘This event included mentoring and tips for how new arrivals can gain access to UK markets and pitch to customers.’

In Singapore, FrankieOne was part of a program called Fintech Fridays. This was a pitching program run in tandem with the local regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The program helped Australian startups connect with potential investors and clients.

In Taiwan, Austrade ran a regtech showcase with the Taiwan academy of Banking and Finance.

‘Austrade helps open doors for us as we expand our global footprint,’ says Costello. ‘Events organised by Austrade are an opportunity for us to showcase ourselves and network with regulators, investors and customers.’

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Please contact FinTech Australia.

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