Moroku tops out the 2014 Red Herring Top 100 Asia

What drives our behaviour around money?

7 Aug, 2014
Colin Weir
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At Moroku we spend a lot of our time trying to unlock a key riddle

 “If financial health is so important for so many, why are so few good at it?”

The flip side to this riddle is “Why do people spend so much time on other things, things that seem to matter less?

In our search to unlock this, we spend a lot of time trying to understand the things that drive and engage us every day, influencing our decisions, behaviours, habits and actions. The fields of neuroscience and cognitive psychology provide us with a lot of insight here and reveal a core set of drivers that make us feel alive and motivated. Understanding these help us build applications and systems that shift peoples mental state when it comes to banking and their financial health and importantly drive action.

From our research, this core set of drivers are:

  • Control: Of ourselves and our environment
  • Competence: In our environment, to feel like we understand what’s going on and safely can navigate the world,
  • Congruence: To live in integrity with who we think we are and who we know we can become,
  • Caring: To care for other people and to be cared for
  • Connection: To connect deeply with others

As the internet has unfolded and banks worldwide have built out digital channels to serve customers cheaper and faster much of the risk management and connection has been lost. Gone are the days when the local bank manager knew most of his customers and were able to help guide them along. The relationship has been dehumanised, the connection gone and much of the control lost. With this banks have lost the capacity to help build competence within the service and teach people to core skills needed to budget, save, pay off debt and understand the core principles.

While most of us appear to be relatively good at short-term money management, other behaviours are more troubling. These include the lack of active and long-term savings in formal financial products, excessive reliance on credit (including to make ends meet), and difficulties in choosing adequate financial products and in taking informed financial decisions. How bad is the problem? In 2009 the US bank, Sallie Mae determined that only 49% of young respondents with a college education and 60% of young respondents with postgraduate education could correctly answer three simple questions designed to assess financial literacy.

So where to from here? We suggest thinking about these 5 core drivers when designing the customer experience for banking. We know that these drivers will pull people in, to spend more time thinking and working on the financial futures. By offering people control through competence and demonstrating that we do care and that there is a connected experience via the community inherent in the platform we may drive some new behaviours around money.


Advancing National Strategies for Financial Education

1 Aug, 2014
Colin Weir
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Financial literacy is an enormous issue globally. There is a significant relationship between financial literacy and many of the issues that strike the planet such as peace and wellness. In September, Russia’s G20 Presidency and the OECD published the most recent global review of drivers and strategies for improving financial education globally

The introduction is striking

“Most financial literacy surveys conducted worldwide, including in G20 countries show that a majority of the population do not have sufficient knowledge to understand even basic financial products and the risks associated with the products. A majority of individuals do not plan for the future and fail to make effective decisions to manage their finances. As the global crisis has shown, this can have a negative impact on financial and economic stability as well as on individuals’ or households’ wellbeing, especially among low-income groups.”

The OECD Secretary General continues

In all countries alike, evidence points to worrying low levels of financial awareness, knowledge, attitudes and competencies of large segments of the population. This is especially the case for vulnerable consumers who recently gained access to financial products, as well as for youth, women, migrants and low income groups. Thus, effective financial education can equip our citizens with the skills to take advantage of available financial services and to better assess the (financial) risks they confront.

At Moroku we believe that in addition to national and central bank initiatives, it is incumbent upon the banks, in every country of the world, to be a very real part of the solution. Our hypothesis is simple: Let’s make banking more simple and fun, encouraging people through the proven mechanisms of gaming and social to lean in and build financial literacy from within the service of banking.  Whilst education programs and policy shifts are important there is nothing like the realness of money, activity and outcomes to build muscle, learning and the basis of tomorrow’s new beliefs and attitudes. By removing the fear of banking, making it fun and providing real time feedback there is massive potential to shift the bar.

Lev Vygotsky, an early education thought leader understood this when building education programs. It’s time to take his insight and apply it to the financial education challenges at play.

“A child’s greatest achievements are possible in play, achievements that tomorrow will become her basic level of real action.” Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) 



Countdown mechanic in full effect

11 Jul, 2014
Colin Weir
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‘Meat Pack’ is a trendy fashionable yet edgy shoe store located in Guatemala, which opened its doors 3 years ago and has quickly gathered a cult following within the sneakerhead subculture.

In this campaign, customers that enter competitor stores have their phones hijacked by a discount. The discount counts down from 100%, motivating the customer to leave the competitor’s store and race to the Meat Pack shore store to claim the discount showing on their phone when they enter





Cash remains King

5 Jun, 2014
Colin Weir
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Cash may be losing ground to alternatives but it is still 47% in Australia and 85% of all retail transactions globally. It comes down to:

1/ Anonymity – Many segments of the economy are still cash and we love it

2/ Speed and experience compared to banking products – cash is still way faster and more convenient than bank alternatives.

Standard Chartered Bank’s DASH release is a good example. It still takes time to get the phone out, open the wallet, enter the counter code, enter the money amount etc etc. During the course of which a customer could have either paid with cash or “Tap and Go” It appears not only to have not solved a problem but to actually have created one.

eCommerce will shift the proportion of transactions being conducted cashless as cash doesn’t currently work online, forcing people into scheme based payments, such as credit and debit cards but as digital cash becomes better understood this tide will turn  

This tide is also in direct contrast to initiatives such as the  New Payments Platform (NPP) project in Australia which demonstrates a continued willingness by central bodies to create payments hubs with central addressing service and an ignorance of the trend towards decentralisation and networked economies

Singapoer flag 2

Telstra Ventures outside of the Box Seat

14 May, 2014
Colin Weir
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Telstra Venture’s Box investment will surely come under the microscope with analysts seriously questioning the company’s ability to get their show back on the road in face of stiff commodity competition. File synchronisation used to be tough, but lets face it, with G-Drive, One Drive and Dropbox now firmly implanted, where do they go?

The same could also be said about Kony, a cross platform mobile development tool that also faces stiff competition not only from other vendors but also from HTML5 . Both of these investments are in off shore, US businesses that appear slightly off kilter in terms of the fund’s purpose. It will be interesting to see how any of this changes in light of the Federal Govt’s decision to roll out the new Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme and put pressure back onto Corporate and VC Australia to back innovation at home