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Auka brings innovation to banks

Auka provides a unique combination of start-up inspired product innovation and cutting edge financial services technology.

Please introduce yourself and your Startup Auka to our readers!
My name is Daniel Döderlein and I’m the founder and CEO of Auka. Auka is a Norwegian VC-backed technology company that enables banks to issue mobile payment products to its private and merchant customers.
The technology enables everyone to pay, and get paid with minimal friction. In February 2014, mCASH launched its combined P2P and P2M platform with one retail bank and marquee merchants, such as Starbucks and Burger King as partners.
In October 2015, mCASH entered into a exclusive territory flagship agreement with the second largest financial institution in Norway, the SpareBank 1 Group.
And now, under the name AUKA, we enable financial institutions to launch their own mobile payments service to merchants and consumers through our proven, white-label platform.

How did you get the idea for Auka?
It happened a lovely summer day in 2006. I was at a playground with my oldest son. While he was playing I was doing 2006 stuff on my Nokia, and this was when it struck me: How can I make this thing send money? It should be as easy and convenient as sending a text. Remember, this was pre smartphone and nothing near this was within the realm of possibilities. It turned out to be quite a challenge since I knew nothing about payments. Eight years later we launched the first mobile payments app Norway under the name mCASH.

How fast has Auka grown?
Auka is now running the technology on behalf of 17 Norwegian banks. In addition to running a very popular P2P service the Auka technology is used by close to 5000 merchants (shops and online) in Norway. We’re currently very busy talking to banks all over the world and we’re expecting to launch our technology with an international partner very soon.

Tell us how Auka works?
With Auka’s white-label platform banks can please their customers by offering attractive mobile payments products at minimal cost, risk and complexity.

How difficult was the start and what challenges have you had to overcome?
It´s very hard to bring a completely new idea into a market and I´ve been told time and again that I would fail. In the case of Auka we had to change user patterns in an environment where cards and cash are well established user mechanisms. We met a lot of resistance from banks because our technology essentially is challenging their existing business model. In the period leading up to the launch in 2014 no bank would cooperate with us. So we took the product straight to the market. That created a demand and made the banks realise that this is a product that solves actual problems for people. So now that we’ve proven that our product works we’re back to the original plan- to cooperate with banks. It’s been a long and hard endeavour, but the market seems more mature now.

What’s the USP for your Startup?
Auka provides a unique combination of start-up inspired product innovation and cutting edge financial services technology. We like to say that we are “a rebellious startup at night and your trusted core services provider during the day”. This mix enables us to stay ahead of the competition when it comes to product innovation, while being able to provide bank grade systems and services that financial institutions trust and rely on for their business. It’s not the middle ground, it’s the best from both worlds.

What is a typical workday for you?
Up early, home late – working with great people who are just as passionate about what we do as I am. My ideas have rubbed off and is now growing further, supported by our great team. I’m not the lead singer anymore and that’s a great experience. I’m hands on, I need to understand and stay relevant, while I give away the leadership role to great people. For me it´s more “high level work” now than before talking to Investors, ensure company growth and long term planning.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I will be doing what I do now just bigger, globally. And eventually I will build another great company, that’s what I’m good at.

What tips would you give other start-up founders on the way?
Never give up. And make sure you base your venture on knowledge, it’s the most valuable thing paired with execution skills.

Thank you Daniel Döderlein for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsaesser is an experienced entrepreneur and media/startup expert. Since 2016, she has served as the Chief Editor and CEO of StartupValley Media & Publishing. In this role, she is responsible for managing the company and providing strategic direction for its media and publishing activities. Sabine Elsaesser takes great pleasure in assisting individuals and businesses in reaching their full potential. Her expertise in establishing sales organizations and her passion for innovation make her a valuable advocate for startups and entrepreneurs.
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