When it comes to the finance world, it doesn’t matter who or where you are – there seems to be a constant mix of admiration and disgust when it comes to the public eye. There are many who have aspirations of one day making sure that their “money works for them”, rather than the other way around, while still acknowledging that there is a significant amount of corruption involved in high finance, exacerbated by stories of Ponzi schemes and insider trading. One London-based fin-tech startup is certainly making headlines everywhere, and unlike its previous media coverage – it isn’t for the best reasons.
Revolut is a mobile app that has managed to gain a tremendous amount of traction in very little time. The company was founded in 2015, and by April 2018, was already valued at 1.7 billion dollars, after raising hundreds of millions of dollars. The company clearly plays on the word “revolutionary”, and one can see why the company has done so well: the company offers a debit card to the user, which allows them to spend money in over 150 currencies, with no fee required. The company was already boasting over a quarter million daily users in 2018, which is remarkable for a fin-tech company that hasn’t even existed for five years.
The cryptocurrency community is a close-knit and rabid one, which is why they flocked to the app after the app added support for several different cryptocurrencies, allowing users to purchase Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The company offers transactions with a competitive 1.5% fee and processes over 100,000 crypto transactions a day.
Revolut recently held back thousands of pounds from many users, thanks to a new rule that bans transfers from gambling sites. The news isn’t that groundbreaking for anyone who follows UK politics. More politicians in that particular country have been concerned with the idea of gambling addiction than ever. A prominent UK politician by the name of Tom Watson recently explained that he believes that the crisis should be treated as a “public health emergency”.
It appears as though Revolut has been growing at a cost, however. There are multiple reports that seem to depict an extremely toxic corporate culture that encourages employees to work 24/7 in order to achieve goals that aren’t realistic. Revolut has even asked prospective employees to find hundreds of users to sign up for the app before they are even hired, which many consider is taking advantage of those simply looking for a paid job. There also apparently appears to be quite a high turnover rate at the company, possibly due to the conditions there. Specifically, over half of a group of 147 Revolut employees only stayed at the company for less than a year (determined through Linkedin results).
This certainly seems to be terrible in terms of reputation, but will it stop users from flocking to the app? Apparently, the problems are deeper than simply an intense or toxic work culture. The CFO of the company, Peter Higgins, has apparently left the company after signing on in 2016. There was also the fact that the app was having technical issues, which the company acknowledged in a tweet several days ago:
⚠️ We’re currently facing some technical issues which are affecting our app's functionality – including top ups, exchanges and other features. Our engineers are on the case and we will update you as soon as possible. Card payments are currently processing normally.
— Revolut (@RevolutApp) March 1, 2019
Revolut is at the intersection of many trends: mobile technology, finance, and cryptocurrency. Will it be able to continue to gain market share, or is this the beginning of the end?