How Amount and Its ‘2.0 Turbocharged Engine’ Power the Bankers’ Tech Game

Building out a strong platform for banks as well as a diverse talented team for the company itself, Amount has successfully named as a rising star in such financial services industry. Let’s dive in and explore.
Amount leadership team at the conference
Courtesy: Amount
By | 11 min read

Due to various fluctuation, when consumer behaviors is shifting and new FinTech is popping up weekly, it has become obvious that the financial services industry is in the early innings of a digital transformation. Amount, a fintech startup that spun out of Chicago lending company Avant, recognized this transformation years ago, as they created the technology platform that powered Avant’s lending business. Now, Amount has successfully developed an industry-leading technology platform that enables financial institutions to power digital transformation for their business.

Overall, Amount clients include financial institutions collectively managing nearly $2 trillion in U.S. assets and servicing more than 50 million U.S. customers, according to the company. Amount delivers retail banking experiences via a variety of channels and a point-of-sale financing product suite, as well as features such as fraud prevention, verification, decisioning engines and account management.

How It Modernizes the Bankers’ Old Tech Engine

Initially created as a scalable digital personal loan product for banks to better serve customers, the expanded Amount platform allows for customized configurations. It offers end-to-end lending products, individual tools such as fraud prevention and account verification, decisioning engines and white label servicing to enhance its partners’ existing digital products. Amount also provides partners with consultative analytical services to enhance performance including risk assessment and modeling, underwriting, digital performance marketing and customer acquisition.

Several financial institutions, including Regions Bank and Eloan, Banco Popular’s national lending platform, already use the Amount platform to provide customers with digital lending products.

“Financial institutions must have a mobile-first, online lending platform to do business with today’s tech-savvy consumers, but most of the large banks we meet with are unable to find a satisfactory end-to-end solution and may not have the time or resources to efficiently create the technology in-house,” said James Paris, chief strategy officer of Avant and head of Amount. “With Amount, banks now have access to an industry-leading digital lending platform that’s already been refined based on our risk models, data and experience and is customizable to meet the specific needs of their customers.”

Built by lending industry experts, Amount’s platform has been tested, refined, and optimized to power modern banking experiences. Its omnichannel solutions enable frictionless consumer application and servicing so its clients’ customer can bank when they want and where they want. Its enterprise bank-grade infrastructure and compliance ensure that its clients’ bank is protected while powering profitable new growth opportunities.

In simple terms, Amount’s mission is to help financial institutions “go digital in months — not years” and thus, better compete with fintech rivals.

3 Unique Factors Supporting Amount’s Growth

Amount is uniquely poises as one of the market’s first and only battle-tested SaaS solutions built specifically for the financial services industry. Taking a quick look at various financial institutions, we were never enabled in the way that Amount enables banks to be more nimble — it is truly a unique platform. Amount’s future is even especially more promising for those below factors:

Factor #1: The Fresh Model

Unlike other FinTech players in the market, Amount partners with the leading financial institutions to enable them to compete and win in a highly competitive market. This company helps banks to have the balance sheet, broad product suite and customer network, thus they could compete and win in the market now and into the future.

By partnering with Amount, banks can activate untapped potential of emerging growth areas in retail lending and buy now, pay later (BNPL) in a matter of months—not years.

Amount staff collaborate in an open space
Courtesy: Amount

Factor #2: The Risk Technology

It is incredibly important for banks to have secure and stable technology in place to protect their customers and their institution. That is why Amount takes a white glove approach.

Built with an intuitive front-end and powerful bank-end, the Amount platform can be configured to meet any business need. Its world-class verification capabilities make it easy for banks to mitigate digital risk with high fidelity fraud and identity verification solutions enabling new levels of confidence in the digital age.

Factor #3: The Speed

As we mentioned, banks need secure and stable technology in place. However, building a product suite like Amount from scratch would take years. Banks need to be ready for the future now. Amount makes that possible by accelerating the build out of the bank’s digital infrastructure, ultimately enabling the creation of a digital customer experience and a sustainable competitive advantage.

How This Company Makes a Big-spending on Investing in Its People

In the new era of a newly digital and pandemic, multi-generational workforce and effective corporate learning programs are vital to influencing company growth. Technology and product-oriented organizations, in particular, recognize that investing in learning and development (L&D) programs is critical for attracting and retaining top talent. This will increase productivity, maintain employee engagement and, ultimately, impacting the bottom line.

Successfully meeting the individual needs of employee learning styles in fast-paced work environments requires that L&D programs be dynamic and adaptable. With a goal to provide developmental opportunities that activate employee strengths, Amount is seeking various ways to drive its people to better business outcomes, thus accelerate the world’s transition to digital financial services.

So, what does L&D look like at Amount?

Amount engineers work at the headquarter office
Courtesy: Amount

To make sure they could provide their employees with ample opportunities to tap into their personal strengths and help them advance further in career path, Amount’s L&D team have met with employees individually to understand their goals. They also work closely with leaders across the organization to ensure that respective learning interventions are both relevant and impactful, aligning training opportunities to high-priority projects and Amount’s overall strategic business objectives.

Currently, Amount L&D initiatives are centered around three core learning pillars:

Pillar 1: Onboarding New Hires

Amount’s standardized and scalable onboarding program allows new hires to efficiently and effectively integrate into Amount’s culture, as well as provide them with the knowledge they need to quickly make substantial contributions to their team and the company. To kick start their onboarding maturity efforts, Amount has gathered a team of leaders who are dedicated to understanding onboarding needs, implementing learning interventions and scaling the program across the organization.

Upon joining Amount, new hires have access to Amount Foundations training, through which they learn about their partners, the Amount platform and their solutions. As this company develop a holistic onboarding experience for new employees, it is also partnering with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the engineering department to create resources and courses that specifically focus on how an engineer at Amount can be successful in their role.

Pillar 2: Skills-Based Training & Career Development

Providing skills-based training that relates to an individual’s personal goals and career aspirations is a top priority for Amount’s L&D Team. Amount University, its online Learning Management System, is the central hub where all employees have access to Amount-specific training and resources, as well as LinkedIn Learning coursework.

Beginning in January 2022, employees there will have unlimited access to over 1,000 LinkedIn Learning courses. To curate these courses, this company used both internal feedback and external data. Internally, it gathered employee requests and manager input and, externally, we leveraged sources that highlight the most important technical and professional skills in which employees can invest.

The catalog spans across a variety of categories, including software development (i.e., SQL, Python, GitHub), web development (i.e., Ruby, Typescript, GraphQL), data science, project management, leadership and management, business software and tools (i.e.,Google Suite, Excel, Jira), security, sales, marketing and more. Many of these courses also provide certificates that contribute to over 30 different certification preparation programs and seven continuing education programs.

Amount staff in a training session
Courtesy: Amount

Moving forward, Amount also intend to implement its skills and behavior-based competency framework that will be used as a guide for career development. Leveraging the skills framework, managers can coach their team members and partner with them to create individualized development plans that focus on maximizing high-skill areas and strengthening less-skilled areas. Development plans capture the ways employees acquire and apply skills, such as on-the-job assignments, individual strengths, team collaboration, working on new projects, participating in cross-functional work, shadowing, and additional skills and behavior training.

Pillar 3: Supportive Learning Communities   

Informal learning and relationship building are two factors that highly influence growth and development. Therefore, Amount’s L&D Team also focused on building a culture of supportive learning communities.

One current example is its Software Development Guild, which is a grassroots community focused on the exploration, discussion, practice and exchange of technical concepts and ideas relating to software development. Their current programs include a technical webinar series, a monthly newsletter and a book club. In the future, they plan to bring in external SMEs for more education, become involved in external communities (i.e., podcasts), and host and participate in hackathons.

In order to further enable informal peer-to-peer learning, Amount’s L&D team intend to support other learning communities, including product-centric lunch & learns, companywide project demo days, learning summits, manager-development discussions and Slack channels. 

This is just the beginning of what talent development looks like at Amount. As a new organization, this company spent the last two years laying down our L&D foundation to create programs that drive employee performance and engagement. Now, it focuses on using that foundation to create dynamic and experiential learning approaches, scalable training solutions and supportive learning communities.

Raises $99M at a $1B+ Valuation: The Expanding Milestone

In May of 2021, Amount has raised $99 million in a Series D funding round at a valuation of just over $1 billion. WestCap, a growth equity firm founded by ex-Airbnb and Blackstone CFO Laurence Tosi, led the round. Hanaco Ventures, Goldman Sachs, Invus Opportunities and Barclays Principal Investments also participated.

Notably, the investment comes just over five months after Amount raised $86 million in a Series C round led by Goldman Sachs Growth at a valuation of $686 million. And that round came just three months after the Chicago-based startup quietly raised $58 million in a Series B round in March. The latest funding brings Amount’s total capital raised to $243 million since it spun off from Avant — an online lender that has raised over $600 million in equity — in January of 2020.

HSBC, TD Bank, Regions, Banco Popular and Avant are among the 10 banks that use Amount’s technology in an effort to simplify their transition to digital financial services. Recently, Barclays US Consumer Bank became one of the first major banks to offer installment point-of-sale options, giving merchants the ability to “white label” POS payments under their own brand (using Amount’s technology).

“The pandemic dramatically accelerated banks’ interest in further digitizing the retail lending experience and offering additional buy now, pay later financing options with the rise of e-commerce,” Hughes, former president and COO at Avant, told TechCrunch. “Banks are facing significant disruption risk from fintech competitors, so an Amount partnership can deliver a world-class digital experience with significant go-to-market advantages.”

Also, he points out, consumers’ digital expectations have changed as a result of the forced digital adoption during the pandemic, with bank branches and stores closing and more banking done and more goods and services being purchased online.

Kevin Marcus, partner at WestCap, said his firm invested in Amount based on the belief that banks and other financial institutions have “a point-in-time opportunity to democratize access to traditional financial products by accelerating modernization efforts.”

“Amount is the market leader in powering that change,” he said. “Through its best-in-class products, Amount enables financial institutions to enhance and elevate the banking experience for their end customers and maintain a key competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

Amount engineers and designers collaborate on project
Courtesy: Amount

The additional capital raise (quickly following its Series B and C in 2020) clearly demonstrates the value that Amount has to offer to financial institutions seeking digital transformation without the headaches.

The Series D capital will be used to accelerate hiring in Amount’s product, technology and sales teams and to pursue accretive M&A opportunities that accelerate the introduction of innovative products and features to the Amount platform.

Amount‘s bank partners include several of the top US banks who collectively manage close to $2T in U.S. assets and serve more than 50 million U.S. customers. This capital will put this company in an exceptional position to continue enabling both existing and new partners to digitize their infrastructure, ultimately enabling them to better meet their customers’ lending needs.

The Bottom Lines

From enabling bank partners and merchants with best-in-class technology, to building out a diverse talented team, and raising a sizable amount of capital – Amount team has accomplished incredible feats. Obviously those are worth award for endless effort from the whole company.

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