Miaowing Debit Card Banks £17.5m From Strategic Investor

Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a neowealth disruptor in Australia

How do you build a bank differently? Perhaps by taking a design led approach to everything, starting with the sound a debit card makes when it does a contactless payment.

In ANNA’s case, the bank for freelancers and SMEs, that sound is a ‘miaow’.

In February of last year, a miaowing debit card was reported as being enough to catch the attention of the startup’s first 3500 customers. Not bad going for a simple sound effect.

Fast forward to May 2020, and ANNA will surely be feeling like the cat that got the cream, having landed a new strategic investor hot on the heels of a crowdfunding campaign late last year.

In just 19 months since launching, the business has now sold off a majority stake in the bank for £17.5m to ABH Holdings SA, a privately owned, European financial investment group.

ANNA is a mobile business account aimed at the creative industries, startups and freelancers. While many people might cringe at the thought of their debit card miaowing every time they buy a coffee, there’s no doubting there is a niche appeal. Love it or hate it, ANNA’s clever gimmick cuts through so much of boringness that has come to be synonymous with business banking – boringness that has also extended to many of ANNA’s competitors in the fintech startup scene.

While many fintechs boast a design team, ANNA seems to be jam packed with creatives that seem to have actual creative street cred, notably Daljit Singh, a former business partner of veritable design genius Sir Terence Conran, at creative consultancy CONRAN Singh.

A creative edge is what banking and finance needs. Many fintech technology companies have promised it, but so few have delivered. If ANNA are brave enough to launch a debit card that miaows, and idea that almost surely would have been relegated to the ‘not under my watch’ bin at most banks, then it will certainly be interesting to see what sort of features they are brave enough to launch next, now that they’ve landed some serious cash.

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