An interview with Craig Moore

Craig Moore, Founder & CEO, Beehive UAE

FST Media: What are your priorities for the next 12-18 months?  

Moore: The main priorities over the next 6 months include the optimisation of our platform, which is a constant focus, and would incorporate more machine based learning. We are also looking to release a new product offering in addition to international expansion.  

FST Media: What technology or innovation is proving to be the single biggest game changer across non-traditional finance sectors? 

Moore: While mobile continues to evolve as a game changer, I do think the rise of peer to peer networks (Blockchain, money transfer), across many areas of fintech, will change the way individuals and institutions conduct transactions. 

FST Media: What are the most significant challenges P2P faces in terms of growth in the UAE? 

Moore: A key challenge will always be educating the market about the new concept. People adopt new ideas, especially new technologies at differing rates, so the education message always needs to be a key focus. Also, in countries such as the UAE, there is a high churn of people who are arriving and leaving, so there is always a new audience to speak to. Equally there is the challenge of ensuring your message is relevant and comprehensible among different customer segments who speak different languages, have different cultures and so forth.

Another potential challenge is localisation. When entering a new market, it’s important to implement local specific solutions for components of your offering e.g. credit models, if they don’t already exist. And finally, it’s often the case that when you launch a new concept into a market, there may not be an existing regulatory framework, which means you need to be very transparent as a business and adopt best practices. 

FST Media: What role can banks play in helping drive the UAE’s competitiveness of innovation in the fintech sector? 

Moore: In other markets, there is a lot of bank/fintech collaboration with major financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase/OnDeck, Citi Group/Lending Club and Santander/Kabbage incorporating digital lending platforms into their ecosystems to improve their service to their small business segments. I think this trend could certainly apply in certain areas within the UAE. 

FST Media: What specific insights can Beehive bring to the wider Asian finance industry?     

Moore:  A key expectation of today’s customer is a positive user experience and speed of delivery. The trend today is that customers have a more transactional relationship, than previous generations, with their previous financial service providers. 

Inevitably, we live in an increasingly mobile generation and customers expect to interact with an optimized platform whenever they are on the go.

FST Media: What is next big thing for Beehive and how will you measure its success?         

Moore: The next big thing for us is expansion into other markets outside of the UAE, with the target of opening in 2 new countries by the end of 2016. 

FST Media: What is unique about the UAE’s finance industry and its reactions to digital disruption?              

Moore: The UAE is made up of 85% ex-pats which has resulted in a large and diverse number of banks. Digital disruption is being driven by consumer demand for products that deliver against there evolving needs. It seems various banks are adopting digital strategies at different speeds. Obviously the ones that are adopting digital more quickly, will likely have a competitive advantage over their peers in the coming years. As an online business, we have had a great reception to our products which shows there is a real customer appetite for digital services and platforms in this market. 

FST Media: How do you encourage a culture of innovation in your team? 

Moore: We encourage strong cross functional collaboration within Beehive with regards to the design, development, and testing phases of the platform and any new products or features. Ensuring our staff work together, and that they feel their opinions and ideas matter, is critical to nurturing innovation within the company as well as driving employee affinity and ownership of the platform and its development. 

FST Media: Where do you look for emerging technology trends? 

Moore: I keep a watchful on what’s happening in Silicon Valley and the US & Europe in general. I’m also interested in cases where technology is adapted specifically to local opportunities and challenges in developing markets. Innovation often comes from the most unlikely situations, so keeping a broad network and an open mind is key to spotting what’s on the radar.

FST Media: What is the best career advice you have ever received?

Moore: Somebody once said to me early on in my career, “A vision without a plan is just a dream but a plan without a vision is just drudgery.” It really stuck with me and underpins my approach to a business idea.