Interview: Meet Kane Jackson - CEO / Founder of Maslow & all-round Bad Boy of Fintech

Meet Kane Jackson – CEO + Founder of Maslow, a new Aussie fintech set to disrupt everything we know about banking. Outside of Maslow, Kane is known as a no-nonsense, straight-shooting, creatively brilliant, social media superstar holding the BNPL and other fintech categories accountable for their innovations.

Maslow is a self-service banking and finance platform with products built for customers, not profits. Maslow is for anyone who knows that money needs change. Not just how you save or spend but what your financial needs actually are. And they are starting with ownership. 15% of Maslow is owned by its account holders. Crazy right?!

I had time to sit with Kane last week to find out more about him and where he thinks Aussie Fintech is headed.

How long have you been in the start-up game?

I’ve been in Fintech for about 7 years – Maslow is my second startup. The first was where we discovered the need for the unique features of Maslow’s model and the incredible opportunity they presented.

What drives you to make change in your industry?

I came to Fintech from a healthcare background – by education I’m actually a Paramedic. I grew up around family businesses and started many of my own – I sold my first one at 20. But I never got any joy from them. I lacked a sense of purpose and as I got older, money seemed less and less important so I ended up getting into healthcare, which is where my passion lies, and where I am happiest. Few people know this, but Maslow actually has more similarities with a healthtech startup than a traditional fintech. That’s because I left healthcare to address larger systemic issues I found to be the true cause of many Ambulance callouts. I learned that much of healthcare is a bandaid to a larger systemic problem and I’m wired quite poorly to ignore problems I can see – they tend to eat away at me. My pragmatism fought my passion and it became increasingly untenable for me to deliver healthcare when I believed I wasn’t addressing what were the larger ‘market forces’. Mind you, it took me 4 years of testing to find a way to actually do that. Deep down, I’m probably still trying to be a paramedic – which explains why my closest friends are ambos, and why I love living vicariously through their stories.

Tell us a bit about yourself and Maslow?

I live in Melbourne with my fiance, who’s a secondary school teacher, and my almost human-sized dog.

Maslow is a social impact startup that wants to change the world, then be gifted to the world.

The platform provides financial products and services that everyday people need, but delivered differently. We remove conflict from the sale of financial products and align our interests with customer outcomes. In doing so, we can replace the Retail Financial Services Industry with one of Financial Advocacy, where customers pay for providers to advocate for them and not to make money from the financial decisions they make or products they choose – a safe space for people to ‘do money’.

It means cheaper and better outcomes for customers and severs the incentive companies have to undermine customer outcomes for profit. We work closely with the wholesale industry and as we grow, with the input of our customers, we’ll explore alternative models of financial products which we’re able to formulate without the need to be profitable, which opens the door to some exciting opportunities.

We’re giving 15% of the company to customers on launch, and over time almost all of the company will be transferred to the customer pool – hopefully about 2 billion of them! Think defi, but slowly; not all-in right now.

What’s wrong with the insurance world? Why are they so slow to adopt new technologies and customer centric principles?

The lack of transparency in insurance is a huge problem. Companies are incentivised to carve out products to reduce costs and increase profit. Where this becomes problematic is in the tool they use to do it – a huge document that nobody reads, or understands. The pay-per-KM model, or pay-per-use model is a really positive step towards fixing this. I think the most significant impediment to innovation in the industry is that insurance has largely been spared from fintech competition, until recently. There’s very little incentive for a traditional company to embark on change if their profit margins aren’t under pressure.

If you were to redesign an insurance product, where would you start and what category (eg. car, home, commercial, drone) would it be in?

I’d start with simplification and transparency. I’d try to align company outcomes with customer outcomes, but that can’t always be achieved so you’d want to be in a position where you can be as honest about your product as possible – including in your marketing messaging. Honesty will become a commodity in the years ahead and I think companies who hide in the detail will be punished by the consumer. I’d start with car, and I’d build it into the physical product itself through partnership with the manufacturers, relative to their specific offer. A self-driving car will need a very different insurance product to a human-driven one, for example. But, I think that answer was inspired by an earlier conversation I had with Andrew, so I best not claim it as my own!

What do you like about KOBA’s insurance solution? What do you see as the biggest obstacles ahead?

For me, it’s a step in the right direction toward transparency. Pay-per-KM says to the customer ‘we build a product for your use case, we don’t make your use case fit our product and force you to pay an inefficiency premium for the misalignment’. While that’s just part of transparency, it’s the right step. Like with many startups today, I think KOBA will find their product looks very different in 5 years, which is both an obstacle and an opportunity. It’s that positioning, more as an advocate for customer outcomes than a ‘1 template for all’ approach that will enable that journey to be a positive one.