Social Banking for Gen Z – OWWN Interview – The Paypers | Region & Cash

Bastian KrautwaldFounder and CEO of OWNexplains how he’s trying to revolutionize banking for his generation by making banking a lifestyle that’s all about access to information, sharing, peer learning and financial management.

What is the story of OWWN? Please tell us something about your company


OWWN is the answer to the financial needs and desires of a new generation, my generation: Gen Z.

It has always been my vision to revolutionize banking for my generation, so I started solving a key piece of the puzzle: student finance.

In 2016 I founded my first company, your student financing. Your study financing has been profitable since 2021 and thanks to us, over 250,000 students are currently studying without financial worries.

To better understand the needs of young people, we’ve conducted over 1000 interviews with our users and are now ready to complete the puzzle and revolutionize banking for Gen Z – make it a lifestyle issue.

Why did you choose Gen-Z as your target audience and what are you doing to spread your message among the younger generation?

Members of my generation are true digital natives. They own a smartphone at the age of 10 and their first social media account at 13. At the latest when they are allowed to open a bank account at the age of 18, digital habits have long since become second nature.

In addition to their digital habits, Gen Z show a significantly higher affinity for money and investment topics than the rest of the population: 26 percent have already invested in stocks, compared to only 17 percent of the other generations. When it comes to crypto investments, the difference is even more drastic.

Despite the digital and financial affinity, the use of online banking remains shockingly low: more than 80 percent of Gen Z still have their main bank account with one of the traditional branch banks that their parents also use. Traditional branch banks often lack a good customer experience and Gen Z often expresses dissatisfaction with current digital processes.

Digital banks possess all of these qualities and offer more user-friendly interfaces. But that’s not enough.

Our user interviews revealed that most Gen Zers are looking for a lifestyle brand rather than a simple digital banking app. They want personalized banking experiences with product and service recommendations relevant to their unique banking situation. They seek social connections and interactions with their peers to better understand and navigate the world of finance. And that’s exactly what we offer.

With OWWN, we cover exactly these needs and offer banking in a lifestyle environment:

On the banking side, the OWWN app offers a fully digital banking experience. The customer can be disproportionately excited as we provide a better user experience because it exceeds the expectation particularly well.

In addition, customers will always choose the digital path through the natural use of the functions with the least possible effort combined with the possibility of using their social framework. At the same time, we provide the desired guidance and financial literacy by helping the user to better understand certain facts (and potential uncertainties) based on the (social) insights we have gained.

What are the biggest challenges facing Gen-Z in banking and how can OWWN help?

My generation is often portrayed in the media as arrogant, but we face countless challenges:

The world is changing rapidly through technology and innovation, life is getting faster and crises are increasing. Most of my generation are overwhelmed by the possibilities and choices and complain about the abundance of information we are confronted with on a daily basis. Keeping track of things is the biggest challenge. We want to achieve something, but we don’t know how.

A new study by Deloitte found that nearly half of Gen Z workers live with financial anxiety every day. More than a quarter (26 percent) are not confident about retiring.

We crave leadership and stability – and stability starts with owning our finances, it starts with OWWN.

Could you please explain “social banking” a bit and how does it differ from regular digital banking?

Imagine you are going on vacation. You are probably traveling with your partner or close friends. In this way, you not only save for the trip, but also spend money together before and during the trip.

How perfect would it be if you could manage everything centrally from your bank account and receive the right tips at the right moment, such as travel cancellation or international health insurance?

Finance and banking, no matter what it is, always takes place in a social context. What previously took place on various apps is to be bundled with social banking and supplemented with exciting community features.

This is OWWN.

What does the future of OWWN look like? Are there specific timelines and goals you’d like to share? Would you like to address other industries and target groups?

We currently have over 50,000 people on our waiting list waiting for app access. We opened the app to the first users in May 2022 and are gradually onboarding new users. At the same time, we talk to and learn from current app users to optimize the app and user experience. The launch of the app will be our most important first milestone.

About Bastian Krautwald


Bastian Krautwald is CEO and founder of the student financing platform deinStudienfinanzierung and the social banking app OWWN. Shortly after graduating, the 25-year-old founded his first fintech at the age of 19 and within two years expanded it into a profitable company with sales in the millions. Now Bastian is developing OWWN, one of the first financial platforms specifically for the new generation with a social plan. His vision with OWWN: Enable the new generations to live the life they want to live together with their crew.

About OWWN

OWWN is the first social banking app in Europe that combines banking, community and education in one app. The team wants to make the younger generation “OWWNers” in their financial development. By combining comprehensive banking services, student financing and exciting community features, they offer their generation exactly the financial home they have been looking for. The core team around the 25-year-old CEO Bastian Krautwald started in 2018 with a platform for student financing and has grown to currently 25 employees at the headquarters in Berlin.

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