Pave Bank, a fintech established by founders from BigPay and Monzo, embarked on an ambitious journey to redefine banking by offering a new banking platform with extensive customization. This case study shows how they used Encore to create a completely new banking backend architecture that is not just another iteration in financial technology, but a leap forward in flexibility and scalability.
Pave Bank's initial challenge was to build a bank from the ground up, but with a twist: to do so at a speed and efficiency that traditional banking platforms couldn't match, while solving for providing significant customizability options. Pave's goal was not just to match the industry standards but to set new ones.
Unlike when the Pave team first built Monzo, which allocated 30% of its engineering resources to platform development, Pave Bank significantly trimmed this overhead by using Encore to get a streamlined backend development process from day one. This enabled the team to focus intensely on product development.
"Monzo was one of the first banks built in the cloud, we actually started building Monzo on top of Mesos and Marathon, because Kubernetes wasn't the clear winner it is today. We were early to this kind of microservices development, but Matt Heath and Ollie Beatie had seen What Good Looked Like at Halo and wanted Monzo to have an amazing platform. It was (and is) a lot of work to get right.
The Monzo platform team is now world class and well established.
My challenge was to find a way to skip building a platform as good as Monzo's. Encore fit that description perfectly.
Pave's development pace has been at least twice as fast as Monzo's early days.
This improvement is not just a matter of doing things more quickly, but also doing less, thanks to Encore's extensive automation."
Encore allowed Pave Bank to fully automate processes that traditionally consumed significant time and resources:
Building a bank means facing strict regulatory and compliance requirements, as well as solving for elevated security requirements. Normally this would be incompatible with using a third-party tool for managing infrastructure. However, Encore's platform goes far beyond the capabilities of contemporary deployment tools that merely simplify "shipping a container" to a proprietary hosting platform.
Encore works by providing an Infrastructure SDK, used by application developers to define cloud primitives as native objects in application code. The infrastructure requirements are then "compiled" and provisioned by Encore's platform, using services in your own cloud in GCP or AWS.
This approach enabled Pave's team to maintain full control of their own secure cloud environment in GCP, while still automating infrastructure provisioning. This included implementing least-privilege IAM, and automatically keeping production and development environments in sync.
Pave Bank has faced challenges due to its highly specific requirements, occasionally highlighting limitations in the flexibility of Encore's platform. However, according to Simon Vans-Colina (CTO), Pave's engineering team hasn't seen these as dead ends but instead as opportunities for collaboration:
"Whenever we've identified a platform limitation, we've worked directly with the Encore team to design new platform capabilities to suit our use cases."
This approach ensured that Pave's specific requirements were continually met, aligning with their timeline and ambitions.
By using Encore, Pave's team have been able to develop and deploy a complete banking solution in just 9 months. Simon Vans-Colina (CTO):
"Using Encore is an unfair advantage. It has played a key part in our progress by providing a scalable and robust platform from day one."
Pave Bank's success is a great example of how fintech startups can leverage modern engineering tools like Encore to bring scalable, and highly compliant, products to market on a tight timeline. Pave's journey with Encore showcases a model where rapid development, scalability, and strategic innovation converge, setting a new benchmark for fintech development.
Book a 1:1 intro with us to find out how Encore can enhance your team's productivity and support your specific use case.