Tech & Tonic: David & Goliath in love tryst, Revolut goes unicorn and *that* epic TSB balls-up

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It's a bit uncouth to drink G&Ts before the sun is over the yardarm – even on a Friday – so why not have some tech with your tonic instead? 

Computer says no at 'The Bank That Likes To Say Yes'

We all remember those terrible TSB ads from the 80s, right? Thirty years later, it seems "yeses" are few and far between for customers wanting simple services – like access to their own accounts.

The bank's online and mobile services went into meltdown eight days ago following a botched IT upgrade. What has ensued is by any measure the most humiliating fintech failure since, well, ever – and it's far from over. Without further ado, Foco's award for the most acerbic commentary on this fiasco goes to money writer and broadcaster Simon Read with this zinger: "Word of the week? Verschlimmbesserung – German for an improvement that makes things worse."

David and Goliath up a tree...t-e-c-h-i-n-g!

Talking of legacy IT, some are wondering whether the advantage nimble fintech startups have had over the Big Banks is finally slowing down. Tech companies, they argue, are now facing the same regulatory and customer pushback that the legacy institutions have long faced.

At the same time, the incumbents are finally waking up – innovating, optimising and transforming. But, in one of the best articles we read all week, Wrisk co-founder Niall Barton argues there is a third way. "For us, at least, it’s less about the competing forces of disruptor versus incumbent, and more about collaboration," he argues. We're also hearing this view a lot in banking fintech and – fingers crossed – it looks like we might be heading towards an entente cordiale in the "old versus new" environment of financial services.

Revolut goes FULL UNICORN!

Sorry for shouting but this is big. London-based fintech startup Revolut has joined the elite ranks of so-called unicorn firms with a £1.2bn valuation after raising £180million. The funds will be used to  fuel expansion in the US, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia by the end of the year, according to Business Insider. The digital bank has two million users globally and claims to have 250,000 daily active users. It is said to be worth five times its value this time last year...making Revolut's growth truly head-spinning.

And finally....

Tech investment and innovation is transforming insurance – and June's #insiderinsuretech conference from Insurance Insider looks like a fascinating temperature check. Speakers include Nimbla's Flemming Bengtsen, Brolly's Phoebe Hugh and investor Jannat Shah.

Did we miss anything? Holler at us on Twitter over at @foco_global

Michael Taggart

Co-founder of Foco, the fintech content marketing agency