Qiwi could not stand the load of Rocketbank

The Qiwi Board of Directors recommended that the company get rid of Rocketbank after its loss reached one billion rubles in six months. So far, one of the founders of Qiwi, Sergey Solonin, plans to remain his investor.
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Qiwi's board of directors recommended that management sell the “hipster bank” to “Rocketbank” because of its losses. According to the results of the first half of the year, the neobank, which is actually not a bank, but is a mobile application, brought the company a loss of a billion rubles, follows from Qiwi's statements.

“Rocketbank” went to Qiwi as a result of the reorganization of Otkritie FC Bank, the company received a brand, software and hardware, having paid 700 million rubles to Otkritie. The transaction perimeter also included the Tochka banking service.

The deal was closed in July 2018, and by the end of the year, Rocketbank customers, personnel and business processes were transferred to Qiwi. Throughout the first half of 2019, Qiwi managers worked on the Rocketbank strategy, tried to fit it into the “wide Qiwi ecosystem”, but in the end they came to the conclusion that it is better to make a separate project from Rocketbank. “This may be due to the fact that KPI management is tied to the Qiwi stock price, and Rocketbank is a five-year investment project with unclear prospects,” says Forbes's Qiwi interlocutor.

In March 2019, three of its founders, Oleg Kozyrev, Alexei Kolesnikov, and Mikhail Provision, left the Rocketbank. The company was headed by Anastasia Uskova, a native of EY, who previously held the position of Operations Director in the company. The departure of the founders was part of the deal to sell Rocketbank Qiwi, wrote The Bell, citing sources familiar with the details of the deal.

According to the results of last year, the loss of Rocketbank amounted to 1 billion rubles, then the losses were associated with the transfer of processes to the Qiwi circuit. Losses for the first half of 2019 amounted to a loss for the entire last year. In the second quarter alone, the neobank lost 511 million rubles. This time, losses are associated with increased costs for attracting customers, said Forbes IR Director of Qiwi Varvara Kiseleva. “In general, the losses of Rocketbank are formed according to three articles - personnel costs, customer acquisition and debit payments to customers. Revenue is interchange (commissions of payment systems) and revenues from the placement of customer funds. We don’t disclose the breakdown in detail, ”she said. At the beginning of 2019, the former financial director of the company, Alexei Karavaev, said that in the first half of 2019 he expects a loss of more than 1 billion rubles from Rocketbank.

Since the founding of Rocketbank, competition in the debit card segment has intensified significantly: many offers, being unique in 2013-2014, are presented everywhere today, explains Mikhail Doronkin, head of the NKR bank rating division. In addition, the Rocketbank brand has not gained appreciable recognition during its existence, unsuccessful partnerships with banks (in 2016 - Interkommerts, in 2017 - Opening) did not add customer loyalty, he points out. In order to create real competition for the leading players in the debit card market today, it is necessary either to scale up and promote the existing product, including dumping, which is expensive, or to develop and create your own unique niche and products, which is risky, Doronkin believes.

Now “Rocketbank” will become a separate legal entity. At the same time, the founder and shareholder of Qiwi Sergey Solonin plans to remain an investor in the project, says a Forbes interlocutor, close to the businessman. Solonin himself does not comment on his plans for Rocketbank.

“The profile of the potential investor of Rocketbank is different from the one who is interested in investing in Qiwi,” Solonin told Forbes. - Rocketbank needs other money, it has different risks. We believe that managing the Rocketbank as a separate project will be easier. ” According to him,

loss-making over a fairly long horizon is a classic neobank model that works only with debit cards. “We need to spin the model, increase customer activity, expand the scale, but all this will not be done with Qiwi money,” he said.

Solonin found it difficult to answer whether the future transaction on the sale of Rocketbank would be cashless or monetary - first, according to him, it was necessary to evaluate the business. “This deal will be similar to what Mail.ru Group and Yandex are doing, which also take venture projects outside,” Solonin expects. In July 2019, Mail.ru took 51% of the Esforce eSports holding outside the perimeter, transferring it to the computer game maker Modern Pick. This transaction was non-cash - in return Mail.ru received a stake in Modern Pick. At the end of July, Mail.ru created a joint venture with Sberbank, where it took out 100% of the shares of the Delivery Club food delivery service and 22.7% of the Citimobil taxi service.