Using AWS, there are no barriers to scaling our operations tenfold, which we plan to do over the next few years.
Frederik Pfisterer Chief Operating Officer & Cofounder

Through its banking technology, Mambu helps banks, microfinance institutions, and other financial innovators deliver essential banking services to individuals and emerging enterprises around the world. The company’s founders saw that traditional banking applications were designed for a different era and didn’t allow banks and other financial services providers to address the “missing middle”—the individuals and small organizations that were underserved by traditional banking services. By developing agile, affordable software delivered via the cloud rather than customers’ own data centers, Mambu has won 150 customers around the world in its first five years of operations and now powers the services behind 2.2 million end-user accounts.

When Mambu was building its product, it was looking to disrupt a market dominated by software from well-established vendors. As a result, it had to consider what financial institutions expect from existing banking software, as well as what new aspects would add value. “One of our key requirements was high availability,” says Frederik Pfisterer, chief operating officer and cofounder of Mambu. “Our customers expect 99.99% uptime, so that was a must. They also want to see that we can respond to the strict regulatory and security requirements that many of them have.”

Mambu needed to get a differentiated offering to market fast. It had to have a core product that customers could tailor to their needs and adopt quickly, given that on-site installations for traditional software can take months. By sticking to a single code base hosted in the cloud—rather than individually customized deployments on a huge range of customer-owned hardware—it knew it could offer a more attractive alternative than its competitors.

After assessing a range of cloud vendors, Mambu chose Amazon Web Services (AWS). Pfisterer says, “We consider AWS to be the clear market leader, and we were attracted by the fact that it puts a lot of investment into making its cloud services the best there are.”
 
“That goes for features as well as support,” adds Mambu Chief Information Officer Thomas Bachmann. Mambu takes advantage of AWS Business Support to ensure its deployments give customers the best value possible. “We have multiple support requests with AWS at any one time,” says Bachmann. “We also talk with solutions architects who help us when we’re developing on AWS. We even use [business support] as a channel to request new features, some of which we’ve seen implemented exactly as we’ve asked.”
 
By using different AWS Regions, Mambu supports customers across five continents and uses Availability Zones within each region to ensure 99.99 percent availability of its application. “We have several layers of redundancy within and across AWS data centers, so if one physical server goes down it doesn’t affect our application,” says Bachmann. Mambu was also reassured by the fact that AWS carries a range of compliance certifications, including SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports, PCI DSS Level 1 certification, and the ISO27001 security management standard—all vital credentials for banks.
 
Mambu runs all its services on AWS, from development to production. It deploys code using AWS Elastic Beanstalk, which distributes the application across more than 200 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. The fully managed Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) serves as Mambu’s main database, while Amazon ElastiCache synchronizes session information across servers.
Mambu’s disruptive approach to financial services software has won it more than 100 clients in its relatively short existence. One particularly noteworthy customer is OakNorth, a UK-based bank that had the distinction of being Mambu’s only customer not hosted on AWS.
 
Until late 2015, UK banks were effectively prevented from running their core systems in the cloud. This meant OakNorth had its Mambu instances running in a local data center, but a change in guidelines from the Financial Conduct Authority meant OakNorth was free to migrate from its physical deployment of Mambu to one in AWS, becoming the UK’s first cloud-based bank.
 
“We chose Mambu for its speed and flexibility,” says Francesca Gandolfo, OakNorth’s chief operating officer. “As Mambu is a young business like us, we were able to work with them to develop the banking proposition, ensuring it was compliant with UK regulations, and prioritize the product features we want to offer customers. We are very confident in AWS’s proposition; it has state-of-the-art technology, a worldwide presence, a large number of security certifications, and because of its scale, is able to invest in information security beyond what we’d be able to do on our own.”
 
Pfisterer explains the benefits for OakNorth: “We were able to offer our services around 60 percent cheaper by migrating OakNorth to AWS. Technically, it was easy to do, and it meant we were much more efficient in how we ran that environment. Before, upgrading our software was extremely time-consuming, but using AWS we have automated these processes.”
 
Being on AWS also means better availability. “We can release patches into regional deployments in 30 minutes without downtime,” says Bachmann. “Because we have so many servers running at the same time with live requests, we can just take one down, apply a patch, and bring it back up without affecting end users. We couldn’t do this on a physical deployment.”
 
“Security is easier to handle in the cloud too,” says Bachmann. “AWS gives us the ability to resolve technical constraints around security, such as putting customers on dedicated instances, deploying virtual private networks, controlling access, and encrypting data. It’s more affordable and faster to implement changes in AWS than on-premises, so it lowers the burden of adding higher security.”
 
Sarka Bartova, business development manager at Mambu, believes the flexibility of being in the cloud helps Mambu address a wider client base. “Fully regulated banks usually require a private instance, while smaller fintech startups can go for a more cost-effective setup by being hosted in a multi-tenancy environment,” she says. “AWS allows us to quickly set these up right next to each other, and that helps differentiate us from our competitors.”
 
Pfisterer thinks AWS has been instrumental in the company’s growth and that it will continue to support Mambu’s expansion in the future. “We’ve acquired 150 customers very quickly, and we couldn’t have done that if we didn’t have a single code base that AWS helped us deploy in multiple different ways,” he says. “Using AWS, there are no barriers to scaling our operations tenfold, which we plan to do over the next few years.”
 
Mambu recently became an AWS Partner Network (APN) Technology Partner, with a focus on the financial services segment. The company plans to take advantage of a number of business, technical, and marketing resources through the APN to help drive additional growth and success on AWS.

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