Growth Wars: Driving Revolut Growth

Lex Gillon
Frontira | Product Insights
5 min readJan 7, 2020


In our previous article we looked at Revolut, N26, and Monese’s user growth rate. Now we want to go a level deeper, starting with Revolut. The questions?

  • What factors are driving Revolut’s growth and how can you use these strategies too?
  • How does innovation speed factor in?
  • What role does UK law play in Revolut’s growth?

Let’s jump right in.

Question 1: What’s driving Revolut’s growth?

According to Irina Scarlat, Head of CEE at Revolut, growth at the company is defined by user activity not signups. The company measures this through active user conversion, paid option conversion, and churn reduction.

This mirrors former Head of Growth, Val Scholtz’s three pronged approach, in which he focuses on:

  1. Building virality into the product
  2. Crafting a proper engagement strategy
  3. Promoting the features/products as widely as possible

Driver 1: Virality

How it Works: Revolut creates virality in its products by leveraging both user and partner networks. For users, Revolut often pairs access to a feature with a referral call to action e.g. when a user wants access to cryptocurrencies in the Revolut app, they are asked to refer three people first. Tying referrals to transactions and features rewards the user for going deeper into the product rabbit hole, making that individual user stickier while expanding the user base.

Revolut also uses partnerships to expand their network reach. In December 2018, Revolut partnered with InComm to create prepaid cards for Wilko stores across the UK. Additionally, Revolut and Orange Polska joined forces to launch a campaign where users who joined the Orange Flex mobile app and signed up for Revolut received PLN 100. In both examples, new users are being exposed to Revolut via another company. These partnerships increase Revolut exposure and require a commitment from the user i.e. now they have “free” money tied to this brand new account that they can only spend via the platform.

Going hand-in-hand with virality is the reproduction of these tactics in new markets e.g. through its partnership with Visa, Revolut plans to expand to 24 new markets.

Lessons for You:

  • Consider creating a referral program to galvanize growth. Not sure how? Here’s a link to our Referral Builder.
  • Structure partnerships so that there is a call to action for the partner’s network to use your product.

Driver 2: Engagement

How it Works: For engagement, Val highlights three priorities: feature adoption, feature engagement, and feature re-engagement. This means crafting and adjusting user journeys and focusing on the right metrics, in this case, daily active users.

Let’s rewind. What’s an active user for Revolut? Someone who makes a transaction, not just someone who opens the app to look at currency exchange.

Ok, play. So with these three priorities (feature adoption, feature engagement, and feature re-engagement), Revolut is focusing on creating features that ‘wow’ the user. This drive to engaging the user necessitates a commitment to user experience. Product is core to the business, not an afterthought because it drives growth. This means launching new products/features, optimizing existing features, and removing unpopular features.

As a result, you see Revolut launching new product categories like a spending card designed for Gen Z or supporting GBP direct debits in the UK.

Lessons for You:

  • Prioritize customer experience and measure success accordingly, by tying your incentives and metrics to the actual goal you want to achieve.
  • Innovate on the product based on implicit and explicit customer feedback.

Driver 3: Promotion

How it Works: Every significant launch goes through a standard promotion process that includes PR and media outlets, like TechCrunch, social media/newsletter pushes, and push notifications. The result? Creating an image that the company is always evolving and growing, building buzz and excitement. The company has waiting lists in different countries, including the 10,000 person waiting list in Singapore last year.

Lesson for You:

  • Standardize your PR and marketing strategy
  • Publicize your innovations including ones that seem smaller. When we have a major event, we market like crazy, but when we upgrade a feature somehow we expect the customer to just recognize it. Publicizing this smaller changes allows you to get customer feedback quickly and make changes if necessary.

Question 2: How does innovation speed factor in?

We mentioned Engagement as the second driver. As we mentioned, user engagement is tied directly to the product and feature improvements. However, it isn’t only tied to what features the company rolls out. There is also a connection to how fast they roll out new features, aka the Innovation Pace. In the last 12 months, Revolut rolled out an average of 3.2 innovation per month. The 3.2 innovation average per month correlates to the 258.75% CAGR we mentioned in our last article, Growth Wars: Disrupting the Banking Status Quo.

Lessons for You:

  • Staying close to your customer and innovating quickly impacts your growth because you are constantly pruning your offerings. As a result, your product is useful to your customers, your customers feel listened to, and the annoying features are modified before they become a problem.

Question 3: What role does UK law play in Revolut’s growth?

With this question we wanted to highlight how regulatory environments can boost innovation and the indirect role the UK plays in springboarding fintechs. The country hosts many challenger banks including Revolut, Starling Bank, and Monzo, and is seen as a regulation tech leader. How did they gain this reputation?

  1. By fostering pro-fintech mentality
  2. By removing regulatory information asymmetry
  3. By facilitating innovation

To illustrate their support for financial innovations, the Bank of England tracks and evaluates fintech developments, adopting fintech into their own infrastructure where appropriate. While we see more red tape in countries like the US and Australia, the UK is proactively creating governance bodies to support financial innovations. In 2016, the Financial Conduct Authority was formed and has since passed 89 startups through its regulatory sandbox, a testing site for fintechs. This institution is considering steps to expand its influence through a global financial innovation network, as well as a global regulatory sandbox. Additionally, the FCA wants to reduce friction for fintech innovators, even considering the creation of a robotic regulatory handbook to facilitate information access.

The UK is a playground for fintech innovation, with favorable resources and conditions. This open regulatory landscape has created a thriving fintech ecosystem, fostering fintech-positive network effects and making it a great place to experiment with fintech products.

Lessons for You:

  • Find your nearest hub and get involved. Being involved in the financial ecosystems allows you to know what’s happening before it goes mainstream and to capitalize on opportunities.

In the next article we’ll look at N26 and answer the following questions:

  1. What factors are driving N26 growth?
  2. Do they differ from Revolut’s?
  3. How does N26’s Innovation Pace compare to Revolut’s?



Lex Gillon
Frontira | Product Insights

Lex is CEO and Founder of Modality Group, a sex product market research and business intelligence firm.