ApTap was founded by three Imperial graduates who are helping banks and fintechs improve their digital engagement and add new revenue streams. Will Billingsley (Life Sciences 2017), Nadal Sarkytbayev (MSc Physics 2016) and Isa Ibrahim (Materials 2017) were brought together by Imperial football and have been a team ever since!
The Alumni Relations team caught up with the ApTap team to hear about their journey from football pitches to startup pitches...
What did you learn during your time at Imperial, in class or out?
Will: Imperial holds you to such a high standard that it pushes you to think in a different way. Critical thinking is at the core of how Imperial teaches students, aligns closely with how I improved on the football pitch, but is also massively crucial to running a startup.
Nadal: The Enterprise Lab brought a different edge to our studies and allowed us to explore business opportunities using our scientific background to solve today’s problems.
Isa: My time at Imperial taught me that if you put in enough time and hard work you can solve/overcome anything. It teaches you to be self-driven and an independent learner. Out of class it taught me the importance of organisation.
What is your favourite place at Imperial and why?
Will: Physics 7th floor rooftop – beautiful views over the Royal Albert! Or the Alumni Relations Office, because the staff there are great!
Isa: The Queens Tower lawn – it's where most activities happen such as freshers fairs, but also it was nice to take a break on the grass in the sun during exams.
What is your fondest memory of your time here?
Will: A couple of titles for the football teams ;) – not to mention the amazing friends we made.
Nadal: Having won the league and varsity football 7-0 during my Master's, as well as meeting my hero Professor Stephen Hawking.
Isa: My fondest memories are from starting out in Halls in first year and getting to meet all the new people and then joining the IC football club which was the best decision I made!
Tell us a bit about the work you’re doing now...
Nadal: ApTap is helping banks and fintechs improve their digital engagement and add new revenue streams. We are building a white labeled solution that makes bill management a seamless experience for the banks’ end users. Our simple API’s empower those users to visualise their bills, and cancel unwanted services, with just a tap! We use data analytics to automatically compare their bills to deals on the market, and recommend services based on their preferences and trends. Then we automate the switching and signing up processes, directly within their banking app. We are on a mission to build the world’s first integrated subscription store, with a goal to launch our first product iteration by June. With advisors from Open Banking, Accenture, Citi Bank and Barclays, as well as a specialist in product market fit, we are bolstering our team with experience, and are looking to bring in more technical talent to add to our outsourced team. We aiming to capitalize on a first mover advantage and speed up our route to market this May.
How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?
Isa: Imperial helped give me the self-motivation and drive required to pursue and tackle new challenges. It gave me the confidence to attempt daunting challenges without hesitation, allowing me to capture opportunities I would otherwise overlook.
What have been your career highlights?
Nadal: Getting a first class degree, successfully completing my Master's, getting into Founders of the Future and Deep Science Ventures and then starting my first company (ApTap) with my best friends from Imperial.
What are your plans for the future?
Will: I am a man of science and business, so I eventually want to start my own business in the BioTech space.
Nadal: Going back to science/physics/engineering related industry such as Solar Cells (e.g. Transparent), Autonomus Cars, Space Travel or Wireless Power Transmission.
Isa: I have a passion for all kinds of technology, so I would like to use renewable energy innovations to help and advance third world countries such as Nigeria where I come from and eventually across other countries in Africa. Ultimately I would like to own my own tech company that aims to bring the far future to now.
What makes you proud to be an Imperial alumnus?
Will: Imperial’s name resonates across the world, and carries with it a prestige that is matched by few other universities. It has taught me how to persevere in the face of adversity, and how to work with and get the best out of other people. These skills are great not only for running a company, but for life in general.
Nadal: Imperial is a highly recognised and prestigous place to attain a science degree especially in Theoretical Physics. The fact that we can still use most of the facilities, networks and attend events being Imperial alumni is brilliant.
What would be your advice for current students?
Will: Make the most of what Imperial has to offer – it can be difficult to find out and push yourself to get out there, but the network you can build at Imperial is incredible.
Nadal: Definitely make the most of what Imperial provides you in terms of networks, support and reputation. There is more to explore and learn than just getting good grades from Imperial.
Isa: Make the most out of the opportunities Imperial provides, especially the networks and knowledge. Always strive to pursue what you want, not what you feel like you have to do.