Today marks the last day in our programmable banking journey - an exciting one with lots of learning and even more hype. What a ride. Today we’re announcing that we’re finally sunsetting the programmable card program to focus on our mission to fundamentally reshape the insurance industry.

Back in 2016, when we founded Root, we had a strong belief about what the future of financial services should look like: compelling, personalised customer experiences similar to those that software innovators are delivering across many other industry verticals like travel, entertainment, etc.

This drove us to launch a private beta of a programmable bank account and card for developers. We wanted to give them access to banking in a way that they could engage with to more easily prototype and create value. It started out in complete stealth with early beta users signing NDAs to get access while we were testing the waters. Sometime in 2017, however, the word got out and our hand was forced to make the mission public (read more).

The response of the community was beyond what we could ever have imagined:

  • More than 30 000 developers from across the world signed up to get access.
  • We hit #1 on Product Hunt.
  • We hit #1 on YCombinator’s Hacker News.

This mission was fun, but it was hard.

Enter insurance

While we were dodging bullets and fighting legacy establishment antibodies to get the bank card launched, we started learning more about the insurance industry – especially how fundamentally broken it is. Amazingly, there are even more inefficiencies in the insurance space than in banking, and we saw a clear path to change it for the better.

It was not the shiny path, but it was the right path. People easily grok a slick bank card, but insurance is often seen as boring. We have, however, become fascinated by insurance, and what the industry can become. It’s become clear to us that this is the path where our vision for financial services can best be realised, and where developers can have an especially big impact on the world.

In late 2017, we launched our new programmable insurance platform and it’s been scaling rapidly since then. We’re continuously working to break down the barriers for software innovators so they can create those epic customer experiences that insurance consumers really should be getting by now.

But programmable banking?!

The programmable bank is close to our hearts, and we wanted to see it out there in the wild just as much as you did. So, we set out to help our friends at OfferZen and Investec get RootCode embedded into their real credit cards. Please keep supporting them to get it off the ground.

You can find out more about this here.

Going forward

Insurance has become our core focus at Root. We believe we’ve identified the crux of the problem in this industry, and are working hard to solve it. We’ve gained proper traction in the South African market and will soon be expanding globally [more on this soon].

We’ll therefore officially be shutting down the private beta bank cards in the next few weeks.

I want to personally, and from the team at Root, say a massive thanks to everyone who supported us and contributed to the Root Card mission. It was an incredible journey, and I am deeply grateful to everyone who signed up, everyone who has given us valuable feedback, everyone who has written RootCode, and everyone who has shared and still shares our passion for programmable financial services.