Palolo: building right from the start

Depending on where you search, Palolo can either mean a gorgeous valley in Hawaii (pronounced Pālolo) or a delicious seasonal dish of sea worms served in Polynesia and across the Pacific.

Yes, sea worms. Yes, they are supposed to taste as good as caviar, although I haven’t tried any yet (goals!).

A shot of the gorgeous Palolo valley on the outskirts of Honolulu in Hawaii
The Pālolo valley in Hawaii

What’s the point here? A brand can mean multiple things, and at Palolo (the bank, not the sea worm), we’re trying to be intentional about how we build so that what we deliver to customers is truly delightful (whether you like Palolo worms or not!)

A delicious Palolo worm omelette
A delicious Palolo worm omelette fried up in Vietnam

How do we build a bank that’s trusted? By making meaningful commitments to our customers publicly, and then sticking by them (no worming out!) I can’t think of a better way to do that than by listing out our product values right here on the blog. That way everyone can see what we value as we build and hold us accountable.

So, worm puns aside (I promise we’re done), here are the seven principles we are building around at Palolo.

  1. Correctness: The money will always be right. We have zero tolerance for money errors.
  2. Availability: Accounts are always available to be checked, and liquid money is moveable.
  3. Empowering: Our products always empower both our Clients (Employers) and Customers (Employees).
  4. Valuable: Everything we offer has meaningful value for Customers, Clients, and Palolo.
  5. Private: We bias toward privacy for Customers in what we build.
  6. Clear: What we offer is clear, transparent, and simple to understand. No hidden strings.
  7. Accessible: It’s ridiculously easy to sign up and use Palolo.

Some of this stuff might seem obvious or how things should be built anyway, but we’ve all had banking experiences that don’t live up to these principles.

Just one example: a couple of months ago, my bank showed that I had thousands of dollars more in my account than I really did for multiple days before catching a transfer error and correcting it. We depend on our banks to get the money right, and that kind of mistake is a huge trust breaker.

So those seven principles are how we plan to build a better bank. If you’re a developer and like how we’re building, you can check out our job listing on Angel List. If you think we missed a principle we should include, hit me up on Twitter. These are public principles for a reason. We want our thinking checked because we want to build something that truly lasts (unlike the sea worms, which are only available seasonally apparently).

And last but not least, if you happen to have any Palolo worm recipes you like, hmu — I’d love to try some!


Product @ Palolo

(You can find more of Nate’s product musings are on TikTok and Twitter)




A sassy startup on a mission to build a bank that gives you credit for the hard work you do!

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