Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Register
Notes from the Network
Blog Home All Blogs

Three Powerful Tools for Fintech Practitioners

Posted By Jane Del Ser, Bankable Frontier Associates, Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

By David del Ser

(Watch our video)

Since we launched the Catalyst Fund in 2015, we have helped 15 fintech entrepreneurs deploy novel approaches to bring products and services to their customers. We have distilled the successful patterns and behaviors we have observed into toolkits and posts for those considering fintech methods for their businesses, whether they be startups or established players.


At a high level, successful fintech startups adopt principles of Design, Risk Management and Product Management, and also put modern technologies like smartphones, artificial intelligence and cloud computing at the core of their value propositions. At successful fintech startups Designers, Product Managers, CEOs and Engineers reinforce each other in multidisciplinary teams to explore the overlap between what customers find desirable, what engineers can build, and what the business requires to grow.

Design

The function of Design is to represent the voice of the customer at all times to make sure a company stays centered on what matters most. Design is not a one-off process. In the spirit of customer validation, designers keep tight feedback loops with customers throughout the product development process, from early prototypes to usability testing of new features.


Through user research (UX) techniques like online surveys and one-one-one interviews, designers invest heavily during initial stages in order to know their customers like the back of their hand; what are their problems and pain points, and how can their company help? In fact, designers segment customers into personas to allow the team to constantly keep in mind different user profiles and needs.


Aesthetics matter. Designers work hard to perfect a product’s UI and its look and feel, so it can live up to the high expectations created by WhatsApp or Google. But great design goes beyond just user research and visuals during early product design stages. Successful inclusive fintech startups map out the Customer Journey and Service Blueprint in detail to fully understand the perspective of the user each time they  interact with the company.


Ultimately, great design creates trust, that elusive quality that all startups are chasing and that distinguishes them from their competitors. We’ve captured our lessons for startups to build trust with their customers through their products or services in our Design for Trust Toolkit.


Product Management

But designers can’t work in isolation; they need someone to lead the orchestra - and that’s where a product manager comes in. The PM takes a big picture view and works to ensure that designers, engineers and marketers all work towards the same goal. Crucially, she makes sure the product or service goal is backed by data and evidence. She keeps the whole process nimble through quick agile iterations focused on the activities of users, from initial onboarding to the retention phase. For example, using A/B Testing and usage analytics she captures details of how each users is interacting with every screen to inform engagement.


The effective product manager is very focused on the key metrics for the business, such as customer lifetime value or acquisition costs. She also works hard to explore the best channels to find new customers, including viral referrals and social media. As an example, our portfolio company Destacame has seen lead acquisition costs dropping to less than $3 through these types of digital channels. We explore some of the different tools and frameworks to help startups focus as they chart their journey from idea, to minimum viable product (MVP) and growth in our upcoming product/market fit toolkit.

Modern Technologies

And finally, you can’t have good fintech without the “tech” that is enabling these new approaches.


Most important are the smartphones, which run fintech apps and also act as channels to find and interact with users. For instance, several of our startups use WhatsApp to offer customer support and drive virality, communicating with users in the way they prefer. Smartphones can also be used to generate and capture user data, which is particularly valuable when targeting low-income consumers who traditionally have been anonymous. In that vein, our portfolio company Smile Identity validates and authenticates customer identities using selfies taken on their phones.


In addition machine learning and other artificial intelligence systems can improve customer value propositions and to automate internal processes like credit scoring using data from smartphones and other new sources like satellites. As an example, our portfolio company ToGarantido is exploring chatbots for sales of their insurance policies and customer support. Harvesting is using satellite data to understand credit and insurance risk with just a GPS read. Worldcover doesn’t even need customers to file a claim as their satellite systems award them automatically.


And software engineering helped Escala and Paygo Energy to automate most of their back-office processes to be responsive to their customers. It is easier and more affordable than ever for startups to leverage affordable SaaS solutions to architect their systems. Likewise, cloud computing is also a powerful technology that offers simplicity, lower costs and flexibility. There is no need to commit capital to purchase hardware and the team requires less engineering talent to keep the servers going.

Conclusion

In our experience, companies that harness the powerful combination of design, product management and modern technologies create better and more tailored value propositions. That makes for happier customers, which is what makes businesses thrive. By driving more usage, the fintech triad can create more impact in low-income populations. And digital channels and automated processes can significantly lower costs of serving customers, allowing for expansion to new markets and reducing exclusion.


Learn more by joining us for our webinar on the Catalyst Fund toolkits during the ANDE Sector Update call in January. Register here.


Tags:  Acceleration  accelerator  accelerators  Africa  ANDE Africa  Base of the Pyramid  brazil  Business Models  capacity development  early stage ecosystem  emerging markets  entrepreneurship  finance  financial inclusion  fintech  Grants Rockefeller  impact investing  impact investment  inclusive innovation  India  India; ANDE members  innovation  Kenya  Latin America  mentoring  Mexico  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  smaholder farmers  smes  social enterprise  social entrepreneurship  social innovation  webinar  West Africa 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

TBC Accelerator Programme - Deadline for Applications 30th April!

Posted By Claire Balbo, Toilet Board Coalition, Thursday, April 13, 2017
 BE A PART OF THE #NEXTBIGTHING!

The Toilet Board Coalition is a business platform enabling private sector engagement; connecting large and small companies through their Toilet Accelerator; and ensuring close collaboration between private, public and non-profit sectors, with the common goal to accelerate the business of sanitation for all. It was formed in 2014 by four corporate members — Unilever, Kimberly-Clark, Firmenich, and Lixil, together with leading international organisations, development banks and sanitation sector experts. 

For more information on the Toilet Board Coalition, visit our website.

In 2016 we launched our corporate accelerator programme, The Toilet Accelerator,  to facilitate private sector engagement and bespoke mentorship to sanitation businesses and entrepreneurs serving low-income markets. The Toilet Accelerator works with promising sanitation business models that have the potential to overcome current barriers to access, use and adherence at scale. More than toilets alone, we are supporting commercially viable businesses at every point in the sanitation value chain including circular economy waste management models, digital and mobile applications for sanitation and e-health.

Last Call for applications - deadline 30 April 2017
If you have any questions, shout out to Claire Balbo: balbo@toiletboard.org
THE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY OF THE DECADE
#WeCantWait

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  accelerator  entrepreneurship  mentoring  sanitation  SGB 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

AXA and Impact Hub’s Three-Month Scaling Program

Posted By Whitney Schaefer, Impact Hub, Thursday, March 16, 2017

AXA, the number one global insurance brand, has teamed up with Impact Hub, a global social innovation network, to find one great initiative anywhere in the world that is dedicated to helping reduce risks to people and their property. Read the full blog post on AXA's Prevention With Impact Accelerator here.


The winning venture, as selected by AXA employees and Impact Hub, can look forward to 50,000 EUR to help scale their initiative; a one-week personalized accelerator programin a European citydedicated to taking the initiative to the next level; three months of in-depth support from an AXA Global Graduate—a high-potential AXA employee who will work alongside the venture to develop their initiative’s scaling plan; and access to AXA executives for pro-bono expert advice throughout the program.

 

Initiatives can generally fit into any of the following categories: healthy living & fitness, addiction prevention & management, digital healthcare, mental health & wellness, chronic disease treatment, fire safety, road & automotive safety, security & theft prevention, workplace safety, safety at home, and cyber security.


Apply until March 24th. 


Tags:  accelerator  accelerator program  axa  health  impact hub  safety  scaling  scaling program 

PermalinkComments (0)