After raising fresh funding today, Finantier seems to be on track in its mission to provide financial inclusion to users from emerging markets with its open-finance solution.
Launched in 2020, Finantier provides the infrastructure and data products for businesses to build the next generation of financial services.
“By enabling individuals and businesses to aggregate and leverage their digital footprint, we are helping them to access financial services that were beyond their reach in the past. In this way, they can be financially better off to provide for their families and support their businesses,” explains Diego Rojas, co-founder of Finantier.
In this interview with e27, Rojas discusses Finantier’s growth story, future plans, and its experience in the well-acclaimed Y Combinator accelerator.
What motivated you to build Finantier?
As a software engineer and CTO, I was personally involved in building products in the US, China, SEA in P2P lending, alternative financing, payments, etc. My co-founders Keng and Edwin also have a wealth of experience working within the fintech ecosystem, and we wanted to continue in it.
Fintech is a vertical where you can make a really big positive impact and can actually see the outcomes of how your products can change people’s lives for the better.
We built Finantier to be able to cater to a wide range of fintech sectors, by providing them with the infrastructure (through APIs) to access the data they need.
When we started, we were looking at the Open Banking space because we knew that it was hard to access and work with financial data. However, soon afterward we decided to focus on Open Finance because we didn’t want to leave anyone behind.
Building an Open Finance platform meant that we could help those with bank accounts and also those who are unbanked.
While building the company how did you put together the early resources such as capital and people?
We got our pre-seed funding from East Ventures and AC Ventures very early in our journey so we not only had capital but also strong support within Indonesia to keep building the platform and make a few initial key hires, particularly for the tech team.
Things moved really fast from there. We got the opportunity to join Y Combinator for the W21 (Winter 2021) batch and began working with banks, clients, and partners earlier this year to continue building the platform. We also engaged regulators from day one and are actively working with them in order to comply and propose solid guidelines in sync with a global trend around Open Finance and Open Data.
How do you plan to use the new funding from this round?
With the funding, we are planning to double the team by the end of this year and expand to other countries, especially Thailand and Vietnam. At the same time, we’ll be doubling down in executing new products in our roadmap.
How has being a part of the Y Combinator cohort shaped you in your entrepreneurial journey?
The whole journey has been great, we have received the opportunity to work with founders of amazing tech companies such as AirBnb, Stripe, DoorDash, who have come to share their expertise and give talks. But they are also people to who we can actively reach out.
Other than that the level of exposure is also incredible because on demo day we have more than 5000 investors attending. Its a great experience overall and you can’t really compare it to any other programme.
What do you consider Finantier’s most significant milestone so far?
This might sound really cheesy but building the team and setting the corporate culture has been our most significant milestone.
Sometimes it is easy for a company to overlook company culture in its early stages but it’s actually really important from the beginning to transmit these values.
But if done right and the culture is properly set, other things will naturally flow.
How do you plan to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to identifying future market demands and increasing your product offerings?
In YC we were taught to make something that people want, and sometimes they would simply ask are you making something that people want or not? But that makes you think and reflect right?
And for us, it’s not simply about offering only data or credit scoring and payments. Those are only the initial blocks of something bigger.
When it comes to actually engaging clients and partners, we need to really talk to them to understand the pain points, and to deliver to solve those pain points.
However, in different markets, there are different needs. But in the way that we approach this is we consolidate a set of common pain points for a segment and adjust our products to serve this demand.
But sometimes companies come to us with new use cases. And those new use cases represent opportunities to us.
Our motto is also to build something that people want and this is something we take seriously in the company when we go out to new markets.
What are some financial struggles faced by people in Southeast Asia? Could you share some insights that are unique to Indonesia?
Countries in SEA face similar challenges when it comes to financial inclusion, however, some are ahead of others in terms of infrastructure, readiness, regulation, and maturity of the fintech market.
Indonesia is a massive market with high internet and mobile penetration, which allows innovation to flourish but also brings a new set of challenges. Indonesia is already working on an innovative framework: BI FAST that is going to change how financial services and payments will be provided.
I believe everyone acknowledges that the next five years are going to be really exciting in this space and soon other countries will follow suit.
Image Credit: Finantier
The post Diego Rojas of Finantier on growth plans, Y Combinator, and identifying future market demands appeared first on e27.