We talked to Clément Coeurdeuil of Budget Insight on how businesses can connect its APIs and create the financial services and experiences of tomorrow.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Clément Coeurdeuil: I caught the virus in March, but fortunately, the illness was benign. My family was not affected.
At Budget Insight, we immediately put in place 100% remote working. We only had a few employees infected, in every case outside of work and with no serious consequence.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Budget Insight.
Clément Coeurdeuil: I founded Budget Insight in 2012, whilst I was completing my engineering studies at Centrale, which is one of the leading technology universities in France.
My starting point was simple: at the time, getting a view of one’s bank accounts on a mobile phone was extremely clunky. I decided to solve for this pain point and launched the Budget mobile app, which aggregated our users’ account information in a nice and easy to use mobile interface. Very quickly, we got several thousand of app downloads.
However, none of our users was willing to pay for this service. At the same time, we got approached by a savings institution. They wanted to buy our technology on a white label basis. At this moment, we decided to pivot the company to be a pure B2B player. Since then, we made rapid progress. We are now the leader of B2B Open Banking services in France. We have more than 200 customers, and our revenues are growing at 50% YoY.
How does Budget Insight innovate?
Clément Coeurdeuil: We never forget that our success came through constant innovation, so we devote a significant part of our resources to R&D, for example, to improve the technology fundamentals of our platform.
However, no internal motivation beats external pressure. We are fortunate to work with industry-leading innovators. We have to run as fast as they do. Our customers constantly put us on edge by requiring ever better and more innovative services.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Clément Coeurdeuil: The pandemic has considerably increased the shift towards digital services, which is at the heart of what we do. Therefore, the usage of our services for our existing customers has continued to grow even more than the break-neck pace we were enjoying before the crisis.
However, the crisis delayed a number of new projects. This led us to increase our level of support to new customers. Now that the end of the crisis is in sight, with the first vaccines’ approval, we are sensing that all these delayed projects are going to restart.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Clément Coeurdeuil: As the CEO of a fast-growing Fintech, one is always faced with difficult choices: allocate resources to deliver the short-term results or prepare for long term success, conquer new customers or help existing customers grow?
My recipe is to work with a very strong and diverse management team who bring different perspectives and points of view. I encourage very frank and direct debate before making tough decisions so that we arrive at the best decisions. Once these decisions are made, everybody is fully focused on execution.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Clément Coeurdeuil: Stress and anxiety are part of the job description for a CEO. I have very good mentors who help me get better clarity as to what I should do. I also do a daily 30 min meditation session to energize me.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Clément Coeurdeuil: Open Banking is a thriving space. We have several competitors, who are either local, European or global.
We will win by continuing to focus on serving and creating the most enriching experiences for our customers with the best available service.
Your final thoughts?
Clément Coeurdeuil: Talent is an essential key to success. At Budget Insight, our people’s well-being is the 2nd most important company objective (the first being to delight our customers). In this respect, the pandemic has created specific challenges. We have provided extra help to our employees to help them cope with this, particularly equipment to help them work remotely, frequent, fun events to help them stay high-spirited.