We talked to Danut Rusu, founder of Zizy, about clean card transactions and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Danut Rusu: Thank you for your question. My family, my colleagues, and I are safe and well. Although some of us had to go through Covid in the last months, we are all alright now and hopeful for a great 2021.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Zizy.
Danut Rusu: I have started my career in engineering in Berlin at a data wrangling startup. This helped me get a glimpse of the startup world and increase my network. I founded Zizy almost 2 years ago after identifying a big problem in the transactions feed of our banking app. It is full of dirty merchant names that users do not recognize. Even though you may have bought something from McDonald’s, in your banking app it may appear as “European Restaurant 21531 ltd”. I am passionate about innovation and creating new products therefore I’ve seen a big opportunity to make something great in this area.
How does Zizy innovate?
Danut Rusu: We have developed a product that takes card transactions data and gives back the same data along with the clean merchant name and its high-quality logo. This solution is then integrated with the banking apps and therefore the end-user will be able to see that they bought from McDonald’s and not “European Restaurant 21531 ltd”. We do not only improve the UX of our partners but we also help decrease their costs in chargebacks. Therefore it’s a double win.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Danut Rusu: For a while, there was a lot of uncertainty, both for us and for our partners. Acquiring new customers was challenging since everyone had to do some sort of restructuring and priorities changed. On the other hand, people started to use their cards more often, which means more transactions to clean, therefore more revenue. Now, in 2021, companies we used to talk to in 2020 are coming back to us in order to partner. It’s started to get better.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Danut Rusu: Yes, we did make a few choices. We’ve seen an increase in card transactions as well as a shift in priorities for many new partners. Therefore we made the decision to invest more resources in the product, making it scalable and super simple to use. This came along with new colleagues that joined us and many new ideas to pursue forward.
The main lesson for us is that when you stop investing in product development the business starts to lose momentum. The issue is that the effects are usually seen with a delay. We are very careful to always make sure the product is better after every sprint.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Danut Rusu: Being a remote-first company, we mainly use Google Workspace for communication.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Danut Rusu: We have a few competitors in different parts of the world, but we rarely pay attention to them. Our main focus has been on the product and how we can make it better to produce more value for our customers. We plan to do what we’ve always done: offer the best product while focusing on the customer.
Your final thoughts?
Danut Rusu: I believe all of us will remember 2020. Some were really affected by it while others thrived. What is important is to stay healthy, take a step back, see the trends and adapt.