INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Finfrog, the Leading Personal Microloans Company
Thaïs Weber, VP Marketing at Finfrog tells us how the French-based Fintech is disrupting the multi-billion European overdraft market.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Thaïs Weber: We’re doing well, thank you! We’re staying cautious, trying to protect each other, but everyone’s doing great.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Finfrog.
Thaïs Weber: I graduated from HEC Paris School of Management, where I specialized in Entrepreneurship.
I first started my career by creating my own company in the food tech industry, and I then joined a startup studio called Efounders, working on 2 startups at the portfolio level.
I then joined Uber – the leading ridesharing company – to develop the business and the brand in France. I spent more than 5 years there, moving into different roles within Marketing.
I joined Finfrog in early 2020, a French-based Fintech that aims at disrupting the multi-billion European overdraft market. I was really inspired by the mission and the challenges the company faces. Finfrog leverages technology to bring people suffering from overdraft fees a responsible alternative, with accessible rates and credit-granting criteria open to everyone.
I was really enthusiastic by Finfrog’s societal ambition, by the prospect of bringing more financial inclusion by developing financial products for people who are excluded from traditional banking actors.
I’m currently managing Finfrog’s Marketing team, responsible for Growth, Branding, and the development of our B2B offer. We’re seeing great traction and growth on our product today; I’m very excited about what’s ahead for Finfrog.
How does Finfrog innovate?
Thaïs Weber: Our innovation lies in having created the first instant smart loans offer available on mobile.
We created a one-of-a-kind technology by developing proprietary, robust scoring technology, which results from several years of R&D investments. Based on a machine learning scoring algorithm, the solution developed makes it possible to establish, with quantitative and objective criteria, the solvency of a potential borrower and allows us to support populations that are today not able to borrow from traditional banks and credit companies.
We were the first in France to offer small short-term loans obtained online in less than 24 hours. The lack of available micro-loan options and alternatives to overdraft fees for our community motivated us to build an offer that responds to our customers’ needs: speed and simplicity.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Thaïs Weber: Our activity has remained strong despite the crisis. However, we’ve seen new behaviors and new borrower profiles, which the crisis is impacting. We have observed a growing demand for funding from some freelancers, severely impacted by the crisis, but also increased demand from students, with pronounced funding needs in September, at the start of the academic year.
We are also witnessing a shift in the adoption of microcredit; many households now prefer to use microcredit to finance their unexpected expenses in order to keep their savings to ensure a certain safety net for the future.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Thaïs Weber: We’ve been fortunate enough not to have the team impacted by the crisis. We see strong momentum in our activity, and we have strong recruiting ambitions. We’ve recruited about 10 people since the beginning of the year 2020, and we have other roles open.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Thaïs Weber: The economic and sanitary context reinforced the importance for our clients to have access to available and reliable customer support resources. Our customers often have urgent and unexpected financial needs that they need to cover. Be it to pay for car repairs or to replace broken home equipment; our clients expect us to help and support them in the best way we can.
Our customer support is therefore available by phone, which has proven to be very beneficial for some of our clients who were in need of a more interpersonal customer relationship. We use Aircall for our phone support.
We’ve also developed some tools and provided our clients with special guidance regarding the sanitary and economic context, informing them about their rights and helping them with administrative procedures (how to file for partial unemployment, etc.). Our clients really valued the extra help we provided them with during this difficult time.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Thaïs Weber: We were fortunate enough to close a new funding round in 2020, which allowed us to keep developing the business and keep growing our team.
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