In the first of a series of profiles we are running over the course of this week, featuring some of the members attending the Innovate Finance Global Summit next month, we are joined today by Ivo Weevers of Albert.
Founded in 2014, Innovate Finance is the industry body for the FinTech community and serves as a single access point to the full financial services and technology ecosystem. Their Global Summit, to be held at The Guildhall on April 11th, will champion and celebrate the latest developments in FinTech at the historical heart of financial services: London. If you’re keen to attend, you can buy tickets here.
Over to Ivo. Our questions are in bold.
– – – – –
Who are you and what’s your background?
Albert is the first fintech startup in the UK, co-founded by an engineer and a designer, a hugely popular trend amongst successful Silicon Valley startups such as AirBnB and Pinterest. Previously, the team have created award-winning and highly successful mobile and finance products for RBS, Natwest, the BBC and Ubuntu, including the first UK banking app that was featured by Google. Their mobile payment innovation has won several awards, including the Cannes Golden Lion and Bima Innovation award.
Albert was a citizen of Telefonica’s accelerator Wayra, and is now in Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab. Albert has the support of leading entrepreneurs from the financial and tech industry.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
Ivo Weevers – Co-founder & Creative Director – Responsible for Design & Marketing.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
Albert lets the self-employed run their business finances in a super-simple way, from their phone. Albert introduces an entirely new user interface design for finances based around the concept of a to-do and done list. By this extreme simplification on a mobile, Albert makes business finances suddenly accessible and approachable for every self-employed person.
Existing business finance tools, such as accounting and commercial banking software, are designed for and designed by accountants. They are complex and often poor on mobile. As a result, only 200,000 of the 5 million self-employed use these tools.
A make up artist loves helping people look and feel good about themselves. A carpenter builds beautiful things with wood. And a designer creates elegant and useful products. Albert is for these people.
Albert uses smart features such as suggested company addresses, automatic file organisation in Dropbox, and automatic reminders to take away the concerns from the users. All financial information is protected with expected app security levels.
Tell us how you are funded.
We received support from Telefonica’s accelerator Wayra, and now from Accenture’ Fintech Innovation Lab. We have raised a seed round with top London fintech entrepreneurs, after 8 months of bootstrapping.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
Over a year ago – in 2014 – freelance designer and freelance engineer Ivo & Dan sat at a table in Los Angeles. They were working for a US-based payment startup and were chatting about finance apps. And also… how they were not looking forward to putting their own finances in order after their business trip: doing invoices, filing expenses, making payments and keeping an eye on cash flow. They figured that, strangely enough, there didn’t seem to be a single and simple mobile app that could help with these basic, but important tasks for a freelancer. Back home in London, many freelance friends echoed the same frustrations, and so the idea for Albert was born.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Our audience are the self-employed one-man bands.
We believe that these independent, starting, hard-working self-employed people should have free tools to get their business starting and are happy to pay for professional services when their business is ready for it. That’s why Albert adopts a freemium model (paid version with advanced features to come).
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
Direct integration with bank data. Many innovations are lost because the end-user cannot see his bank details in relation to contexts where these details make most sense. Banks provide the overall infrastructure, but small financial startups are able to innovate for specific niche segments, such as students in Brighton or grandmothers in Wales. Providing a full financial picture that relates to the context of use, will create the best opportunities for the best customer experience.
What phone are you carrying and why?
An iPhone because most financial app engagement and development occurs on this platform still.
Where do you get your industry news from?
Tech blogs and network.
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
@nigelverdon, top fintech entrepreneur and mentor.
@FinTechLabLDN, London-based mentorship program uniting European #FinTech start-ups and banks
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
Collaboration between banks and fintech startups.
– – – – –
If you would like to receive email updates whenever we publish, sign up to our Newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time and we will never use your email for anything else.
If you’ve any suggestions for hot FinTech companies (startup, or established ventures) that we should be profiling, or have an opinion piece to offer, or a FinTech related event you’d like to tell us about, have a look here for more details.