For today’s profile we have Hanif Joshaghani and Tiffany Kaminsky from Symend Inc.
Our questions are in bold.
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Who are you and what’s your background?
My passion throughout my career has been partnering with great teams to make great ideas a reality. While I have been involved in many entrepreneurial endeavours in my career, Symend is my proudest accomplishment as I believe it represents an intersection between disruption, value creation, and social good.
In addition to my role as CEO of Symend, I am involved as a part owner and advisor in several other technology and finance businesses.
Prior to starting Symend, I co-founded Aimsio Inc and was head of Sales and Business Development. I have 15 years of experience in the areas of capital markets (most recently TD and RBC), energy finance (Capital Power), business development and entrepreneurship (Corewest Capital, Aimsio, and Aligned Capital Partners) in a broad range of industries including investment banking, energy, and technology.
I have my MBA from the Rotman School of Management from the University of Toronto, and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago.
My goal is to focus the next stage of my career on technology entrepreneurship, my family, and philanthropy.
Understanding your customers is at the heart of a successful business. Understanding what they need is the key to a valuable product.
I have 10 years of business experience across a variety of industries with expertise in lean operations, business development, and marketing growth.
The technology sector continues to be the focal point of my career. I’ve played a leadership role within both Software as a Service (SaaS) and Automation Solutions organizations (notably TinyEYE Technologies and Streamline Automation).
I have my BCOMM from the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan.
I am driven by making a difference and cannot wait to see the positive change the Symend team can evoke.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
Hanif Joshaghani, Co-Founder & CEO
Tiffany Kaminsky, Co-Founder & CMO
As any founder knows, we cover everything from being the chief cook to the bottle washer on a daily basis.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
Our mission is to reduce the incidence of debt delinquency while creating a positive experience for everyone involved in the collections process.
Symend combines automation, predictive analytics, and expanded treatments to reduce collections costs, increase team productivity, increase collection rates, and help our clients retain customers.
We believe we can make a profound positive impact on the delinquent debt industry by changing the tools, technology, and tactics used to promote and incentivize debtors to repay outstanding debts.
Tell us how you are funded.
Symend’s $1 million seed round was raised largely by its founders alongside angel investors and is the largest FinTech angel capital raise in Western Canada in 2016.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
We have both been overwhelmed by overdue debts in the past. Knowing first-hand the feeling of helplessness with added stress from collector’s harassment during these difficult times is a burden we do not want others to face. We want to reduce the burden by making it easy for consumers to not only get caught up during these stressful times, but also provide the education and tools to stay out of delinquency.
The current method for collecting on delinquent debt is ineffective, predatory and costly to vendors, debtors, and society at large.
We believe we can make a profound positive impact on the delinquent debt industry by changing the tools, technology, and tactics used to promote and incentivize debtors to pay delinquent debt.
Our aim is to not only create a better outcome for all participates in the initial collections interaction, but to create better consumers and reduce the incidence of delinquency long-term.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Symend’s target customers are utilities, telecommunications, and credit card retailers. We have a value based revenue model where vendors only pay for successful collections.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
Equal access to banking and better financial services for all. We believe good technology will be the catalyst for change in a banking industry. Through FinTech innovations an industry that was once run by high earning executives is now experiencing the beginning of a paradigm shift to putting customers first.
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
It is important to stay close to the technology frontier and on top of the innovation curve. Invest in the start-ups that disrupt your traditional methods of doing business. FinTech will democratize financial services, making better more transparent procedures accessible to more and more consumers via much faster delivery. Incumbent players would be wise to recognize this trend and invest in companies looking to disrupt the services they provide.
What phone are you carrying and why?
Android – It was on sale. Smart phones have become largely a commodity and people should focus on specs rather than brand when making decisions.
iPhone – I love the brand. iMessage, Facetime, and easy sharing are a big sell for me.
Where do you get your industry news from?
GoogleAlerts for following our target market and industry news.
TechVibes and TechCrunch to stay up to date on FinTech.
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
MIT Media Lab, @medialab, News from the MIT Media Lab. Leading headway in building leaders within FinTech. A lot of game changing innovation is coming out of MIT.
Simon Taylor, @sytaylor, The #FinTech Geek. Lover of #Finserv, Tech and all things #bitcoin and #blockchain related
Can you suggest the name of an Angel Investor or VC that might be interested in being profiled?
James Lochrie, Wave Accounting
David Edmonds, Yaletown Partners
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
From their website: “First Access turns data into financial opportunity for everyone. Our software enables lending institutions to take advantage of patterns in their data to evaluate the risk of both new and repeat customers, streamlining underwriting operations and dramatically reducing costs.”
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
FinTech will continue to level the playing field for equal access. It will bring more consumers into the marketplace than ever before and democratize financial services that were being priced and offered in a traditional way to a small portion of the population. The number of actors both offering and taking advantage of financial services is going to rise and the cost is going to drop.
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