For today’s profile we have Jarno Piironen of Aurora Exchange Ltd.
Aurora Exchange is a direct exchange for lenders and borrowers who operate as equals and offer their own loan terms. We are working to make consumer lending an attractive investing possibility by making it transparent, safe, and low-cost.
Our questions are in bold.
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Who are you and what’s your background?
My name is Jarno Piironen and I’m the CEO of Finland-based P2P lending startup Aurora Exchange. With a Master’s degree in Law (University of Helsinki, 1997) and Finance (Aalto University School of Business, 2002), it made sense for me to join the FinTech field after building a successful career in Nokia – from Legal Counsel up to Director positions in services, software and accessories. The FinTech industry allows me to put strong knowledge of regulatory intricacies and the inner workings of the financial system to good use.
At Aurora Exchange, our close-knit team works hard to bring to market an innovative loan exchange giving freedom to both investors and borrowers in choosing interest rates. Low fees and insurance for all loans complete the package.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
As the CEO of Aurora Exchange I am responsible for identifying the strategic direction of the company based on market data and legislation developments. Also, as part of the day-to-day I maintain existing partnerships (MangoPay, MaidenLife) and negotiate new ones. Financial planning is also part of the process, as well as managing the team to ensure we’re on the right track.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
Aurora Exchange is a platform where lenders and borrowers operate as equal partners. We provide a lean, low-cost service, stripped out of everything unnecessary.
The Aurora Exchange platform matches money requests of borrowers and money offers of investors automatically, thus keeping the middleman fee minimal. That’s why we can provide insurance for each loan to protect both parties from losses at zero extra cost.
As a borrower, you don’t want to wait for days to know if you get the loan. As an investor, you want your capital to start working right away. An online P2P lending service is a unique innovation in the financial industry, allowing borrowers to enjoy almost immediate loan decisions, and investors to benefit from automated diversification and state-of-the-art credit screening.
Tell us how you are funded.
Aurora Exchange Oy is a Finnish privately held company, registered in the Finnish trade registry with ID 2484214-9. Aurora Exchange has a paid-up share capital of 2.500 euros. In addition to that, we have substantial funding from the company founders and management as well as the Finnish technology fund TEKES. Our board of directors currently includes 8 people, including me and the CTO Juhani Paukkunen.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
The traditional banking system is rapidly losing stability and profits because its model is outdated. Branch offices, countless staff and discussing investments over coffee with chocolates are a thing of the past. People want lower fees for financial services, higher accessibility and less hassle. This is exactly what peer to peer lending platforms provide.
Aurora Exchange leverages the exchange model to provide top-notch service, where borrowers pay minimal fees, choose their loan terms, get loan decisions fast and receive loan insurance free of charge; investors also enjoy minimal fees, choose acceptable risk levels, invest money safer via fractionalisation and sell investments fast if needed.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Aurora Exchange provides service to people who are smart about borrowing and investing money, and who want to build an even better life for themselves than they already have.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
We’re looking forward to borrowing and investing transcending borders to provide the best conditions for the customer.
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
Embrace the new.
What phone are you carrying and why?
iPhone 6 – die-hard Apple loyalty (though stronger phone screens could be nice).
Where do you get your industry news from?
The Financial Times, Finextra.
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
@sbmeunier – Sebastien Meunier, financial services transformer;
@CelineLz – Celine Lazorthes, passionate CEO of MangoPay;
@cgledhill – Chris Gledhill, FinTech speaker, writer, commentator.
Can you suggest the name of an Angel Investor or VC that might be interested in being profiled?
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
Another Nordic FinTech startup iZettle has a neat customer offer.
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
Financial services will become more heavily regulated, weeding out dishonest players to the benefit of those committed to acting above the board.
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