In this installment of the Challengers series, Rodolfo Passeri spoke with Gareth Gumbley, the founder and CEO of Frollo, an Australian-based fintech that aims at improving people's lives through increased financial wellbeing. Gareth and Rodolfo discussed about Frollo, how it helps users, the degree of development of Open Banking in Australia, and much more.
Gareth, please tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up starting Frollo?
I started Frollo back in 2016, with this drive of wanting to use technology to help people at scale. My Fintech experience and a recent stint in consumer finance made me use open data to improve financial well-being.
Having worked in lending, it was clear to me that more needed to be done to help financial institutions deliver better customer outcomes. So, we started by developing a Personal Finance Management app for banks to white-label.
Initially, the app used screen scraping technology while waiting for the Consumer Data Right (Open Banking) to kick off. Since then, Frollo has grown into a purpose-driven Open Banking provider, delivering end-to-end solutions to banks, lenders, fintechs, and brokers. We are now the market leader in Australia for Open Banking; it’s been a great ride!
So, what’s the purpose of Frollo, and how can it help users?
Our mission at Frollo is simple: We help people feel good about money. Whether that’s by assisting them to reduce debt, increase their savings or simply get a better deal on their finances. As a business, we’re primarily B2B focused, and we deliver on our mission by providing banks, lenders, and fintechs the consumer experiences and data to deliver better customer outcomes.
Of course, most of what we do is powered by Open Banking. We help our clients bring their use cases to market quickly by providing them with proven SaaS technology that takes care of the data collection, transaction categorization, and integrated solutions for lending (mortgages), customer onboarding, and Personal Finance Management.
What differentiates Frollo from its competitors?
Well, first of all, we’re a purpose-driven fintech. This is important to us, and we know it matters to our clients. Our free consumer app helps us test new features and optimize to impact on financial well-being. We hold ourselves accountable and measure this impact for our customers and clients, significantly reducing debt and increasing savings.
Secondly, in the Australian market, our scale and experience as an Open Banking intermediary are unrivaled. As the first to launch in July 2021, we’ve made over 95% of all Open Banking API calls to date. That has helped us develop our platform and land Tier 1 & 2 banks as clients.
Another important differentiator for us is that we provide an end-to-end solution for many use cases, like lending and PFM. This means banks and fintechs can partner with us to get to market quickly, but with a bulletproof solution that has been proven already.
Fun fact: we have 19 different nationalities working at Frollo and over 50% of our employees are from a different cultural background. I think this gives us many different perspectives on solving problems and innovating.
What are your views on Open Banking and its degree of development in Australia?
We have just entered year 2 of the Consumer Data Right (CDR), and my view is that it’s a mixed experience. The rollout is slower than we all would like, especially looking at the number of consumers who have tried Open Banking and the number of use cases in the market. Since Regional Australia Bank and Frollo launched our use cases over a year ago, only Commonwealth Bank has gone live, and they’re currently in a limited beta.
Momentum is picking up, though. The number of Accredited Data Holders is growing, and Data Holders are turning their attention to using Open Banking data to compete. We’ve already announced ANZ and P&N Bank as customers for our Open Banking platform, and we’ll have a few more announcements to follow soon. We’re also hopeful that the proposed rules for tiered accreditation will accelerate adoption by enabling smaller organizations and professionals to participate in Open Banking.
Another thing to note is that both the depth and breadth of the CDR in Australia are highly compelling and a strong indication of broad-reaching consumer outcomes. For example, the product scope for data sharing includes more than 30 different product types, including mortgages, personal loans, and a range of business finance products. Action initiation is also on the CDR roadmap, including but not limited to payments. And then, of course, the CDR will be rolled out to other sectors like Energy and Telco, opening even more opportunities to deliver better customer outcomes.
So if it wasn’t clear yet, I’m very excited about the future of Open Banking and the CDR!
What’s next for Frollo? Where do you see the company in 5 years?
Like the Consumer Data Right, we’re just getting started! In the next few months, our focus will be on rolling out our big accounts and helping them scale with their Open Banking use cases. A lot of them will be around Personal Finance Management, responsible lending, and customer onboarding. Then, of course, we’ll continue to invest significantly and innovate with CDR, supporting new access models, sectors, and use cases.
In 5 years, I hope Frollo will be deeply embedded in the CDR ecosystem across multiple sectors. I hope we are helping to deliver on the promise of more competition, better consumer outcomes, and reduced financial stress.
Millions of people using our tech every day would also be pretty cool :-)
Any advice you feel to give to aspiring Fintech entrepreneurs out there?
Every entrepreneur will do things their own way; it’s what makes them an entrepreneur. But I can certainly share my perspective.
First of all, having a purpose helps when things get tough. Building a startup will be challenging and fun, but you don’t get to pick the timings. So if you have a purpose and feel a bit lost in your idea, you can use this to reset yourself and your team to get back on track.
Secondly, mentors! Please have a few of them around you. Each should bring something different to your thinking and support you when it becomes challenging or stretching yourself. I would have a mix of strategists, technologists, marketers, designers, and blind cheerleaders.
Thirdly, when you’re building a product, do the research and bring your idea to life as much as you can. A million slides is not a business, but a prototype can go a long way in convincing potential customers, investors, and employees you’re the real deal.
It is really a great sign to generate revenue to self-fund your equity when I look at founders to invest in. Call me old fashioned…
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The Banq team