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Solving the Financial Illiteracy Crisis with Monique Baars from Fineazy

As a FinTech product or service, have you ever really thought about your audience’s financial literacy levels?

Mike Scott gets in touch with Monique Baars, whose startup Fineazy aims to address the global financial illiteracy crisis, so everyone can be educated and empowered to make excellent financial decisions.

“The latest statistics,” explains Monique, “say that two in three adults around the world don’t understand basic financial concepts, such as interest. Especially in emerging markets, where a lot of people are interacting with financial products for the first time.” The problem is when people are uninformed, they make bad financial decisions, which ultimately leads to bad life decisions.

When Monique was originally thinking about building a FinTech product (before Fineazy was born), she realised it didn’t matter how amazing her product would be if her target audience didn’t actually understand the fundamentals. “There was this educational gap that needed to be solved,” she says, “and needed to be solved at scale.”

Monique has been on this exciting and challenging journey building her business, and there is a lot to learn from her experiences, which she shares with Mike on the How to Be Moderately Successful podcast. We put our top three learnings from Monique below.

3 lessons from Monique Baars:

Get your hypothesis right the first time

The ability to have a good first hypothesis in business is – as Mike puts it – a superpower. Having an accurate first hypothesis saves you a lot of time and money, and puts you ahead of the game. It’s a skill that Monique has learned over the years by absorbing as much information as possible.

“I have this bank of understanding from listening,” says Monique. “I’m always listening and analysing so that I can make a hypothesis.”

You don’t always need a CTO

Generally, we think it advisable for most tech companies to employ a CTO or technical co-founder. But does this ring true at every stage of your business? Monique’s experience tells us no.

“I started the journey with a CTO,” recalls Monique, “and realised what I needed in a business partner was quite a bit different to what he could provide… The value that he brought would have been high value maybe four years down the line. He was thinking these big picture things and the reality is, in the early stages it’s really just about whether we could actually build a business around the product.”

Monique course-corrected by letting her CTO go and hiring a COO. “When you raise and scale and when you blow up, then you will probably need someone like a CTO,” says Mike. “But at this stage, you’ve done the right thing in terms of bootstrapping, keeping it super lean, and building something simple instead of building the most incredible, complex piece of engineering before you’ve even built a business.”

Keep it lean when you need to

Monique is in a rare position where she’s first to market, which massively affects her fundraising.

“We’ve kept it lean because the market is not really ready for it,” she explains. “B2B, financial education on tap is not a massive thing at the moment. We’re kind of dancing around the market to have proof points, to show value, and to show the business opportunity.”

What Monique has done is raise a pre-seed, which was really important to get a few key people on board, and to build a runway to prove her points. “We’re now at a point where we’ve got a number of big customers who are saying This is super cool. Let’s do big projects. Let’s do big pilots. Let’s roll it out nationally across Africa.

We’re super keen to follow Monique’s journey with Fineazy. If you’d like to hear more, click here to listen to the full interview.

And if you’d like to partner with an expert team of software developers, book a consultation with us today by clicking here.

Nona Digital