Reflecting on our story as we shift in to our next phase
2nd May 2019
It was great to announce our £2M funding round. You can read more about it here. It’s a milestone for us and provides the fuel to grow and step towards our vision.
It is easy to forget how far you’ve come when you’re so focused on where you want to be so I thought it was a good time to write down our story so far. I thought it could be interesting for people considering our service to know more about our background and the impact we’re having, and for entrepreneurs to understand the type of path that may lie in front of them…
In 2017, we were working in innovation and customer onboarding for Barclays. We knew that friction in customer service and sign up journeys was a big problem. Banks spend billions trying to solve it but it’s not working – 80% of people who start an application, drop out.
We felt that the answer wasn’t secure portals, augmented omnichannel AI experiences or blockchain. It was much simpler. The answer was instant messaging. We use it every day, it’s a convenient and established channel of choice. The only thing you couldn’t do, was message your bank.
So, we built the only instant messaging network that’s safe enough for banks to trust. Then we hooked in a range of FinTech features: from identity verification, through open banking to e-signing, which meant that a full range of customer service and sign up can all be done in the messaging channel – anytime, anywhere over mobile.
We became Barclays’ first tech spin out in Q4 2017, with a concept product, a first contract, and big ambitions. We raised a seed round and assembled a small team of experts.
We hit a few bumps with our first big bank client. We knew that was a risk as a start up but it shook us. It made us rethink what we were trying to do and remember what we were really in this for. We weren’t just here to make one big bank a bit more efficient. We wanted to transform how easy it is for anyone to get the right product and services for them.
So we developed our technology such that any brand could get started using it within minutes, for free, with no technical effort required – allowing organisations of any size to instantly have access to leading FinTech that would otherwise have cost millions to build.
We got to know the credit unions. They offer affordable, ethical loans and high quality personal service yet people were still turning to predatory lenders, at least in part because they offered faster loans through slicker digital experiences. South Manchester Credit Union were the first organisation to sign up to Nivo in mid-2018.
Steadily, we started to see incredible results. Members and staff loved it. Word spread and larger credit unions, like NHS, came on board and helped us shape new features.
We started getting interest from other sectors, conveyancing, accountancy, recruitment. Lending brokers leaned in and Freedom Finance helped us step up another level, promoting us to their partners and helping our ID + E-signing service become the only one trusted by most of the major secured lenders.
We are getting consumer Net Promoter Scores of 90+, unprecedented in this industry, helping people who really needed help with their finances, cutting sign up times from 6 weeks to 15 minutes, delivering record breaking speed, conversion rates and advocacy. Then the high street brands started getting interested, brands like Ultimate Finance, Shawbrook Bank and Sainsbury’s Bank…
Less than 12 months since our launch, we’ve enabled £20M+ of loans, engaged over 30,000 customers and are half way to 1 million messages – all growing, faster, every day.
This got us in the room with some next level investors. They’ve backed us, bolstered our Board, and are at the end of the phone when we need them. There’s nothing else on the market close to what we offer for performance, ease and value. We know that could change quickly. We feel we’ve just started to scratch the surface of the opportunity of what we can achieve and we’re excited to shift in to our next stage…