As CEO & Co-Founder of Moneythor – a Singapore-based company that provides digital banking software components with enhanced marketing and analytics – Olivier Berthier shares his experience from the perspective of a veteran with 20 years in banking technology and entrepreneurship.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I guess I fall into the “fintech veteran” category if there is such a thing, having spent about 20 years in banking technology and entrepreneurship. I’m French and I’ve lived in Singapore with my family for close to 6 years now.
Prior to co-founding Moneythor in 2013, I was solutions director at Misys, one of the largest banking software providers. I was managing globally the strategic direction and the roll-out of a portfolio of front-to-back solutions in the trade & supply chain finance, cash management, payments, financial messaging and digital banking space.
I was previously the founder and CEO of NEOMAlogic, a company specialised in the development of Internet-based front-end solutions for corporates and banks, until a successful exit with the sale of the company to Misys. So Moneythor is actually my second fintech venture.
Before that, I was on the bank side, having started my career as a technical lead at BNP Paribas in Europe, North America and Asia, where I was responsible for the trade finance back-office system deployed in the bank’s international network.
I am a techie at heart and by trade with a background in computer science and applied mathematics. I’m not sure it’s always a good idea but I still code.
What is your business venture about?
Moneythor is a Singapore-based software company providing financial services providers such as banks and other fintech firms with a modern toolkit to enhance their digital banking services, such as mobile/Internet banking and chatbots.
A prime focus of our solution is on the generation of data-driven insights and contextual recommendations for their customers. Our technology is applied across a large set of use cases including intelligent personal financial management (PFM), business financial management (BFM), predictive forecasts, financial literacy material, relevant offers and more.
What is your mission at the outset?
The mission we have set for ourselves is to tackle challenges faced by both customers and banks today:
On one hand, consumers and businesses often receive little assistance from their banks in their daily financial life despite ever increasing digital expectations. On the other hand, banks struggle to increase customer loyalty and stay relevant, while maintaining a healthy level of digital engagement into their services.
Addressing the pain on both sides is the focus of our value proposition: with the Moneythor solution embedded into a financial institution’s digital channels, its customers benefit from a more personalised and relevant digital banking experience with guidance directly contributing to improving their finances. By doing so, banks can boost customer satisfaction with increased digital channel engagement and usage. It also improves marketing effectiveness by delivering contextual and actionable content to their customers.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
There was a conjunction of two factors.
First, the realisation from our team’s many years in the space that a majority of banks had now reached a decent maturity in their digital channels and were starting to look at enhancing them with true personalisation and advisory for their customers. And we simply couldn’t find any modern technology solution on the market to do this well.
Second, I guess there was a personal itch to scratch because of the limited value I was getting from my own banks’ online services. I might be a standard budget-averse consumer who hates spending time on personal finances but I don’t mind getting value-add insights and recommendations to help me save or spend less with no hassle. So fixing my own frustrations with personal banking has certainly contributed to the original idea behind Moneythor too.
What is unique about your business?
I think that our founding team is fairly unique. The three of us are a bit of a rare blend of digital entrepreneurs and experienced banking technology veterans who have worked together as a team for more than 15 years. Long time. I guess we enjoy working together.
Our approach is also fairly distinctive: unlike other solutions focusing almost exclusively either on analytics or on customer experience, our Moneythor solution bridges the dreaded gap between the production of actionable analytics and their delivery to customers via digital banking.
This focus results in the unique ability for any financial services provider to deploy data-driven recommendations to its customers within a very short time frame, and with a smooth integration into both its core banking systems and its existing digital channels.
And finally our technology leveraging both rules-based expert system capabilities and statistical algorithms is also a distinctive characteristic of the solution to deliver its value proposition.
Who do you sell to and how do you get customers?
We sell primarily to banks (both retail and business) and card issuers as well as fintech firms looking to deliver more value from their customers’ data.
One of our key customers in the region is DBS Bank. After a competitive selection process, Moneythor was selected to power the data-driven recommendation engine and personal financial management (PFM) capabilities of several of the bank’s strategic digital initiatives. The Moneythor solution is used for more than a year now in live deployments including ‘digibank’, its mobile-only bank in India, and ‘DBS Omni’, its real-time credit card companion app in Hong Kong.
Our go-to-market and customer acquisition strategy is a relatively traditional banking software sales model focusing on direct sales as well as OEM/partner-based sales via other banking software vendors and consulting/professional services firms.
Why will customers stay or do repeat business with you?
The first thing to acknowledge is that the deployment of most software solutions in a bank is a long-term commitment. So, unless there are major incidents, you are bound to naturally have your customers staying with you for a relatively long time. The saying in the entreprise software business is that it takes a painfully long time to get in, but when you’re in…
That being said, our domain expertise and our technology coupled with the speed at which we are able to adapt makes for a very compelling cocktail for banks to stick with us. Even after the implementation of our solution, they know that we are aiming to bring a constant flow of innovation and contributions to their business.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
This might sound utterly conservative or passé but I generally suggest to never forget that starting a business is about generating revenue and turning a profit.
What’s next for you and for Moneythor?
I very much enjoy our roller coaster ride of the past 4 years at Moneythor and it’s absolutely thrilling to see such a project evolving from scratch. So I’m tempted to say that more of the same is what’s next for me. For Moneythor itself, we have an exciting new set of customers in Asia and Europe which we are looking forward to implementing this year, new prospects in both regions and a stimulating roadmap of product enhancements that will keep us very busy for the months to come.
Hock Lai has 18 years of experience in the financial industry, having performed roles in both business and technology. He graduated from the National University of Singapore (Real Estate), Nanyang Technological University (Infocomm Technology) and Nanyang Polytechnic (Fund Management & Administration).
He is also a Fellow of the Singapore University of Social Science, advisor to FinTech Startups and mentor to student FinTech projects.
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