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Fintech May 18, 2021

This culture-driven fintech startup reached 20 000 customers after graduating from Sting

Since its launch, Sting alumni company Fairlo has employed a humble approach to its success. Over the last 12 months, the company has brought in over 7,5 MEUR in three fast-paced funding rounds and is already accompanied by a loyal base of 20 000 active customers. Still, co-founder and CEO Jimmy Hanna prefers to talk impact and change over investment bravado.

Co-founder Shamon Hanna, Chairperson Helena Westin, and co-founder Jimmy Hanna of Fairlo.

– At Fairlo, we envision a fair world, even when it comes to money. That vision stems from growing up in a family where bad loans and credits did a lot of damage. Something no one should have to go through. I believe people deserve better.

Jimmy Hanna, co-founder and CEO, Fairlo

A lot has changed since his childhood in the early ’90s. Customers have gotten used to getting things straight away, and speed, flexibility and accessibility have become essential factors for the financial industry and society at large.

However, the courts have not been able to keep up legislation, creating a void where not-so-ethical – but fast – micro-lenders can charge ridiculous rates for consumers to cover small expenditures. This is in large because borrowing money can be a very technical and complicated undertaking. Add urgency to the mix, and people are pushed into bad deals that can sometimes be very hard to get out of.

Fairlo’s value proposition consists of giving back the power to make sound financial decisions to the consumer. The company provides fair and transparent credit lines that are built on a fully automated application system. The result is a flexible credit line where payouts and repayments are instant.

Since all administration is automated, Fairlo can afford to give its users a completely fee-free experience, where the annual percentage rate is always printed on the label.

– When we started Fairlo, ordinary people simply didn’t have any good options for solving urgent unforeseen expenditures. Not without having to spend a lot of time reading the fine print and finding custom solutions. The power was always with the banks. We aim to give that power back to consumers by telling it as it is.

Shamon Hanna, co-founder, Fairlo

Customers seem to like the experience. Lately, Fairlo went from 4.8 to 4.9 stars on TrustPilot with over 1800 reviews.

To fast-track their ambition, the Hanna brothers joined Sting, where they tied for first place in the 2019 edition of Sting Demo Day pitch competition. After that, Fairlo has kept close ties with the accelerator.

– The talented people at Sting and their unique network have proven to be valuable resources for us. I don’t think we’d be who we are without them.

Jimmy Hanna

Through the Sting ecosystem, Fairlo got into contact with Emil Wallinder, who joined the company as CTO. His first job: to build a state-of-the-art core banking system from the ground up to scale.

The strategy seems to be a recipe for success. 2020 saw the company grow from 4 to 20 employees, while the customer base grew by 15 percent month over month. Investors, both large and small, have also taken note. Two of them met Fairlo through Sting; angel investors Jens Mogensen and Antonio Gozzo. Together, they set a high standard for future would-be investors and the duo’s collective experience in finance and tech-driven companies has proven to be a great asset.

Still, Jens argues that it is not just the business case that got their attention.

– Sure, Fairlo is an exceptional metrics case, but it’s the deep-rooted authenticity behind the founders and their mission that makes Fairlo truly unique.

Jens Mogensen, angel investor

Infusing that purpose into the Fairlo culture is essential to the company.

Jimmy explains they don’t want the organisation to end up cutting corners and making short-term strategic decisions. That is part of the reason why they asked and recruited renowned communications professional and dedicated equality spokesperson Helena Westin as chairperson 2020.

Getting the culture right and building a brand that communicates it has been a priority as Fairlo expands its reach. Helena has proven to be invaluable as a catalyst for that process.

– I never thought I’d work with lending, but Jimmy’s and the rest of the leadership’s visions align with mine. On top of that, getting the opportunity to change an old-fashioned industry is a challenge I’m intrigued by.

Helena Westin in a Breakit news article last autumn

2021 has seen VCs interested in the venture. To scale the business, a European expansion is on the table, and multiple products have either been launched or are in the pipeline as of writing.

– We’ve been innovating our product line a lot over the last 12 months. With funding, we’ve been able to create some great things. In fact, we have built a debt time machine. A way for people to roll back bad credits they previously got into. Keep an eye out!

Jimmy Hanna
Fintech November 17, 2020

Datia will help the financial industry tackle the EU’s new sustainability requirements – backed by Swedish savings giant

Swedish fintech startup Datia launches a new solution that will help professional investors and financial companies to handle the EU’s new directive on sustainability reporting – receives support from the savings giant Söderberg & Partners, which joins as a partner.

Manne Larsson and Juan Manuel Serruya, founders of Datia

Earlier this year, Datia launched the Invest Sustainably app (Investera Hållbart), which helps individuals analyze their savings and inspire more sustainable alternatives. The company is now launching its first product aimed at companies and organizations – Taxonomy Report – a SaaS solution that helps professional investors and financial companies manage the EU’s new directive on sustainability reporting.

As early as 2021, companies need to start reporting on how environmentally sustainable their operations are according to the EU’s new taxonomy regulation. In principle, all SMEs (according to the EU definition) are affected, but international giants will have to adapt to the new reporting requirements as well.

The taxonomy enables investors to redirect their investments towards more sustainable technology and sustainable companies, something that is crucial if the EU is to become climate neutral by 2050 and achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals for 2030.

– From next year, the requirements for investors and companies to report sustainability information will increase. We have built a platform where both companies and investors can collect data from several different sources to be sure that they meet the new requirements, says Manne Larsson, co-founder and chief operating officer at Datia.

Common guidelines for sustainability reporting entail both opportunities and challenges

– There are a number of different stamps and labels for sustainability, but there has been no common classification system before. With the help of taxonomy, we will now be able to compare how environmentally sustainable different financial products and individual companies are, but it is based on all companies having the time, resources and skills to start working based on the new directives, says Juan Manuel Serruya, co-founder and CEO at Datia.

In connection with the new product launch, the company is taking in an investment from the financial advisory company Söderberg & Partners, which will also become customers of Datia and start working on the new Taxonomy Report solution itself.

– We are very impressed by the team behind Datia and see exciting synergies between their product and our business. Söderberg & Partners has been working for a long time to help our customers balance sustainability aspects in their finances and pension savings, and we know how much of a difference this can make to the possibilities of achieving both the UN’s global goals and the EU’s goals for sustainable growth. We are therefore very pleased to initiate this collaboration with Datia and help make it easier for companies to report their sustainability information, says Gustaf Rentzhog, CEO of Söderberg & Partners.