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.
– 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