MEDICI now! Startup Stories highlights the companies that are shaping the new financial technology industry. Keep an eye out each week for new stories! If you or someone you know should be highlighted, send us a note. Without further ado…
Company Name: balancr.io
Name/Title: Natallia Martchouk, Co-Founder and Managing Director
Industry Segment: FinTech Enabler
Target Markets: Global
LTP: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Natalia Martchouk: We are the three co-founders and managing directors of balancr GmbH: Matthias Gall, Thijs Reus and myself. We worked together as software architects at ClickandBuy (one of the first German FinTech companies) that was later acquired by Deutsche Telekom and decided to start something for ourselves. Every one of us has more than 10 years of experience in developing online payment systems.
LTP: Give us a paragraph pitch of your company.
NM: balancr offers emerging small and medium-sized FinTech companies, that need stored-value balance management, a product that enables them to reduce time to market and save development costs. balancr can be used as an “as-a-service” solution, meaning that FinTech companies can use balancr hosted by us with 24/7 support via easy to integrate APIs or they can license the software, pay a monthly fee and host it by themselves (this option is especially interesting for regulated FinTech companies, because we don’t yet have an e-money license).
LTP: In a sentence or two, what problem are you solving today?
NM: For FinTech startups that require efficient balance management, balancr is the scalable and secure wallet-as-a-service that can be integrated fast and easily. Instead of building their own solution from scratch and reinventing the wheel, FinTech startups can use balancr to start focusing on their USPs immediately.
LTP: Who are you selling to?
NM: As stated above, our customers are small and medium-sized FinTech companies that are starting or extending their business and require management of stored value (like real, virtual or crypto-currency balances, loyalty points or other valuable units that need to be safely tracked and transferred between different accounts). We will soon publish an article in our blog to provide more examples how the balancr can be used and who could benefit from using it.
LTP: Why did you start the company?
NM: We have already built and are licensing to our customers another B2B FinTech product called CoreWallet. CoreWallet is a foundation software for building complex e-money management products cost-effectively and with a short time to market. CoreWallet is the enterprise edition for big players on the FinTech market. But we realized that there are a lot of emerging FinTech startups and we wanted to provide a similar product for small and medium companies that don’t need the full range of CoreWallet functionalities and cannot but also don’t need to pay for it.
LTP: What's the most important change coming to your segment in the next 3-5 years?
NM: If we are talking about the trends in the payment and banking industry, I personally think that we will see many changes in the way how people do their financial transactions that are technology-driven.
I believe that especially blockchain technology will influence the process of redefining and redesigning financial services for many uses cases, but also other technologies like biometric identification and AI will help to simplify, for example, online and offline payments and shopping experience for average consumers. We already see the first steps in this direction with "Amazon Go."
LTP: What’s your next milestone?
NM: We have a long list of roadmap items and are already working on further development of balancr. Currently, it’s an “MLP” (“minimum loveable product” :) ), but we will provide more and more features like defining your own currency, setting up transfer limits, configuring KYC levels for wallet users, support for multi-currency transfers and so on. But talking about a big milestone – it is definitely a partnership with an e-money institute so that balancr GmbH would be able to provide not only on-premise installation but also balancr as a service for regulated companies.
LTP: Anything else you want to say to our audience?
NM: Form the future, develop a business idea, have the courage to found your own company, and of course, use balancr for tracking stored value in your product!
I would like to encourage our audience to try balancr out and to give us feedback on the feature set, to provide us their visions and requirements, what are they missing in balancr. We would be happy to evaluate it and help whenever possible. Just ping us on email@example.com
Bonus – User’s Choice Questions!
LTP: What's one thing you wish customers knew before a sales meeting?
NM: The fact that building a secure, reliable and performant balance management system is actually really hard, error-prone and time-consuming. Unless it's really your core business, you're much better off relying on a battle-proven solution built by experienced professionals, which is based on state-of-the-art technologies.
LTP: If you could change one thing that financial services people do incorrectly, what would that be?
NM: Long processing time and high fees for traditional bank transfers, especially between different countries.
LTP: What keeps you awake at night?
NM: My hobbies (being a working mother of two children, I don’t have much time during the day for my hobbies) or unsolved business or technical issues, but fortunately the last two are seldom. :)
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