Article written by Joanne Cousins

Gareth Gumbley - Frollo

"I just sat there one day back in 2015, with a piece of paper at the dining room table and thought there has to be a better way of doing this. There has to be a more fun way of getting people engaged in finances. From this Frollo was born"

Gareth Gumbley, CEO of Frollo is behind the quest to help Australians feel good about money. Using the power of technology and community, Frollo enables clients to build their own unique customer journeys and value propositions.

As the first FinTech in Australia to become an accredited data recipient in open banking, Follo is leading the way towards a more transparent financial sector for all Australians.

Could you share more about what Frollo do? 

Frollo is a purpose driven FinTech on a quest to help people feel good about money. We’ve built a really simple to implement technology to help businesses, their customers and employees to turn around their finances. We do all this using their own bank data. 

Frollo as a business, is essentially two parts. We have a consumer app, with over 110,000 consumers, where we test and learn with our technology. In addition we work with Neo banks, traditional banks, fintechs, lenders, or employers to leverage our b2b SaaS platform and open banking solutions. 

This is where they use white label apps or choose to integrate our API's into their existing mobile apps/lending processes. We help them fast track new solutions to improve people's financial well being or innovate banking experiences.

Could you tell us about your recent achievements in CDR? 

Frollo were the first Australian FinTech to become accredited under the CDR at the unrestricted level. In layman's terms, this means we can use bank, utility and telco data. On Saturday 27th June 2020 at 5.35pm we officially provided a consumer provided consent which allowed us to collect bank data from one of the big four banks. It felt like being the first FinTech on the moon!

Everybody has been sitting on the sidelines waiting with bated breath for CDR to really get rolling and it was amazing to see it in action. It's pretty exciting for the team to finally get there. There has been a tremendous effort with ACCC and Data 61 to navigate rules and standards to get us to where we are today, it's been a phenomenal journey.

It is pretty critical in the process to make sure we uphold to protect consumer data above all else. A lot of time and energy has gone into making sure that the app is adhering to ACCC standards. This includes the screens and the language we use to get consent, making sure the consumer is aware of what they are agreeing to. Once the data is inside our environment we needed to make sure it was safe. From here we can then gain insights and give the consumer a better picture of their finances. The new app is now live and consumers will see the immediate benefit. 

“I think I've probably made all my mistakes along the way, as I've matured”

What do you see as the opportunities for Frollo as CDR goes live? 

We've been working in the space of helping consumers feel good about money for the last three years. Frollo has three key journeys we want to take our consumers on. Firstly, helping people identify ways they can save their money. The second is to debt reduction, especially in today’s credit driven society. Lastly, purely a case of tracking our expenses so we can become more literate in managing our daily money. 

The beauty of CDR is being able to link product API data with consumer transaction data. We're able to see how they're using the financial products and whether it's best suited for them, or whether there are better deals out there.

How did you get the idea for Frollo?

With 15 years working in payments and consumer finance, I’m an old dog in the land of FinTech. I became interested in understanding how consumers manage their finances, including moving money and making payments. I felt there was an opportunity to help people borrow money in a better way. Whilst lending people money to fix an unforeseen problem, like a broken down car, might seem like a solution in the short term, it is really just a quick fix. It doesn’t go to the heart of the problem. We need to engage people in their finances earlier. 

There was nothing there, like a Fitbit or Strava for finance to help people understand ways they could be in a better financial position. PSD2 was on the radar, open banking was a conversation, the whole world of digital payments was happening, but there was nothing that really filled the void. 

I just sat there one day back in 2015, with a piece of paper at the dining room table and thought there has to be a better way of doing this. There has to be a more fun way of getting people engaged in finances.  Frollo was born out of this.

Could you give me a snapshot of Frollo today, and what are the plans for next few years?

We've got just over 30 people in the business made up of developers, product management, sales and data scientists. Data is probably the biggest skill set explosion in our team. The business is consistently growing our revenues year on year for the last three years, over 300% revenue growth in the last couple of years. Frollo was initially self-funded. Since then we’ve completed three small, private funding rounds. 

Our focus for now is Australia, but we are constantly exploring partnership opportunities to open up new markets. Our current partnerships include Virgin Money and Volt Bank. We are noticing an increasing number of Neo lenders, Tier 2 banks and some FinTechs are starting to engage our services. I feel our success is partly down to bringing capital in from people we like and know.  We are focused on building a business that is sustainable for the long haul.

What is your approach to the culture you're building at Frollo?

I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to run a number of other small businesses that accelerated and scaled really quickly. The benefit being I could decide what was important when I designed my blueprint for Frollo.

One of the key things was making sure the business had a really strong purpose. Being clear about what were we trying to achieve.  Authenticity in how we engage and interact with staff and our partners. So, everyone who meets Frollo believes we're purpose driven, we care and we want to make a difference. 

Frollo as a business is very innovative and passionate, this plays a big part in helping attract talent. We were lucky to onboard high performing talent with energy who we already knew. They set the benchmark and in turn brought their friends and their friends brought their friends. We've really done pretty well at bringing together a nucleus of staff who helped build a solid culture. We’ve managed to maintain this as we’ve grown and navigated Covid.

We've been fortunate to hire some incredible software developers.  We’ve got 15 or 16 nationalities across our staff of thirty. Our willingness to onboard an app developer who worked on the number one app in Nepal, absolutely gives them the credibility to be working on an app in Australia. I guess the enthusiasm to bring talent in and bring good people in, has enabled us to build a pretty high performing team.

What are your tips to find other ways of bringing in good people when the market is constantly decrying “there is no talent”?

Be brave and have courage in both the people you're hiring and yourself. We took a risk by taking people who had experience in other markets, but not in Australia. We looked for people in other disciplines or industries and see if they were able to apply their skills to our organisation. Our part was to provide the coaching, support, onboarding and nurturing. We gave them time to come up to speed, which is not something companies give these days.  Our patience paid off and we started to see the benefits our teams really flourished. 

‘The average Australian today probably spends $1,000 a year in the lazy tax”

Gareth Gumbley Frollo

What does the next 12 months look like for Frollo? 

Our focus is going to be helping other organisations develop use cases around CDR. We've purposely built our apps and our API's to enable others to fast track on to CDR. You can apply to become an ADR today and then immediately outsource most of the technical and process capabilities and components to Frollo.

We can really accelerate the number of organisations that get accredited in ADR and are able to leverage CDR data. This is really where we want to see our focus over the next 12 months. 

How do you think the average consumer will benefit from CDR? 

We’re hoping our consumer app will enables us to prove out those use cases to show ACCC, Government and industry there are ways and opportunities to help consumers. They may never know they're using CDR or open banking, but what they do know is there is a better way of looking after, moving their money and a better way to experience financial products. They're just not aware they could be on better deals or products more suited to their lifestyle. There's a tremendous opportunity to build financial literacy and well being. If we know where our money goes, how much we've got and that we've got enough to pay the bills it considerably eases our stress levels.

How quickly do you think we’ll see the interaction with CDR here is Australia?

I think we'll continue to enjoy CDR and the benefits it brings. I think all of us are frustrated its not quite moving fast enough. The UK is a good example. They witnessed a tenfold increase in the number of API requests over the last 12 months. These things take time to build out, it's incredibly complex but I think the next few months will be exciting. Then we'll start to see innovations really come into the market as we go into 2021.

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