Fintech startup Frollo has taken home a $65,000 grant from the MetLife Foundation, having been named best financial solution for low- to moderate-income Australians at MetLife’s Inclusion Plus competition for its gamified personal finance solution.
Established in 2016, North Sydney-based Frollo is a personal finance app that uses gamified features to help users identify and change bad spending habits.
The startup also licences its software to financial institutions and challenger banks, and founder and chief Gareth Gumbley tells StartupSmart it now has “tens of thousands” of users — a figure that is “edging towards the hundreds of thousands”.
Gumbley has a background working in a consumer finance business and saw a lot of low- to mid-income customers taking on loans when they didn’t necessarily need them.
“They were taking a quick fix, but weren’t solving the problem,” he tells StartupSmart.
There are a lot of apps “gamifying health and fitness”, Gumbley says, and so he set out to create a “Fitbit for finance” to apply the same models to financial wellbeing.
Typically, fintechs are targeted towards “the wealthy and the wise”, Gumbley says — that is, people who have money in the bank and want to do more with it. However, a lot of Australians are “living paycheck to paycheck”.
“The number one cause of stress in the home is financial,” he says.
Frollo is designed to give users more insight into their finances, allowing them to set themselves goals and see the differences small changes in spending habits can make.
And reducing the levels of financial stress users are under can lead to better overall health, Gumbley says.
“What we can do is reduce the noise in your head about money [and] get you to focus on other things,” he adds.
The next level
The $65,000 grant from MetLife Foundation is “quite humbling”, Gumbley says, and comes after a five-month process that saw more than 50 startups — of various stages and sizes — battling it out through four stages of competition.
“We went up against some businesses much more established than us, and better funded than us,” he adds.
Until now, the business has been funded by the founders and family and friends, while seeing growth through word-of-mouth and selling software licences.
Gumbley sees the win as a validation for the startup that will “certainly help in our B2B sales”.
This grant is pegged for “more consumer research and insight and design”, he says.
The startup will work on improving customer experience, making the product easier to interact with and removing barriers to adoption, and “taking the design process up to the next level”, he says. It will also work on implementing a ‘score’ application.
Frollo is thinking about expanding into additional markets, however, that’s only likely to happen after a capital raise, which Gumbley says is in the pipeline.
For now, however, the startup is prioritising the Aussie market.
“We really want to make sure we stay focused and crack Australia, and once we’ve earned our stripes here then we’ll be moving to new markets,” Gumbley says.
Crisp and sharp
Any founders pitching their startup — for any kind of funding — should focus on being “really clear about the message of what you want to secure your funding for”, Gumbley says.
Founders can have a tendency to be quite broad in their messaging, he adds, but a good pitch comes together when they can explain their “compelling proposition” and the difference they can make on the market.
“Those things all come together when you’re really crisp and sharp in what you’re going after,” he adds.
“Having the courage to be specific about the goal that you’re going to achieve, how you can make a difference and to who … that gives people confidence in backing your ideas, because you know what you’re talking about in a very deep way,” he says.