Holistic Wealth Management At Your Fingertips
By Ben Soppitt, CEO of Unifimoney
Thanks to Unifimoney for contributing to the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator’s Founder Feature series! Unifimoney is a turnkey digital wealth management solution for community banks. To meet Unifimoney and the other fintechs in the 2022 ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator, powered by The Venture Center, click here. For questions, please email email@example.com.
The Venture Center: Where did the idea for Unifimoney originate?
Unifimoney came from a combination of experiences, both personal and professional. The personal experiences that contributed include the increasing fragmentation of personal finance services that make it harder to manage money holistically. The professional experiences include the lack of wealth management strategies by the majority of people, the exclusiveness of many new asset classes like crypto, the lack of innovation in key personal finance products like credit cards, and the poor value for money offered by most big brand banks and financial services companies.
What problem does Unifimoney solve?
As an industry, I believe it’s our role to help people manage their money so that they can achieve financial resilience faster and more efficiently. Financial resilience is the ability to not just survive, but thrive despite the inevitable knocks we all ultimately face and ultimately secure a long and comfortable retirement.
While many fintech companies are focused on solving increasingly niche and selective problems in financial services, the vast majority of people are committing the same very basic errors in how they manage money.
Almost every consumer makes these three mistakes:
- Keeping too much money in cash in low or no interest accounts (with inflation systematically eroding it every minute)
- Using credit cards that don’t actually maximize return on spend, especially cosmetically appealing cards like the metal card trend.
- Failing to benefit from compound interest and dollar-cost averaging
If we could solve these three problems for just the millennial generation, they would create over $20 trillion in value over their working life. That money would go directly into the economy.
What has been the most difficult part of building this business?
Startups are tough, and fintech startups are even tougher with massive regulatory and compliance obligations. Creating a unified digital wealth management platform requires expertise across a wide range of traditionally separate and distinct markets and regulatory environments: Consumer banking, unsecured lending, investing, crypto, alternative assets, etc.
There are many people who know an awful lot about one of these subjects, but very few who know enough about all of them. Expertise in one area does not automatically mean it applies to another. Solving these knowledge gaps has been very challenging.
Was there ever a time when you wanted to give up? If so, how did you overcome that feeling?
Yes – and often. The highs and lows of founding a startup are real and can be extremely hard to bear. It deeply impacts your family and friendships. Talking with other founders is, I have discovered, the best possible therapy. There is an automatic empathy within founder groups because only those who have done it understand, and you don’t need to explain.
Who is your favorite entrepreneur and why?
I think Elon Musk is awesome. I wonder if I met him, maybe it would ruin my perception. I don’t know. But he is so refreshingly different in his approach and his ambition is galactic. You have to respect that.
Tell us about a time you failed and how you used that failure to learn?
I fail at things large and small every single day. It’s inevitable, and pretending you don’t is dangerous. Trying to prevent it is futile. Accepting failure leads to awareness and allows you to spot it early. Owning it, adapting, and evolving is the only strategy that makes sense.
What’s the best book you have ever read, and why?
My Traitor’s Heart by Rian Malan. It demonstrates at a deep level that we are not made and we have choices regardless of where we come from, our background, and our culture.
Why did you decide to apply for the ICBA ThinkTech Accelerator, and what do you hope to gain from it?
Our goals are completely aligned. Community banks are successful because they are invested in the success of the communities they serve. To succeed in the future, community banks need to bring innovative new products to the table, as consumers’ needs have radically changed with digitalization.
Retail investing has grown from a very stable 10% of invested funds to over 35% in the space of a few years. Community banks are almost completely excluded from this market. We help turn community banks into money super apps so that they can outpace the competition!
Is there anything else you would like to share about your solution?
We are seeking banks as partners, not customers. We’re looking for individuals and companies who share our vision, see the needs, and have the means and resources to act on them. We want to build something that is bigger than the sum of its parts in order to enable community banks to thrive far into the next century.
Thanks to Unifimoney for contributing to the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator’s Founder Feature series! To meet Unifimoney and the other fintechs in the 2022 ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator, powered by The Venture Center, click here. For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.