Since 2010 Linxo has been providing an account management service to private individuals via a mobile app. In competition with traditional banking institutions, the French startup has really had to prove itself, especially as regards security and trust issues.
Attending the Fintech Day event hosted by French IT consulting, design and implementation company Octo Technology in Paris on 25 March, Linxo’s founder and CEO Bruno Van Haetsdaele talked to L’Atelier about how to launch a fintech company in France. Below are some key points from the interview.
L’Atelier: You don’t come from the world of finance, do you? So is it easier to innovate in this sector when you come from outside?
Bruno Van Haetsdaele: Well, there are several schools of thought here. You find plenty of bankers among the founders of fintech companies. I myself come from a world where user needs are high priority. This was our starting point when we set up Linxo. My partner and I have very different CVs, but user needs were at the top of our list. The interesting thing about fintech firms is that they focus on a given problem and try to sort it out. In a short space of time. So straightaway you encounter the pros and cons of not being insiders. We didn’t have a banker’s reflexes. We didn’t know how decisions were made inside banks. But we learned fast and we got there in the end.
L’Atelier: Was it easy to win customers over?
Bruno Van Haetsdaele: One of the greatest remaining challenges for Linxo is to get ourselves better known. Lots of people simple don’t know about our solution. The other challenge is to inspire trust. Since the crisis you tend to hear it said that the general public have a problem with banks. Maybe so, but banks still set the benchmark when it comes to security. As a startup we need to build our credentials in that area. To help do so we obtained registration with the French National Commission on Information Technologies and Liberty (CNIL) – which governs all aspects of data privacy – and have published a list of web stores which support our service. And we have a page entirely dedicated to security set out in FAQ format on our Linxo.com site.
Security is a major challenge for new players in the banking industry
L’Atelier: Going forward, how do you think Linxo will evolve? Innovations are rife in the world of finance and it might be hard to remain innovative…
Bruno Van Haetsdaele: Yes, we’re in a fast-changing world. During the session entitled Les fintechs cannibalisent la banque (‘Fintech Firms are Cannibalising the Banks’) lots of people stressed the fact that for a ‘disrupter’ the greatest fear is getting ‘disrupted’ yourself!. So we need to stay nimble. Our main purpose is to help people manage their finances. And there we’re not necessarily confined to the framework we’ve set ourselves so far. A few weeks ago we launched a predictive analysis service. Up to now we’ve been focusing solely on the past but now we’re getting interested in the future. Forecasting was the most requested feature on our Linxo forums. It took us some time to get it done; it turned out to be more difficult than we’d initially thought.