Swiss-born fintech startup, Fractal Labs provides banks with a powerful financial-analysis and decision platform to engage and assist their small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) clients.
Founder, Nicholas Heller, tells us that the idea arose during his time as a trader.
“Data has always been an important commodity. In my previous roles, before Fractal, we would use data from Bloomberg and other market data vendors, and we would communicate with other traders. At Fractal Labs, we are doing what Bloomberg does for large and public companies - helping private, small businesses with data-driven decision making”.
Heller has worked in the tech industry for 18 years. Before starting his own business, he worked at Google as Head of Initiatives and Product Partnerships where he became familiar with the newest innovations in data usage. Now he wants to help business owners by providing their most trusted partner - their banks - with an engagement platform that aggregates an SME’s data and help them forecast their cash flow.
“The banks want to help their SME clients make better financial decisions and succeed. Fractal provides automated access to the data required to score risk, including open banking data, so that they can save their staff time and also save money”.
The Fractal platform - an intuitive engagement interface - allows banks to give their SME clients a tool to help them easily compare varying data sets over different time periods. Fractal’s technology integrates with an SME’s operational and financial data so that both parties can get the full picture of how the SME is performing.
Fractal Labs began in Switzerland, but are now primarily based in London with a team of 17 people. By the end of 2019, the team is expected to grow to 50 people.
“We’ve been growing a lot this year. However, we do base it on market demand. Over the past three years, the Fractal team have grown 300%+. We've welcomed people from all around the world and from many different professional backgrounds and industries. We operate worldwide, but of course, data regulation and market trends vary depending on location”.
“The EU and UK are leading the way in regulation. We have opened up access to data while protecting the customer’s privacy carefully. We’re a shining example to the rest of the world. Other markets, such as Australia and Asia are looking at Europe and will follow”.
According to Heller, the Nordics are a brilliant market for Fractal Labs to grow. “These countries are very tech savvy and are technologically ready for different Open Banking applications”.
Fractal Labs has collaborated with several companies in the banking sector. Heller sees the concept of Open Banking as a crucial next step in the evolving industry. “Banks play a very important role in the future for SMEs. There’s no doubt that their positioning will change. Banking as a platform is no different from Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Also, new business models are likely to emerge, and I think that customer engagement is a critical part of the new business environment”.
Fractal Labs is part of OP's Open Banking Startup Program. Heller says that he’s surprised at how genuine and forward-thinking OP Financial is.
“I’m usually quite sceptical about these programs. Our time is so precious, and they understand that. They have been really open throughout all of our discussions. We're very impressed by their company culture and the Finnish culture too”.