When math and finance meet : Page 2 of 2
By Sharmila Ganapathy February 7, 2018
When asked about the early challenges they faced, Revelle cites technical issues and working with banks as key challenges. “Apart from technical issues (as we work on cutting edge technologies, we often cannot rely on the existing) working with banks is a challenge in itself. We first have to find the right person to talk to, arranging a meeting can be really hard,” he explains.
How did they overcome the challenge of working with banks? “So basically, it took us quite a while, but we’ve been helped a lot by some persons within the banks themselves, who after many meetings, directed us to the right people. So, in beginning we were talking to some of the people from the wrong departments but some of them were kind enough to direct us to the right business units that we could consult with.”
Does he find that in general, it is tough to work with financial institutions? “Yes, it is tough to work with every large institution, maybe true for older ones as well. We may spend a lot of time speaking with one person and then after one year, this person leaves the position and you have to find the new person in charge of the project and start all over again.”
Today, Neuroprofiler is two years old and works with large institutions in Europe such as Société Générale, BPCE, ING and BNP Paribas. “The revenue model is simple: we charge per questionnaire. This enables everyone, from Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) to large institutions to use our solution, with a pricing that corresponds to their needs,” Revelle explains. According to him, more than 5,000 users have already taken Neuroprofiler’s investor test.
According to Revelle, the game can save between 10 and 20 minutes, because the test itself is smart. “For example, there is a financial knowledge test, so the more you know, the more questions you would receive in that area. If someone lacks these knowledge, we would not bother him or her with more questions, we just go to the next section.”
On how their product is going to work outside of Europe, Revelle explains that the game offers more than just regulatory compliance. “So basically, all the banks have to do these kinds of tests and they were doing it with paper questionnaires. But then when we developed the game, we realised that regulation would be the main concern of our clients. But actually, it’s much more than this, the fact that the game can make recommendations, for example, it suggests it would be good for the investors to invest in bonds or equities, or in anything.”
Neuroprofiler also happens to be a graduate of Hong Kong-based fintech accelerator SuperCharger’s KL chapter. “What we wanted to do when joining SuperCharger was validate the fact that our solution is more than just about regulation. And this is what we did with SuperCharger — we met with banks, and we noticed that, despite the fact that they were not regulated (by MIFID) there was a keen interest on what we can do together.
“So, we noticed that Malaysia is a very fintech-friendly environment and so now we’re ready and as soon as we expand, or achieve future growth, we are sure that this will be a great place for us,” Revelle says.
“After taking part in SuperCharger in Malaysia, we validated that our product was not only a RegTech company related to the enforcement of MIFID in Europe, but a global solution bringing behavioural finance to the bank industry. The mid-term plan would be to expand our company to make it global,” he adds.
The company is also in discussions to raise Series-A funding, he says. “We raised 500,000 euros (US$621,643) in pre-Series A funding during a first round that ended in July 2017 and we are now in the middle of another round, to expand our solution globally.”
Commenting on Neuroprofiler’s expansion plans in Asia, Revelle says they are looking at countries where there is a strong financial industry. “So, we’re thinking about Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong to start with,” he says, adding that they plan to expand to these countries within the next six to nine months.
When asked what he would be doing if he weren’t building Neuroprofiler, Revelle says he would probably be building another startup. “I have a lot of ideas, some of them are related to what I learnt, in fintech. But I also have other interests in fields like music; that I would like to develop. I like building new products and implementing new ideas, I didn’t have this in corporate jobs, I would say. I think I would like to keep having this freedom.”
From being an entrepreneur, what lessons has he learned so far? “Being patient and active at the same time, when speaking to prospects it will take a long time but you have to keep faith that it will happen. Plus, learning all the technical stuff as in how to build a website, computer programming and putting it altogether.”
His advice to new entrepreneurs? Revelle says the main thing is to believe in what you do, to ensure the product is great and not just be an entrepreneur for the sake of it, but to build something that you want to build.
If someone gave him one million euro to quit being an entrepreneur, would he do it? “I don’t think so, I really like being an entrepreneur. I mean, what is the point of having money if you cannot do what you want with it?”
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