John Natalizia, Co-Founder & CEO at Snoop, spoke with EDC’s Manuel Cigala (Consultant, London) about his exciting start-up.
1. What is the core focus of Snoop, and how does it differentiate itself in the Open Banking arena?
The core focus and purpose of Snoop is to help ‘make everyone better off’. It achieves this by giving customers a completely personalised view of their finances and a tailored feed of ‘snoops’ - money-saving suggestions based on their transaction data, bills and consumption habits. We know money is going to be tight for many in the months to come – that is why we worked flat out to launch a month early in April this year. ‘As a consumer, my data does not belong to the businesses I deal with; it belongs to me’. Snoop offers consumers more control over their own data, saves them time and helps them to make much more of their money. Ultimately, our goal is to allow our users to ‘spend, save and live smarter’ and Snoop is on their side.
2. You have just launched Snoop after a period of beta testing. How do you envisage the company’s growth in the next 12 months?
Snoop’s ability to connect people with relevant and personalised money insights, at the right time, proved extremely popular during our beta testing. In the first few weeks of being live, the growth in our customer base significantly exceeded our expectations, and that gives us huge confidence that we are on the right track with the hyper-personalisation that Snoop offers. We only launched a couple of months ago and today, we have over 40K users. Research shows that inertia or apathy to manage personal finances costs individuals around £12 billion per year. By helping them put that money back in their pocket, I expect to see exponential growth in our customer base – in fact, since our launch in mid-April, we have grown a lot faster than anticipated. We have worked out that the average household could expect to save around £1,500 per year using Snoop.
Now that we are live, it is all about scaling quickly and executing our roadmap. We look forward to completing our Series A in autumn and, participate in the evolution from Open Banking to Open Finance, to launch new features, create new partnerships, and expand into new territories.
3. To your views, what is the current state of Open Banking? Is it the right industry to invest in?
Open Banking, as a sector, is in its infancy. We are only at the very beginning of what can be achieved. The market potential is huge and having a vastly experienced team with the right proposition, plan, energy and ability to unlock the opportunity is an exciting prospect. Is it a good place to invest? There have already been some real gems with Visa acquiring Plaid for $5.3 billion in January 2020. There are more to be unearthed in the Open Banking landscape. I genuinely believe that, in the future, the best experience in banking will no longer be with a bank – and the Snoop Team is focused on making that a reality.
4. How do you see the Open Banking sector evolving?
I think one of the most important aspects to consider is that the term ‘Open Banking’ will never have any resonance beyond people in the industry. Customers may not be aware of APIs, or what a TTP is and whether companies are offering services as an AISP or a PISP. Customers simply expect to access solutions that are easy to use, secure and solve a problem (whether they knew they had it or not) while saving them time and/or money. It will just be the tech that helps make banking better and useful. And that is why I think what we call ‘Open Banking’ will become a massive sector in the years to come.
5. What have been the challenges to manage the company during the lockdown?
As a business, we all started to work from home two weeks before the official lockdown. Although I had no doubt that a digital business like ours could still be run effectively while all remote, I felt we needed to protect our colleagues early on during the COVID-19 pandemic. We ended up launching our business all working remotely and from home; I believe few businesses have ever done that. We have done 5 app upgrades since lockdown. It is a challenge working from home, especially if you are trying to home school at the same time. We found that ramping up our ‘visual contact’ using tools like Zoom, Slack and Teams is critical to ensure people feel they are still part of a wider business.
6. What do you do in your spare time?
Running a start-up is pretty much a 24/7 job, but when I am not working (and as a typical Italian), I love to cook, entertain people and go to interesting restaurants (all of which have sort of gone out of the window since lockdown 😊). So, my focus really at the moment is on running as much as I can, and much to my Team’s amusement, I am trying to take up cycling.
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