Fintech is a realm of males mostly – so far, but Quppy, a multicurrency digital payment and financial super-app, is in the minority and stands out among other things by the dream-big challenge-eady Suite-C executive behind it – meet Alina Kornienko, the COO and co-founder of Quppy. She is also WomenTech Network Global Ambassador, Founder Institute Mentor. PhD at Paris-VIII-incennes-Saint-Denis. “Dream big, accept and create new challenges to challenge this world together with fintech for a better common living,” Alina Kornienko told The Baltic Times Magazine.
Why are there so few women on boards of fintech firms? And even fewer CEOs and co-founders?
We can see great positive diversity and inclusion changes in the fintech field over the last three years. Even though the initiatives and numbers should still be increasing, the number of female C-evel specialists has grown to match the number of female founder-oriented VCs, accelerators, and awards. The fintech field is a unique one in terms of D&I (diversity and inclusion) as it brings together tech and financial specialists given that both spheres are still male dominated. At the same time, being a growing field, fintech gives broader opportunities for all the specialists interested in joining. Thus, fintech is a more diverse sphere from the very beginning. Such networks as WomenTech Network and WomenOfFintech bring to life various integration solutions that speed up the diversity goals. Being WomenTech Network Global Ambassador and Mentor, as well as Founder Institute Mentor and #IAmRemarkable Facilitator, I believe mentoring is the very best way to increase diversity in fintech companies and raise the attraction of fintechs for female and underrepresented, minority specialists. The diverse team is much more disruptive and innovative – the two key goals fintech aims for.
Quppy has just closed its B-round at a very ambitious valuation of 25 million euros. How did you get there?
I am so proud to share that together with my co-founders we have successfully raised B-round despite the pandemic at a promising valuation of $35 million. While the pandemic was taking over whole countries and regions, at Quppy we managed to provide instant mobile top-ups in digital and traditional currencies directly from the app to help its reunited customers stay in touch with their beloved ones. We then integrated instant account top-ups with any bank or payment card as far as direct connection of Quppy account to its owner PayPal account. Thus, we are now doubling our net revenue every month. While expanding our range of services, entering new markets and obtaining regional financial licenses, we will soon be opening another investment round.
Quppy is a fast-growing European neobank. Since 2017, Quppy is building a financial, payment, social and investment ecosystem that brings together such services and operations with traditional and digital currencies as wire transfers, exchanges, digital currency instant purchase and selling, payments, top-ups, recurrent payments, donations, salary projects, gift card primary and secondary markets and many others. One of the core competitive advantages of the Quppy neobanking app is the fast opening of a digital IBAN account in euros and British pounds that enables the whole range of integrated services including inbound and outbound third-party instant transactions. Quppy has also gone further than Google Pay and Apple Pay to develop an AI solution that chooses the right card at the moment of payment.
Most of the Quppy solutions are designed and developed in-, especially the core of our decentralized app.
As the Baltics are the Quppy domestic market, the Quppy Wallet base has a significant number of customers from this region.
What about the expansion to China and North America? Russia?
The Asian and North American markets are, of course, one of the key ones for fintechs and digital financial services. We are planning to launch customized products for the North American market and obtain full licensing of our services in this market next year. We already have customers from Russian and Asian regions, and we are, of course, planning to provide a wider range of services and some regional special offerings to our customers from those geographies.
What is next for fintech and Quppy?
Among fintech’s most important trends to follow for 2021 are the further development of Open Banking and massive adoption of digital payments. At the same time, the open banking payment initiation with APIs reducing payment frictions and optimizing services will be pushing banking, payment and fintech projects to deeper and more effective synergies for a competitive market position. Quppy is developing exactly within those paradigms by combining its tech expertise and disruptive solutions with a classical financial service range and high social inclusion with future charity and donations support and gift card primary and secondary markets integration and interaction.
Over 2021 Quppy will be expanding its services to the Latin American region, supporting US dollars and SWIFT payments as far as emitting its own digital cards and prepaid physical cards for EU based customers. The US dollar support and the Quppy pre-paid cards are the two most demanded services from our customers from all around the globe.
And give me some insights as to what awaits traditional and digital banking next?
The Banking-as-a-Service model is the very future of the financial industry. The “Banking-as-a-Service” solution results in numerous benefits for both banks and third-party providers. Creating “Banking-as-a-Service” platform helps traditional banks to diversify their revenue streams at low costs by implementing revenue sharing agreements, setting setup and recurring fees. They also get access to “fresh” customer bases including unbanked layers and international clients. At the same time, their existing and those new customers can benefit from wider service range within one ecosystem/solution which increases customer loyalty.
One of the main benefits of third-party service providers including financial, payment and software startups is, of course, faster market access in one of the most competitive fields in the world. Alongside faster development and an easier go-to-market process, those third-party projects overcome regulatory complexities, the stage where most of fintechs get stuck today. Thus, while traditional banking models are suffering from multiple market challenges, their only reasonable solution seems to be becoming modular and platform-based for effective and fast partnerships and, as a result, constant growth of service range. Such a conceptual solution is the only one to help traditional banking institutions to keep their client base and continue world expansion faster than ever before.
By offering Banking-as-a-Service, financial institutions can increase profit from their strong points and become partners with fintech projects (and especially unicorns among them) instead of competing with them. Most traditional banking models offer end-to-end banking solutions - from customer acquisition, connection, service, maintenance to increasing wallet share. With the BaaS concept, banks will have to recognize the efficiency of focusing on key competences in which they are strong and partner with specific service providers in those areas where their competence is lower.
And this is exactly the model Quppy is a perfect example of as it combines various solutions, connects different market players and brings a much better service to its customers.
Where do you want to see Quppy by the end of the year?
Our Team has important goals to be completed by the end of 2021. On the one hand, it is a solid establishment and significant customer base growth in the Latin American region. On the other hand, it is, of course, the US dollar support, as mentioned earlier. We also aim to improve our current services and widen the range of basic services for our customers from any region. And we are also planning to start taking the very first steps towards the North American market. I would like to highlight that the pandemic experience has taught us to listen to our customer needs in the first place as we are working on providing a unique everyday personal banking experience. Thus, we might integrate some new important services in case of drastic world changes. Yet, we hope the world will continue to recover from the COVID-19 situation and we will keep on supporting our customers in their regular financial activities. Yet fintech remains one of the most adoptive fields with the highest adoption and innovation potentials and rates.
What is your personal message in empowering women and prompting them to wade into the rough fintech waters?
Be your authentic self as it is your greatest professional and personal value. Dream big, accept and create new challenges to challenge this world together with fintech for a better common living.