A blank post-it , a brainstorm and the desire for a bank to respond to the needs of young people, that’s how Nequi began, the 100% digital startup of Grupo Bancolombia that today is a reality. This is his story of him.
In Colombia, banking access is around 28 million users, this represents 81.4%, a figure that does not stop growing. However, when deepening the context, it is evident that the product portfolio and the frequency of use of these is light, in other words, the majority of banked people in Colombia are banked because they need to receive their payroll or salary, and this is limits this financial relationship.
Knowing this scenario, a Bancolombia team made up of people from the organization (60%) and allies (40%), including professionals from different sectors, developed an idea that began as an innovative project that sought to respond to the needs of a generation. . that preferred to go to the dentist rather than to a financial institution.
conquer a user
To win over a user, the first thing is not to start with the obvious. The team knew that if the tool started with a credit system, it would not be attractive enough to its target audience. For this reason, for three years they “lived” in a university to get to know and understand the audience, listen to their potential users and interact with them to present them with a tool that did fit their needs.
One of the things they identified is that young people are afraid of being tied to a bank and the fact of having to cancel a product puts a barrier on them. One of the challenges was to win “the most valuable square centimeter: the space of a millennial’s cell phone.”
What did you do? They were shown a way to organize themselves financially, replicating a simple and common exercise that people do when they have cash: separate it into envelopes for different items, such as fixed expenses, outings, vacations, etc.
Nequi: always in beta version
The Nequi team ensures that it is permanently in beta version because since the day it came out, in November 2016, they make constant changes and iterations to improve the user experience.
Andrés Vásquez, CEO of the startup , acknowledges that naming it as an application in beta version is declaring that they can make changes, modify practices, quickly correct errors, listen to the user and co-create with them.
A good example of this premise was the launch of loans. It all started with a button that said “credits” on the application screen and when clicked it displayed the question What are you hoping to find here? Users were encouraged to answer what their expectations were with this function and the result was more than 4,000 people interacting; This is how this function was developed, tailored to users.
Currently, more than 6,000 people have used this service that provides between 100,000 and 500,000 pesos and gives users a period of 30 days.
Lesson: alliances do pay
For the brand, created by Grupo Bancolombia, alliances are necessary. An example is the connection it made with PayPal at the end of 2018, which, in addition to attracting new users and representing eight million dollars in the first five months, generated a very positive scenario in terms of its reputation and positioning. This alliance allows Paypal users to use, save and organize their money in Colombia through Nequi and do it 100% digitally.
According to Vásquez, currently more than 23,000 people receive money through Paypal and this alliance makes life easier for freelancers such as journalists, designers and web developers who work for companies in other countries and have to pay very high commissions to banks. to get your money. Today, in less than a minute, without lines, with lower commissions and with greater security, they can make these transactions.
This is the Nequi team
Currently, the team is made up of 85 people, between internal and external with different disciplines. His commandment is: focus on the user; having it at the center allows them to develop functions they need and makes their lives easier. This group is not afraid of making mistakes and making corrections quickly, they are challenged by the possibility of launching functions that add value and reach more and more users every day.
Nequi has it and no one else
In the Colombian market, Nequi has the first biometrics solution incorporated into the process , which allows quick authentication to know the customer and to facilitate processes. Reading the fingerprint, having facial and voice recognition are solutions that guarantee the safety of the users and, in turn, make their interaction with the application more friendly and agile.
more is more
With only three years in the market and with 75,000 new users each month, Nequi is the first neobank in Colombia and one of the most important in Latin America . In April 2019, it won the Celent Model Bank award in the Best Digital Bank category. This award has been granted for more than a decade by Celent, a New York firm that belongs to the Marsh & McLennan consortium and is dedicated to research, advice and consulting on issues related to technology and financial services. Nequi competed with 140 initiatives from around the world and was the winner for differentiating itself in the digital experience it offers its users.