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Finnovating (F): Can you explain what the uils company does and what makes it different?
Josefina Cafferata Leloir (JCL): Uils promotes the financial inclusion of drivers through an innovative credit score that allows them to access loans based on their driving history (in the different mobility apps it uses).
(F): Where did the idea come from?
(JCL): It all started with a friend who bought a car and put it to work at Uber. At first, we started by renting cars and hiring drivers. For 18 months, we explored the opportunity from different angles until we discovered that the biggest problem drivers face is a lack of access to credit. 92% of drivers who do not own a car cannot access banking products.
(F): As Co-Founder & CPO of uils, what are the biggest challenges that the company has had to face?
(JCL): The biggest challenge was to understand the reality of our users, I would appreciate a value proposition that is directly related to the problems that they will face every day and above all, create a solution that allows us to deliver all those benefits, maintaining our profitability, ability to scale and above all, fostering their financial freedom.
(F): What has been the key to the success of uils?
(JCL): You can have the best idea in the world but without having a team that can carry it out, it will only be an idea. Having a team that has experience in the world of startups is one of the most important pillars. On the other hand, I think it is essential to know how to listen to our users and have the ability to evolve and iterate quickly. When we created uils, we set out to create products for drivers and we do not offer the products of the traditional financial market.
(F): Why do you think we have seen so many companies in the FinTech sector in the last 5 years?
(JCL): I believe that innovation is a wave of change that is unstoppable. While we have seen that technology industries were the first to evolve, what is happening is that this trend is reaching industries that resisted change for a long time. In particular, what happens with the financial world is that it has been following the same recipes for many years and the possibility of evolving, taking into account that it is a highly regulated market, it is complex and bureaucratic. The arrival of large startups in this industry has shown that change is possible and that it is much closer than you think.
(F): What do FinTech companies offer that more traditional companies do not?
(JCL): I believe that the most important thing that new FinTech companies offer is the ability to be agile and to understand their users, discovering changes in their products that are aligned with their expectations. The ability to carry out these changes quickly, preventing bureaucratic processes that all achieved is to delay the arrival of new solutions, is an important differential because we have very dynamic clients who, thanks to technology, have more and more options to solve your problems and less and less patience.
(F): What has the Finnovating platform brought to you and your company?
(JCL): Thanks to the platform, we have been able to establish relationships with strategic partners in the different edges that our business runs through. Although today we only operate in the mobility vertical, our core is directly related to the financial world: credit scoring, lender, fraud, microloans, payments, etc. Finding the key partners for each of these segments is crucial when developing our solution and Finnovating is where we all meet.
(F): What has been the Finnovating tool that has been exploited the most? And what has caught your attention the most about its functionalities?
(JCL): Being able to have a profile where to show the key information of our startup is key, although the functionality that we use the most are the challenges. It is really strategic to be able to access the different initiatives that are taking place globally and to be able to apply from the same tool. We have also used the chat to stay in touch with the different companies / organizations behind the challenges.
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(F): What is your vision of the FinTech sector in the short and medium term?
(JCL): I think it is a sector that has a lot of potential because it is transversal to many industries. The ability to innovate in a sector as regulated as finance seems to me key to understanding the potential of FinTech startups around the world. I believe that the first years a collaborative environment will develop where the most traditional players are given the opportunity to understand how new startups work. These collaborative frameworks are critical, especially in emerging markets. Next, once the big banks and corporations understand that new startups are coming to expand the market, and the players will begin to collaborate actively through open banking and similar initiatives, which will lead to impressive results, which will only understand that the way to continue growing as an industry … is collaboration.
(F): What’s next for uils?
(JCL): We are launching our new app together with the risk engine (management driving credit score) in Argentina in the next few days and in Mexico, in mid-2022. This great step will allow us to scale our business and begin to consolidate our product market fit. Although we were able to validate and iterate our business hypotheses during the validation stages with functional prototypes, the challenge of being able to deliver our value proposition through a robust product … is just beginning.
(F): What would you say to other companies in the sector so that they become part of the Finnovating platform?
(JCL): The key to being able to scale your company is in collaboration. Many times, I feel that many still believe in paradigms where telling the idea puts your business at risk. I think it works exactly the other way around, being able to share your business vision in an environment that encourages networking is essential to continue growing. In Finnovating you will be able to meet companies that are working in the same segment / market, investors that are looking for FinTech projects, accelerators / funds that have acceleration programs that will allow you to go to the next level, among others.
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