To foster innovation is one of the key drivers of any successful business. We spoke with the CEO of Monevo, Greg Cox, to see how he is disrupting the lending space.
The Quint Group, which operates a portfolio of lending companies, has been reaching for the sky. Initially created off the back of the financial crisis and a realisation of how outdated the consumer finance industry was, its main purpose became to bring about a technological revolution.
In other words, it sought to disrupt more conventional business operations within the consumer space – an endeavour that saw it achieve a record-breaking year in terms of revenue. This was in large part due to the launch of online comparison site MoneyGuru.com and the continued growth of its Monevo offering – a lending marketplace.
That the latter platform now operates in the UK, US, Poland and Australia, and holds the concept of innovation close to its chest, were among the reasons why it was crowned Digital Business of the Year at the 2017 Amazon Growing Business Awards.
There, judges emphasised that transparency set it apart from competitors, especially in a time where consumer trust in fintech companies was relatively low. It was a point of debate in a Telegraph report, which claimed consumers were “proving staunchly traditional”. Better clarity around products and good customer service could tempt them though – factors which Monevo obviously seems to have.
Speaking with Real Business, Quint Group CEO Greg Cox explained that continuously investing in technology and the development of staff, gave Monevo an immediate competitive edge. Both are, after all, catalysts for accelerating innovation and key to adapting to changing behaviours and market conditions.
“We remain focussed on ensuring our core proposition adds real value and solves real problems for our clients that aren’t being solved by anyone else,” he said of the platform’s increasing growth. “The way we solve these problems is unique and this puts us in a very strong position.
“The Monevo team also never forgets about the end consumer, so we ensure that the outcomes for them sits at the heart of everything we do.”
Thinking of how to get the upper hand, Cox unveiled, was part and parcel of being a digital business. “Such companies need to garner attention in a highly competitive market,” he stressed. Not only that, you need to out-perform “a lot of smart and well-invested businesses”.
But that’s not to say the digital market is one steer clear of – Monevo and its parent company, Quint Group, are proof of success. In fact, Cox suggests technology businesses actually benefit from operating in a fast-growing market “where you can create huge value quickly”.
“If you get your concept right, you can scale a digital business very quickly as generally there is less dependence on third parties,” he said. “You also don’t face the same challenges that businesses making physical goods do.”
Cox prides his companies as far more than a digital business. Foremost, it’s an environment for employees to feel happy in, as was demonstrated by its inclusion in the Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For list. It’s also a keen “member” of the lending community – adapting to customer needs and keeping a keen eye on the lending landscape.
The last year, he suggests, has seen various changes to the sector, with the market continuing to move towards online and mobile models. “Competition has continued to increase as more entrants have entered the space,” Cox explains. “The incumbent banks are facing real competition by challenger online brands.
“High street banks have also started to work with fintech companies and online players, which has been great to see.”
More importantly, lending levels have continued to grow and, despite the uncertainty of Brexit, the outlook remains positive. On a P2P and crowdfunding front, the UK is dominating the European charts. A report by the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School goes so far as to say the nation has become the largest alternative finance market in Europe.
With such industry growth on the cards, Real Business asked Cox what was next for Monevo. “Seeing our international business really start to gain traction has been a highlight after so much hard work,” he opined. “So the aim this year is to continue growing that presence while focussing on innovation and growing our core markets.
“Imminent regulatory changes such as PDS2 and the availability of more data also represents a huge opportunity for us to better serve more customers. Addressing the ever-developing expectations of today’s consumer is, likewise, an ever-evolving opportunity.”