Today, the world is experiencing a global money revolution thanks to FinTech. Before the pandemic, FinTech adoption was doubling every two years, growing from 16% in 2015 to 64% in 2019. Post the pandemic, FinTech-enabled services like digital payments and FX management are not only growing; they have become essential for business survival. Companies like Wallex are at the forefront of this revolution.
In the past couple of years, Asian fintech startup Wallex has grown even more rapidly than industry pundits’ forecasts. From just a few customers in its first year, Wallex now serves 20,000 customers, and has processed transactions worth over US$1.7 billion.
Co-founder and COO Hiro Kiga shares the “secret” behind Wallex’ growth story, a great team that adheres to a few best practices and growth hacks. Here’s how Wallex growth hacked its way to 20K customers.
1. Identify your customers, and go above and beyond for them
Some FinTech firms choose to function in both the B2C and B2B sectors with a “let’s try to please everyone” philosophy. Wallex is different, opting to serve only the B2B market with a laser-like focus.
The coming years will see greater growth in the B2B and B2B2X sectors with the rise of FinTech 3.0. The industry will expand from payments and banking-as-a-service to include other services related to lending, commerce infrastructure, identity, fraud, risk management, and more. Wallex recognised this early on, and therefore decided to focus its efforts on corporate FinTech only. This singular strategy continues to work very well for Wallex, as attested by its growing list of corporate customers.
2. Get creative
Back in 2016, Hiro and the other Wallex founders relied on personal networking and word-of-mouth promotions to kick off their sales effort and grow their brand. He says, “in the early days, it was basically just me and my co-founder doing a lot of sales”. But they quickly realised that these strategies would not garner exponential expansion, much less sustained growth. That’s when they hit upon two distinct playbooks that yielded great results almost immediately.
For one, they paid more attention to new startup funding announcements in the press. Hiro consistently reached out to investors to congratulate them, and to request an introduction to the startup. This got him in front of startups where he ably communicated Wallex’ value proposition: we can help you lower your costs on foreign exchange. His proactivity helped convert a lot of startups into loyal Wallex customers. Taking the growth hack one step further, not only Wallex hired experienced employees, but also hired people from different backgrounds, and leveraged their experiences, learning, as well as networks. By quickly building a skilled sales team, Wallex was able to convert several initial “anchor clients”, which set the stage for the firm’s sustainable expansion and growth.
3. Earn their trust first, more business will follow
A recent Accenture report stated non-traditional finance providers like Wallex need to put more effort into gaining customer trust than their traditional competitors. Hiro completely agrees. “There needs to be a certain level of trust when we want to handle people’s money,” he explains. This focus on garnering customers’ trust and doing everything possible to retain it enables Wallex to maintain its competitive position in the burgeoning FinTech space.
Wallex invests a lot of time, money and resources into securing its financial infrastructure with the right licenses and technology. All communications between Wallex and financial institutions are transmitted over encrypted tunnels, which ensures that customers’ data and money are always secure. Wallex also works closely with financial regulators like the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Bank Indonesia, and the Customs and Excise Department Hong Kong, to maintain the highest security and regulatory standards to protect organisations and their funds.
Within a couple of years of inception, Wallex had made great inroads into both its home market of Singapore, and the neighbouring market of Indonesia. One reason is that the firm structured the Indonesian entity to be fully owned by local citizens, thus earning the cachet of an “Indonesian FinTech company”. Hiro and Co. also secured the crucial stamp of approval from one of the top banking players in Asia, BCA. Following these decisions, Wallex was able to earn the trust of Indonesians, and achieve a strong competitive position in the country.
4. Low cost hack to build your brand
To further establish their credibility, Hiro and his team invested more resources into content and brand-building activities. On the company’s website, visitors can find case studies and testimonials from anchor clients, which establishes trust and creates curiosity. It strengthens its digital presence through partnerships, and investment news, which further increases its brand’s recall value. By putting the Wallex logo inside remittance alert emails, people on the receiving end (those getting paid) also become more aware of the brand. Wallex also leverages PR tactics to increase its brand visibility in reputable regional media like Tech in Asia, Kompas, and e27.
Wallex makes an effort to convert power recipients, i.e. companies that regularly receive payments from multiple firms, into power senders since they are already familiar with Brand Wallex.
5. Get rid of organisational silos
Wallex believes that disruptive innovation can only happen when organisations adopt new business models, promote out-of-the-box thinking, and eliminate organisational silos. Many FinTech companies struggle with the last element, but not Wallex.
The company has created an organisation structure where different functional groups and departments communicate with each other openly and transparently. Regardless of their individual roles or levels, all employees are encouraged to share information and best practices, ask questions, and give suggestions. This cohesive way of working helps create a unified brand voice that customers recognise and respond to in a positive manner.
Growing from 100 to 20K can become easier by learning from experiences from other startups and following best practices. This is exactly what Wallex’ Hiro Kiga believes and recommends - Hiro also advises marketers and business owners to experiment with new growth hacking methods. “Fear is the enemy of innovation” he signs off.
Licensed and regulated in Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong, Wallex offers a number of low-cost, simple, secure and fast cross-border solutions to help you manage your international business from one easy platform. Visit Wallex.Asia to know more or reach out to our FX expert directly.