When creating a strong product, which will help drive your business forward, it is important to keep the ever present rule of supply and demand in mind. It is therefore not only important but essential, to discover a need that is so universal that it transcends the barriers of human diversity and provide solutions to global problems.
Helping people manage their day to day lives was something which Georg Ludviksson, CEO of Meniga, had in mind when he created his company. Georg describes Meniga as a being a product of his passion for the “innovation in the intersection of technology and finance”. He explained how people, for a long time, always came to him to ask for help with managing their money.
He soon realised that he could take his passion and shape it into something which could benefit banks and their customers. Like most great ideas Georg drew inspiration from already existing concepts. He describes how the idea first came to him, while living in the US, where he was introduced to new personal digital banking solutions and realising that, while they were a great step in the right direction, there were improvements which could be made.
“When I moved back to Europe, in the fall of 2008, I had this idea to start a European focused personal finance management company” recounts Georg. One of the main reasons for which the company has flourished is that it has helped banks redefine themselves and improve the channels of interaction with their customers. “Banks go from being a simple service provider, for cash withdrawal and balance inquiry, to supporting you in a more dynamic and personalised way” Georg explained. While this explains the positive impact on the banks Georg also provided an alternative, more altruistic motive, which explains the success of his products.
“This software has also had a positive impact on people’s spending habits” and this has been no unconscious effect. Georg explained how it was very important, for him, that Meniga has a positive social impact in addition to being a for profit company. Georg highlighted that one of the company’s proudest achievements has been being recognised by the World Summit Awards, a UN organisation, as a “Global Champion” which are companies with positive social impact while still being profit driven.
But how did Meniga go from being a small Icelandic startup to a European Fintech company with ties to some of the biggest banks in Europe, such as; Commerzbank, Santander, ING Direct, and over 40 million end users? “We knew Iceland is tiny and we would need to focus outside if we wanted to grow and succeed” Georg claimed while then recounting how he moved from Reykjavik to Stockholm and then to London.
Georg credits the international atmosphere and having embraced English as the official corporate language, as the means through which a diversity of culture enabled new relationships to be established with clients. It goes without saying that, in the wake of one of the worst financial crises, the concept of helping the public make more informed and responsible financial decisions is a message that transcends cultural boundaries. Georg also placed the promotion of healthy working habits (eg. flex time, strong work life balance, family oriented company socials) as one of the strongest, and most attractive, points of their company culture.