Video: Using data to help Canadians achieve their financial goals


Philip Barrar: Good morning. My name is Philip Barrar, I'm the founder and CEO of Mylo, the Fintech App that's on a mission to help Canadians to achieve their financial goals.

Before I get started, has anyone by show of hands heard of Mylo before? Oh, good crowd. Anyone actually use Mylo? Awesome, it's a great opportunity for me to convince you to do so. I'm really excited to bring you on the journey that I took to start Mylo and how I actually got to where we're at today, and also talk to you about we use research to solve really important problems, so it's more of a, I guess, practical application, maybe a little bit different then what you've heard earlier today.

At Mylo, research is at the foundation of everything we do. It's in our DNA. And in early 2015, I wanted to take some of the great U.S. Fintech applications that I had access to as an American and bring them and give access to Canadians here. So that's how we got started.

We built Mylo using the LEAN start-up methodology. Essentially that's saying let the consumer shape the product to the way that they want it to be. I started off with 44 in-person interviews and try to get people to talk to me about their finances; it's a lot harder than you actually think to get someone to sit down with you for an hour and talk to you about their money. I found them in coffee shops. I found them in schools. I found them in cafeterias, at workplaces, begged, borrowed and stole people's time to come in and sit down with me.

After that, I took some of those learnings and I went out to my network using Typeform, an online survey tool, and through Typeform I was able to actually go back and pull some more information and resurveyed about 335 people, and took those learnings and went out to the Canadian market using Google customer survey and talked to over 10,000 Canadians, which helped us shape the product that we built here today.

The results we found were alarming. One of the biggest challenges that Canadians face with savings and investing; 53% of Canadians millennials have less than a thousand dollars in their bank account, regardless of how much money they make. They're just unable to save and invest properly. We found that 38% of them are actually having trouble repaying debt, and 35% are looking for an easier way to start saving and investing. There was also the customer discovery process, were instrumental in helping us build Canada's fastest growing Fintech application. We launched the first version of Mylo about a year and a half ago, and we continue to use research to build out the product to where it is today.

Here's my plug. Here's how Mylo works. It's super simple. First, you download the application on Google Play or Apple App Store, and connect your bank account and you keep spending in the way you normally would. Every time you make a purchase, you round up the purchase to the nearest dollar, take the spare change and put it into an investment account. That investment account is fully managed, so you don’t need any investment knowledge in order to get started. We do also offer a flat one dollar amount technology fee, no additional fees to be able to manage your account. We are the lower cost fully managed provider in the world for this product. Millennials have really responded well to this idea. They were looking for an app that enables them to save and invest effortlessly with no changes in behaviour, and they got it.

Since launching in July 2017, we've grown rapidly. And with that rapid growth comes a new opportunity for research: data. Over 90,000 Canadians on this platform on the last year and a half, we're the number one robo-advisor in the country. We have a wide variety of data that help leverage to help give Canadians an opportunity to improve their financial lives. I'll go through some of that information we collect.

First is demographic information. Out of the 90,000 users we have on our platform, 80% of them are millennial, which knows that we need to building products that match their existing lifestyles; 65% of them are actually men, which means we have more work that we have to do to be able to close that gender investment gap. And finally, 65% of them earn less than $50,000 a year, but are slightly over-indexed against their peers in terms of earning ability.

We asked each one of our clients, and know your customer clientele when you get started; 47% claimed to be a beginner when it comes to investing; 40% also want to take high risk for high reward; finally, 53% will actually do nothing if the investment values have fallen. And we have a database of over 70 million transactional data points, that's growing exponentially every single day. This is insurance payments, coffee payments that you are making, it's all your financial transactional information that we're using to be able to create a profile.

And it paints a very detailed picture of each one of our users; how much they make, where they spend in the day, what mortgage they have, what insurance coverage they may have, and even which credit card they use. Then we build a consumer profile, including which brands they love to shop at, which banks that they're using, and which insurance products that they're actually consuming as well.

But finally, we have an extremely important dataset that's provided to us, and our users trust us with their goals. They trust us in telling us what they are trying to achieve and it helps us guide them with what they are looking to do. Thirty percent are saving for some sort of general savings; 20% want to take a trip in the next three years; 14% are actually saving for a down payment on a house, looking to buy vehicle or pay off debt.

So we know our users need help improving their financial literacy. Our QSC data tells us that 82% of our users know nothing when it comes to investing. So how do we improve that? We launched the roundup in March of last year, and we're using this data to be able to inform arbitral choices. For example, we know that 28% of our users have a travel goal. With that travel goad, we're able to tell them tips and tricks on how to save when they're taking their trips. We're also able to look into the dataset that we have on each one of our users, and last March we actually published this report that shows that investment habits of women and men and what to do.

Our research helps generate awareness around important Canadian money issues. So beyond the gender gap that we saw with investing, we can also publish different ideas. We did a holiday investing report, a holiday spending report. We found that 30% of Canadian millennials were actually going to debt this holiday season with an amount of spending that can be related to the holidays. We got actually over twenty media hits in the last week and we were able to start and continue the conversation around what to do to prevent that in the next years, and how to actually prevent or deal with it in this upcoming year.

We look back at the consumer data that we have and we look at how to actually use that to inform how we decide to build the product. Twenty four percent of Mylo users actually have a TFSA and lower income users are less likely to have one. So when it came to what we are we going to do next in terms of building the product, obviously TFSAs, RRSPs and social responsible investing was the next step. So I'm happy to announce on Monday, we'll be launching Mylo Advantage, TFSA and RSP offering.

We went through the process to use the data to build the product that they wanted. We used post-survey results to be able to identify that the products and features that we're offering were actually the ones that they wanted to consume, and best of all, we know that we can give a little cherry on top, 90% of Canadians have a loyalty platform, a loyalty card, and we're able to offer great perks that cover -- more than cover the cost of the Mylo platform, essentially making savings and investing free to everyone.

So at Mylo, we have three different sources of data that we use. Our database is full of KYC, financial transactional data, demographic information, and information we collect through our customer service teams and our operational teams. We look at third-party research, from Stats Can, academia and financial institutions, and we conduct our own research, through analysing our database, running Google Customer surveys and conducting customer discovery. These sources inform our product development and marketing strategies, they ultimately shape the way that we build our App and build the product that we deliver today.

The new incoming data is always going back into the process and we're always cycling through that again to make continuous improvements to our product. We've already seen the financial situations of many of our users improve right after downloading Mylo. After all, our average users save over a thousand dollars a year, one that 53% of Canadians millennials don’t even have today, just by using our App through a simple roundup and $5 recurring deposits.

But we know that they're also struggling with $3,000 of debt, and the work is just getting started. We'd love to hear from you on how you think that Canadians can achieve their financial goals and how Mylo can help us get there. Thank you.

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