On the back of a €100,000 seed capital raise earlier in April, SPARQ is now aiming to bring the company’s “unique vision” of personal finance to the rest of the EU.
Danila Belokons is the CEO and founder of SPARQ, the Tallinn-headquartered FinTech startup. While he was born into a banking family, it wasn’t until he became an adult that he believed he’d found a huge flaw in the financial industry: vagueness.
“The market gap between traditional banking and FinTech is huge,” Belokons tells FinTech Global. “New tools, opportunities and approaches come along each month from bank challengers and FinTech companies, forcing traditional banking systems to adapt to the new reality. But who will use these tools if there is no clear understanding of how to do so and why people need them?
“For example, there are a lot of budget tracking apps. But imagine millennials convincing themselves to open an app manually each time they buy chewing gum, just to get an overall picture of their finances. Now there are card categorisation tools that automate the process. They provide lots of statistics, but what should the unprepared mind do with all these numbers?”
This perceived vagueness is what Belokons set out to fix when he launched SPARQ in 2019. “To date, we have worked on preparing for blitz-scaling: creating business processes, frameworks, strategies, infrastructure, projections, marketing plans and developing the product,” he reveals.
As part of that development drive, the startup has created a beta-prototype of its personal financial platform, which SPARQ has pitched as being as safe “as a bank” and “as fast as Messenger.” “[We] have also created the basic front-end iOS application with challenges and our in-app currency [Qpoints],” Belokons continues. “The more you use our application, the more Qpoints you earn.”
Belokons explains that the company is looking to set itself apart by “removing the boundaries between the ordinary world and the world of finance” and to “create a culture of effective money management.”
“That’s why SPARQ is developing in three main directions: advanced analytics, loyalty system and creating a community for increasing financial literacy,” Belokons adds. “We use gamification techniques to make it more human-centric and achievable, and to cover all the basic knowledge that is necessary to make the right financial decisions. We set these goals based on national standards and community experience while taking a data-driven approach to having a reasonable overall picture of your finances.”
Earlier in April, SPARQ announced that it had taken another step towards realising what Belkonos refers to as the team’s “unique vision of how finances will work in the future” by closing a €100,000 seed round. Baltic International Bank, one of the most experienced Baltic banks, led the round.
“We will use seed money to validate our idea, explain all the features, show and describe our roadmap, and we will also start gathering the first community members by offering a limited amount of closed beta invitations to test our app,” Belokons says. “We will continue to develop our platform and prepare for the post-seed round. The fully developed MVP, including prepaid cards and IBAN accounts, is estimated to arrive at the end of Q3 2020.”
The company is currently focusing on clients from European Economic Area and Baltic region.
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