Phil Siarri speaks to Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf, Cofounder and CEO at Flinks, a Montreal-based startup offering the only financial data aggregator dedicated to the Canadian market.
Hi Yves-Gabriel, nice to finally connect with you. Can you tell our audience a little bit about your professional background? What opportunities did you see in the market prior to launching Flinks?
I’ve been involved in a multitude of different businesses/startups since I was 17 years old, along with pursuing undergrad studies at University of Ottawa and University du Québec en Outaouais, which I did not finish. Instead, I decided to focus on solving real-world problems.
From one venture to another, I got my hands involved in the fintech world, and eventually decided to reach out to a few businesses that were using financial data from US vendors to see if they’d be interested in moving to a faster, more-reliable, and Canadian-based solution if I’d built one. I received a number of letters of intent from several businesses and that gave me the validation to start Flinks.
The booming and most innovative Fintech companies all had one problem in common: no easy and reliable access to financial data. As an entrepreneur, I had plenty of ideas to innovate in finance that did not consist of building a financial aggregation API. I was facing the same problem with each idea: how could I build it without reliable access to financial data?
So far, you have secured a number of impressive clients notably Transferwise and Wealthsimple. How does your team approach relationship building?
The best feedback we’ve received so far from a client captures exactly what we want to accomplish: “working with Flinks during the integration felt as if we were part of the same team, or two teams within the same company.” I think we developed quite a unique approach to how we build relationships with our clients.
From the very beginning, we decided that everybody at Flinks would be part of the sales team. Regardless of your role, you have to consider how your actions are going to provide value to our clients. If we had one key element that I could say have helped us going from zero to over a hundred companies using our API: everybody at Flinks does everything either to satisfy an existing client, or a new one. And I have to say that the Flinks team is doing very well in that regard. However, having a look at our results from a 14-month old company perspective, we’re really proud of these 100 companies using our API, including Wealthsimple and Transferwise as you mentioned, but also much larger organizations that we should be able to announce in the next months, including one of the top 10 financial institutions in Canada.
Do you see a lot of potential in the blockchain / cryptocurrency space for Flinks in terms of customer acquisition?
Yes, do! We’re currently powering some cryptocurrency exchanges and we’re in discussion with the larger players in that market segment, based in both in the US and Canada. The fact that we’re a big facilitator for AML/KYC, along with account authentication features, makes us a natural fit for any company that needs to get or move funds from an individual or business. So yes, pretty much every cryptocurrency marketplace or blockchain technology company would benefit from working with us.