Briefly introduce yourself?

Studied engineering, got the Rhodes Scholarship to do my PhD at Oxford University then worked as an academic first for Oxford then MIT. Returned to SA to work in Discovery’s R&D (product dev) team. Left Discovery in 2018 to start Franc with the mission of democratising investments. 

What is the name of your app and the story behind it?

Franc is a goal-based investment app making smart investing easy for first-time investors. We believe that everyone should be able to access the best investments in the market. We’re aware that financial and knowledge barriers exclude over 90% of the population from investing. We help users access leading cash & equity funds, Allan Gray Money Market and Satrix Top 40 ETF respectively, without minimums or limitations.

What problem is your mobile application solving?

South Africa is the top country in the world for the search term ‘how to invest’ but less than 5% of the country is investing. We’re making investing simple, personal and accessible.

What is the app’s Unique Selling Proposition?

We make investing simple, personal and accessible.

How is the app monetised?

We charge an all-in fee of 1% – so that’s R1 for every R100 invested. We share that fee with the underlying fund manager, eg. Allan Gray and Satrix.

Name the development team behind the app and their roles?

  • Kyle Welsh, CTO.
  • Richard O’Brien, Senior Engineer.
  • Yageshrin Govender, Senior Engineer.
  • Pheello Maboa, Product Manager.
  • Ashwin Makoena, Associated Product Manager.
  • Gary Byrne, Head of Design.

Talk to us about the Minimum Viable Product phase, what features did you launch the app with?

  • Ability to specify an investment split, 
  • Deposit money into investment funds, 
  • Withdraw and transfer money from an investment portfolio, 
  • Track daily performance, 
  • Submit a user support query.

Walk us through your beta testing phase…how did you recruit users?

  • Word of mouth through PR. 
  • Peer to peer referral using promo codes.

What was the app’s breakthrough?

  • Winning Best South African Solution at MTN App Awards 2019. 
  • Voted Best Fintech solution Stuff Magazine 2020. 
  • Winning Best SA startup Seedstars 2018.

What challenges have you faced in the life of app and how were they solved?

Notifications – we realised our users wanted to be kept informed of their investments. Integrating push notifications into Ionic/Cordova was not an easy process but we persevered and eventually succeeded.

Firebase analytics – we wanted to understand which marketing campaigns were resulting in most users, and so we needed to be able to track campaign to downloads to first investment. This process required input from both digital marketing and engineers.

How many downloads has the app recorded to date?

+6,000

What are the future plans for the app?

  • Enhanced feature roll-out.
  • Multilingual.
  • Ability to white label.

If you were to sell app today, what is the market value?

R30m.

How do potential users access the app?

Download from either the App or Play Store. Visit franc.app to get links to the stores.

Author Muzi Mohale

Welcome to StarterJourney.com where I showcase small beginnings to inspire the next entrepreneur in you. It's a journey worth tapping into, many life lessons get to be experienced, money made and money lost...You're welcome to share your entrepreneurship journey with my audience.

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