At first glance, 11Onze’s website feels more like an online community than a financial services provider. With its strong focus on people, and menu navigation tabs titled ‘magazine’ and ‘11Onze TV’, the platform is at once welcoming, engaging and informative. It’s certainly a far cry from oft-seen messaging based on an ability to solve particular customer pain points or a promise of growth.
But perhaps counterintuitively, that’s precisely what it does. 11Onze is one of a growing number of fintech propositions designed for niche audiences. In this case, Catalans, who reside within the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as in France, Germany and beyond.
According to 11Onze’s Chief Operating Officer Darren Smith, the business is more fincomm (financial community) than fintech. “The Catalan identity is distinctive across Europe and is receptive to propositions built around its unique needs and challenges. By using API technology and working with partners in the financial and digital ecosystems, we’re creating a new financial generation. Essentially, it’s about wedding social purpose with a range of financial functions to help members of the Catalan community manage their spending, saving and investments.”
So what does 11Onze offer to its members?
11Onze’s super app El Canut is under construction but 11Onze says account features for individual users will include a card, aggregated financial services overview, money management dashboard, instant payments and transfers, savings and loans. 11Onze will also cater to enterprise customers, with an integrable self-service financial platform designed to help companies better manage their liquidity.
Above all, though, is the community proposition. 11Onze has launched its own social media network called The Plaza, where members are able to come together as a ‘fintech digital community’ to engage in respectful ‘civic participation’ and trade in PEEL virtual tokens, 11Onze’s own cryptocurrency.
Alongside this is a wealth of financial life resources in the form of written content and video. At times it feels almost like a cross between Netflix, YouTube and Facebook. These resources are also open to non-customers, who can register to attend training videos, implicitly promoting awareness of Catalan culture to a wider community.
Elsewhere on the platform, 11Onze TV covers topics including finance, economy, savings, sustainability and management, and each film features a comments box where viewers can interact with the team.
Mindful customer service in a fast-paced digital world
Although fiercely digital, 11Onze is forging ahead with a personal rather than virtual approach to customer service, as part of its wider commitment to morals, ethics and culture. With the exception of the language preference in its IVR, absolutely nothing is automated. Indeed, a diverse customer service team was recruited over a three-month period and comprises folk from a range of non financial services backgrounds, including actors and journalists.
Darren explains: “We’ve been blown away by the success of our first recruitment drive which ,while unorthodox, has been highly effective. First, we got applicants to send in online videos and complete online questionnaires. Then, a shortlisted group of 60 candidates then spent a month at a hotel for a full ‘cultural induction’, involving training, certification, mindfulness sessions and healthy eating.
“This fun and fascinating process produced the first 50 customer service staff members, with the entire learning journey documented and recorded. The outcome is a group of employees who see themselves as social media ambassadors and customer service representatives in equal parts.”
Working from home, all team members are equipped with 4K cameras and are led by a director of content who worked in television and theatre in a previous life.
A case study in building a brand
Everything about 11Onze is remarkable. And if you were looking for a model in building a new fintech brand from scratch, this business would surely be near the top of the list. On one hand digital innovation is breaking down old boundaries, yet on the other it’s creating opportunities to reinforce identities and build new communities.
By providing a strong value proposition based on a niche language and culture, 11Onze is succeeding in creating a financial community with a difference. It’s a fantastic example of how modern digital payments technology can be an enabling force for a great idea.
To find out more about 11Onze, visit its website here.