By Aisling Finn on Monday 11 May 2020
Gadhia on launching Snoop three weeks ago, doubling its customer base, and closing a £3.2m funding round within its first week.
At the helm of financial management app Snoop is Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia. She is a veteran of the finance world with over 35 years of financial expertise under her belt.
Starting off her career in accounting, she later helped Richard Branson launch Virgin Direct and was the CEO of Virgin Money for over a decade.
Gadhia took a short break from the world of finance back in 2018, following Virgin Money’s acquisition by Clydesdale Bank and in January 2019 decided to make the jump and start her own fintech, Snoop.
AltFi caught up with Jayne-Anne (over the phone) last week to see how her fledgeling fintech was coping amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Gadhia first found her way into the financial world as an accountant, moving up the ranks to spearhead Virgin Money before finding herself “unemployed for the first time in my life” following the bank’s acquisition.
When asked why she decided to turn her hand to starting her own company, Gadhia told AltFi:
“I think unemployment creates creativity. I think entrepreneurship and new businesses have always been in my blood and being at, hopefully, the cutting edge of technology has always been part of that.”
Shortly after she found herself out of a job, Jayne-Anne remembers her team asking why, with all their collective expertise, they didn’t build their own digital bank.
Following the questions from her longtime colleagues, Gadhia told AltFi she said: “I'm not going to do another bloody bank!”
“Why would we have to get involved with all of that regulation and capital requirement when technology today means that we can bring the best of banking to people without all of the problems of banking?,” and, just like that, Snoop was born.
Snoop, which has been given the regulatory nod by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), uses open banking to connect to a customers’ bank accounts and give tailored insights into how customers might be able to save money.
The platform uses a mix of AI and human expertise, it says, to assess deals for home insurance to entertainment across over 1,000 providers to ensure its customers are getting the best deal.
Snoop only launched just over three weeks ago, a month ahead of schedule, and has already closed a £3.2m funding round and more than doubled its customer base.
Some might think launching a new startup right in the middle of a global pandemic could be an odd choice but, Gadhia told AltFi she thinks it was “the perfect time.”
“This is the perfect time for it because this is an opportunity to help people in lockdown and given that they're losing their jobs it’s helpful to save a bit of money. Actually going live from lockdown really meant, putting our successful beta pilot into the App Store and into Google Play,” she went on.
Gadhia also told AltFi that she “couldn’t imagine” launching a startup 15 to 20 years ago while working remotely.
“Remote working in the sort of job that we do is so much easier than it is for many other people and I'm eternally grateful for that.”
“We’re super fortunate that this pandemic has come at a time when digital technology has enabled us to operate in the way we are currently because I couldn't imagine what it must be like to operate remotely,” she said.
When asked about what is next on the cards for Snoop, Gadhia told AltFi: “I think that geographically there's no limitation.”
“We've already had a number of people from other countries contact us to say you know what we think this could work very well here,” with the list of countries showing interest including America, France, Canada and Australia.
Gadhia also told AltFi that despite the outside interest the team at Snoop were focussed on only taking it one step at a time.
“For now, the key is to develop and grow the business nationally and eventually internationally, provide customers with a platform that they love and as a consequence generate a revenue stream that will keep us happy in our jobs for a long time,” she added.
While other startups may have pushed back launching because of the ongoing global pandemic and ensuing economic turmoil, Snoop has ploughed on to help consumers save potentially up to £1,500 a year.
It could be too early to tell just how well Snoop will fare, but it’s certainly off to a strong start.
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