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Where Are They Now?: Koho

Where Are They Now

Since being a finalist of <a href=""class="unbold">BBVA Open Talent</a> last year, Koho has been gaining ground in the Canadian Fin Tech industry and beyond.

With finance increasingly moving online, we’re seeing many intelligent mobile banking solutions offering new ways of managing money. Canada-based Koho is one such startup — providing customers with day-to-day banking needs, such as direct deposits, bill payments, electronic money transfers, and more, the company’s online-first focus offers email money transfers, digital paychecks, and many tools that help users budget smartly.

Koho accounts also come with debit cards that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, and users can withdraw cash at ATMs as usual. Targeting millennials, the service features automatic budgeting, helping users work towards milestones and set up goals — be it a new motorbike or their mortgage. It also provides spending insights, and creates spendable balances, and seamless money-sharing between friends for free. Unlike many existing banking apps, all of Koho’s functions are built directly into the account.

The startup was one of the finalists of BBVA Open Talent 2015. Since then, Koho has announced deals with Visa, People’s Trust (who will actually hold users’ money), Galileo Processing, and gone live in market. They have also grown their launch waitlist to more than 6,000 users. Additionally, the team has wrapped up a second round of funding.

Koho's co-founder Daniel Eberhard
Koho’s co-founder Daniel Eberhard

When asked why they have had the success so far, the startup attributes it to two things. “We spend about 40 percent of our time working on acquisition,” co-founder Daniel Eberhard tells us, “CAC is proving to be increasingly important and we’ve done our homework around that. It’s allowed us to stand out. The second thing is really understanding the value and the narrative of the product.”

Challenges for the company came down to getting to the market. “We’ve got fantastic partners,” Daniel says, “But the structure and nature of our organizations are so different that it can be challenging getting everyone on the same page. The market is also moving fast. The incumbents are responding and figuring out how they can innovate.”

Since being one of the finalists of BBVA’s Open Talent last year, Koho has received many benefits from the international exposure. Daniel explains: “BBVA has been awesome. They’re working on some really progressive stuff. They helped us out at SXSW so we can participate in the Startup Crawl and are doing so again at Pioneers in Vienna. Their international presence is something we have directly benefited from.”

Daniel shares some key learnings from his startup’s journey. “I think one thing Fin Tech is learning right now is that we have the ability to make a lot of noise but that doesn’t equal success. In many cases it can actually detract from it. We’re seeing that the pure growth mentality isn’t as applicable in Fin Tech and companies are increasing their emphasis on unit economics.”

In terms of next steps, Koho are scaling out the product to the rest of their waitlist. They also have some new feature in the pipeline, which have not been seen anywhere before.

Learn more about Koho here.