Dear Customers, Partners, and Industry Leaders,
Every year at this time, I take a few moments to reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish together as a team at Flybits. And while each year has culminated in some amazing achievements, this year was something truly special. Not only because of how Flybits has grown but also because we are witnessing a change in the financial services industry that is leading to revolutionary developments.
2019 was a year in which financial institutions around the world experienced a notable acceleration in transformation – one that was driven by digital innovation and the proliferation of data. A growing number of banks highlighted the importance of data in driving strategies around personalization and artificial intelligence. The aggregation of data and the ability to leverage it for deeper consumer insights continued to be a challenge. But banks are moving with greater urgency towards establishing the data foundations required to advance their efforts. They are acutely aware of the threat being posed by challenger banks, fintechs and big tech players, which has been an added catalyst in inciting them to invest in and adopt new innovations. Watching Apple and Google partner with banks to offer financial products to consumers is just one point of proof in how close this threat is getting. These are the very companies that have been instrumental in the rapid evolution of customer expectations which have fundamentally impacted almost every industry. Financial institutions aren’t in a position to wait much longer – if they don’t start to compete now they risk significant irrelevance in the very near future. And challenger banks are hot on their heels and getting hotter. In fact, challenger banks raised $2.5 billion across 55 deals in the first half of 2019 – more than they raised in all of 2018 – equipping them with the power to take advantage of cracks in the traditional banking model.
But banks are fighting back. They’re developing innovative strategies with a customer-centric lens that will help them deepen their relationships with customers and drive long-term sustainable profitability.
At Flybits, we are beyond proud to be a partner in this evolution. This year we have been instrumental in enabling our new and existing FI customers and partners to produce customer-centric experiences across their digital channels. And we are doing it in a way none of our competitors can – by leveraging our capabilities around contextual intelligence to create powerful recommendations that breed customer loyalty and deliver ROI. We are also watching our customers get to market and scale their efforts quickly and easily, which we constantly hear was challenging for them before we began working together.
Our customers aren’t the only ones who are evolving. In 2019, the team at Flybits launched a ground-breaking approach to using AI
that puts it directly into the hands of non-technical employees, reducing the need for data scientists and increasing the power this technology can have in an organization. Our AI platform, known as Nestor, will continue to evolve in 2020 and we look forward to sharing that with you. We also expanded our partnerships strategy and are now working with some of the biggest providers of core banking services, such as Finastra, Infosys, and others, to drive greater proliferation of contextualized personalization for their customers. Another area we’re very excited about is our focus on building a marketplace where banks will be able to partner with fintechs, telcos, retailers, energy companies, grocers, media players and other leading organizations to build services together that fulfill the immediate and evolving needs of their customers. The vision here will be further cemented when banks become the trusted vaults of consumer data, providing it with the same protection they do their customers’ money. I spoke about this in depth during my podcast with Jim Marous from The Financial Brand, which you can listen to here
Some other big accomplishments from 2019 include:
- Our partnership with Mastercard as they launched the Mastercard Innovation Engine which focuses on contextually-relevant and personalized digital engagement and servicing. Their first solution, the Mastercard Contextual Engagement Solution, built with Flybits provides U.S. issuers and merchants a seamless digital channel for consumers to understand, interact, and maximize their card benefits and rewards. (Read more here.)
- The announcement of our Series C funding round saw some of the biggest companies in the financial ecosystem come together to support our work in advancing contextual personalization in banking. The round, which raised $35 million and brought our total raise to $50 million, was led by Point72, Mastercard, Citi Ventures, and Reinventure (backed by Australia’s Westpac Corporation). Our existing partners, Information Venture Partners, TD Bank Group, and Portag3 Ventures also participated in the round. Seeing this group come together validated that our solution resonates across a broad selection of financial services, including credit cards, retail banks and hedge funds. Here’s some of the great coverage we got.
- And, of course, we couldn’t have done it without our customers. New customers like Members 1st, who’s time to market was one of the fastest Flybits has ever achieved, and existing customers like TD, where we expanded our relationship and are now live in market with TD US as well as TD Canada.
2019 was also a big year for us in terms of recognition from the industry. We were honoured with the following wins:
- Flybits was celebrated as one of Canada’s fastest-growing technology companies by being named a 2019 Technology Fast 50™ award winner by Deloitte.
- Frost & Sullivan awarded Flybits for best practices in Technology Innovation in global customer experience technology for the financial services market.
- We were recognized in The Fintech Power 50, an annual guide to the most influential, innovative and powerful figures in the Fintech industry.
- LinkedIn included Flybits on its 2019 Top Startups list in Canada, recognizing the organization as one of the hottest high-growth global companies to work for in the country.
- CIX, Canada’s largest curated startup investment conference, named Flybits to its annual list of Top 10 Growth companies — a list that recognizes innovative, mature startups with high potential to scale.
- Flybits was named to the Digital Finance Institute’s list of Canada’s Top 50 Fintech Companies for 2019.
Lastly, this year was monumental in terms of growing our team and establishing our expertise around the globe. We saw rapid growth across the organization, but especially in engineering, product, sales, and solutions. We expanded our activities throughout our offices in New York, London, Dubai, and San Francisco. And we moved our Toronto headquarters into a beautiful new office.
Our Flybits team is a true family who consistently rises to the occasion when I challenge them to create impact and they respond by delivering beyond expectations. They are a dedicated team of people who help make Flybits a place where we grow together, fly together and soar together. Every step of the way our deep passion to be curious has led us to be the innovative leader in our space. I look forward to collaborating with each and everyone of them to fuel our future together.
So, what lies ahead? Well, 2020 is already shaping up to be even more incredible that we could dream. With visionary partners and customers, a team that constantly strives to deliver their best, and a runway that is paved with strategic opportunities that will advance transformation and drive tremendous value for consumers. We are humbled to help build a new era of personalized banking for the world’s leading financial institutions.
We wish everyone a very happy and healthy holiday season and look forward to staying in touch in 2020.