Last year was a tumultuous yet exciting time for Holvi. After being owned by a big bank, in 2021 we bought ourselves back and became (unofficially) Indie Holvi, a completely independent and team-owned company. Today I want to share what being independent means for a company like Holvi, and more importantly, how it benefits our customers.
This is our time: Holvi stands on its own two feet
Being independent is a key factor for Holvi’s long-term success and creates added value for our customers (more on that in a bit). However, the basic prerequisite for our independence was moving Holvi towards profitability, which we succeeded in doing late in 2021.
This meant so many things for us. Foremost, it meant that being completely independent and team-owned was proving financially viable. It also meant that, through cost management and an evolution in strategy, Indie Holvi was thriving.
Independence gave us the freedom to shape our own future. And moving towards profitability meant we could create our own roadmap without focusing exclusively on the next earnings report.
But perhaps most significantly, being independent meant we could move forward with a greater sense of purpose and self-belief, looking ambitiously into the horizon instead of focusing mainly on short-term milestones. Being team-owned gives us the freedom to act quickly while building a culture focused on personal accountability for risk and costs, which is what entrepreneurship is about.
What Holvi is really all about: helping small businesses
When you work for a big bank, it’s easy to get lost in numbers and reports. You can forget your raison d'être, what you’re all about. In our case, helping small businesses simplify finances and focus on their own strengths, create their own livelihoods. Suddenly, there was this tangible feeling that we were back in the same boat as our customers – the making and doing boat.
We also found ourselves in a position to prioritise our product roadmap based on insights from our customer surveys – in other words, what our customers need and want most. We no longer had to focus solely on what was necessary for us to succeed financially. With a clear roadmap in hand, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work releasing new products and services.
2022 milestones: Holvi credit cards, Apple Pay & Google Pay
Have you ever created your own credit card from scratch? Neither had we until this year. In fact, launching a credit card is rarely done by fintechs at our scale. It often requires the financial backing of a big bank and years of development.
Technically speaking, a credit card is a challenging product to build and grow sustainably. But with our small team we made it happen and launched the Holvi Business Credit Card to sole traders across Germany and Finland, allowing them to cover short-term gaps in cash flow and invest in their businesses. As a next step, we’re now opening applications to a limited number of limited companies, with plans to offer the Holvi Business Credit Card to all types of small businesses in the near future.
We also launched Apple Pay and Google Pay this summer, answering our customers’ requests to bring fully digital payments to Holvi. Now our customers can leave their wallets at home and pay by phone. Setup takes seconds: just add your Holvi card to the e-wallet app on your phone and you’re ready to go. It’s fast, easy and secure – just how we like it. A solid addition to our product portfolio.
What’s next? Virtual cards, instant payments and new talent
Next, we’re introducing virtual cards and bringing our customers more ways to pay. These work the same as standard Holvi cards, only they live in your Holvi app and e-wallet – not in your actual wallet. Virtual cards offer a secure, easy way to pay online and in apps. Plus our customers can add them to Apple Pay or Google Pay to pay in stores.
Meanwhile, we’ve just updated our payment infrastructure to bring more efficient SEPA transfers to you, so you can send and receive money even more easily and faster. And that's just the beginning: we plan to offer instant payments next year. With instant payments, you’ll be able to transfer money from one account to another within seconds, 365 days a year.
More know-how and faster product development
From a talent perspective, we’re focusing on growing the team, bringing more know-how to Holvi and speeding up our product development. We recently onboarded our new CFO, Prashant Kumar, to Holvi. Prashant brings over 10 years of experience in the financial industry and is tasked with expanding our credit and lending offering and supporting our push into the SME market.
In April, we strengthened our executive team by appointing Noona Puusniekka as our new General Manager of Payments. Noona previously led the Finance organisation at MobilePay. She now focuses on growing Holvi’s payment capabilities – like instant payments, effortless international transfers, debit and credit, and mobile payments.
This is just the beginning
In just one short year, our team has managed to turn Holvi on its axis, while simultaneously adding value to our customers’ self-employed work lives. Our product has grown rapidly, and we’ve built a clear roadmap for how to move forward.
It’s been one heck of a ride aboard the Maker and Doer boat and we’re excited about what’s yet to come.
Thank you for being on board.
Tuomas Toivonen, Co-founder and CEO of Holvi