Investment can be a complicated journey. There are usually risks involved in making investment decisions. A lack of quality investment education and financial planning could lead to a loss of capital.
On the other hand, Banks and fintech companies lose prospective investors because they either don’t understand the need for investing or have had bad experiences with Ponzi schemes and unregulated investment companies.
At Anchoria Asset Management, we found the perfect balance by building a mobile app – SEEDs by Anchoria for investing and asset management. The SEEDs mobile app makes investing in regulated funds and products attractive and easy.
The App is carefully designed in a way that onboards new investors easily and guides them through the process. And our target group is Africans who are existing and aspiring investors.
GROUND TESTING: THE PROBLEM OF FINTECHs AND INVESTING
According to A16Z, a Venture Capital firm, Since product leaders across many categories—from Uber to Google—are aiming to adopt banking, loans, payments, and more, there is a trend that every firm is a fintech company. Banks are converting to technology-driven financial services, fintech startups are booming, and many tech firms are looking to fintech to boost profits or add new income streams.
Countless fintech apps are available, and people are starting to use them because they may have created new opportunities for reaching Nigeria’s more than 100 million unbanked citizens with financial services. Yet, only a few focus on pushing ‘investing as a culture’ for young Africans.
THE SOLUTION IS SEEDs
Our app – SEEDs solves this problem by providing a platform for easy access to different investment products. With SEEDs, you can easily open an investment account, subscribe to secure, interest-earning investment products, create, and manage multiple portfolios for your investment goals. The aim is to ensure that we demystify the perception that investment is for High-net worth individuals by making it accessible, low entry-level and easy to understand.
This product management case study focuses on how we are building a mobile app that makes investing attractive for its intended users.
THE PLANTING: PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
As a part of the product management team for an asset management firm, our vision is to build the most attractive digital investment experience for Africans living locally and in the diaspora who want to grow and preserve their wealth.
We had an initial MVP which displayed the major products of the organization and allowed traditional clients to invest and view their investment portfolios. The MVP was good if we decided to play in the convenient space, but we needed to 10X our app and get closer to our vision.
We started by doing some research to understand the needs and preferences of our target audience. We conducted surveys, established focus groups, and granted interviews to gather feedback and insights. Based on that, we prioritized the features that were most important and feasible to build.
We adopted an agile methodology and weekly sprints to stay organized and focused. One of the biggest challenges we faced was designing a user interface that was both simple and informative. We tested several prototypes and gathered feedback from early users to fine-tune the design.
THE PRODUCT MANAGEMENT TOOLS USED TO BUILD THE SEEDs MOBILE APPLICATION
There are several tools used by product managers to excel in their roles because it involves a lot more than gathering product insight, tracking the backlog, and reviewing the product roadmap.
In building and managing the SEEDs mobile app, we use:
- Confluence to write down the current service providers, current and expected finance, costing and release notes. This app was majorly for internal team usage.
- Jira: This is used for our external team communication. We documented user stories for designers and project managers. Our roadmap was also documented on Jira. This made it easier for my team members and me to build and collaborate while writing user stories.
- SurveyMonkey is our customer survey tool when gathering answers to our user questions. We simply sent the survey link out to our customers and easily tracked and analyzed the results.
- Figma: We made use of this tool for designers, collaborating and giving feedback on the proposed app screens.
GATHERING USER FEEDBACK AND PRIORITIZING FEATURES
The next step was to understand the current users and the intended address. Every product manager knows that having an innate understanding of the customer is central to the product’s success. This answers the important Question – Who is this product for?
Our user feedback gave us insights to solving current problems such as:
- Usability — Can people identify the benefits of the SEEDs app? Can the user understand how to take the steps required to obtain this value?
- Product Knowledge – Can people know what or how to invest on SEEDs? Can the user know their risk tolerance level and identify which investment product suits their financial goals?
- Investment Guide – Can people make informed investment decisions by interacting with the App?
- Instant Access – Can investors view their investment history without notifying their relationship manager?
- External app support – Can people reach out for further enquiries beyond the mobile application? How easy is it for users to get support?
- User Engagement – How can the users stay informed of their investment decisions?
We also had to consider our regulatory bodies when prioritizing features for the SEEDs mobile application. Policy and regulation are key factors that contribute to the success of a FinTech product. The right navigation in this sector protects your product from sanctions and may help speed up growth. The problems we had to address when prioritizing features were:
- Know Your Customer (KYC) compulsory and mandatory requirements.
- Segmentation of customers based on personal data and transaction volume.
- Adequate information on all products, highlighting the risk levels.
For new users and the general fintech industry, we prioritized features on SEEDs to solve problems such as:
- Complicated and lengthy onboarding process
- Being asked for private information before app usage
- Understanding the investment product before putting their money.
- Inability to address data privacy protection and cybersecurity risks.
- Unclear financial terminology, lack of compassionate human language, and simple explanations of complex financial processes.
Our design and functionality decisions were also made after prioritizing these features across these solutions. We asked ourselves questions ranging from:
What should our users see when they log in?
And what are the most prominent features for both users and the company?
How can we educate our users without overwhelming them with too much information on the app?
This feedback and questions were important to solving SEEDs’ most important goal – Making investing attractive to its users. Given the fact that investing is a high-risk, high-reward endeavour, we must gain the consumers’ trust to do this. After all, we are dealing with their money. And it’s extremely personal.
CHALLENGES AND ROADBLOCKS ENCOUNTERED
The company already had a core application provider in charge of its in-house application. This in-house application was strictly for staff to run their internal processes. Also, before the PM team was formed, the initial MVP was developed by the dev team to simply fetch the client investment data and return when needed.
As a product management team, we had to bridge the gap to build a seamless investment experience for the clients. Due to our combined expertise in product research, product ideation, business analysis, testing, development, and design, all these problems were resolved in the main features of the SEEDs mobile app.
Importantly, the core application provider that provided SaaS to our company was then required to build APIs to ensure ease of connectivity for some new features.
The Parts of SEEDs: PRODUCT FEATURES
The key features we built for the SEEDs mobile app that solved the problems of our users were:
- Improved Onboarding Flow: Customers were now able to sign up by providing account numbers. The standard process for finance-related applications is to get users to submit their Bank Verification Number (BVN) before completing their registration and provide lengthy details.
To improve customer experience and allay the fears of new users, we simply ask them to input their bank account numbers. Internally, we automated a process of retrieving the BVN from the corresponding bank account portal for data storage as it is a regulatory requirement.
Also, we were able to ensure that the onboarding process took a maximum of 5 minutes.
- Plan: To recommend products for new and existing investors, we included a “plan module” on the invest section of the mobile app. This module worked by proposing the best investment product based on the user’s responses to an in-app questionnaire.
This feature keeps users engaged while recommending an investment product based on their risk level, investment duration and amount to be invested.
- Investor Guide: SEEDs is carefully built with users in mind and to ensure that they have an optimal experience, there is a need for ease. This guide contains directions on the basic functionalities of the app. These include how to fund an investment account, how to invest in the lowest risk level product, how to update regulatory KYC, how to get a product recommendation etc.
This is to ensure that aspiring-to-be investors can make informed decisions while using the mobile app.
- Extensive Product Information: To fully educate users and better inform their investment decision on SEEDs, we added extensive product information for each investment product. This includes a short description in text and corresponding visuals to show the risk level and asset allocation. A downloadable product paper was also added via a hyperlink on each product screen.
For the fixed deposit product, we added the rate table showing the annual interest rate based on the duration and amount they want to invest. The rates are usually updated to ensure that users get the applicable rates in real time.
This meant our users now have full knowledge and can make the best investment decisions before proceeding to invest in any product on the SEEDs mobile app.
- In-app and Email notifications: We developed a list of notifications to users to alert them via email and in-app of their actions on SEEDs. This includes actions ranging from funding their wallet, log-in confirmations, changing passwords and successful liquidations of their investments.
This feature allows customers to stay informed and increases engagement.
Other key features built to suit the needs of the organization included:
- Referral code: Inclusion of a referral module that allows users to view their referral codes, copy the codes/ link and view users who have signed up using their referral codes. Users can share their investment experience among their friends with their unique referral code.
- KYC Tiering mechanism: We introduced a KYC tiering mechanism to fulfil one of the regulatory requirements and segment the customers. And we did it in an engaging manner on the app.
To make sure these key features are prominent and intuitive, we enhanced the app navigations using design as a tool. The goal was to make the SEEDs app give users a better investing experience to create and grow their wealth. In both design and functionality.
With the help of two contract UI designers, we made the user interface and the user experience to make SEEDs intuitive and user-friendly. We also had a constant navigation bar which had 4 buttons – Home, Portfolio, Invest and Menu which allow easy and all-around navigation to perform any task on the app.
THE GROWTH: TESTING AND TECHNICAL IMPLEMENTATION
To examine the features we built on SEEDs, we had phases of testing:
- Team testing —The product and dev team were the first set of testers for the SEEDs app. The main outcome of this is the identification of bugs. It allowed us to test and confirm features between both vendors as we continue building instead of waiting until it is complete. At this step, we used a copy of live data in a test environment.
- Company testing — The next step was to release the feature to the entire organization without elaborate explanations or tutorials. We would release it to the public this way. It is also a good opportunity to do cheap internal usability testing exercises. Testing within the company allowed us to identify complex elements within the features before we shipped it to the public.
- Private beta — as a product that has been in the market for a while, we had a small group of users who acted as our beta testers. The feature would then be released to this specific group and communicated as a beta version. They used the app and not just test it by simulation.
The aim of this test is to see if users can discover the feature, use it (engagement), see how they use it within their workflow, see how they are using it, and identify any barriers.
- Public release — once the challenges identified in the private beta were addressed, we release the completed app to all our customers. A huge part of this step was developing the right messaging. The messaging will focus on what the user can do with the new features.
Spring Boot is a framework that simplifies the development of web applications and microservices with Java Spring Framework, a robust framework for creating enterprise-level applications. With Spring Boot, we benefited from a fast and easy configuration, a modular and loosely coupled architecture, a wide range of technologies, and great developer experience.
One of our current priorities is to integrate third-party APIs that can help us track app analytics and boost the marketing efforts of the SEEDs mobile app. We have selected Firebase and Appsflyer as the best solutions for our needs.
Firebase is a platform that offers various features for app development and growth, such as authentication, hosting, cloud functions, databases, machine learning, and more.
Firebase also provides rich analytics, A/B testing, and messaging campaigns that can help us understand our users better and increase their engagement.
Appsflyer is a platform that specializes in mobile attribution and marketing analytics. Appsflyer can help us measure the performance of our app campaigns across different channels and platforms, optimize our user acquisition and retention strategies, and protect our app from fraud and abuse.
By integrating Firebase and Appsflyer, we can leverage their powerful capabilities to make our SEEDs mobile app more successful and profitable.
THE HARVEST: LAUNCHING AND MARKETING
Our current plan is to get 100,000 Active Users in our first year of launch. As an asset management firm attempting to capture a large market share of the fintech industry, we have established an Active User as a client who completes their KYC and invests a minimum of 5000 Naira. This is also our North star metric.
After deliberations with our stakeholders, the launch strategy and marketing efforts of the SEEDs mobile app is split into four phases:
- Internal staff drive where 50 new weekly users were brought in via the app.
- An investor-relations focused campaign where High Net worth Individuals (HNIs) are targeted, and their feedback shared.
- 3rd party resources – These are other retail client-facing companies we currently do business with. These companies were engaged to share our app with their own users to download and invest on SEEDs.
- Radio push and Social Media Influencers
To achieve our goal of acquiring 100,000 active users, other metrics are also important to track. These include:
- User downloads on Play Store and App Store
- User retention: We track these via drop-offs (clients who fail to complete their registration after downloading the app) and dormant users (clients who have signed up successfully and yet to invest on SEEDs). We also track this via Redemption rate – percentage of customers who redeemed their investments and Repeat subscription rate – the percentage of customers who invested in our investment products more than one.
- Engagement Rates: This is done in the form of quarterly surveys and app ratings. This also helps in retargeting – reselling the app to people who have stopped using the SEEDs app.
In our first two months, we got good reviews from our early users. This ranged from the ease of opening an investment account to getting recommendations for investment products.
And it only gets better from here on.
SEEDs and FRUITs: RESULTS AND IMPACTS.
The SEEDs app crossed its 1500 Users mark in less than a month. The user adoption and engagement rates also went up by 120% in the same period. Customer satisfaction ratings also increased, giving credence to the newly developed features.
We engaged the data team and created automated reports from the sources. These data make it easier to track and make data-driven and customer-centric decisions as soon as possible.
CONCLUSION – WHAT’S THE FUTURE FOR SEEDs?
The key takeaways I got as a product manager building a fintech app for an asset management firm were timeless:
- Fintech is a highly regulated industry.
- Customers want some level of personal interaction when using financial services.
- There is so much room for growth, but you must prioritize your users.
- To some extent, it requires knowledge of cash flows, accounting, treasury, financial services, and payment operations to really build and scale the product.
The future of SEEDs is making Investing Attractive for Africans, so our roadmap is clearly outlined to achieve this vision. From our roadmap, some of our plans in the next 3 years include:
- Expand support for different currencies.
- Personalize asset tracking features for various markets and regions.
- Introduce system interfaces for easier asset management workflows. (Chatbot, CRM, etc.)
- Create support for asset tracking through blockchain.
- Establish how the current architecture of the app can be incorporated with emerging technologies.
THE PLANTERS: Managing the SEEDs app as a team
Gibson Biddle, former VP of Product at Netflix once said, “Building a great product is a creative, chaotic process which you won’t get right every time, so you have to also be learning from success and failure.”
Building and Managing SEEDs would not be possible without these people:
Wahab Gbadamosi and Rhema Obiefuna – my product team colleagues
Samuel and Yinka – our contract UI designers who brought the visuals of our SEEDs mobile app
Cherish Nelson, Tobi Kudayisi, Muhammed Ibrahim and Abdullahi Adamu – who worked on the coding implementation of the mobile app.
Afolorunsho, Kazeem and Amarachi – who worked on the in-house application
Zuby Emodi the MD who was willing to allow the app to be fully complete before the final release.
Experience the future of investing with SEEDs for yourself
I would love you to experience the benefits of SEEDs for yourself.
Here is the download link — https://onelink.to/j96u7u, feel free to use my referral code — A200014126 when registering on the app.
Download SEEDs, sign up and let me know what you think.