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Barclays Black Founder Accelerator:
SympliFi

 

SympliFi Co-founders Maurice Iwunze and Gregoire Lecomte tell us why they joined the Barclays Black Founder Accelerator.

Tell us about SympliFi.

We are building the first Neobank for migrants and the global diaspora. Our customer base has been underserved with one product – money transfer. We offer a full suite of financial products tailored to their unique cross border needs – credit, savings, insurance – delivered through an innovative marketplace model.

Our first product enables African diaspora to digitally guarantee a microfinance loan for a relative on the continent, to fund an income generating business activity, in minutes. Eliminating the need for the diaspora to send money and enabling the long-term financial independence of the beneficiary.
 

Why did you join the Barclays Black Founder Accelerator?

As first time entrepreneurs, we believe the program will provide the mentorship, network and resources to accelerate the development of our startup, access potential corporate partners and strengthen our proposition for our next fundraising milestone. In addition, as a black founder, I look forward to collaborating with other minority founders, to share knowledge and provide support.
 

What would be your desired outcome from this programme?

Gain insights and potential partnerships to help us accelerate the growth of the business, and to build relationships with our fellow cohorts.
 

Which entrepreneur inspires you the most and why?

Elon Musk. He embodies what true innovation is. He re-imagined two industries that most would think impossible, and did so in a way that has a positive impact on the world.
 

What has been your biggest win in your entrepreneurial journey?

We secured a strategic partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund to support the expansion of our service. It was a validation of the impact our solution can have in improving the livelihoods of the customers we serve.
 

And your biggest challenge?

Building trust amongst the diaspora community. We are a new company offering a first of its kind product. Our customer base is slow to adapt new services unless validated by others within the community. As a result, we had to seek influencers within the diaspora community to serve as ambassadors and build awareness and word of mouth within the community.

Where did you go for business advice and how did it help you?

We are fortunate to have two senior advisors with significant experience in the sectors we operate in. They have been instrumental in opening doors and serving as a sounding board in building the business.br />  

What drives you to make your business a success?

Seeing the impact our solution is already having.
 

What advice would you give other founders thinking about starting their own business?

If you have an idea that can add value to the world, be fearless in your pursuit to make it happen.
 

Why did you want to start your business?

My partner and I are passionate about the power of access to finance to change peoples lives. We've witnessed it first hand. So we set out to redefine an entire industry by building a platform that strips borders and democratizes access to finance at scale for those that need it the most.
 

What do you do to relax when not working?

Exercise and I'm really into natural wine.
 

How has covid made you pivot your business?

Covid actually validated our business model. We are digital first solution that focuses on improving the long term financial health and protection of our customer base. That business model proved to be valuable and relevant during these challenging times.

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