So…Yolt is NOT shutting down…!? 🤯
Back in September 2021, the team at Yolt whispered that they were shutting down. It was so gentle, that hardly anybody heard. This blog was the first in the world to report it. In what must have been the world’s quietest press release, they gently bit the digital dust. 🤫 😔
Or DID THEY…? Cue the dramatic music.
Well, the answer is yes, no, sort of.
Yolt closed its fun customer-facing service, and instead decided to focus only on businesses. With the retail doors now firmly shut, I spoke to CEO Nicolas Weng Kan at Money2020 in Amsterdam. I didn’t take a picture because I am a tit.
So, I have created my own here: 😅👇
Moving from customers to businesses 🤑
Yolt didn’t close. They pivoted. Switching their clients from ordinary people like you and me, to the big, hulking corporate machines we all love to hate. The brand spring-boarded and pirouetted to greener (dollar green?) pastures. 🩰
“We just decided that Business-to-Business (B2B) was the way forward”, sighed Weng Kan with a smile and a shrug. I get the impression he’s been asked about this a lot.
So, what was the reason? My instinct tells me it’s because corporates have the deepest pockets. To quote Top Boy, they’ve got some serious Ps. But Weng Kan told me that the motivation wasn’t just financial, it was about making the biggest difference. Hmm…
“When we first approached open banking six years ago, the goal was ‘HOW can we make a difference?’”, continued Weng Kan. “And if you look at the B2Bs… it seems that it’s a much more powerful tool to transform the industry”.
MmmmHmmmm….Honestly, this kind of talk often makes me sceptical.
Because every fintech wants to be the one to “revolutionise” the industry. That’s their language. They aim to “transform it”. “Disrupt” it... Especially at the Money2020 event in Amsterdam where we were sitting. If you took a shot every time the word “transform” came up, you’d be absolutely battered before you’d even hit stand number two. 😵🤪
So, what specifically is Yolt looking to disrupt…? I asked for the juicy details. 🍉 And I wasn't disappointed! 👍
A supercharged credit check for businesses (sort of)
“If you look at banking, one of really interesting parts is getting data for better [decision-making]”, Weng Kan begins. “What we’re doing and the partnerships we’re putting in place go in that direction”.
The company is buddying up with other fintechs – including October - to create a kind of supercharged credit check machine.
All the information needed to underwrite a business loan, in real-time. Better, bigger, faster, and more convenient than ever before. That’s the plan. LendTech for businesses. A techy make-over for underwriting. I like it. 👍👍
Businesses need support … Can Yolt offer it? 🤔
According to Weng Kan, “old credit scores and outdated data”, are really screwing things up for businesses. It’s preventing them from getting loans, and NOT empowering the economy to bounce back. I totally agree.
I’ve written about this before, businesses – especially smaller ones – need fintech. Every tiny little innovation that saves a few pennies or automates a couple of tasks will make a massive difference.
“We have data that says one-third of the SMEs who apply for loans get declined”, comments Weng Kan. “OUR goal is to say that if you’re worthy of the credit, you should have it. At the moment, the decision tools available are not conducive to that”.
We carried on nattering about what’s wrong with the B2B world today, and I warmed up to Yolt’s new corporate face. Although I still think it’s a shame that they lost their customer-orientated side.
My challenge to Yolt…
What Yolt are trying to achieve is massive. Crazy massive. And if they get it right, they’ll boost and benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses. So, massive hats off for that. It's smart and super ambitious. 👏
Empowering businesses to thrive, in turn, helps ordinary people like you and me. Indirectly ... very indirectly ... Yolt is still looking out for the little guys. Sort of. Not really.
My challenge would be that I’d love to see Yolt helping little businesses, just as much as the hefty corporates. I know they have less money, but that's PRECISELY why they need support.
If Yolt can invigorate lending for teeny tiny companies to grow – and especially sustainable ones – THAT would be truly revolutionary. 💪