KLEAR mission is to empower people to make wise decisions on the financial aspects of their life, by providing Free Financial Education and the most competitive products through a Peer to Peer Lending Platform. KLEAR headquarters in Bulgaria and has plans to expand internationally, first in Eastern European countries. The problem they offer a solution to is that, on one hand there is a big gap between the interest rate prime borrowers pay and the return depositors receive, and on the other hand that many people lack of proper financial skills and do not get fair advice when it comes to buying a financial product. That is why they are building a unique combination of a peer-to-peer lending platform and a whole range of online financial education tools.
What is the most important message that you would like people to associate Klear with?
Clear, fair and transparent. That is why we chose the name Klear. Everything we do, we want to do it transparently. This is our core value.
Please share some details about your professional career. How did you end up at Klear?
We – the team, not only me – have extensive experience in the financial industry, have worked in C level positions at Cetelem and BNP Paribas Personal Finance. We have already worked together before Klear and have shared a common vision about a better banking.
Could you say some words about the team?
There are eleven people working at Klear now, 6 are business persons and 5 developing the website. We worked together in many countries like Bulgaria, Poland, Algeria, France and in the UK. We are all well experienced professionals, who would have liked to do something differently in the banking industry.
How did it started, what was the first idea and the first steps?
The very beginning of the project was – as I mentioned before – that we have done a lot of things in the financial industry, we were very successful in our jobs but we wanted to do things better and that was the driver. Besides of course we had already seen some Fintech startups emerging in Europe and we thought that we could do something alike in Bulgaria
What is the competitive advantage of Klear? Why it is different from other platforms?
In Bulgaria we’ll compete with banks. We should be cheaper for the borrowers and giving a great user experience thanks to a full online process. For lenders we will provide a much better return than the one they get with traditional fixed term deposits. Besides, our social actions should contribute to build a positive image and generate organic growth. This social impact and the combination with financial education should be our main differentiation when we expand in countries where peer to peer lending platforms already exist.
What is your prevision in connection with Klear’s future?
This is a long term project. We build a for profit company with a strong social impact. We believe that it’s key to create a sustainable business. We hope to progressively grab some market share of the consumer credit and to significantly help Bulgarian consumers to get out of over indebtedness. And hopefully we’ll show that our model is working in other countries
Browsing your website Klear budget comes up, is this a separate project or the financial education part of Klear?
It is one of the tools we are now developing and testing and which is part of the free online financial education of KLEAR. That is one example but we also have a blog in Bulgarian covering topics like personal financial management.
What is the story with Money20/20? How did you get in? Tell me about your experiences there!
Money2020 was a great event and we are proud to have been selected among so many candidates. It was tough of course and the fact that we are part of the Booster, a FinTech accelerator in Bratislava, was a great help. We did not win the final round but it was fantastic to be in Copenhagen.
The event was big and I’ve been impressed by 3 things.
- Numerous payment solutions and providers have emerged and it’s all about the race to be among the few who will become very big
- Mobile-only new banks are popping up in UK and Germany mainly, with a great user experience and a radically different philosophy compared to the traditional banks. I believe they will very quickly gain new customers and seriously challenge traditional players
- Finally banks have realized that the Fintech startups are existing. And they are actively trying to catch up, mainly by creating internal accelerators or partnering with some of these promising startups.
How do you see the Fintech ecosystem in Bulgaria?
There are a lot of movements, energy around Fintech and the startup ecosystem in Sofia is very dynamic. There is one example I can name, Loanbase, which is an international Bitcoin crowd-lending platform based in Sofia.