Digital receipt provider in Focus: Flux
Read time: 5 minutes
Veronique Barbosa has had a meteoric rise to success. The Flux Co-Founder and COO and her founding colleagues catapulted into the Forbes 30 Under 30 last year with their unique take on digital receipts and loyalty schemes. Flux is now used by Barclays, Starling Bank and Monzo, with the company aiming to spread its paperless solution even further.
We spoke to Veronique about what she’d like to tell others looking to follow in her footsteps, and her inspiration for her current role…
Tell us about your path to the tech sector
I was actually in a completely different field before embarking on a career in the start-up world. I worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley straight out of university, doing Debt Capital Markets for Sovereigns, Supranational and Sovereign Agencies. I helped governments and government agencies, like the World Bank or even TFL, raise money on public markets through issuing new bonds.
I was there for three years before I had what I would describe as a mini-existential crisis. I just had this moment where I couldn't believe that I had agreed that my life and my ambition was to become someone extremely senior in that context. I was very cognizant that we do have one life and one opportunity to leave our own little or big impact on this world.
I started thinking about who I most admired in the world, and entrepreneurs came to mind. Their fearlessness to fix problems and to try and make things better, whether it's something very small or something as significant as outer space exploration, inspired me. That's why I started looking for tech startups and any open vacancies at tech startups in the business development partnership space. I found high-growth startup Revolut at a tech meetup randomly, when they were just three employees plus the founders. I asked if they were hiring, and the rest is history.
What inspired you to start Flux?
My co-founders and I actually met at Revolut. We were the first, second and fourth employees there. The idea for Flux came about when one of us was given a foot-long receipt at a supermarket – we all thought:
That was a breakthrough moment that got us thinking about how we could solve this problem, and about where the captured data lives. The passion that all of us have is for solving a problem that's never been solved before.We're just genuinely excited to tackle an issue that's existed for decades, but no one's been able to resolve - which is why we still have those wretched paper receipts!
How would you describe the Flux USP?
I think it depends on whether you're looking at Flux as a consumer or retailer bank, but the crux of it is that Flux is a platform that allows end consumers to better manage their money. By having complete visibility over exactly what is being spent, they can see any discrepancies in what they have been charged and can use their receipts easily for expensing. The visibility of spend is a core USP, and there aren't really any other platforms at scale that are “liberating” this receipt data. Bringing our actual spend into the digital age is a core approach for us.
What's the growth trajectory of the business been like since it began?
We've grown a huge amount this year. We started 2019 in the low tens of thousands of receipts; I think the exact number was something like 30,000 receipts in January 2019. A short while ago, we announced our 500,000th receipt and we’re now well on the road to 1 million. That gives me an indication of our scaling, not only on the consumer side with people adopting Flux and using Flux, but also on the merchant side. We've managed to scale both, and you need both in order to generate a receipt, so that gives you a good sense of the growth we've been experiencing.
How did Flux’s funding rounds change the company’s outlook?
Much of that funding has gone into growing the team, as well as driving sales and partnership growth. Our primary cost is hiring, without a shadow of a doubt. But we've now put a lot into the sales side and are starting to invest a little more into marketing when we launch new merchants, like the Just Eat launch a couple of months ago.
We’ve also focused on arming our teams with better materials to get our name out there, because ultimately we are a B to B to C business, with our main sell being to businesses which then distribute to consumers.
Industry: Financial Services
HQ: London, England
Ownership: Privately Held
Company size: 11-50 employees
How do you guard against disruption?
Like any other startup, our defenses are our products, and our complete obsession with customer experience, which is where we haven't seen any competition. A few others who are in similar but not the same space as Flux have compromised on things – perhaps they’ve created solutions which adds time at checkout. Our obsession is to make sure everything we do does not add any time spent at checkout.
Our tech is another aspect that makes us stand out. We have a patent pending currently for our algorithm, which matches vast volumes of data accurately and in real time. Ultimately, it's down to the speed of execution. You could ask a similar question to a lot of the challenger banks, and I think the answer would be the same; what sets them apart from their competition is ultimately the product and speed of execution.
How do you see the company growing in the future?
At the end of this year and early next year, we're going to take stock of where we are and how we feel in terms of the UK market. Depending on that moment, we will be considering future international expansion; it's just a matter of when that timing is right for us.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the start-up space?
I would give a daily reminder that the start-up world is a roller coaster ride. Don't forget to try to even out your experiences, because there will be ups and downs - the ups will feel very, very high and wonderful, and the lows will feel terrifying. However, just like a roller coaster, it keeps going. I wish someone had communicated that to me more clearly before I started out, because I think we've had to learn that on the go. From what I know, it's a very common startup experience.
Want more inspiration or advice for starting your own business? Email us at [email protected].
Rate this article