Minna Technologies Interview

We catch-up with 2019 Accelerator Hub start-up CEO, Joakim Sjöblom, to find out how things are going at Minna Technologies - an ingenious subscriptions management service.
Posted on September 07, 2020

-Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Joakim Sjöblom, CEO and co-founder of Minna Technologies.

I’ve spent the past 6 years working in fintech and have witnessed the open banking revolution first hand. I’m very passionate about the future of banking and how evolving customer expectations are influencing tomorrow’s financial services.

Market dynamics are also a favorite topic of mine; how the competitive landscape within financial products has evolved with new challengers and bigtech looking to steal market share. I co-founded Minna with the aim of helping banks to stay competitive, but primarily to also stop their customers losing money. If you can save someone 50 Euros a month, that can make a real difference to their life.

-How did the 2019 TFI Growth Track help you?

The core purpose of TFI is very closely aligned with our mission statement - “to bring power to the modern consumer”.

All of our products are designed to enable effortless banking for retail customers in a subscription-based economy.

TFI was a great entry point to verify our products in new markets and build relevant networks with potential partners. After the program, we will have close ongoing relationships with both ING and Deloitte.

-How have you grown since the 2019 Growth Track?

It's been a great year, expanding our presence from 2 to 7 markets and almost doubling our team. We now have over 70 people sharing our mission and we’re still hiring!

-What is your biggest achievement in the last year?

Striking major partnerships with leading banks, as well as increasing our end-user reach significantly. We’re a Swedish company, so growing into markets outside the Nordics this year was also a big and important step for us.

“to help people save time and money - by delivering a subscription management solution, was the fundamental issue that needed to be addressed with subscription services becoming such a high-growth market.”

Joakim Sjöblom

-How did you come up with your business idea?

It's all based on personal experiences as a customer.

During my time at university, I realised that my subscriptions were a mess and I was paying for things I didn’t even use anymore. Creating a solution for this - to help people save time and money - by delivering a subscription management solution, was the fundamental issue that needed to be addressed with subscription services becoming such a high-growth market.

It’s a market that’s growing at an incredible rate - research showed that the average number of subscriptions people have doubled in a year. With more and more services becoming available on subscription all the time, this trend is only going to continue. When I saw this, our solution felt more needed and more valuable than ever.

-What’s the best advice you’ve recently received?

As a start-up you have limited resources in both money and time, so focus is always the biggest challenge. Stick with the best option for your efforts.

Dare to invest in a few areas or projects, then deliver them in a fast, agile and scalable way. This also goes for customer segmentation - if you have a sweet spot, don’t be afraid to say “no” to some opportunities, as long as it’s for a good reason. Remember that a “no” might just mean “not now” or “not yet”.

If you are also working with large banks, be aware that everything will take longer than you expect so make sure you have the finances sorted to keep your growth on track.

-Tell me about your last project - what worked and what didn’t?

I’ve had a couple of entrepreneurial journeys before, so starting a business was not new to me. But with this venture, we have a B2B2C model, so we rely on the middle ‘B’ in that chain to help us communicate with and reach the ‘C’ - our end users who will benefit. We’ve discovered that with that dependency, we need to make conversations happen earlier with the banks we work with to establish targets for reaching those customers.

-How has the current economic slowdown affected you?

There are two sides of the coin for us. We have seen examples of sales processes moving faster than before and we have examples that have slowed down. Some banks have hard vendor blocks at the moment because of COVID-19 uncertainty and are not continuing any projects. Some projects have gone to 0% and some have improved 100%. In the end, our products are beneficial to everyone in an economic downturn, cutting costs for both for the bank and for the end-user, so we are still very positive about what the future holds.