Harold begins his chat in our Meets by telling how he got to our country undocumented, completely alone and coming from a very humble family. His journey took him, from working as a delivery man, laborer or waiter, to sleeping in a park in Madrid due to his precarious situation. Everything to achieve the objective that brought him to Spain: study. That’s where he invested all his money.
Here is a summary of the session. We hope you enjoy it!
The early years of MyTrébol
The CEO’s first startup was founded in 2007. It was a communication media used by more than 4 million of Latin American immigrants in Spain. At the same time, he launched a newsletter for this collective. In 2010 he discovered that buying Bitcoin in Latin America and selling it in Europe made a profit, which allowed him to start working on payment methods, with modest technology.
Then he got a product manager position at a major banking corporation. It was there that he became aware for the first time that immigrants could not open an account with just a passport. He came to his professors with the situation and talked with 62 different banks to solve it. Now, due to the PSD2 regulation, MyTrébol is creating the first financial center for immigrants in Europe.
Here’s a video with the complete webinar!
Excluded from the banking system
“To achieve true financial inclusion, it is necessary to boost bancarization,” said Harold.
“On many occasions we talk about Africa or Latin America, but in the 21st century there is a very high percentage of citizens excluded from the banking system in Europe.”
With the MyTrébol application, an immigrant who is working in any European country can open a bank account, through digital onboarding, with a passport and proof of residence, in just 5 minutes.
Juanjo took the opportunity to comment: “I can see that it is challenging, no doubt. You are pretty passionate about it, for good, because MyTrébol also has a social background that makes the project bigger. We would like to know more about your structure.” Harold explained that 6 people work internally and they also have an outsourced team. They are currently in Malaga, but from September 4th their base camp will be located in Valencia.
There they hope to take off “like a rocket“ and soon will announce new releases.
Regulation of the FinTech sector in Latam
The CEO and co-founder explained how Open Finance allows them to reach all that excluded population much faster.
“People in Latin America use cash a lot and big banks are not interested in the situation changing. For sure FinTechs are much faster.”Harold said.
As a financial center for immigrants –developed by immigrants–, they will offer the possibility of paying bills from their application.
For example, it will be possible to pay from Spain the amount of electricity, water or telephone supply in Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia or any other country in Latin America. Another functionality they will offer is buying groceries online from Spain so that it can be delivered to the country of origin in just one hour. All this due to an agreement that will be signed shortly with an important unicorn in the region.
Microcredits that change people’s lives
MyTrébol will not stop there, they want to revolutionize the lives of immigrants and they will also launch microcredits that allow them to generate credit scoring in Spain. Harold gave the example of a rider who needs a bike to deliver orders. “We can lend him €150, €100, €70, whatever they need. It seems derisory, however, these small amounts have a lot of traction in Latin America, but also in Europe”.
Juanjo wanted to know if there really is a market for loans of €50 and Harold explained that, after carrying out several surveys, they detected that it was a need for that part of the population.
“There is a lot of talking about the 2030 agenda and social goals, but few companies are caring about offering peer-to-peer loans with minimal fees or helping immigrants have a future. Our ratios are small but we have a big volume. That’s the key of our business.“He admitted.
Inspiration and habits of an entrepreneur
Juanjo then reflected on the spirit that an entrepreneur should have and he wanted to know what the habits of the founder of this revolutionary app are, if it continues to study and who are his role models. “I’ll tell you, as a kid, my dyslexia made me really suffer in school,” Harold explained. Coming from a modest family, he did not have the resources to figure out what was going on.
Despite his difficulties, he perfectly understood everything the teacher explained and became a book lover. “I discovered an exciting and wonderful world; now I read a book a week, it is one of my habits,” he stressed. He also points out that he continues to study: books about business, finance, marketing, personal development… Another of his habits is getting up at 5 a.m. to meditate, read for an hour and study online.
One of his greatest guides is Richard Branson, also dyslexic. He claimed to be inspired by his story of how he faced the big UK airlines and managed to take an important market niche from them.
The future of banking and the FinTech sector
To close the interview, Juanjo read the question that our colleague from Coinscrap Finance, left in the comment section: “How do you see the future of banking in 5 years?”, our CMO also added the usual final question of every Meets:
“What will be the technology that will revolutionize the FinTech industry?”
Juan José Gómez
Harold leans towards blockchain and tokenization as aspects that will define the future of banking and, according to his instincts as a serial entrepreneur, will ultimately lead to the decentralization of the financial industry. “Tokenization is a key piece in the global economy, we can see it in the amount of money that DeFi is moving.”
Juanjo thanked him for sharing this time with us, his knowledge and the path that led MyTrébol to this sweet moment. We wish you the best in this new stage!