“Total Telecom met with Luciano Ramos, group CTO for Cable and Wireless, and Steve Polsky, founder and CEO of financial access firm Juvo, to discuss how the provision of small scale credit is revolutionising (via Mobile credit) the way telcos do business throughout the Caribbean and Latin America”
Juvo.com is a great example of a start-up from outside the Telco eco-system seeing and grasping an opportunity to transform how a Telco sees and treats customers. Without this external intervention – the vision, digital capabilities and ways of working Juvo brings – it is very unlikely that C&W (or any Telco) – could make this innovation happen.
“We help to change an anonymous SIM relationship to one based on identity. And you can use that as a leverage point to walk consumers up the path to all kinds of financial services. The way to get there [from a telecoms point of view] is to partner very closely with mobile operators like we are doing with Cable and Wireless,” said Steve Polsky, founder and CEO of Juvo. We work together with operators to address this large pre-paid customer base, and with FlowLend we make small credit extensions. It’s fascinating to see how small these credit extensions are at the beginning – they can be as little as a dollar or two dollars – but for the individual that could represent additional cell phone service for a day or two. It’s very meaningful from that perspective.”
Steve Polsky, founder and CEO of Juvo
“So, a small loan of $1 or $2 credit is extremely convenient for the customer – but what is in it for the operator? Ramos says that the FlowLend initiative is already bearing serious financial fruit for his company and he believes that it will continue to do so. By providing these short term credit extensions, telcos are encouraging the customer to continue to use their services, rather than those of their competitors, the next time they top up. We have done something like 9 million transactions like this so far this year. We have loaned $25 million. For us this is revenue that we might not have otherwise received. It’s great for ARPU growth and it’s great for churn reduction.”
Luciano Ramos, group CTO for Cable and Wireless
The FlowLend app gets a 4* rating on Google Play so it seems to be reasonably stable and well received, in spite of a few glitches. The potential for this and similar services across emerging and developing markets is enormous. But will other Telcos be bold enough to follow? Or smart enough to partner with the likes of Juvo rather than trying to do it themselves, or with incumbent suppliers?