As a part of the Fintech Foundation incubator programme, Mecena is among the exceptional Fintech startups that have emerged. Its business model enables content creators to sell future revenue to their fans, akin to traditional investing.
In this article, we delve into Mecena's future plans, the obstacles it has faced, and get to know a little bit about its co-founder, Hugo Hernandez.
Who is Hugo Hernandez?
Hugo was born in the Canary Islands, Spain. He is a pro tennis player and was ranked as one of the top five players in the country. After school, he studied architecture and was introduced to the startup world during his internship year in San Francisco.
Like many cohorts in the Fintech Foundation incubator programme, the idea for his startup began during the 2020 global COVID pandemic.
"During Covid, I was living in London at the time. I had to go back to the Canary Islands, and my offices there wouldn't open. Nobody could say when they would open."
He decided to move to Barcelona and live with a friend. The pair started a YouTube channel, and after two years of creating content for over 15,000 subscribers, Hugo discovered a problem that creators needed solving.
"Initially, I was only focused on solving my problem as I was struggling as a creator to manage my channel finances." But after speaking to several advisors and content creators, he was encouraged to turn his idea into a business and expand it.
What is Mecena?
Mecena – the Spanish word for 'patron' – is a Fintech startup that provides services tailored to the unique needs of content creators.
"We've faced financial challenges that we know traditional banks and software are not equipped to handle."
Hugo says that Mecena was created for three specific reasons. The first is to help content creators to grow and turn their channels into businesses.
The second is to help them reduce financial uncertainties.
"There's a lot of uncertainty when it comes to how you're going to be paid, who is going to pay you, how you look for brand deals." To address this for example, Mecena offers an Advanced Payment feature.
And the third is to assist creators in strengthening their relationship with their audience. He says that creators will often focus more on growing their audience instead of focusing on finances.
The business model is based on allowing creators to sell future revenue to fans, similar to traditional investing. Mecena will take a small percentage of each transaction as its revenue model.
"Our main target is those early and mid-stage content creators who want to become full-time creators, those creators who experience a lot of issues with traditional banks."
The challenges of creating a Fintech startup
Hugo says that before doing anything innovative, founders need to ask themselves why their potential product doesn't exist and who are your competitors.
Afterwards, it comes down to assessing the main pain points.
"You need to set a very clear strategy towards what you want to be with your tech stack. Is it actually possible to build this idea?"
He adds that this creates additional issues, where he needs to understand embedded finance, APIs, open banking, and more.
"You need to understand the whole fintech structure in order for you to actually execute the most efficient strategy."
Next is regulations. A startup like Mecena has to be fully aware of the required regulations and licences for the financial industry.
And, finally, it's understanding that it's difficult to constantly iterate and test a product that is brand new. Regulations will take time.
Huga adds that he joined the Fintech Foundation incubator programme because of the included tech stack, network of partners and mentors and help with regulations.
The 3 things Hugo can't live without
We decided to pick Hugo's brain about the three things he can't live without.
The first is his notebooks, specifically his writing tablet. Hugo is an architect by profession and admits to being "a huge note-taker." He is constantly making notes and keeps all of them.
The second is his phone, which he says is an obvious answer, however, we think it makes running a Fintech startup so much easier.
And the third is fruits, pineapples in particular is his favourite. "I have pineapple on almost every meal. I love pineapple!" In fact, he went on to detail how he adds the fruit to carbonara pasta.
Advice for other founders
Hugo recommends that entrepreneurs read Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Fadell because it contains excellent advice for inspiring CEOs, along with unique insights.
He also suggests that founders should read the words of the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, to help them keep grounded.