Slide, financially empowering migrants
Slide is a fast-growing Fintech startup that is part of the Fintech Foundation incubator programme, with a powerful vision of helping the migrant community.
We recently sat down with Slide's co-founder Omar Guizani to gain insight into the company's plans and challenges.
Who is Omar?
Omar Guizani is from Tunisia. Because his parents were diplomats, Omar Guizani was able to visit many countries and gain an expanded worldview.
After finishing his studies, he headed to France to study law, where he first discovered the pains of international payments.
“I would wait for days, sometimes weeks, for an allowance from my parents and I started getting frustrated.
“This is basically my beginnings of trying to, or think of, how to change this financial system that I believed could be better,” he says.
It wasn’t just the waiting time for international transactions that inspired Omar. Part of it was the Tunisian Revolution that occurred in 2011. He also enrolled in an American business school where he was introduced to cryptocurrency and blockchain.
“It’s almost eight years that I’ve been in the fintech industry and, for me, it was a life-changing experience.
“I thought this is exactly what we needed to be able to build new governance systems — new financial systems - that are more fair and that would serve people and not just financial interests.”
Because of all of these events, Omar started thinking about Slide.
What’s the Slide elevator pitch?
“Slide is a Fintech that’s on a mission to liberate migrants by giving them control over their money.”
He says that, when it comes to finance, migrants have two primary concerns. First, to support their families, and second, to remain financially secure and respond to their own needs or emergencies. There is also a third need to grow their wealth, but it’s superseded by the first two.
“When you look at what’s on the market today, migrants are still easy prey for money operators. Sending money back home is still slow and / or - expensive."
“And the lack of transparency in this industry is also a big issue as the money operators are always getting creative on how to hide the fees.”
The Slide solution consists of an app, a debit card, and an international account for everything financial for migrants in Europe.
To disrupt the money transfer market, the startup will offer a subscription model which will include zero fees, zero commission rate, and zero hidden fees. There are also plans to create a savings account to assist migrants with growing their wealth.
“We are creating automated savings strategies that allow migrants to create financial security without even thinking about it, by taking money from the account on an automated basis.”
During the second stage, Slide will issue Slide Coin, which will fuel the financial ecosystem and allow the subscriptions and pricing for users to remain low and at a fair price.
What challenges does Omar face as a founder?
The first challenge is navigating all of the regulations around the banking industry. This includes obtaining the relevant licence and understanding the muddy waters of regulation.
The second is having the right entrepreneurial system in place and having investors to help build the company and get it started.
“This was, at times, very challenging, but it gave us a lot of strength along the road. Being hungry allows you to make miracles happen.”
What does a typical day look like for the Slide co-founder?
On a typical day, Omar has to tackle a wide range of subjects, from looking at and understanding compliance to preparing for marketing, and the progress of the Slide app.
There is also the subject of funding. He says that as a CEO, it’s his job to make sure that the startup has the funds that it needs. It’s a task that hasn’t always been easy.
“When I was in Tunisia, it’s not the same as Paris. You don’t have access to the same types of investors that have access to the same types of funds.”
And Omar has to make sure that Slide is attractive to potential investors, reach out to new prospects, and keep them updated on the current milestones of the startup.
“Not all investors or money is good. Sometimes, we’d rather not take the money, especially when you think about it in hindsight.”
Omar’s book recommendation
He recommends The Latte Factor: Why You Don't Have to Be Rich to Live Rich by David Bach and John David Mann, which changed his mind about personal finance. He says it’s a great read for everyone, especially when it comes to understanding your own wealth.
“We’re not taught about the concept of compound interest in school and I think it’s one of the greatest concepts.”
What would he do differently?
We asked Omar what, if he could go back in time, he would do differently when it came to Slide.
“Remaining very focussed, because, sometimes, especially at an early stage, you have so many good ideas, but you cannot focus on everything. So it’s easy to be scattered.”
And the second thing he would change is about trusting himself. Omar explained that there were many people who wanted to guide the startup, but it was often in the wrong direction.
"Trust your gut, remain fearless, and just go for it. Fail as soon and as fast as you can.”