“Never give up”: Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia discusses launching a startup in lockdown 

By Aisling Finn on Thursday 1 July 2021

Digital Banking

Snoop’s Executive Chair and former Virgin Money CEO discusses all things fintech, open banking and looking to the future.

“Never give up”: Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia discusses launching a startup in lockdown 
Image source: Jayne-Anne Gadhia/Snoop

Most of us are bored of hearing this by now, but the last 18 months truly have been unprecedented. 

We’ve seen fintech funding explode, with more and more fintechs raising mega-rounds of $500m+, and consumers shift to digital at a rate no one anticipated would happen for years to come.

But, what is it like to actually launch a fintech in the most unprecedented year on record? AltFi sat down with Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia at the AltFi Festival of Finance 2021 last week to hear all about it.

Starting blocks

Snoop is a financial management app that can help consumers save up to £1,500 per year by using open banking to look at their outgoings and see where they can find cheaper deals.

The app, spearheaded by former Virgin Money boss Gadhia, has seen more than 250,000 downloads since it first launched, three months ahead of schedule, last April. 

Taking a number of her former Virgin Money colleagues with her to start their own fintech, Gadhia had all the building blocks to do it, she just needed the funding. 

The executive chair of Snoop exclusively revealed that the fintech is soon to close its Series A funding round, topping up an already impressive £19m raised to date. 

With the upcoming Series A, Gadhia also revealed that the latest pot of cash will help fund the fintech through to breakeven with its current trajectory. 

As it stands, Snoop can see over 270m banking transactions totalling more than £32bn in customer spend, not bad for a fintech that’s just over a year old. 

Another testament to its popularity, the average Snoop user spends 30 minutes on average per month on Snoop and more than two million ‘Snoops’ (the term Snoop describes as the money-saving hacks it provides) have been opened and read by its users. 

Fintech all the way

After a 35-year-long career in ‘big finance’, first at Aviva and later at Virgin Money, Gadhia decided that it was about time to break out on her own and launch her own company.

“The best thing I ever did was to launch my own business and for it to be a fintech,” Gadhia said.

The Snoop co-founder revealed last week that many friends had warned her off her new venture, “What on earth is she doing that for?” one investment banker friend remarked.

But, it’s one thing to launch a fintech and a whole different kettle of fish to launch one three months early and in the midst of a global pandemic.

Gadhia said the biggest lesson she’s learned over the past year and a half is “Never give up,” with friends dissuading her from doing so she certainly had her work cut out for her.

“Never let the problems divert you. Just see them as building blocks to help you build something better,” Gadhia added.

Grand Plan

Looking forward, Gadhia has big plans for Snoop.

The fintech has already had offers from big players across Europe, the US and the Middle East—reports swirled in December 2020 that MoneySuperMarket was ‘snooping’ around Snoop.

Before even looking at an exit strategy, Gadhia has plans for international expansion and to grow Snoop’s current offering.

“Our capabilities are growing and our customers are growing with it. We’ve started Snoop but there’s so much more to go,” Gadhia said.

The finance veteran is also keen to peddle the importance of open banking, something that Snoop relies so heavily on.

“The open banking capability is something that we’ve only just scratched the surface as a finance sector yet on the benefits that it can bring to customers. We need to make open banking more famous and then we can move towards open finance,” she added.

Just 15 months on, Gadhia’s fintech has well and truly found its feet, with future funding and even profitability on the horizon.

It’s safe to say that we’ll definitely be snooping on Snoop for the foreseeable.

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