Behind Login: Competitor intelligence for fintech companies

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SETsquared Bristol

Behind Login has built a successful consultancy business to invest in its competitor intelligence platform for fintech companies. We had a chat with Founder and Director, Oliver Lane, to hear his story…

Oliver Lane in front of London skylineBehind Login key facts

  • Start date:  January 2022
  • Market sector: Market intelligence/competitor research within fintech
  • Location: Bristol
  • Number of employees: 7
  • Company growth status: Startup

In your own words what does Behind Login do?

Behind Login is a competitor intelligence platform. We remove the risks and pains associated with doing in-house competitor research within the fintech and financial services app market. We built the business based on challenges that our founding team and I had running financial services product management and mobile app teams in three key ways:

  1. Our competitor intelligence platform, ReleaseTrack, radar scans company communication such as App Store release notes, or social media posts to look for product updates such as new features or changes to pricing models.
  2. We can dive into these interesting insights through our global panel of research participants that are regular customers of different fintech platforms. We run UX research sessions with the panel to survey different features and functionality to get rich insights into how well different competitors and the general market are serving needs, and where opportunities exist.
  3. Our consultancy model delivers custom projects based on specific customer requirements and needs and our subscription product provides access to our competitor tracking technology and a regular feed of competitor UX insights.

Our core proposition is having feedback from real users who can articulate what they like and don’t like and where their needs are. We also get this element of personalisation that a lot of apps implement that you wouldn’t necessarily see through a one-off account. Our technology uses social listening where you can track customers’ keywords – we call it competitor listening. This is applied with a product and propositional lens to track how competitive products are evolving.

Why does competitor intelligence present a challenge for the financial sector?

Understanding your competitive landscape is key to building a product strategy and business operation that can mitigate risks of disruption from new startups and competitors, as well as to identify opportunities for innovation. My background is in strategy consulting for an app company and more recently within Hargreaves Lansdown where I led the mobile app team. Competitor intelligence was always a challenge for us; we’d download all these different competitor apps ourselves, using our own money, placing trades on accounts which are restricted by the FCA for Personal Account Dealing policies. We’d end up getting credit checked and needing to share personal information with our team, all to see what our competitors were doing. And even after that, the rate of innovation in the market meant that apps are updating every day or every week, so it was a real challenge to keep up. That was the catalyst for Behind Login.

How did you start your entrepreneurial journey?

My father is an entrepreneur, so I always had the ambition to build a company. I did my degree in business strategy at UWE and then got a job at a mobile app consulting company called Mubaloo     . So, I cut my tooth within that world working across various industries and business cases. Following that I moved to Hargreaves Lansdown and found there’s a consistent theme around understanding user needs and building products that solve problems for users.

It was a big jump and a lot of risk starting a business as it always is. But it felt like we as a founding team mitigated that risk as much as possible by validating our products in the market; understanding that there is a need and identifying a solution to solve that need. So, we just hit the ground running with a foundation of good knowledge and good relationships that we could leverage.

How has SETsquared Bristol helped?  

We joined the incubator very early in our journey. Our Entrepreneur in Residence has been absolutely fundamental in the ongoing success of the business. Whilst we had a good product and we knew it fitted in the market, the actual day to day operations of running a business from a startup perspective were very new to us. So having the guidance and help from SETsquared Bristol was fundamental in those first few months to become the successful business it is today.

Being able to dedicate time speaking to experts in their industry about challenges we had was super powerful and very helpful. From the weekly calls with our Entrepreneur in Residence who always have the answer, and plenty of examples of how they’ve solved that problem before, all the way through to the community, the events and the network. Also the workshops that SETsquared Bristol run for specific business challenges were invaluable, particularly in the early days when we were pre-revenue and building out the brand.

What clients/brands do you work with?

Within financial services we work with some of the big investing companies like Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor, Wealthify and Revolut, as well as some companies in the banking space such as Cleo, a popular app in the States. One of our first clients, AlphaStream, is a really interesting use case for our business model. They sell technology into investing or fintech platforms to help them better understand their customers, and then provide personalised user experiences through their technology. We work with them on benchmarking to understand how well current providers are delivering personalisation through their apps about their user experiences.

Traditionally we work with Product and Propositional Managers and User Experience Designers who are building products, providing them with market insights to help them build their roadmap, product strategy and content. We also work with Strategy Managers, who want to bring bigger organisations on a journey to understand the rapidly changing market and with marketing teams that are looking to build campaigns to demonstrate how their product is superior.

You’re an active blogger, podcaster and event speaker. What value is Behind Login seeing from this investment?

When we first launched, Behind Login was a people focussed brand rather than brand focussed. It was about building our reputation as individual founders which would enable people to trust us without a big backlog of case studies to leverage. The way to do that is by building a personal brand which is all about your name, thought leadership and being an expert in your industry. Our core marketing channels were blogging, podcasting and event speaking to deliver on that.

Blogging and podcasting is an easy way to bake content into every week to keep potential clients interested. Publishing a frequent blog gives people that touch point to check in with us, providing direct warm lead generation and lead maintaining. It’s also about building your network and talking to people in the industry that could become clients or partners.

Events are also a great way for us to build our client base and network. Speaking at events gets your name out there. You often get referenced in programmes and social media posts which prompts Linked In connections and networking. You also tend to get a free ticket, which is always nice!

What advice would you give to other tech founders looking to start a business?

‘The Innovators Sweet Spot’ concept looks at three specific areas within business models:

  1. User desirability – can you demonstrate that there is a desire from your potential customer base? Are you solving a problem?
  2. Commercial viability – can you solve this problem in a way that customers are willing to pay your price for it? Can you generate enough revenue to operate through your business model?
  3. Technical feasibility – can you technically solve the problem to meet that desirability at a commercially viable level?

Once you’ve answered those questions then you’ve almost validated your business model for launch. I’d absolutely encourage anyone to get stuck in and try it out, otherwise you might regret it forever! To quote from Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.

What’s next for Behind Login? 

Over the last 18 months we’ve built our business to a successful consultancy focused model where we leverage our technology throughout our consultancy projects. During this time we’ve been building up to creating a SaaS platform. We now want to put our efforts into building the software. And we’ve had some success so far, understanding what the product looks like, and asking for feedback to make sure the features resonate with our customers.

We recently won a competition for a free two week development sprint from a tech dev design agency called Hiyield, who have built the foundations of our platform. We now have all the foundations of our minimal viable product. So, we’re building the content around that and looking at building our marketing and sales team to push the platform into the financial services market.

In the future we want to broaden out into multiple geographies and industries where competitor research is challenging, such as the energy market, insurance or even dating.

We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to bootstrap our way to where we are and can afford to invest in the future.

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