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Although fintech firms like Prosper and Robinhood are often credited with making financial services more accessible to a wider array of customers, there is another critical player driving the connection between fintech lenders and their customers.
Even Financial is one such company. Through its API, Even Financial touches nearly every aspect of consumer financial services. Because of the variety of relationships that intersect its platform, Even Financial this month announced the hire of a new Chief Revenue Officer, ad tech veteran Chris Scott, former SVP, Global RTB at Criteo and VP, Publisher Development at Admeld/Google.
Benzinga sat down with Scott shortly after the announcement to learn about the new role, his previous work and why the introduction of a CRO is such a big leap forward for Even Financial and its partners.
Benzinga: To start, could you tell us a little about Even Financial?
Chris Scott: Even is a B2B2C fintech company that is evolving the way financial institutions find and connect with consumers. We aim to solve a significant pain point in financial services acquisition, or how financial services companies find new customers, by seamlessly connecting supply and demand via our API.
With “supply” I’m referring to lead-generation sources—the thousands of places online consumers end up looking for financial products. This could be content such as Money Under 30, financial management tools such as Empower, or sites that offer credit card comparisons such as Credit Sesame. And “demand” refers to financial institutions, which sell hundreds of billions in financial products to consumers every year—everything from personal loans, to credit cards, mortgages, etc. The bottom line is the demand side of the equation, say Marcus by Goldman Sachs, has a strong interest in connecting with the consumers on the supply side—for example, millennials reading an article about high-yield online savings accounts—that are likely to be strong prospects.
So, the Even platform serves as a data-driven marketplace between supply and demand, allowing financial institutions to access our vast network and target those prospective customers in the right place and at the right time. Sometimes, I like to refer to our platform as the “brain” in the middle that can manage everything for our partners including multiple different types of financial products, approval processes, and compliance needs, for example. And we do this in a way that is completely native, programmatic, and personalized, which ultimately allows financial institutions to build profitable portfolios and supply partners to increase their monetization. And, most importantly, consumers enjoy an optimal experience with the ability to search, compare, and get matched with the financial products they need through Even’s recommendation engine.
Interestingly, there are a number of similarities to the technology and business models at the ad tech firms I worked at earlier in my career such as Criteo, Google, and Taboola. All of these companies are digital marketplaces that connect supply and demand through with an intelligent platform that leverages technology, data, and scale.
BZ: Do you see a lot of parallels between what Even is doing and what’s going on in other industries that are increasingly focused on reaching customers online or on their phones?
Scott: Tech-enabled marketplaces have certainly led to the digital transformation of a number of industries over the past two decades. For so much of what we do today—from hailing a cab, to ordering takeout, to booking a vacation—our first stop is a digital marketplace, in these cases Lyft, DoorDash, or Expedia. Marketplace businesses work because they drive efficiencies and ultimately deliver a better experience for the customer. They allow multiple buyers and suppliers to find one another, interact, and transact on one platform. In addition, when a marketplace platform also has data and insights capabilities, as Even does, the platform is able to provide even more value for all stakeholders with real-time analysis and machine learning predictive capabilities.
In fact, when Phill Rosen, Even’s Founder and CEO, first started the company, he took inspiration from game-changing marketplaces such as ITA, which revolutionized the travel industry, and DoubleClick, which transformed digital advertising. For example, ITA, which is now owned by Google, completely changed how people book travel with its airfare search and pricing software, which, by the way, is still the backbone of most travel and airline websites. Back in the day before ITA, you might remember that if you wanted to book a flight, you essentially had to go through the onerous and expensive process of calling a travel agent and then relying on them to see what flight options you had. ITA changed all of this by creating a tech-enabled platform that connected consumers (the buyers) with the suppliers (the online travel agencies and airlines) and gave consumers the ability to search for, compare, and ultimately purchase travel on their own.
Similarly, with Even, we aspire to completely evolve how financial institutions find and connect with consumers and how consumers search for, compare, and ultimately access the financial services they need by leveraging the power of our AI-powered marketplace.
BZ: As the company's first CRO, what will your focus be?
Scott: It’s an exciting time in Even’s development. Over the past 12 months our network has grown by 250% and we’ve expanded our financial services verticals to include personal loans, credit card, and savings, with more on the way. What this means is that our business has increased tremendously not just in size but also in complexity. So, as CRO, I’ll be focused on working with our management team to ensure we’re able to scale and manage this growth sustainably by constantly outperforming on our customer and partner needs.
This means managing our entire revenue stack from business development to sales, to account management so our partners have a seamless and integrated experience. Since the Even platform, like most marketplace businesses, has strong network effects—meaning that the platform becomes more valuable to users as more people and companies use it—extending the reach of our network will also be a focus. Finally, as I’ve learned from my adtech experience, if you can really understand your customers’ needs, as well as the challenges and opportunities they are facing, you’re much better situated to offer the right solutions and help them stay one step ahead. With this in mind, I’ll also be focused on working with my colleagues across engineering, product development, and marketing to ensure we’re continually innovating and enhancing so Even remains a partner of choice.
BZ: What’s ahead for Even in the next 12 months?
Scott: We have big plans for Even over the next year focused on growing capabilities, scale, and talent. In addition to our personal loan, credit card, and savings verticals we will soon be rolling out solutions for mortgage, insurance, and student loans. These new solutions are being developed as a direct result of the demand from our financial institution partners, which, in many cases, started with us in one vertical and have grown from there. In addition, while the majority of our supply and demand partners access the Even platform via our API today, we’re also building out a SaaS offering, which will allow for large companies to bring a wide variety of financial services products to their customers while managing direct relationships and keeping the economics. Finally, we’re proud to be growing our team yet again. We’ve tripled the size of our staff over the past year and will open a San Francisco office and expand our New York headquarters in the coming months.
© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
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