When investing, your capital is at risk.
Millennials are projected to inherit $68 trillion by 2030, growing their wealth 5X.
Co-founders of Fortu Wealth Azamat Sultanov and Firdavs Shakhidi recognised a gap in the market – affluent individuals were in need of a product that would simplify payments and investments, all from one app with a clean and simple UX. So, they assembled a strong team of motivated and experienced professionals to create a unified, sleek platform that is designed for the wealthy millennial clients, as well as private banks, wealth managers, external asset managers and multi-family offices – servicing the needs of this new fast-growing client niche with a B2B SaaS solution.
We sat down with Azamat and Firdavs to find out more about the team, and their vision for the fintech space.
What does Fortu do?
We started the business with a clear vision for the private banking industry – one where it can adapt digital wallets to work alongside traditional bank accounts. We want to offer clients seamless access to alternative investment platforms and provide them freedom of payments and FX, all from one place.
What were you doing prior to starting Fortu?
We built our careers in financial services, and both have over a decade of experience in private banking. I graduated with a Masters in Finance from London Business School and my co-founder, Firdavs, did Economics at UCL. We have extensive knowledge and experience in compliance and risk management, a strong understanding of the issues present in the banking sector and regulatory trends, as well as a broad UHNWI client base. We previously managed a boutique asset management group with over US $500 million in AUM, working with various Swiss private banks such as UBS, EFG, Julius Baer and Pictet. These skills were highly translatable and valuable in starting a new venture to improve the financial experience for our clients.
How did you meet your core team members and how did you know they were the right fit to help get the business off the ground?
We’ve been close friends and business partners for a long time! Each business venture we’ve initiated together was created on a foundation of friendship and trust, which has allowed us to remain aligned in our vision for the business, and the decisions we make as it grows. We perfectly complement each others skillset.
What benefits does Fortu provide to users that allow you to maintain competitive advantage?
At Fortu, our goal is to upgrade private banking for millennial affluent individuals (HNWIs). We offer a number of features which serve to improve the experience for our users. The main value proposition is to save time and provide the best possible UX.
We currently aim to provide two accounts within one app – a UK digital account, and a Swiss private bank account. We will also give clients access to a robust multi-asset investment platform with AI-driven curated investment portfolio management. We carry out proactive risk management through real-time automated KYC and AML and facilitate quick and easy payments as well as reporting solutions for family offices. Moreover, every Fortu client has a dedicated personal account manager who they can reach out to 24/7, through our app-based customer service solution.
What have been the most significant growth milestones so far?
In the first three quarters of 2020, we developed and launched the beta version of our Fortu Wealth mobile app and a desktop version of the application with the most essential features. We have started beta-testing, and are actively gathering feedback to improve our product iterations and ensure we deliver the best experience possible for users.
In the third quarter of 2020, we generated our first revenues in the amount of £72K ARR. We have already secured partnerships with the top service providers for payment and compliance services, including payment solutions, FX, KYC and AML screening. We’re also currently cooperating with a Swiss banking group as a pilot customer as part of the beta testing for our B2B SaaS product. We’ve managed to gain a lot of interest from institutional investors and leading VCs that are aiming to participate in the next round.
What are you most looking forward to in the immediate future?
We’ll soon be deploying our first pilot with the private banking SaaS client, and shortly after will launch our full-suite wealth management platform. In the long term, our ultimate goal is to become a licensed digital private bank. We’re currently in the process of submitting an application for an EMI license. For now, we can operate as FCA-regulated EMD agent of Modulr FS Ltd. We are currently well positioned to become a leading software provider for external asset managers, wealth managers and private banks.
What will be the greatest challenge going forward?
As with any business, there will be a lot of challenges along the way, but I would say the biggest will be building the best UX experience for millennial HNWIs. This will require applying feedback from our customers and assessing the rapidly evolving needs of the market to ensure we consistently deliver quality product iterations. Fortunately, We have a very strong tech team dedicated to building a product that we believe will get a lot of traction and achieve scalability in this market.
What are your immediate plans with the proceeds from this round?
We are going to invest raised funds to gain more traction, which would lead us to a sizable series A round.
What do you anticipate your exit strategy will be?
We anticipate that Fortu will most likely become an acquisition target for major SaaS players and major private banks.
What’s the number one thing you learned in starting a business?
You have to be ready for everything and continue moving forward, no matter how many times you hear “no”.
What do you think are the most important skills in starting a fintech company?
Industry knowledge, and the grit to just go and do it.
What are you doing when you’re not working?
We greatly enjoy spending time with kids, playing football, travelling and reading.
To find out more about Fortu, visit the pitch now.