Two sides of the same coin: an interview with the director and CEO of Birdee
Catégorie : News
Publication date : 15/03/2019
If I can say one thing for the men behind Birdee, it’s this: they keep me well-fed. I meet Birdee’s director Gaël Minon for lunch in Bastille, an artsy area in the right-bank of Paris. Later, I meet CEO Geoffroy de Schrevel for my favourite time of the day: the after-work aperitive in historic Montparnasse. Meeting them both in the space of a day, it occurs to me how these two make a killer combination, Gaël speaking in his native French is quick and buzzing with ideas, he appears easily metaphorical, futuristic and seeming in love with the possibilities technology can bring us. Polo neck-clad, I am reminded of a young Steve Jobs, tall and in stylish trainers, as if he could belong anywhere. Geoffroy, looking fresh faced after working in South-East Asia arrived exclaiming he had: ‘two weeks, no beer no meat!’ After this, when we talk he pauses before speaks, reflecting. We speak in English and our conversation became quickly heartfelt with quite an impassioned sense of belief that investment possibilities should be available to everyone. With his natural rhetoric, the buzz of the restaurant is turned down and I feel absorbed and excited by what he is saying.
What unites the two is a visionary approach to money. They both believe in choice and financial freedom, hence the name: Birdee. Both noting that: ‘the name Birdee means financial freedom, money is freedom, liberty, that’s why we called it Birdee, free as a bird…that’s what we want for our customers, for whatever comes next..
Here are the two conversations:
- What advice would you give to a first-time investor?
It’s simple, just start. If you think of the example of going running, the most difficult thing is getting out the door. Once you’ve started though, you train and build up your stamina. It’s enough just to start and with Birdee that’s possible.
- On the Birdee app you can try out a simulation of investing before trying it for real, why have you developed this feature?
For people who aren’t yet at ease with investing, at Birdee we give them the possibility to test the whole app, for free, as if they’ve invested, which gives them a chance to understand what is behind it all, how it works and that it’s not as complicated as they might have imagined.
- Who are Birdee’s customers?
Thankfully the middle ages are behind us finally and this notion that only white men of a certain age and background are the ones who should invest is also long gone. We are open to anyone who is curious to try, including women and including young people or any first-time investor.
- How did the idea for Birdee come about?
The idea for Birdee really came from the fact that we had developed the technology, the technology was there before the idea. The technology was essentially sold to financial institutions, and we wanted to see to it that this technology could be directly offered to end clients, to the people. All the benefits that technology brings would directly go to our customers. This is important because I firmly believe, that everyone who has earned money with sweat and difficulty, has the right to make the most of it. And those who take advantage of this, taking a large chunk of people’s money, well I don’t like this.
I want to make sure that the maximum of the value created by technology is directly given back to people, any kind of person, particularly those who were not served well by financial institutions in the past. Not that the people who worked for such institutions didn’t want to help, the system didn’t allow them, with this new technology the system can change. The whole thing of fintech, this new financial technology is inclusion, the innovation in technology has to benefit especially people who were excluded from a number of services before. That’s why we founded Birdee.
- The Birdee app also invites you to answer questions on the type of investor you are, according to your personality why is this useful for clients to know?
You want to put or invest your money in a way that corresponds to your needs, your expectations, your fears. You want an investment that doesn’t keep you awake at night when things go rough. But if you do like the roller-coaster ride, we have a portfolio for that as well. So, everybody’s different and there’s something to suit these differences.
- What advice would you give to a first-time investor?
Don’t believe that finances are complicated! Finances are complicated essentially because people want to make it complicated to extract value out of that complication, through jargon or over-complicating the processes, we’re made to believe that it is difficult and thereby we need to pay someone a large fee. You do not need to be an expert and you don’t need to take risks you don’t understand. You can go to solution providers and advisors who tell you in plain English what is happening. Finance is not rocket science!
The second advice is start small, invest small amounts but regularly. Invest regularly a small amount of money, this is even better than investing one large amount once. And a small amount of money could be 10, 20 Euros. Yes, take care of the pennies the pounds take care of themselves.You may invest for the long term and be patient. Or you may have dreams and projects that you want to fulfill more rapidly. You will invest differently. We made sure Birdee has solutions for both.
- What is your proudest achievement at Birdee up until now?
The fact that the number of women using Birdee has doubled and is still increasing. This is important as most of the time everyday finances is taken care by women and yet investments are usually taken care of by men. That we have managed to get a substantially higher number of women than is usually the case, is a reason to be very proud. We want to be more and more relevant to those who usually have the feeling they don’t belong to the world of investment.
What would you do if you had financial freedom? Put your running shoes on, peek at look at Birdee, the hardest part is taking the first step.
Gabrielle Tekerian – Content Writer