The world's most accessible economic system: Secure infrastructure for Colaborative Commerce and Market Development

The world's most accessible economic system: Secure infrastructure for Colaborative Commerce and Market Development

The Entire Country (and South Pacific), TongaPalo Alto, United States
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Scaling
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

KlickEx is the platform to enable mobile phones in any emerging market to be direct extensions of centralbank clearing, integrating global, local payments, now.

Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In mobile banking, there is only BICS which is a colaborative framework for financial interchange. SWIFT-REMIT is a gateway to mobile phone technology - but has banking side barriers. CurrencyFair and TransferWISE on the banking side are market competitors - but only KlickEx is combining a friction free banking system, with agnostic Mobile Technology. Companies like Monetise have architecture based around supporting basic banking style infrastructure, and PayPal certainly has the capability to provide this service if their technology could be adjusted. There are some other very large operators in the market but we are looking at vendoring our technology to enable their costs to come down and for them to reach more people by combining branch/agent locations with mobile technology.
Team

Founding Story

We have so many "ah-ha" moments that they are hard to remember! KlickEx seems like such an obvious solution: To financialise the mobile networks to banking grade security is less hard to do that financialising internet banking transactions. The greatest moment was when we did our very first transfer - it was after all the banks had closed, in both Australia and New Zealand - however, using our system, we were still able to take money from NZD (a bank called Kiwibank) and place it into an Australian Bank (Commonwealth Bank of Australia) - when both their foreign exchange desks had closed, and their international payments facilities (via their own websites/internet banking) were offline. That was a glorious moment. There never really was a pre-deployment "ah-huh" moment, because everyone assumes this can be done - but everyone knows the "non ah-ha" feeling every time you make an interantional payment: the "it costs HOW much, and takes HOW long?" outrage. We simply solved that.
About You
Organization:
KlickEx, the Joint Venture trial the program in the Pacific. This award can either got to KlickEx - or to a new JV
About You
First Name

Robert

Last Name

Bell

About Your Organization
Organization Name

KlickEx, the Joint Venture trial the program in the Pacific. This award can either got to KlickEx - or to a new JV

Organization Country

, CA, Palo Alto, Santa Clara County

Country where this project is creating social impact

, V, The Entire Country (and South Pacific)

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

In October 2011, KlickEx won the New Zealand based, Auckland University Business School Entrepreneur's Challenge

In December 2011, KlickEx was recognized for outstanding contribution to the Pacific Community - in London, UK, by the Financial World Innovation Awards - as overall winner of the 2011 Best Payments Initiative category

In 2011 - KlickEx partnered with the UNDP and EU funded Pacific Financial Inclusion Program, to extend services throughout the pacific; with the assistance of the New Zealand and Australian Governments.

May 2012: Robert Bell, announced as the winner of the NZ Hi-Tech Yong Achiever of the Year, and KlickEx named as Highly Commended in the Category of Best new Software, and Best Service Product categories for work commencing 2007-2011.

June 2012: The Vision of Banking, by Robert Bell (KlickEx) was voted by a business and media audience of over 600 people and a venture capital panel as the "most likely to succeed" innovation in mobile technology of 2012, at Launch:Silicon Valley annual start-up function; held at the Microsoft Campus, Mountain View, California.

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Innovation
How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Cost.

Social Impact
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve

It is nearly impossible to send money from one side of the world, to the other, in real time. Only one bank is close – HSBC (One of the World’s largest most international banks) – but you must have USD 100,000 minimum balance, eliminating 98% of the population, as it is only available for HSBC’s high net worth clients (and not corporates).

The costs of banking systems has not followed the lead of pricing drops that have been demonstrated by mobile operators. A 10 minute international call in 1990 may have cost up to $35. Today, it might cost as little as 3.5c.

Integrating banking platforms, and mobile payment deployments, and activating mobile/encashment agent networks has been equally challenging to impact positively due to poor architecture.

Peopole need financial connection.

Which barrier(s) to financial inclusion does your solution seek to address? (select all applicable)

Physical and other accessibility obstacles that prevent communities from reaching financial services, The lack of affordable financial products tailored to the needs of underserved and excluded communities,, Powerful incentives for financial service providers to move up-market, Other (Please describe below).

If you selected 'other' above, please specify which other barriers to financial inclusion you solution seeks to address:

Rapid, multi-carrier, bank agnostic mobile payments. Proven impossible in most markets, highly successful wherever we've deploye

For which underserved or excluded communities will your solution create access to valuable, affordable, secure and comprehensive financial services?

Mostly rurual poputlations who are remittance dependant. They recieve the highest improvement in access.

However, all remittance dependant communities/individuals, or small businesses with cross-border requirements, or the requirement to be able to pay/receive, manage regional currencies from their mobile phone (without expensive fees to get if from their phone, to a creditors bank).

From agents and small shop keepers who do not want to risk handling cash in remote regions - or people who have no access to safe saving products, or who wish to build a tangible record of savings ability, and the benefits of saving itself - KlickEx is the answer.

Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?

The soultion is currently deployed in the South Pacific. This was probably the hardest geography to deploy it - which was why we cholse it as the trial region. The technology is far more suited to regions with large populations, and constant commerce at scale, for example, South Asia, South East Asia, Central Asia, Central America (All Lating America for that matter).

The way this technology works, the more regions it is deployed in, the more liquid the markets become, and thereafter, the more useful it is to people in all the world.

We already have the software presentable in about 21 languages (only 3 are used at this stage, the primary one being English - but it already is deployed in Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Thai, French, German, and many others).

KlickEx can work anywhere that has either a central bank, or a commercial bank, and mobile phone coverage. In the Pacific, it's displacing barter, as an economic means of exchange. So it really can go anywhere.

If your solution is dramatically successful, how will things be different in 10 years?

People will not need to spend time as if there were finacial barriers between counrties. Any currency would be readily, and instantly convertable into another currency (and back) without losses in exchange rates, service fees or time delays.

Everybody with a mobile phone, will have instant access to connect with every other cellphone user (or bank account holder) to pay, send, receive, invoice, or collect payments for commodities, general goods and services, basic investment products (savings/loans, bonus bonds, insurance, healthcare).

Gone is the time where commerce requires physical investment in visits to the bank (if there is one in the region) or Western Union branches. Gone are the days where money is stored under mattresses (which is useless to the economy, and an inefficient form of insurance) - a country of 100M people (like the Philipines) even $10 per person moved into mobile/electronic deposits can add a billion dollars to the country's banking capital.

What will have had to have changed to make this happen?

This is already beginning to happen! We've started the process in Samoa, Fiji, Tonga - Hundreds of thousands of dollars are held inside our mobile money programs - representing $1 or $2 per capita at this stage, and we've been going less than a year. We're nearly 10% of our way towards our goal.

Already, the regulatory frameworks are changing. We have already tested the technology - and learned the ways to make remote banking, and urban banking by phone, convenient, fast, secure, and fun. It's not essential, but we've deployed bio-metric scanners to identify users in New Zealand and Tonga - NFC (Near Field Communications) are active for international remittances in Tonga, as are "International Bill Payment" services in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga - enabling friends and family in New Zealand and Australia to pay school fees, utility bills, and more, without about 90% of the costs that existed before hand.

To bring this to the world we need just ONE bank account, in every country.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Costs in the pacific have dropped from 18% to 6% (Refer to the world bank statistices for this) since we engaged the market. We operate at about 2%-5% costs - but the bigger impact has been the option (which never before existed) for consumers to negotiate with banks and existing providers about the price - because they had the alternative (of using KlickEx) to negotiate with - which is exactly the reason the United Nations Development Program granted funding in 2011 - to remain as an alternative.

Savings on this basis are about $1m per week our of a total fee pool of about $3m per week in fees. We would like to get this up to $2m per week saved (which would be an increase of nearly 15% in the money per week landing in the pockets of recipients (in terms of a direct contribution to gross domestic purchasing power, since before we started).

At a central level, having nearly frictionless cross border transfers takes pressure of central banks to combine currencies - enabling stabili

What is your projected impact over the next five years?

We can do the same thing, for 30 other countries.

So far, we have impacted countries with a target population base of 500,000 people. We would like to take this service to areas with over 500 million people. It is realitively easy, and inexpensive to deploy, compared to the public benefits derived from a low friction regional transaction system.

I am actually targeing 70 other countries, but 30 is a good place to start. My current team of 6 manages deployments in 10 countries, but is at the limit. We probably need 20 people to manage 30 countries, and probably 30 people to manage 70 countries.

Doing so, provides so many layers of enhanced commerce that it is hard to quantify the benefits (like quantifing the benefits of the internet) - perhaps recuding by 10% the $700b in FX fees.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Prior to date, the biggest hurdle was people believing that we can do what we say can be done.

Now that we've been in market, and proven the service, people are realising that we are the go-to service in this field.

Our small team is challenged by the demand for the product, and it is hard for us to concentrate on uptake potential (which will always be faster in poorer areas, where the service makes a bigger difference) and income potential (wealthier markets make more money per transaction for the comppany).

The regulatory sign-off practices lag technical development expansion by about 30%.

The solution is to partner with banks, and other NGO operators to ensure that the technology is both utilised, and scrutinised efficiently so that deployment is fast in other regions to

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Deploy in three additional emmerging market countries

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Establish Local regional office (4-6 weeks)

Task 2

Initiate regulatory/agency services or partnerships (2-10 weeks)

Task 3

Initiate and deploy technology (10 -30 days).

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Expand to 10 countries within that region.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Additional regulatory and commercial agency/advocacy relationships (1-3 months)

Task 2

Deploy in new countries (10 - 30 days)

Task 3

Reach 1.5% critical customer adoption - "break-through level" is 1% - but we broke through that "barrier" inside 6 months.

Sustainability
Tell us about your partnerships

Digicel Mobile Money - one of the world's most successful and sustainable bank-to-mobile cross border platforms.

Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your innovation? If so, where and why?

Not yet. We know there is massive demand - but we're working on being profitable in the Pacific first, before we invest in other areas. The last thing the world needs is for us to go out of business and or be bought up by an operator who need to generate short term income/profit streams.

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

Small team, smart team, very driven, very experienced, and all have been in this business for years and years.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Our biggest hurdle remains that people don't believe that we can do what we do - they think it sounds too good to be true. Despite all the awards, the commercial success, the NGO recognition -- potential partners still seem to believe that we are an anomoly from the south pacific. We know this isn't true - as we already operate in the UK; and only lack resources to expand on a "free to all" basis.