Khalid Parekh the Founder and CEO of Fair Fintech Inc raised $20 M for his neo-banking start-up ‘Fair’ launched in the US in April this year. Fair is a multilingual neo-banking and Digital Financial Service Platform.
Driven by value and ethical responsibility, the membership based neo bank will target immigrants and the ‘unbanked’ people in the US to address the racial wealth gap in the country. The company is aimed at helping recent immigrants with ethnic minority backgrounds, fresh off the boat. Fair calls itself pro-consumer, equity-based, mobile-first alternative to traditional banking. Asserting, it values people over profit. In a way sounding more like a people’s movement than a start-up. Khalid attributes his vision for the platform to the banking challenges and opportunity gaps he faced as an immigrant from India.
Educated at the National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT), Khalid did not fit the description of a typical Fintech entrepreneur. Having emigrated to the US with just hundred dollars he went on to head the AMSYS group, a raging success of a firm valued at $350M, making $155 M in annual revenue. After a successful stint at AMSYS, the next stop for Khalid Parekh was the Fintech sector.
Khalid was taken aback by the absolute lack of banking and financial services available to immigrants. He found it cold and brazen that immigrants were undervalued. He had a clear vision in mind, to offer ethical transparent banking and insurance, retirement services to immigrants, basically people with low income in the United States. Fair aspires to propagate, a fair chance to accessible wealth – to start a business, buy a home and to invest. This level playing ground would be the foundation for the new comers’ future.
With Fair, Khalid is working to close the immigrant wealth gap and to alleviate the dilemmas of people struggling to cope with an unfriendly financial model. He wants to help all newcomers to the US get access to credit, qualify for business loans, and keep away from getting debt trapped. It will be a boon to those who are new to the country, as they have no credit or need access to interest-free loans, they now have options.
How Fair will aim to differentiate itself?
A Costco-like Fintech model
Fair’s portfolio of services resembles a ‘Costco-like’ model. The company is immigrant market friendly which means that it will largely be pro-consumer and very different from a regular neo-bank.
Access to Banks and Retailers
Although Fair is making its way into an over-saturated challenger bank market, it will provide customers access to a network of banks and retailers like Walmart and CVS. Its portfolio of services also goes beyond banking.
Differentiated from a ‘Challenger Bank’
Fair is less of a ‘Challenger Bank’ and more of a finance platform where consumers can do banking, lending, investments, and retirement all in one place. Consumers can avail interest free loans, invest, obtain insurance, and opt for retirement plans from a single platform.
Sustainable financial services
Fair’s biggest differentiator is that they are facilitating Socially Responsible Investing for their consumers. Their customers can enjoy instant access to interest-free micro loans through Fair’s platform. Another major differentiator is that Fair also practises Environment, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) investing with a prime focus on sustainability.
Fair’s biggest differentiator is that they are facilitating Socially Responsible Investing for their consumers.
What’s in it for me?
The story of Fair and its founder shows how start-ups do not need to wait to receive funding from a VC. Fair obtained investors who connected with their story and weren’t necessarily full-fledged investors. Neo banking is a very hot sector in fintech currently. Even without a background or experience in finance, a good vision is all you need to build a fintech product/service that can address a real challenge in the fintech sector. Not to forget the biggest success stories in business has been those who were solution providers to a long existing problem. The membership model works very well in neo banking. Also, a lot of neo banks are targeting specific demographics just like Fair.