Banking Interviews Mobile Banking

Global Fintech Interview with Michael Rangel, Co-founder and CEO at Novo

Michael-Rangel

Please tell us about your role and the team / technology you handle at Novo.

I’m the CEO and co-founder of Novo. In this role, I work closely with all of our department heads across product development, client services, operations, marketing, and finance teams to ensure that we are providing our SMB customers with the best possible digital banking experience. 

What is Novo and how does it fit into the modern fintech ecosystem?

Novo launched in 2018 to give SMBs across the US a powerfully simple digital banking platform. Novo now serves more than 70,000 small business customers across the U.S., and has processed more than $1.2 billion in transactions.

Recently, Novo has been recognized as CNBC’s Best Business Checking Accounts of March 2021, and Money Magazine’s Best Business Checking Accounts of 2021. I think a big reason for Novo’s success is how well we’ve been able to connect the modern fintech ecosystem. 

Novo couples an incredibly intuitive digital banking interface with partnerships that save small businesses money, invoicing and budgeting tools that simplify their finances, e-commerce integrations that streamline their cashflow, and a dedicated support team that’s ready to help at a moment’s notice. On top of all of this, Novo is free! Small business owners have a commitment from Novo that there will never be hidden fees, maintenance fees, unexpected charges.

Tell us how you help SMBs meet modern standards of banking and digital payments.

Many digital banking platforms for small businesses feature limited functionality when it comes to integrating with e-commerce platforms, difficult-to-use interfaces, high fees for maintenance or ATM usage. Small businesses have switched to Novo because we’re at the forefront of standards of SMB digital banking and payments.

Novo’s digital-first banking platform offers robust functionality and an intuitive interface for accepting payments — completely free of charge and without minimum balance requirements. To give you a sense of what small businesses can do with Novo, here are four capabilities we’ve launched in 2021: 

  • Novo Invoicing for creating and managing an unlimited number of invoices.

  • Novo Reserves for building a rainy day fund or planning for larger capital expenses.

  • Stripe, Shopify, and Square E-Commerce Integrations for tracking monthly sales metrics as well as the status of payouts from Shopify or Square to Novo accounts.

  • Self Service Capabilities for disputing transactions, requesting a new Novo debit card, and adding a Novo card to Apple or Google Pay.

Fintech is one of the most proliferated data science marketplace. How does NOVO use data science, analytics and AI?

There are three key ways Novo leverages data science and analytics:

First and foremost, Novo uses data science and analytics to build a better banking experience for our customers by analyzing and evaluating their business needs. Second, Novo uses data science and analytics to protect customer accounts from suspicious activity and fraudulent transactions. Lastly, data science and analytics play a crucial role in allowing Novo to understand how our customers are using our products, which helps us decide how we can continue to build features that can help their businesses succeed. 

Tell us more about your approach to adoption of data privacy and cybersecurity frameworks? How do such steps benefit customers?

Novo strongly believes that our customers own their data and Novo is simply a custodian of it, the same way banks hold money for their customers. This means that Novo never sells customer data, and also fortifies its systems to prevent data breaches.

The other half of that obligation is allowing our customers to securely access their data when they need it to help run their businesses. Novo creates deep integrations with providers like Plaid that enable Novo users to consent to data being shared with other apps they use and have the ability to revoke authorization as well. 

Your predictions on the future of banking, especially in the pandemic-hit regions.

The post-pandemic future of small business banking isn’t just helping small businesses keep their money safe — it’s creating a solution that truly helps small businesses save money, streamline their finances, and improve cashflow. Let me take a moment to touch on how the future of small business banking will help small businesses accomplish both:

Saving money: For small business owners, the most valuable commodity they have is their time. If you have a digital banking platform that allows small business owners to accomplish their banking tasks in minutes, right from their phone, they will have more time to focus on their business goals. In the future, I imagine the vast majority of small business owners will never go into a branch, and will also be able to open a new checking account in a matter of minutes instead of days.

Streamlining finances: Business owners often use myriad applications for different financial tasks, such as creating invoices or creating financial reports. The future of SMB banking will be one where all small business owners have a centralized place to conduct the majority of their financial tasks. 

Improving cashflow: As we look toward the future of small business banking, one area that particularly intrigues me — and an area that our company is actively working on — is how technology can help small businesses improve cash flow. For instance, if a banking platform can help connect disparate fintech applications in a way that helps speed up payments for a small business, the small business will have an opportunity to use that money more quickly for things like payroll or capital expenditures.

Michael Rangel, CEO and Founder of Novo, has more than a decade of experience in finance and banking. Prior to founding Novo, Rangel served as the lead trade administrator and operations for Fairholme Capital Management. He holds a B.B.A. in Finance & Entrepreneurship from the University of Miami Herbert Business School.

Novo

Since launching in 2018, tens of thousands of small business owners have signed up for Novo’s powerfully simple small business banking platform. Novo processed more than $600 million in customer transactions in 2020, and was named one of the Best Business Checking Accounts of 2021 by Money magazine. Small businesses have switched to Novo because of its robust functionality, intuitive interface, and commitment to no hidden fees. To learn more about the features and perks that make Novo a leading digital banking platform for small businesses.

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