The Divido platform processed its very first transaction in September 2015, so I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on our journey so far and share why we are so excited about the next five years.
Divido is a whitelabel platform for retail finance, enabling customers to spread the cost of a purchase over a period of time. It is licenced by retailers that want to connect to multiple lenders and lenders that want to launch or improve their retail finance for their customers.
I started the company with my two co-founders Anders Hallsten and Fredrik Borgquist and, whilst we had a very strong conviction about our vision of creating the world’s most global platform for retail finance, we didn’t realise at the time quite how well we had predicted the rapid rise in demand.
The Divido story is a story about growth; not just in terms of number of clients, markets and revenue but also the caliber of people that now share our vision. We have grown ten times, from five to 50 employees, attracting talent from other high-growth fintechs such as MarketInvoice and GoCardless as well as corporates like Mastercard and JP Morgan. In addition, we have secured the financial backing from the same investors that also spotted the now fintech unicorns that became Transferwise, Revolut and iZettle.
And we are just getting started. According to McKinsey, point-of-sale finance is the fastest growing type of credit in the US, and Accenture asserted that the space represents US$1.8 trillion in that territory alone.
Even Covid has failed to slow the freight down, instead supercharging the need for our platform; from consumers, to retailers to lenders.
Divido started out life working with a fantastic group of small and medium enterprises and we wouldn’t be where we are on our journey without them. Last year, we took a significant step-change – opting to push Divido to the next phase of our journey. This meant shifting our focus to some of the largest retailers and lenders in the world.
Of course, this change in direction meant some considerable reflection for us internally as we now had to ready ourselves with a product and adjacent services in line with enterprise-ready business standards. And the pivot has certainly paid off! Our Powered by Divido white-label retail finance solution launched last year to great interest from tier-one lenders and global retail giants; snatching awards and generating exciting new customers, as we take the Divido business into the next five years of major growth.
As a technology company we never stand still because we can’t afford to!
As we began our journey to license and whitelabel our platform for lenders it was clear to us that all lenders weren’t created equally. Some required a decision engine, others just a hosted application journey. Regardless of what the lender required, we realised that modularising our platform was key. Whereas our monolith platform was built for scale and served us well, like many other tech companies, we had to embark on a microservice quest. The new microservices environment makes our platform even more reliable but also allows us to offer different modules to different clients more easily. It has been a game changer for us as a company as we serve larger and larger enterprise clients.
With the microservices environment came another important technology decision, where our clients weren’t satisfied with a joint tenant environment. Our infrastructure team has been hard at work enabling single-tenancy hosting for our services. Another crucial step for us to stay ahead of the security and privacy requirements of our clients.
But we are not stopping at microservices in single tenancy environments. For one, we understand that we need to support more cloud providers and, as such, that is on our roadmap. But even more importantly, to seize our product vision of becoming a Global Standard in point-of-sale finance we also need to standardise our lender and partner APIs. We have already done so for our Merchant APIs but this next step will allow our clients and third parties to integrate more efficiently and securely with us. This will significantly cut our timelines to get clients live and transacting.
As our business moved forward to licensing our technology and products to enterprise clients, it was clear that our UX needed to evolve, too. Many of our front-end tools were designed and built for internal Divido users, which meant, as is often the case, they had been neglected. Now that some of the largest lenders and retails in the world, we had to address this issue. Where our functionality stood the test, our UX didn’t.
At Divido, we serve three distinctly different user groups; lenders, merchants and consumers. Each requires something different from us and it was clear that, before we redesigned individual products, we needed to get one uniform design language implemented. Therefore we created the Divido open-source UI Library. Once we had a shared library ready, we set to work; improving one product at a time, always with the aim of delivering what our customers needed.
We began with the Merchant Portal, worked on our consumer Application Journey and landed on the Lender Portal. As a result users can now benefit from a consistent and best-in-class user experience, with enhanced insights and reporting. And the UI library makes it so straightforward to roll out our new products.