Todd Latham joined Divido in April 2022 and is already making a huge impact at a critical time for the retail finance sector. Only six weeks into the job, we asked him what it was like to be at the helm of one of Europe’s fastest growing tech companies, and to hear his thoughts on Divido’s product, its customers, culture and company. Here’s what he had to say…
Congratulations on your first six weeks at Divido! How are you finding things so far?
I’m tremendously excited to have landed at Divido. The company has a huge amount of potential in a really exciting space, and that space is becoming more relevant than ever.
What I love most about the company is the people, the culture, our customers and our partners – we’re already working with a really cool bunch of people, and I think that speaks volumes for how successful the company will be in the future.
You’re no stranger to the world of finance, having joined us from a successful UK fintech. What have you identified about Divido’s product that really excites you?
Divido has some really great tech. Our platform is cloud native, which allows us to move fast and scale quickly, helping us to stay agile as a business. It’s also really secure, giving added peace of mind to lenders, retailers and customers.
But the thing I really love about Divido’s product is the way it builds connections. It connects customers with the finance they need to make their dreams come true – and those dreams become stories. Picture the parents who want to buy mountain bikes for their family holiday, but don’t have the cash available there-and-then. With Divido, they can spread the cost and take that once-in-a-lifetime holiday, guilt-free.
The human stories that sit behind what we do are incredibly powerful, and that’s what I think makes this company so great.
You’ve joined at a truly exciting time – Divido has recently secured a $30m investment through Series B funding. How do you plan to make best use of it?
We’re a growing fintech company, so we need to invest heavily in our product in return for future growth. That’s why we’re currently focused on building our capabilities, connecting to more lenders and retailers, and building a high-growth, high-performance business.
To that end, we have recently opened a new tech hub in India, and we are en-route to hiring dozens of staff before the end of the year.
To have cash in the bank, especially going into uncertain times, is a credit to the investment belief in our organisation, which gives us a real sense of security as we move forward. All that’s left is for us to make sure our cash works really hard.
Retail finance is a lively, fast-moving industry. What gives Divido the edge over other retail finance providers?
Firstly, we are lender agnostic. Instead of providing finance from one source, we connect retailers to lenders. That gives merchants greater choice about who they work with as a lender, and how they work together with them. That leads to higher acceptance rates on loans, higher order values and better access to credit.
Our second advantage is that we are white-labelled, meaning we don’t slap our brand onto merchants’ payment journeys. This means we aren’t competing with retailers for their customers’ attention – we are simply helping them to drive more buyers through the conversion channel, allowing the retailer to earn more money while staying in full control of the process.
This also means that customers never need to leave the retailer’s conversion funnel – for instance, to fill out a loan application on a third-party website. This is a huge benefit for businesses that invest heavily in their brand, and helps them to continue to build consumer trust.
And our third strength is that we work with multiple Tier 1 lenders. These institutions are cash-rich and very mature when it comes to lending. This is a great advantage for us, because it means we aren’t lending off our own balance sheets or deposits, nor do we have to go to secondary markets for finance.
With the market as unstable as it is, this gives our retailers and their customers great security. They can trust that their finance is underwritten by strong, stable institutions, rather than unknown and unproven lenders.
Deloitte and the Financial Times recently named Divido as one of the fastest growing tech companies in Europe. How do we keep up the pace?
By doing what we do best. Creating great technology, partnering with fantastic customers, making sure we have a strong culture and talented people, and being smart and targeted in our investments.
If you put all of that together, you create the right environment for a high-growth company.
Regulation is right around the corner. Do you have any advice for merchants or lenders thinking of implementing a checkout finance product?
Yes, regulation is coming, but I see this as a good thing. The industry is long overdue a period of reflection, and while government regulation will encourage this, I think what we’ll actually see is a lot of players regulating themselves.
Lending has to be something that is done for the benefit of consumers. We have a responsibility to ensure our products do not adversely impact their lives. Affordability checks, transparent pricing, making sure that people are who they say they are, making sure they can repay their loans – all these things are important to ensuring the safety and happiness of the people using our products.
The industry has not always been consistent about considering these things in the past, and that’s going to have to change – but in the end, it will all be for the best.
Do you think regulation could stymie the growth of buy now, pay later (BNPL) as a sector?
Not at all. I think BNPL, and retail finance as a category, is going to continue to grow.
We see a strong appetite among consumers. They are saying, quite clearly, that they want more control over their retail finance options. They don’t want a revolving credit card with 30% APR that they may not be able to pay off. They want to be able to say, “I’m choosing to take out this loan, I’m choosing whether it’s over 90 days or two years, I’ve got a clear way of paying it off, and I’m in control of my finances.”
Because of this, we’re seeing that retailers also have a strong appetite. They see the value these products have in helping to drive customers through the checkout process. In fact, what we’re starting to see in many cases are retailers who are willing to pay the cost of BNPL themselves, because they see the long-term value in being able to reassure customers at the point of sale.
Thus, I think what we’ll start to see is retail finance and fixed-term repayment products overtaking credit cards to become the dominant consumer lending categories in the future.
Speaking of the future, let’s say you have a time-machine and you travel to 2030. What’s happening at Divido? And how did we get there?
I try not to think about 2030. I’m more concerned with what we’re doing today and over the next year. No one knows what’s going to happen in eight years’ time, so it’s not worth thinking about.
What I do know is, that if we focus on building the company in the right way – if we get the best customers, the best people, and the best investors (many of which we already have) – then Divido has a great future ahead.
I’m very bullish about where this company is headed. We’re operating in a super space. There’s a bunch of tailwinds blowing in our favour, we’ve got a unique business model, and we should celebrate and be proud of that.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of applying to work at Divido?
I would say now is a great time to join. If you want to work in a place that prides itself on having an open, humble culture, if you want to be surrounded by talented people, if you want to learn a tonne of stuff and build a great career, then you need look no further – because you can find all of that, and much more, at Divido.
We’re investing heavily in our culture, and we would love you to join us on our journey – and with so many positions available right now, there’s probably never been a better time to apply.