Profit and purpose in 3a retirement savings

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MoneyToday.ch: Gioia 3a – mit der Graubündner Kantonalbank betritt der nächste Player die FinTech-Vorsorgebühne

Built in 144 Days

The 3a pillar (3a Vorsorge) market in Switzerland currently has a volume of approximately CHF 130 billion and is growing by around 5% per year. Currently, about 2-3% are managed in digital 3a solutions. Room enough for more players and some innovation.

The mission of Freya Savings is to make the world better with your retirement savings. In fact, the impact of how your retirement savings are invested have a 20 times as strong impact compared to if you live vegan and don’t fly with airplanes.

In Q1 2020 Roman Gaus and Axelra kicked off the venture to build a sustainable 3a retirement solution. Since Q2 2020 the cooperation with GKB made it possibe to jointly develop with various additional partners Freya 3a and the Gioia 3a in parallel and work on the digital products and market development. The GKBs investment center executed the defined freya investment strategy and the GKB pension foundation managed the funds of the 3a savings.

After 18 months Axelra exited and handed over the joint venture Freya Savings AG, which was founded between Axelra AG and Roman Gaus, to Roman Gaus.

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Launching Freya 3a and GKB Gioia 3a in 211 days with an energetic team from various companies has enabled us to learn a lot at all levels.

Peach Zwyssig, Former Co-Founder, Co-CEO, President of the Board of Freya Savings AG

Venture: Freya Savings AG
Start: 1.4.2021
Built in: 152
Digital Products:
  • Freya 3a App
  • freya-savings.com
Accelerated Areas:
  • Venture Setup
  • Legal and Tax Alignment
  • Accounting
  • Product & UX
Ecosystem Support:
  • Graubündner Kantonalbank
  • Inventx
  • Jemmic
  • foryouandyourcustomers
  • Compass Security
Venture Building Journey
Venture Building Journey
Ideation & Testing
Growing market, low penetration of digital providers and good entry-level product

Actually, retirement savings (Säule 3a) is totally boring and yet it pays off - in fact, it's almost a no brainer. And the sooner you start, the better and the longer your investment horizon will be, which in turn means that it's best to invest in stocks and shares. Currently around 65% of employed Swiss have a 3a pillar and so the 3a pillar (3a Vorsorge) market in Switzerland currently has a volume of approximately CHF 130 billion and is growing by around 5% per year. Currently, about 2-3% are managed in digital 3a solutions. Room enough for more players and some innovation.

The idea behind freya is to make the world better with your retirement savings and feel 100% good about it. So the Sustainability, Asset Management and Digital Products are our Core Competencies.

Venture Building Journey
Building the MVP
From the initial concept to the first functional MVP with the voice of customers

In order for future customers to improve the world through their personal retirement savings with 3a savings, this digital product must also be super simple.

The basic idea for the MVP was that the personal values of a user automatically control the sustainable investments for the retirement savings. The 5 minute onboarding developed for this purpose allows for bank onboarding, purpose profile creation and retirement planning on auto-pilot.

Many of the other features like rounding savings, cashbacks, Godchild or tandem savings, Twint payments etc. were moved to the backlog for later.

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Venture Building Journey
Go Live & Scaling
MVP Go-Live on the 31.03.2021
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Venture Building Journey
Handover

We handed over to Roman and Rolf in December 2021

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Venture Insights
Venture Insights
Mobile Onboarding with Online Identification in 5 Minutes

FINMA distinguishes between video and online identification in Switzerland. For a comprehensive process automation, only the online identification is suitable. According to the latest FINMA circulars (2016/7 Video and Online Identification and all subsequent partial revisions, media releases including the one dated May 17, 2021), full onboarding is even possible by reading passport data with an NFC chip. However, the current coverage in Switzerland with biometric passports is not given, which is why a corresponding micropayment from the customer of the same name is required for full onboarding.

The 3a retirement savings is a linked pension plan and therefore the withdrawal is subject to certain conditions. Regular payments are only made at retirement and early withdrawal is only possible when buying a house, moving abroad or founding a company. The withdrawals are processed manually and therefore no one can "withdraw" money. This circumstance helps the onboarding process and allows for simplification.

So the project team was redesigning, simplifying and completely digitizing the onboarding process and related to the KYC, the Integration of the Swiss Post Adress Check and Onfido KYC incl. Document Verification and Liveness Check drove down the time to onboard a new customer to 5 minues.

Now we realiably can identify and process the real identity of the user behind the screen, create a Freya 3a and onboard the customer compliant into Finnova, the GKB Core Banking System.

Interview with the Axelra team
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Venture Insights
Customer Transfer Services

Existing customers of another market player can use the customer transfer service to easily transer their funds to Gioia 3a in 1 minute without the need for a printer or a trip to the mailbox. Simply select the provider from a list, enter the current IBAN of the 3a account and hit the button.

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Venture Insights
Campaign Referral

The use of referral codes can contribute to organic growth. With the Campaign Referral solution described here, different referral codes can be generated in the admin dashboard, which users can redeem during onboarding. There are 3 different types that can be limited in time and quantity:

• Personal referral codes (with this, every user can invite a new customer)
• Influencer referral codes (cooperation with content creator and media)
• Campaign referral code (own referral codes for campaigns)

The payout is done through a semi-automated process

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venture insights
Campaign Automation

In order to grow in customers and AUM it is necessary to attract new customers, convert them and see that they also pay their corresponding amounts into their retirement savings.

For this purpose we have split the funnel into 3 areas:

1.) Lead -> App Download
2.) App Download -> One-time payment
3.) Payment -> Standing order/transfer

Our digital campaigns are measured and the Freya users are supported through the onboarding funnel every step of the way and receive timely and contextual email communications with FAQ links through customer.io, or appropriate tasks are recorded in Zendesk so that a customer service employee can provide targeted assistance and support.

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venture insights
Digital Interaction with Whatsapp & Zendesk

A completely digital product naturally also needs digital interaction channels for the associated customer service. We simplify the customer support experience for both customers and employees, using channels digital natives have grown up with.

Customers can interact with customer service 1:1 directly via WhatsApp. The corresponding WhatsApp business integration with Zendesk enables all requests to appear directly in Zendesk as a ticket including the corresponding customer, product and transaction information. Employees can answer the ticket according to the set up workflows and the customer receives the message directly as a push notification to their cell phone.

In addition, FAQ articles are centrally managed in Zendesk Knowledge, which offers the possibility to display them directly in the app as well as on the website as FAQ in multiple languages, searchable and keyworded.

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venture insights
Architecture

Freya 3a relies on a stateless architecture which is in charge of handling the business logic and user management. While being securely hosted within Switzerland, it is still possible to offer an SLA level of 98 % uptime/availability. Freya empowers itself with a mix of containers and images to deliver fast responses to all of its components, while communicating with multiple services.
The services communicating with Freya includes the address validation offered by the Swiss Post, the national postal service of Switzerland. Onfido is the leading identity verification system based in London. Zendesk is used to manage customer service. Firebase is used to send push notifications based on triggers or schedules, and to notice irregularities or crashes on the application level.

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venture insights
Technologies

Freya is built using Docker images and containers to provide a true stateless architecture which can be scaled horizontally. It is connected to U-Safe as its IAM provider, Onfido using their provided SDK and PdfBox to generate documents on the fly. It is written using Java Spring Boot, leveraging JDK 17. The frontend is built for multiple platforms using React Native, allowing the application to run on both iOS as well as on Android devices. Reanimated 2 is used to provide animations which can run up to 60 FPS, without loosing quality or affecting performance on any of the platforms. And in case of any unexpected crashes, Firebase is used to report helpful findings. OWASP CVE reports are constantly closely monitored using Snyk and Dependency-check to discover potential vulnerabilities and upgrade them as soon as possible.

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