1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background, what you do at Certua and outside of Certua?
Hi my name is Luke and I am part of the founding team and Director of Growth at Certua, based in London. Prior to Certua, I worked in product and account management at hedge fund technology company ENSO Financial which was acquired by CME Group.
I have been lucky enough to work across and combine product and business development throughout my time at Certua and have been responsible for the strategic growth of our platform and proposition.
Outside of work I am a keen chef, occasional triathlete and part-time digital nomad with family in Switzerland and South Africa.
2. What is your favourite product at Certua? Can you describe it to us, and why is it important for the industry?
Certua’s bank transaction categorisation engine has to be my favourite product/service. We trained a model using 300 million user categorised transactions to predict the purpose of a transaction at three levels of granularity. The results were astounding.
The model vastly outperformed the team at being able to correctly categorise a held out dataset, augmenting what appeared at face value to be random machine codes with meaningful information.
Not only did this exercise demonstrate to me first-hand the power of real AI in financial services – It actually felt like magic.
What’s more, making sense of raw transaction information is the greatest challenge to an industry trying to leverage open banking to provide new products and services.
We have now wrapped the engine in an API service layer and have made it available to our partners for use in downstream embedded finance propositions. Innovative use cases we are already enabling are in balance prediction, risk assessment, financial profiling and product recommendation.
3. Where do you think Certua has brought the most innovation?
I believe that our greatest innovation (and actually invention) has been parametric life insurance linked to wealth and banking data.
In an industry where the underlying product has remained broadly the same for over 300 years, we have worked with industry giants to innovate in all aspects of the value proposition; in an attempt to correct serious market failure for the end customer:
- At point of engagement we are using real time data to assess whether an individual is covered and to tailor a sum assured recommendation.
- In underwriting, we are using an individuals data to improve risk assessment while reducing friction by prepopulating mandatory information.
- On an ongoing basis, real time information about the individual's changing personal circumstances is being used to dynamically flex the individual’s sum assured requirement and in turn premium. This way an individual is only paying for the cover they need and will never under or overpay.
I hope to see more innovations like this across the market as embedded finance takes hold. I know for certain that we will be pioneering more parametric products in the future and are seeking like-minded partners to collaborate with.
4. What is a gap in the market currently that Certua can fill with a product or proposition?
There is a big gap between the traditional financial services products of today (even those now being distributed digitally by the first generation of Fintechs) and those I envision being offered by digital applications in the future. Think of the aforementioned parametric life insurance product, which adapts to an individual’s changing wealth and mortgage data; or of a short term business credit facility for hospitality, which is underwritten automatically based on real time booking and review info.
That’s why I find Embedded Finance really exciting as a broader trend. The potential for innovation across all financial services products is colossal, as they are combined with unique data assets and are made available in new and seamless ways to the end user.
Certua’s platform connects traditional providers to digital applications and provides the architecture to power this new breed of needs based financial services propositions.
While there are a multitude of new ventures and some incumbents offering embeddable products, we are targeting those gaps or market failures where traditional products are not providing meaningful value to the end customer. These include but are not limited to; life insurance, micro-SME insurance and SME working capital.
5. Can you tell us about something in R&D at Certua to be launched in the near future?
We’ve been working with industry leading design partners to enhance our core embedded finance platform to power new and innovative SME credit products.
While new capital as a service providers are appearing weekly in VC press, I’m confident that our platform and embeddable distribution options represent a market leading solution for capital providers.
We’re currently in Beta so are looking for partners to help us test this new capability.
6. Please describe Certua in 3 words.