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Fintech Fridays EP51: Bacon and Eggs

NCFA Canada | Feb 19, 2021

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EP51: Bacon and Eggs

Featured Guest:

JULIEN BRAULT, Chief Executive Officer, Hardbacon  (LinkedIn)

About Julien Brault

Julien is more of a cheerleader than he is a conductor. He is the one continually pushing the Hardbacon team to excel, but he’s also responsible for developing strategic partnerships with financial institutions and promoting the company. Julien founded a publishing house called Amerik Media, which he sold in 2010, and was an economic reporter for Les Affaires for five years. He also served as Director of Growth for a fintech investment fund before funding Hardbacon in 2017.

For more information, contact:

Julien Brault, Hardbacon CEO at 514-250-3255; julien@hardbacon.com

About Hardbacon

Hardbacon is a mobile application that connects to your bank accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts, helping you make better financial decisions and make your dreams come true. Hardbacon is a powerful planning app which allows you to plan, budget, invest and increase your savings. Hardbacon also has a product comparator that allows you to compare the financial products available in the market and help you find the best ones for your needs.

The Hardbacon app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

To follow our crowdfunding: https://www.frontfundr.com/hardbacon

Our website: https://hardbacon.ca/

 

logo color - Fintech Fridays EP51:  Bacon and Eggs

About this Episode

On this episode of Fintech Fridays, Craig Asano, CEO of NCFA connects with Julien Brault the CEO of Hardbacon, an emerging high growth financial fitness and tracking app in Canada. They talk about the story behind Hardbacon, raising capital via equity crowdfunding and IPO routes, digital platforms as lead generation, and helping Canadians improve their wealth by making better financial decisions.  Enjoy! 

 

Subscribe and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more podcasts here:

Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3

 


Fintech Friday Transcript of Episode 51: Julien Brault of Hardbacon

Intro: Welcome to fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners. Covering all things fintech, blockchain, AI and alternative finance.

 

Craig Asano: [00:00:18] Hello, everyone. My name is Craig Asano, the founder and CEO of NCFA welcoming you to another fantastical episode of Fintech Fridays. It's a weekly podcast brought to you by NCFA and Partners, where we sit down with incredible people in the Fintech and funding community to talk about all things fintech, trends, innovations, developments, even challenges and more. Fintech Fridays is an evolving, innovative educational platform focused on delivering authentic personalities, content and storytelling on the journey to the mainstream adoption of financial technologies and its impact on the future of finance. So welcome, welcome. Welcome everyone to Episode fifty one another Milestone episode. Today we have an exciting guest on the show, the CEO of Hard Bacon, Julien Brault. Welcome to the show, Julien. Thank you. So we're super excited to get the podcast started. We have a great plan, some interesting questions in mind to answer you. One of the fastest growing financial coach, personal finance apps in Canada at the moment. So great to have you on the show. Why don't we kick things off with, you know, just telling us a little bit about hard bacon and your background, how you got started, what's what's going on?

 

Julien Brault: [00:01:37] Perfect. So I used to be a business journalist and I was covering technology and venture capital. And honestly, like I saw, like the financial service world, as you know, one of the last dinosaur industry still standing because, you know, we've seen like retail and it's been a while since retail and travel and a lot of industries like have been completely transformed by technology. And I think right now, like I think it's right to say that there's still a lot of transformation to happen in the financial service industry, but it is definitely being impacted by technology. But if you go back to like 2016, 2015, when there was a still a reporter, it seems that FinTech was a word, but it was so much smaller, like fintech investments, numbers were so much smaller. It was a tranditional industry where, you know, advisors take their car and go to their client's kitchen. And so I was really interested in doing something. And another thing that I felt was unfair is that as a business journalist, I had a Bloomberg terminal and I had access to all the information. And yet, like the subscribers to a newspaper, usually they had what's free on the Internet, which is not so much. And I felt I wanted to do something about it. And honestly, I'll be honest with you, like I didn't have the vision for what Hardbacon have become today. All I wanted, you know, at the very beginning of Hardbacon. Let's solve the problem of self-directed investing. Let's give them better tools and better data. So the the they make better investments. So so that was the kind of this initial thesis for Hardbacon. And, you know, I'll let you ask me more questions to discover with our is today.

 

Craig Asano: [00:03:38] Well, the cold focus on consumer retail investor, that's very interesting. I mean, there's so many trends right now in the market, it seems, with cryptocurrency. And combine that with the remote working covid and maybe it's some of the stimulus checks that are going out to the markets. People are at home. They're downloading the apps they're they're interested to. And they have all the digital tools these days. Like you were saying, I'd like to get into about the what about hard bacon? How do you come up with a name like that? Like I said, that doesn't jump up financial coach to me.

 

Julien Brault: [00:04:17] Yeah. I mean, it's like bring home the bacon, the expression so and, you know, cold, hard cash like that was the true expression. I kind of mix together. And the idea is that hard bacon with all these always tell you the truth. And, you know, and the idea of like hard cash, you know, like cash doesn't lie. And I as a reporter, you know, saying is like, follow the money and you're going to understand the story. So that was kind of the idea for hard bacon. And also, I needed to to have like I didn't have so much money in the beginning, so I couldn't buy for ten thousand or fifty thousand dollar premium domain name. So I needed, you know, a word that nobody reserves in terms of domain names. So Hardbacon.com and Hardbacon.ca were available and I snapped it.

 

Craig Asano: [00:05:05] I love it. I didn't I guess that That's it that hard bake in the cold cash, the digital bacon...

 

Julien Brault: [00:05:14] I mean, it's not a first name I came up with, you know, but it's the one that and people remember it. It's funny a little bit. So people never forget about Hardbacon.

 

Craig Asano: [00:05:27] And absolutely. So one of the things we like to do on the show is always dig in a little bit about the leadership and, you know, some of the decisions that CEOs may need to make because you're steering a ship, you're on this path of tremendous growth ad the market's ripe and ready.  Talk to the listeners a little bit about the journey between how do you you know, you transform from a business tech reporter at one of Canada's largest magazines or newspapers, Les affairs, and now you're running...you're the CEO of the fast growing fintech. How has that transformation and what are the challenges and how do you overcome it?

 

Julien Brault: [00:06:11] Yeah, I mean, it's it's a very different job. But I would say, like being a journalist, you need to be very curious. You need to be listening. And I feel those those characteristics, you know, you need to be a good networker to get the information you need. So those kind of 2-3 skills are really useful for starting a business to be an entrepreneur, but it doesn't prepare you to be a manager, which is something entirely different. And so, yeah, I mean, it's quite different than as it grows. You know, the problem are always different, but it's been a rewarding experience and I learned so much. But I think it's the same for every entrepreneur. You make mistakes, you improve, and then you surround yourself with great people that have expertise that you don't. So that's the key.

 

Craig Asano: [00:07:03] Absolutely. We hear that time and time again. Got to surround yourself and also listen to those core advisors and everyone, you know, the CEOs got their head down building products and maybe just can't see the forest from the trees, as an expression. So that's great. It resonates, I think, with the audience here. I'd like to get in a little bit more about the business model. This is like let's break down the whole financial coaching and talk a little bit more about the app. So I downloaded it. I got it on my phone. Looks very slick. Good UI what's in there and what is the user experience? What is it trying to accomplish.

 

Julien Brault: [00:07:43] So basically are vision is to to answer any question that you may have about your personal finance and to be more concrete, basically like we started with tools for self directed investor and that's when the app launched in 2018. So it connected to all your investments investment. Can I use the past tense. But actually it still does all those things. So we started with with an app, a basic connector, investment accounts. You can build a watchlist, have stock alerts, you can analyze your portfolio, check out what's beta, what's the diversification and so on. And you can also consolidate different investment accounts. You can have a view of like what's my return, where my return come from and so on. So that's on the investment tracking side. But we realize that the main problem of Canadians, we're not about tracking better our portfolio. I think it's a problem. But oftentimes users don't have enough financial literacy to realize that they should track better their investments and it doesn't talk to them. So in terms of we have the kind of customer acquisition problem and most of the users, the early users of Hardbacon were either accountants or portfolio managers. So and we set out to build like, you know, a mainstream app that helps regular people make better financial decisions. So we look at the different problem that regular people encounter when it comes to finance. And then we identify like planning and budgeting us to place where we could create tremendous value in terms of allowing people to to take better control of their personal finance. And that's what made what's today Hardbacon. So basically, by connecting your bank account and your credit card accounts, you can see exactly where your money goes. You can set limits. So it gives you alert if you're on the path to kind of go over budget. And you can add a couple of your goals and it does the whole plan for your life,, and tell you if you're on track or not. So basically, it's kind of a one stop shop to to maintain your personal finance. And in terms of monetizing that, for us, it's lead generation, so Hardbacon will help you find the credit card that give you the best cashback or reward. And we calculate it based on your actual current behavior. And if you sign up to one of the card of our partners, we get paid a referral fee. But if the best card for you is actually, you know, from an insurer that we don't work with, we're still going to tell you and we're not going to make money this time. But the idea is that you're going to get value from it the next time you want the financial product or you have a question, you're going to go through Hardbacon. So I give the example of credit card, but we do the same for online brokerage, robo advisor, bank accounts and so on. So it's so so basically the way to monetize that is lead generation. And it's not like we invented that.  Borrowell is based on the lead generation model for for loans, you know, and you have like the in Canada, ratehub.ca and the the rates that So yeah in the US, you have nerdwallet and this is those are all businesses main monetization come from lead generation.

 

Craig Asano: [00:11:11] So are you so your heart breaking is primarily focused on consumers, even though you've got all kinds of financial professionals on their accountant's portfolio managers since you brought it up, those competitor names, it sounds like the nerd belts and others like how so? They're focusing on businesses. You're focusing on consumers. Maybe there's some overlap. Talk to us a little bit about why you're different. Why should a consumer and what is the demographic what at what point in their their life cycle...you're talking about an app that they download and they're using it daily for their entire life as it is as it sounds, you know, who's actually using the app? What is the feedback and how do you how do you stand out from the competitors? Where's that real niche?

 

Julien Brault: [00:12:03] It's a good question. So the target market is 25 to 45 years old. And, you know, it's a target like most of our users are in that bracket. I would say, like a lot of fintech say, they're focused on millennials and we obviously target like, you know, an important portion of the millennials but 18 year olds don't really think about, you know, don't earn much money to think about managing it better. So we found that, you know, you need to have kind of a good paying job to be in the mindset of thinking about your finances in a more holistic way. So that's why the kind of a twenty five. And I would say, like, after a certain age, you start to, you know, right now we're mobile only and we're building the Web version. But after 50 year olds, users ask us like, oh, finance is serious.  I Would never do that on my phone. Also, the sense you need to link that accounts, I would say, like in the 50 years old and plus crowd, some people don't want to link their accounts. So that doesn't mean that we don't have 70 year old users, but most of the users is this bracket. As for your other question, like how do we differentiate? I would say like we don't have there's not the company that does for consumers exactly what we do, especially in Canada. I would say that are budgeting apps in Canada. So there's Mint. There's Emma. There is I think you need a YNAB is connecting to Canadian banks as well. So those are budgeting competitors in a way, but they don't connect to most investment accounts in Canada. And even if they do connect to some, you don't know what's going on. It just give you a number so you don't have your position, your return, etc.. So so they only do budgeting and we do investment tracking and financial planning. And basically there's no one doing all of those things for the Canadian consumers.

 

Craig Asano: [00:14:12] Right. So when it comes to the investing, it's an area that I'm sure a lot of listeners here are interested in, retail investors, credit investors, and they've got the app. They've connect. Do they have to connect their accounts? And can you make an investment directly on the app or do you have to, you know, juggle six apps and then enter them into Hardbacon? And how does it That's it technically work there?

 

Julien Brault: [00:14:37] So you need to the same way that you cannot buy anything using the Hardbacon app like you buy something with your debit card or credit card in the account of the link to Hardbacon. The same for the investment. So you come to Hardbacon to monitor. You know how your portfolio is doing across one or many investment accounts and you have like portfolio analysis. You might get alerts by the end of the day if you want to to to buy a stock or sell stocks, you need to connect to your brokerage account, whether it's true or not. Like, Wealthsimple trader or through the portal for people that work with advisors that don't have a portal, they need to call them. But we still connect to traditional as well, not only online brokerage, but if you work with BMO Nesbitt Burns or, I don't know, like Fidelity, we connect with those guys. But, you know, Hardbacon is not the brokerage and it's not the transactional app.

 

Craig Asano: [00:15:34] Right. It's almost like a Fitbit tracker for for finance and the financial transaction to do. And it's combined with the budgeting and the portfolio management all in one convenient place.

 

Julien Brault: [00:15:47] I like that. I like the idea of like getting financially fit. Maybe we can use this in our marketing. I like that.

 

Craig Asano: [00:15:56] There you go. I'll give you my day rate. What so the the idea that you kind of pivoted, you started investment and then you realized, well, you know. 25-40 year old this is. Things and maybe a debt problem in Canada with the challenges of covid, can you talk to us a little bit more like what is going on with Canadians? Why are we such bad savers or what is what is going on?

 

Julien Brault: [00:16:24] That's that's human nature. And it's interesting, you know, coming from a more modest background, I felt like people that make like huge salaries, you know, like one hundred two hundred three hundred thousand dollars, you know, I thought they were kind of, you know, my innocent self thought, like they are rolling into cash and they have no problem. Actually, having talked to so many people about their personal finance, I can see that, you know, most people spend exactly what they're earning and it's human nature and it's actually been studied in many university studies, like we have a tendency to spend everything we make to in the hope that it makes us happy and it's problematic, obviously. And it's even frustrating, like, I'll be honest with you, like when we started the lead generation, I didn't know that credit card would have been such a strong, you know, growth verticals for us, like the average kind of Canadian has three credit cards. And, you know, there's so many and, you know, credit card to what is by far like the vertical in which we do the most lead generation. And to be on this, given our mission to to help people get richer. I don't like this at first. Right now, like, I'm quite comfortable with it because at the end of the day, you know, the user or technology to get credit card, that made them more so. So, you know, it's good. But, you know, it's still worrying and you cannot change human nature. You can kind of, you know, nudge people in the right direction and remind them about savings. And that's what they're about us. But at the end of the day, you know, humans want instant gratification. And it's kind of a struggle to to to to save money. And, you know, so that's that's my answer.

 

Craig Asano: [00:18:25] Well, I mean, it's easy come, easy go. You know, we've all been there and some days you think there's this perception I'm better off than I was yesterday. But if you blow it on something that was unexpected, unplanned, or make a poor emotional decision when it comes to finances, you'll get in trouble. So not surprising that credit cards are so, so popular there. But we're moving into a completely digital world with digital payments, digital investing. And, you know, with all the new technologies like what's your take on where will be the savings problem and its impact on the retail debt as we move digital, like we're talking about digital currencies, including CBDCs. Have you have you thought about it like what is your take?

 

Julien Brault: [00:19:20] So, I mean, I don't know, human nature doesn't change, what's changed is technology, so yeah I mean, we see like in the market, like a lot of, you know, payday loans is moving digitally, but it's still the same thing as, you know, and it's kind of a little bit predatory loan, to be honest, with people that are struggling to make ends meet. And then you give them a product with high interest and fees. So, you know, we're going to know all our problems are not going away. I think that, you know, it's easier to to spend more. It's even easier with technology to spend more money when it's on the credit card versus paying cash. And studies have proven that people that spend everything in cash kind of save more money. And actually heartbreaking is the tool that, you know, making a budget and, you know, having it and knowing that I'm making that much money, I'm spending that much money is really important, because if someone don't look at their bank account and a lot of people are like that, they don't look at the bank account. They don't read. They're they're they're payslip. And at the end, they end up spending, you know, more or less exactly what they're earning. So in order to save, you need to kind of take ownership of your personal financial situation so you don't need technology. Some people do this by you know, I've met people that actually write in a little paper notebook everything they spend. And that's a good practice of being kind of mindful about what you're spending. And, you know, technology are like Hardbacon. We can just make it easier to to manage your money. But honestly, I don't think technology will either create so much more problem or solve all the problem. I think is just, you know, an evolution of human nature doesn't change. But I guess Tool will be there for people that want to be really great at managing their money. So it's going to be easier than in the past and putting everything down on a paper and, you know, getting in brokerage accounts used to be expensive and complicated. And you need to have connection.  Today, you can download an app and start right away without basically any capital. So it's easier to be like financially responsible and it's easier to be financially irresponsible.

 

Craig Asano: [00:21:39] Yeah, I think you're right. I mean, tech can streamline and make an experience pretty, pretty slick, pretty cool, accessible, but it's the human behaviour. So maybe if we combine some technologies we can work towards curbing the human behaviours. As far as savings and investment concerned. I feel great now that I know and I'm tracking that. I've benchmarked my value and I'm a little bit up, and I've saved a lot more this week and cumulatively it's growing. And I've got my kids on that program set up RESPs the other day. So I think it's that instant gratification when you spend something and some people feel good about that, you should equally feel good when you're saving or your wealth is growing or your knowledge is growing. So I think you're on something.

 

Julien Brault: [00:22:30] Craig, I'd like to make a point that because statistically there's this huge debate in the wealth management world where they say, like retail investors should just invest in index investing. And actually the side of the debate is right. Right. Most people shouldn't pick stocks because they're not good at it. It's very hard. Even the most professional, you know, after fees beat the market. So how retail can is a very good question to ask yourself. But I actually like you know, if you're thinking this in terms of like, you know, trying to beat the market and people that do a lot of transaction and then losing a lot of money, then you can say it's stock picking is bad. But another benefit of stock picking is that you feel like you bought something. And there's kind of instant gratification. And the cool thing is that this thing you just bought, you know, is going to give you dividends sometimes and it's going to grow. So that's one of the aspect. And, you know, I'm not saying everybody should do stock picking, I think. And that index has that investing for rational people that just want a solution that is going to get them to market. Similar return is great, but I feel like if people want to invest in company they believe in, they just have to build a diversified portfolio, and you know, 10, 15, maybe 20 stocks and not trade them, just sit on it because they're good companies and they might get a little less than the market's return. They might get a little more. But at the end of the day, it's going to be similar to the market if it's well diversified, even if it's less diversified portfolio that have maybe an exposure to a thousand securities just with like twenty securities, you can you're going to get a return that are going to look more or less like the market as a whole, unless you just you know, you just invest in the same sector or you invest in just like penny stock or something like that. But I think it's another solution that kind of feed our instant gratification sense. And it's like, oh, I just bought some some stock and I don't know, like Facebook or something. And then you feel good.

 

Craig Asano: [00:24:44] Well, people like talking about it in the different circles by the Water cooler, but they have to take control. I think it starts with education. And really that's a core linchpin to, I think your business model, because you're training, you're changing behaviour, but you're educating, and it touches upon a very timely and sensitive topic in the areas of open finance where consumers are going to have more access and control and ownership of their data. Open finance. Perfect example is these emerging regulations in Open banking, consumer directed finance, like do you do you think that that that movement or that that need that consumers should be it should have that right to control and have access to their data and let's say not the financial institutions? What is your thoughts on open finance and consumers taking control of their their own data, their own financial data?

 

Julien Brault: [00:25:47] For me, it's obvious that people should own their data and should decide who have access to it and how and why. And right now, it is just like the whole industry, whether it's us or another fintech that's use bank account connection. And it's quite mainstream, like millions of Canadians are using those technology, whether it's through Hardbacon through Mint, through like a loan application. And basically what they do is that they give their username and password to a third party. Obviously, it's very secure. Like most whatever the fintech app, it ends up being the same provider, whether it's like apply the Flinks that makes it through. But it would be much better if they just connect to their financial institution and they say, I allow Hardbacon to access this specific account, but I don't want Hardbacon to be able to transact. I don't want hardbacon to see my mortgage for some reason. I don't know why, but it's their data. So it would be much better, and also, like companies like FinTech, like us would have like a better infrastructure to connect with because we would be talking directly to the banking system and instead of relying on third party that connect to the bank account and spread information. So, obviously I'm all in favour of open banking and Canada tend to be, you know, a few years late to the party. So I'm not expecting this year. But there's some talk, as you know, the federal government level and I think sooner or later is going to happen.

 

Craig Asano: [00:27:23] And is that going to have a significant impact once those regulations? You know, it's not an if it's it's really when they come to market, are you going to you know, you really have a digital finance platform. What do you envision? Let's say open banking regs are here today. How is that going to change your model?

 

Julien Brault: [00:27:44] So, one, I think it's going to accelerate the adoption of those technologies so more people will be comfortable connecting their bank account investment accounts with third parties for sure. So it's going to help us in that way. I think reliability of those connections will improve as well. And we've seen this in Europe where open banking is actually a law. So it's going to be good for us. And finally, I think we're going to see, like, you know, a lot of new business model. And, you know, another thing that makes so much sense is like why there's no App Store in your banking portal. You know, you have all those tabs and it look like a software from the nineties. And actually, you know, those software are used by millions and millions of people. Obviously, you know, there's like five big banks in Canada. Most Canadian are there. And it would be great if there would be like, you know, a tax software that you can do your tax directly from your bank account, maybe like a budgeting software, like Hardbacon. So I feel sooner or later, like a financial institution will open an app store based on the fact that there is open banking and those third party can connect safely to those data. And I think it's going to be like a new era of growth for the fintechs. And at the end of the day, like, most banks don't want that. But once one bank does it, you know, they're going to have a huge competitive advantage. People will love, you know, having a better service. And, you know, other banks will either imitate them and have their own app store or, you know, this bank, that this kind of an early adopter will kind of, you know, have even bigger market share. And we've seen this with the phone markets, with iPhone basically killing BlackBerry because people wanted. I think people want to help with their finance, with their tax and other stuff. And I think fintechs...that's their their core expertise is software. Bank core expertise is risk management and finance. And those are it's hard to be great at software and be great at risk management and finance, and compliance. So that's my take. I know the order fintech are taking the route of building their own financial institution with more focus on UX and technology. But my take is that it's the different muscle and there's going to be great software company and great financial institution. I'm not sure if, you know, banks are going to be fintech and fintech are going to be banks. But anyway, that's another debate.

 

Craig Asano: [00:30:38] Yeah, I mean, big tech. Well, if the banks don't do it, you know, create a super app like what's going on in China, the integration, if we WeChat and Alipay you know, story after story, I mean, we have my sister-in-law over there. Who's country manager SWIFT. They have super apps and they have really done away with cash. Everything's completely digital order everything. And if you look at those apps, it is really what the super apps, it's just littered with icons and you can do a tremendous amount of servicing.

 

Julien Brault: [00:31:12] So and the model that we see is that it's much more present like in the US or in Europe where there are financial institutions. Like what is a brokerage or a bank that have an API and don't even serve clients. They serve clients, third parties. And those fintech that want to be a financial institution will offer the service but at the end of the day, you know, it's a financial institution that's actually managed the risk management and the finance behind and they connect to it and they are the front facing, you know, element of delivering the service. Like that's not the business model of Hardbacon, Hardbacon doesn't want to, you know, be your bank accounts or sell you a mortgage. We want to help you find the best bank account and manage your money. But we don't want to do this service. But I definitely think there's going to be no bank and so on. But my point is that I feel those are very different expertise. And, you know, I think fintech, you know, do fintech and bank or financial institution, maybe there's going to be new a new charter bank that is going to incorporate for that specific purpose of offering the service as kind of a back in and That's having clients. But I feel it's very hard to be good at everything at the same time, especially in the industry, as regulated and complicated as the financial services industry, huh?

 

Craig Asano: [00:32:39] Absolutely. OK, well, shifting gears a little bit here. I happen to know that, you know, very exciting news that your a couple weeks out or week out, you've got to live fundraising equity crowdfunding campaign on the go with one NCFA's partner platforms, Frontfundr. Can you tell us a little bit and this isn't your first equity crowdfunding campaign. So you're you're like an expert of experts. Can you tell the audience about the experience and what you learned? What do you think? How's it going?

 

Julien Brault: [00:33:11] Yes. So, I Mean, equity crowdfunding is basically, you know, raising venture capital, except that there is much more people that participate in the round. And also, we have the chance to use a platform called Frontfundr, which kind of, you know, automates the process that would basically be done by lawyers because you would meet an investor and then he's like, oh, sure, I'm interested. And then there would be a back and forth. They make investments, contracts or a subscription agreement, to be precise, and then they send it over to signing it. They make sure that the money is in the in the bank account and so on with Frontfundr. The cool thing is that since, you know, the ultimate most of the those steps you can you know, in the traditional round, like if someone wants to put ten thousand, like usually the minimum tickets can be $25-50k CAD, depending on the size of round, some round is going to be millions of dollars. Then it's, it's removed that this need to have like a minimum ticket size. So like in this current round we accept from we had investment from $500 - $50,000 CAD. And it's not more work on our end, I guess it's some work for Frontfundr because they still have some regulation to to comply to but and also it's a great opportunity to do kind of a huge marketing campaign. And in our case, it's going to serve us because we're, you know, targeting B2C, people that's wants a tool for managing better their money. So there's kind of an alignment. And actually a lot of our users, you know, invest in the wrong and potentially a lot of investors that we that came to us from Frontfundr are our users now. So there's kind of a, you know, a synergy here. You know, it's around that allows you to kind of get better known in the country. So so for us, it makes sense. It might not make sense for any company.

 

Craig Asano: [00:35:16] Yeah. The network effect, one of the that was a huge marketing benefit. And anyone who does invest five hundred dollars or a million dollars, whatever it might be, you know, there they are taking control, just going back and touching upon some of those notes that we talked earlier in the podcast there, they're feeling excited about their direct investment. They feel connected to it naturally, they want to talk about it. So all things considered, That's, it sounds great. The automation of a venture capital transaction meets marketing and networking and the things that businesses need to operate. So as part of preparing for the podcast, we do the research. And, we know you've done the equity crowdfunding. We know you're also interested in this, the IPO route. Yeah, maybe compare and contrast. What is your thoughts with going IPO? Why do you want to go IPO? And it's going to be an evolution. And, you know, the interesting thing is it's not really cannibalizing equity crowdfunding. It's complementary. It's an escalator. Right. It's a funding escalator for a lot of companies that are on this path to success. So what are your thoughts on IPO?

 

Julien Brault: [00:36:28] So I just want to precise something my my Lawyer told me to be very clear about that we did not file the prospectus yet. So what we said is that we have an intention to go public in twenty, twenty one. And I just wouldn't want any of your listeners to think that we have a prospectus and we're raising for the IPO right now because that's not the case. But saying that, like, I'll explain to you the rationale basically like, you know, raising money through equity crowdfunding. We did this through an offering memorandum. So basically it's a long document that look a little bit like a prospectus, but it's a little less long and less complicated to produce. And we having done that, we have more than 50 shareholders, so we still need to have, like, audited financial statement every year and file transaction on SEDAR. So there's a lot of like regulation that are usually apply only to public companies that apply to private company that went through equity crowdfunding. Another thing that is very costly for a company to go public is and that's why there's so many companies doing RTOs, which is basically like they get bought out by empty shelves listed on the stock market to go public. It's because you need, depending on the stock market, like one hundred fifty or two hundred shareholders and you cannot raise from regular people.  We kind of solve that problem. We did raise through non-equity this investor using the crowdfunding exemptions. So for us like to step between like, you know, the status quo and not being public and being public is not so big as you might think. There are some fees for for listing and some some some fees as well on the broker side and lawyers and so on. But it's it's much less complicated now to go public than it used to be. So that's one of the reason. Another reason is that there's a lot of appetite on the public markets for technology play and even early stage companies, which is crazy. Like traditionally, you know, VCs were funding the very early stage companies. And then when they were big enough, they would list on the stock market. Now it's a little bit like a crazy world where there are companies that they list and there weren't forty fifty billion dollars. And that as private companies and the list not to finance themselves, the list just for their investors to exist. And I feel like right now, and this is particular to 2020, there's more early stage capital in the public market than in the private. So that's one thing. Another reason for doing this is that we want to consolidate the lead generation market in Canada and, you know, being public, you have an ability to quote unquote, print money.  It's not a bank charter. It's not as good. But you can issue stocks and you can make acquisition with your stock. So so it can of open possibilities in terms of making acquisitions. And that's part of our play as we want to buy like business that have traffic in the personal finance space but don't have technology and just put our technology that helped people find the best product that they want. And so so we're going to get some synergy. And finally and then I stop talking is that, you know, the sales to the sales ratio for or for media company or online media company in the public markets is about 1X. So if you make like a company that makes one million in revenue is going to be worth a million. This is for online media, for fintech, it's like about 15X or 30X. So there is kind of an opportunity for us, as you know, once we become a public company in the future to to basically acquire online media, get their traffic of people that have questions about their personal finance and kind of transform this revenue from media to technology. So that's that's the play here.

 

Craig Asano: [00:40:52] Well, that's a lot of reasons, a lot of good reasons. So, I mean, you're at a very exciting time for Hardbacon. Is the ticker symbol going to be bacon?

 

Julien Brault: [00:41:03] I don't know. I mean, we need to first, you know, it's the exchange that is going to decide and since we didn't file for the prospectus, we don't have the you know, we don't have the acceptation letter from the exchange, though, so we don't know. But, yeah, I have a couple good ideas.

 

Craig Asano: [00:41:25] That's awesome.  We'll certainly be following the developments in growth. So we're sort of getting towards the end of the podcast here. I was thinking we always do some speed round questions, but before we do, I wanted to just give you an opportunity to talk about the future vision. And are you looking for any partnerships? How can our audience maybe help Hardbacon achieve some of its goals and also collaborate and participate in success. Are you looking for any partnerships or what? Where do you see her taken in the next three to five years? What's coming down the pipeline?

 

Julien Brault: [00:42:06] So that's a lot of question. At the same time, like for partnership. Yes, we do widely both for financial institution. So basically, if you have listeners that are executive, a financial service company that want to do planning, budgeting or investment tracking, you know, they can reach out to me and we can talk. But at the end of the day, like this is about the personal financial data. So what's coming next is is like one of the things that we don't have in terms of data, as is credit score. So that's the thing we're going to add to the Hardbacon app. And the vision for for the future is that we want people to equate hard as the place where they go to answer any question about their finance that they have. So if you ask me, like five years from now, I hope, you know, we can help people do their income tax. I hope that's heartbreaking. And, you know, maybe you can ask a question to Hardbacon through a chat interface and answers you. It's like, should I change jobs? What's going to be the impact on my retirement, if I get this job instead of this other one? And then Hardbacon is going to help you make the decision. So, you know, I feel like kind of a longer term question. So those are not features that we have and those are just examples. But the ideas that we would like that, you know, every time you want to buy something, you're not Googling your go to Amazon and you buy it. So every time that you're thinking about buying a financial product, you know, making a financial decision would like people to just stick their phone or maybe ask one of those assistant like Siri a question and then hard bacon would, you know, help you make the decision?

 

Craig Asano: [00:43:53] I think it's perfect. Now, that's a great, great idea. Education and you're connecting experts who would love to provide advice, but those that need it and hopefully we'll be able to solve through the app and the people and the advice, the savings issue and the debt issue that we have here in Canada, and do so much more together. So, OK, our favourite part of the show, it's the time for the speed round questions. We're just going to fire some some rapid fire questions and we're just expecting a short on top of the mind kind of answer. You ready? Yeah, sure. OK, so what do you what do you prefer, Android or iOS?

 

Julien Brault: [00:44:34] IOS.

 

Craig Asano: [00:44:36] I'm Android my whole life. I'm so old school. I gotta get on he Apple.

 

Julien Brault: [00:44:41] I actually was an Android guy. And then the first version of the Hardbacon app was that iOS App. I had to change because I was doing so much demo and as I get older, I'm kind of lazy in terms of changing OS. So now I'm not using android anymore.

 

Craig Asano: [00:44:56] Ok, what's your what's your favourite beverage?

 

Julien Brault: [00:45:01] Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola.

 

Craig Asano: [00:45:03] What gets you most excited to come in to work every day?

 

Julien Brault: [00:45:07] Oh, learning new things.

 

Craig Asano: [00:45:10] Nice answer. What advice would you give yourself, an 18 year old version of yourself, you know, at this point in your life, what would you say to yourself?

 

Julien Brault: [00:45:19] Hmm Be less impatient?

 

Craig Asano: [00:45:21] Less impatience. It's a good one. If you had any superpower, you know, you could fly super strength. What would it be and what?

 

Julien Brault: [00:45:29] Oh, I'd like to to see through walls, because I feel information is power and everything I did in my career was related to democratizing information and, you know, seeing through walls with maybe hearing walls would be even better.

 

Craig Asano: [00:45:47] That's dangerous stuff. They better try the Privacy Commission, if you could. If you could if you found a ten million dollar lottery ticket on the ground, you found a and it turned out to be worth 10 million. What would you do with the ten million?

 

Julien Brault: [00:46:03] Which would I guess I guess I would probably, you know, and it's a funny question, because I would probably invest it in my company. You know try to buyout investors because I think it's going to be so valuable. But, you know, I'm not doing this for money, but I don't know, maybe that or maybe buying a house or something.

 

Craig Asano: [00:46:32] Well, you'd be better off buying a house in the pandemic. We've got some crazy over list prices. Yeah, you can ask me all about afterwards. OK, well, I think, you know, that's that's almost a wrap here, which is the last question I want to ask you is if people want to get in touch with you, Julien, how do they do it? Where do they download the app? How do they find you?

 

Julien Brault: [00:46:57] That's a good question. So they can just go to if they have enjoyed it like you, they can go to Google Play and type Hardbacon iPhone, the same thing, the app store, they want to reach out to me. It's Julien@Hardbacon.com and they can email me at me on LinkedIn. So that's a that's about the different things they can do or go to our website. They can shop for financial products. So right now the website doesn't offer the budgeting and so on, but it's already offers the shopping experience for financial product.

 

Craig Asano: [00:47:32] Perfect. And of course, I'm going to include your contact information in the show notes for anyone who to get in touch with you. Thanks so much, Julien, for sitting down with us on the show. It's been great. Love to have you back any time and behalf on behalf of the Fintech Friday's podcast. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. So if you're new to FinTech Fridays, please check out some of our incredible past episodes on the site. You'll be surprised what you find. We look forward to seeing you next Friday for another episode of FinTech Fridays. Have a great weekend, everyone. Thanks, Julien. Really appreciate it.

 

Julien Brault: [00:48:09] Super appreciate it.

 

Outro : you've been listening to Fintech Fridays brought to you by NCFA and partners. Tune in weekly for the latest fintech Friday podcast by subscribing to this channel. The National crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada is a non-profit actively engaged with social and investment fintech sectors around the globe and provide education research industry stewardship services and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers. For more information please visit ncfacanada.org. Oh yeah.

 

End of Podcast

 

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fintech Fridays EP51:  Bacon and Eggs The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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