FintekNews is pleased to offer our weekly feature column “3 Questions With”. Each week, we feature a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Steve Polsky, Founder and CEO of Juvo, which partners with mobile operators to provide financial identity & mobile financial services to 5B prepaid mobile users around the world, who are often unbanked or financially underserved. Juvo’s proprietary Identity Scoring technology uses data science, machine learning and game mechanics to create an identity-based relationship with anonymous prepaid users, opening up access to otherwise unattainable mobile financial services.
NAME: Steve Polsky
TITLE: Founder and CEO
WEB ADDRESS: http://juvo.com
How did you personally become involved in fintech?
I’m a serial entrepreneur, and Juvo is my fifth start up. My time working with previous companies really paved the way for my foray into fintech, because I had the opportunity to see, firsthand, the effect of mobile technology all around the world. I realized the timing to dive into a mobile financial opportunity was perfect – the capabilities of machine learning and data science, coupled with the progression of cloud computing and the ubiquitous rise in smartphones laid the groundwork for a concept like Juvo to not only take root, but thrive.
I have been fortunate in my career to have worked with amazing people, who care a great deal and give back in a myriad of ways. When it came time to create Juvo I gathered many of these people together – some who work for the company, some who advise the company and some who have invested in the company – to build a solution that was unlike anything else the fintech world has seen. Juvo is much more than a credit solution, much more than emergency lending, much more than a mobile app. We’re meeting people at the exact time and location they need us, and we’re extending a financial opportunity. With a market of 5 billion people around the world, it is a really exciting time to be in fintech.
What does your firm do/offer within the fintech sector?
Juvo was founded with one overarching vision: to establish financial identities for the billions of people worldwide who are creditworthy, yet financially excluded.
Over 80% of mobile users across the globe, about five billion people, are prepaid subscribers. Yet the majority of these people are unbanked without even basic financial services. In partnership with mobile network operators, Juvo leverages the ubiquitous reach of mobile devices to provide its proprietary Identity Scoring technology. Identity Scoring uses data science, machine learning and game mechanics, which enables each and every one of these prepaid subscribers to create a financial identity and walk up a pathway to financial services. By leveraging everyday mobile phone use, Juvo creates identity-based relationships with anonymous prepaid users, opening up access to otherwise unattainable mobile financial services.
What has been the biggest success in your firm to date?
We have been so pleased by market reaction to Juvo. We launched out of stealth just last fall and already have a reach of 350 million subscribers across 23 countries and four continents. We’ve managed to create a win/win/win scenario, where mobile operators, financial services companies and individual subscribers all enjoy tangible, measurable value.
But I believe the biggest success to date is in seeing how Juvo impacts the life of the individual, as in this story of Juvo subscriber Jackie, who lives in Jamaica. As Juvo grows in developing countries, we are hearing more about how previously anonymous mobile subscribers’ lives are changing, along with the lives of their families, and how these individuals are starting to reshape plans for their future based on greater access to financial opportunity. Above anything else, that has been incredibly rewarding and feels like real success.
Steve Polsky is a serial entrepreneur, with a career that has centered on founding, launching and managing early stage technology ventures including Flixster/Rotten Tomatoes, Amber Networks, VoicePlex Corporation and Edusoft. Steve combined his industry experience and expertise, along with a deep rooted desire to affect real change in the world, and created Juvo with the goal of providing basic financial services to people worldwide.