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Fireside chat with Julián Colombo, CEO at N5

Who is Julián Colombo?

Julián is an economist and journalist and has spent +20years occupying Global Corporate roles and local Executive positions in banks all over the world. After having spent three years as Global Director of CRM & BI of Santander Bank (one of the biggest banks in Europe) he left to fund N5 Now, a company dedicated to digital transformation in the Financial Industry. The company has now more than 200 collaborators worldwide and local presence 12 countries, growing at a steady rate of 500% a year.

What’s the story behind N5?

N5 was founded at the end of 2017, and in its first 24 hours secured contracts for over $5MM just by describing the soon-to-be platform to a group of banks.

A few months later, Julián got to present at an innovation event for banking in Zurich. A suite demo that began with just 16 spectators, ended with over a hundred people in the room and a few more waiting outside. From that meeting, N5 returned with 9 requests for proposals for the implementation of its total product in 9 different banks and insurance companies. In the next 90 days, N5 had closed more clients than it had projected for its first 2 years.

Four years after its creation, the company has 200 collaborators around the world, 3 business lines, and offices in strategic cities such as Miami, Madrid, São Paulo and Buenos Aires, it is positioned as one of The world’s fastest growing fintech companies with an operation that has been managed completely remotely since the beginning of 2018.

What was the most difficult part of your experience in the early beginnings?

Most start-ups wait months or even years to secure their first customers. That’s financially and emotionally challenging. N5, on the other hand, was born with very important paying customers that were betting on the company and its product from the very beginning. That relieved a lot of the traditional worries that a start-up can have, but added a more complex operational roadmap, having to build the product, and the company, while servicing customers to exceed their expectations

What are you most proud of regarding your business?

The fact that every single demo of our product ends up with a senior C-Level executive saying “This is the best thing I’ve ever seen”. After four years we should be used to it, their reaction, but it never ceases to amaze us and makes us proud.

What is your vision for the future of N5?

Trends show that Banks and Insurance companies will need to increase their digitalization efforts in the short-term, and given that we are, probably, the best suited partner for them, we’ll keep meeting that demand in the near future.

We have been growing at a very fast pace. While that has never been a key objective for us, we think it’s inexorable that that growth will continue, because let’s say – and we’re not saying it will be so- that all the financial industry ‘finishes’ with its transformation int the near future, they’ll still have miles to go in AI, Openbanking, Behavioural Design and Criptocurrency services. We expect to be there to satisfy those needs as well.

What’s your advice for the businesses that are trying to adapt to this economic climate?

Focus on your customer. Your customer’s goals, are your goals, their needs, your needs. The customer is who make your company possible, never lose sight of that.

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business

Openbanking will completely revolutionize the way Banks/insurance companies operate and approach customers, meaning their whole business and strategies will need to adapt to it. Behavioural design will bring customer experience to a different dimension even replacing UX/UI. Explainable AI (XAI) will transform decision making while providing transparency, ethics and regulation-abiding recommendations.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill, Why we Sleep by Matthew Walker, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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