In the modern digital world, more and more services are appearing for merchants to offer faster connectivity. However, transaction costs are limiting them from truly being able to capitalise on the new technology.
Silverbird is an online business account with a focus on ensuring businesses are able to expand, amid growing problems like high interest rates and expensive transaction fees. To get a better understanding of how the company is doing this, we sat down with Max Faldin, founder and CEO of Silverbird.
Tell us more about your company and its offering
Silverbird is an online business account designed for international trade. Exporters and SMEs around the globe get access to local IBANs in 100+ jurisdictions and seamless FOREX experience with 30+ currencies to focus on what matters most: building their business.
What problem was your company set up to solve?
Today, despite the availability of instant connectivity, trade is not free. While merchants have access to customers via digital marketing, they’re constantly pressured by traditional banking. Their cross-border transactions are regularly blocked, and many deals are not happening for non-commercial reasons. Transaction costs are flying through the roof, and merchants can’t grow their businesses.
Our payments platform steps in where traditional banks fail strongest, supporting unbanked businesses to expand their businesses overseas. Silverbird believes trade should be free and global. That the banking system serving it should be inclusive and digital. Silverbird offers easy and 100 per cent-online onboarding. All documents are provided digitally – no interview or branch visit is required. This liberates entrepreneurs from the unnecessary burden of leaving their home country and taking their eyes off their business.
With Silverbird, merchants manage their money remotely and trade globally. Transactions are processed in seconds, not days. In the past three years since Silverbird’s inception, we’ve developed payment capabilities to serve 120+ destinations worldwide. We also offer multi-currency accounts supporting 30+ currencies with no transaction limits.
Through our data-driven KYC procedures, we’re able to onboard legitimate exporters without the unnecessary bureaucratic burden of most traditional banks. We provide unparalleled transparency and traceability of payments, wrapped in personal, trade-savvy customer service so that exporters worldwide can enjoy international banking tailored to their needs.
We are disrupting the fragmented banking system by bridging the gap for millions of SMEs around the world and supporting the thriving global community of international merchants.
Since launch, how has your company evolved?
Since May 2020, when we were established, we have received $27.7million in funding to date. We’ve grown eight times over the last four months. We’re currently making $4million in ARR and are ready for a series A round.
Silverbird is results-orientated through our ambition to become not just big by size but big by impact. Some of the below facts exemplify our growth and continued drive to expand our capabilities for the benefits of our customers and the world:
- We’ve grown from 30 to 131 team members in the space of two years
- Our team members are located in 15 distinct countries. They can enjoy a hybrid remote working model with office hubs based in the United Kingdom and Moldova
- In just one year we’ve expanded our services from 112 (September ’22) to over 900 merchants
- Our payment capabilities cover 200+ jurisdictions worldwide
- We’ve been steadily growing >30 per cent m/m since the product launch
- To date we’ve received over 15,000 applications to open accounts
- Sixty-five per cent of our customer base start actively transacting within three months of onboarding
What has been the biggest challenge or most ‘tricky moment’ to overcome?
At Silverbird we are customer-obsessed. This means we set certain standards for ourselves when it comes to the service our customers received. It’s not always scalable, nor possible, due to resource constraints, to grow the team proportionally to the customer’s growth.
Our route to solving this challenge was developing a really strong collaboration between product and operations to introduce automations into our workflows. Knowing which areas to automate and where human interaction is required is a balancing act within itself.
As a financial services institution, it’s important for our customers to develop trust with our organisation, since we’re dealing with their money and oftentimes livelihoods. And if the only thing you find on the other end of the line is a chatbot, you’re not going to get very far in building that trust.
After several audits of our processes and customer touchpoints, we’ve identified opportunities to automate back-office procedures for our sales representatives and account managers, meanwhile freeing up time for them to focus on relationship building.
Our customers praise us extensively for maintaining that human touch and personalised approach, something that they rarely find in the service delivered by our competitors. We aspire to maintain this relentless optimisation approach as we grow to tens of thousands of customers in the future.
What are your biggest achievements or ‘proudest moment’ so far?
Our superpower is our AI-powered KYC technology allows us to quickly and safely onboard SMEs and make them bankable in Europe and beyond. Traders, importers, exporters and bankers, in general, need an account fast to pay suppliers on time, to pay customers on time, to buy the stock before the currency rates fluctuate – we jump high to ensure our customers don’t knock down their hurdles to give them time to run their business and ensure they have a friction-less payment system.
Our superpower has seen Silverbird grow four times in revenue in the last eight months. This is because we get to focus on the high-risk customers whilst our AI-Powered KYC technology focuses on the low-risk customers. It got us to where we are now, and it will get us to where we’re going next.
Ninety-eight per cent of transactions are instant, the security level is top-tier, saving counter-parties details is done with a simple click, downloading PDF and custom statements are retrievable anytime on their account as and when they need it. Due to our high service, we receive high-valued customers who believe our product is the way forward, as exemplified by one of most loyal customers.
How would you describe the culture of your company?
What sets Silverbird apart as a remarkable workplace is the extraordinary employee initiative(s). Not to mention the peer support, and an exceptional team spirit that permeates in everything we do. In three words, I’d describe our culture as innovative, inclusive and empathetic. These are also the values that we try to adhere to in everything we do.
What’s in store for the future?
In the future, we plan to offer a mobile app and credit cards for every customer that we have. We also plan to work towards building an entire financial suite of services. In turn, we want to create what we call a payments hub, offering services beyond just banking.