Oro has humble beginnings and started as a casual coffee conversation sitting at a Starbucks when Debra Ross had suggested that she would like to start a new company outside of oil and gas services.
When asked ‘What would she do if not continue to run her current company, Gamma-Tech Inspection Services, she said…. “Start an online bank of course!”
The idea of Oro started before Oro even existed and the seed was planted. Debra explained that she has felt the pain of requiring help from banking institutions with no interest in helping her. She recognized that the banks and financial service institutions are not in business to assist the middle market.
There were a few insurmountable issues when starting an online bank in Canada….
+ Massive reserve requirements
+ Uber competitive market
+ Margins based on spread
Just these three barriers to entry are enough to make starting an online bank from new nearly impossible. So challenge accepted. We went to work and put together the QALIA with which to capture Debra’s noble spirit and create a profitable opportunity.
How does an enthusiastic entrepreneur launch an upstart financial services company that serves a middle market deserted by conventional institutiions?
Unbanked/Underbanked | Middle/Lower Market Banking Consumers
LISTENING & LEARNING
Banking is going mobile
Banking is going digital & cashless.
Incumbent Financial Services | Government & Regulatory | Social Media
Digital + Cashless + Remittance
THE SOLUTION (IN ALL IT’S GLORY)
The Oro App
We developed a mobile app to help landed immigrants and foreign workers send money home to their families.
THE STEPS INVOLVED….
We needed to know more about who this new and innovative platform would serve along with what their wants and needs are. Secondary data and internet research just wasn’t going to cut it.
Primary research through focus groups were needed. We conducted over 40 interviews with foreign workers from 4 of the 6 top remittance reciving countries who were living in New York. Our hypothesis was that reducing time and expense are the most important benefits to users of remittance services.
BUT, what we found was that SAFETY was the biggest issue. We heard, from many interviewees, that the time it takes and how much a money transfer costs were secondary to how safe their families would be when they went to pick up the money. We heard stories of having to bribe bank tellers or tales of spouses being robbed after leaving money transfer stores.
This service would need to resonate with an immigrant community. Everything from the name of the company to the colour palette was carefully crafted. Oro, which means ‘gold’ in spanish was super simple and translated across many of the top remittance recieving countries like the Philippines and Latin American countries.
The look and feel is warming, simple and the opposite of the staunch financial institutions most people are accustomed to dealing with.
The User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) was just as carefully considered as the branding. The feedback we received from potential users was that they were often intimidated by the apps provided by the institutions they are currently using.
This is not surprising considering that most of these apps are not developed in the user’s native language and require multiple points in the navigation to complete a transaction.
- Fully branded remittance service including all digital and social media assets
- Functioning prototype
- 10,000+ prospective users prior to launch
- 12.5x ROMO (Return on Marketing Objectives)
- $700,000 capital raised
Oro is one of those projects that pushes the boundaries of convential business. Where creativity is doing something different and innovation is doing something better… Oro exists at the center of both.