I work for Franc as a Junior Product Manager and, in my relatively short career in what I (modestly!) like to call ‘the vital link between engineering and business”, I’ve learnt a few things:

1. Engineering are definitely not just the guys that fix your computers when you can’t print or connect to the internet.

2. There is no real limit to the number of times you can have a cup of coffee in a day.

3. Product teams tend to get so caught up in putting out fires and perfecting the product, that we tend to lose sight of what we’re actually trying to achieve.

I want to address the final point. In a bid to give our users what they need, as opposed to offering what we think they want, we’ve been having some very honest, very real, one-on-one conversations with our investors, where we try to understand the person behind the investor, and boy has it been a journey.

Most days, I’ll get off the phone feeling good about what we do at Franc, but I won’t lie, there are one or two instances when my emotional intelligence has been put to the test, which only makes sense given the nature of our endeavour. I have had some difficult chats, especially if we have a bug like we recently had where users didn’t receive OTPs (something we have subsequently fixed) and I’m sure I will have more of these in the future as we strive to perfect our product.

At Franc, we love people who’ve been able to diversify their portfolio, build their wealth and who know the ins and outs of investing. We are especially trying to make it easy and accessible for a different type of person too though. One who hears the words ‘invest’ or ‘portfolio’ or ‘equities’, thinks about their financial situation and has a mini panic attack. So trying to find that balance between being a good product for the established investor, versus being a simple, cheap and accessible product for the uninformed and confused, can be a challenge. We want to bridge the gap and walk the journey with all our users to help them feel comfortable and knowledgeable.

Bear with me for a second while I draw your attention to a few direct quotes from some of our Franc investors, that really help us stay encouraged:

The first is from a conversation I had recently with Keletso, a young lady who is part of the gig-economy and has high ambitions for herself such as owning property: “Overall, I have never had any issues with Franc. It's one of the best financial decisions I've ever taken for myself.”

The second, from Michael, an engineering student who is on a university budget but is already thinking about his financial future: “It's simple, easy to use and it's futuristic. Investing app for the future!"

Lastly, an ambitious software developer named Benedict, who is looking to set himself up and travel abroad: “It made the whole equity investment process easy, the risk assessment helped. It made life easy, it's just a matter of logging in and checking, then going on with my day."

As you can see from our conversations with actual Franc investors, South Africans need a reliable, simple and accessible platform to invest, and most of those who have started with us, appreciate us.

For most South Africans, financial savviness and financial independence are painfully foreign concepts, and fixing that is going to be a long and difficult journey, but we at Franc are here to take that journey with you, and we’re here to show it’s not impossible!

So come on this journey with me and with all of us here at Franc. Watch as we grow and bring you new and exciting features in the app. Share your thoughts and feedback whenever you like as we genuinely want to hear them!
Looking forward to hearing from you and if you have any questions feel free to drop me an email at ashwin@franc.app.