Making It Work: Yatta’s €1.1m funding win shows good financial planning

The Dublin start-up’s platform allows businesses to help customers manage their finances in an easy, accessible and engaging way

Alan Quinlan, chief executive of Yatta: ‘The easier you make it for companies to just ‘switch on’ a product like this, the better.’ Picture: Mary Browne

A new white label financial management app for consumers has earned the founders of Yatta €1.1 million in early-stage funding.

The Dublin start-up is in the final stages of closing its seed round ahead of plans to begin marketing to large companies in banking, insurance and employee benefits.

Alan Quinlan, Yatta’s chief executive, described the product as a financial experience platform for businesses selling to consumers.

“We partner with larger enterprises and their end customers can then use our platform to help manage their finances,” Quinlan said.

“People sometimes struggle to know where to start when it comes to managing their money. Yatta is about making financial decision-making more accessible, understandable and engaging.”

Quinlan said the start-up was already working with two customers in Ireland in the financial and employee benefits sectors.

He established the company in April 2020 with Colm McLoughlin, its chief commercial officer, and Johnny Kane, its head of technology and experience.

The trio met while working in the fintech sector in Australia. “Colm is a financial adviser, he ran his own regulated brokerage, and Johnny is the techie,” Quinlan said.

“My own background is in wealth management and financial advice. I worked for Zurich, Canada Life and Westpac while I was over in Australia.

“When I moved back in 2016, I partnered with Ignition Advice, a small Australian fintech company, to set up their Dublin office.

“I built the team here up to 15 people, and then I thought, if I’m doing this for them, why can’t I do the same for myself?”

Before co-founding Yatta, Quinlan’s career had brought him into regular contact with wealth advisers and asset managers at banks and insurance companies.

“One thing that kept coming up as a big problem for them was this need to be able to communicate with their customers digitally,” he said.

“It sounds simple, but it’s actually really hard. How do you engage with your customers in a way that’s interesting and novel? Is it possible to deconstruct financial decision-making for them in an engaging way?”

The idea behind Yatta was to make personal financial advice freely available to people online, Quinlan said.

“If you’re using Yatta through your banking provider, for example, you would log on to their portal to access our platform,” he said.

“We use open banking technology to bring all of your accounts together, so you can see them all in one place.

“Then, we really try to drive better financial habits through challenges and things like that. We use voice, video and text, so you’re not just filling out forms.”

Yatta is a client company of Enterprise Ireland, the state agency. “Their development advisers helped us with our funding round,” Quinlan said.

“Having them on board as investors also gives us validation for when we approach other investors and venture capital companies for further funding in the future.”

Yatta employs four people in product design, development, research and human experience roles at Dogpatch Labs in Dublin.

“Our big focus now is on product development. We already have a market-ready product, but we have huge plans for broadening and scaling it as much as possible,” Quinlan said.

“Ultimately, we want to have a plug-and-play product for enterprises. The easier you make it for companies to just ‘switch on’ a product like this, the better.”

Yatta plans to open a Series A funding round in the coming months.

“We’ll be looking at that towards the end of this year and early next,” Quinlan said.

“We’d like to increase our customer base within the same time frame from two to four clients, and to hopefully sign up our first customer in the UK within the next 12 months.”