How one Danish Fintech is making Pensions something to stay youthful for.

‘Grandhood is adulthood, just better.’

Says Jon Lieberkind – CEO and co-founder of a Danish Fintech superstar that’s re-defining the way people plan for later life. ‘You have a childhood, an adulthood, and now you have a Grandhood too. Grandhood is not a place to grow old, but a place to make new memories. It’s not an old life, it’s a gold life.’

Jon founded Grandhood with Jens Kam and Mathias Bredkjær with the aim of shaking up a stale, conventional Pension planning model that was leaving many behind. With more than 300,000 Danes not saving for a pension (in a population of just under 6 million), Grandhood identified a problem; pension planning is what you do when you get old – often leaving elderly in poverty and with no time to make sound financial decisions.

Image: Happy days of disruption as Grandhood wins Money20/20 best startup pitchin Amsterdam in June 2018

Incumbent providers are not delivering a pension solution that fits people’s needs. This is critical because there is a high likelihood that this group of people are not able to maintain a decent living standard in retirement. Grandhood is changing that.

Keep it simple Jon, getting old is tomorrow’s problem!

With a CV that includes a Masters degree in Economics and Finance and time as a VP & Investment strategist on Wall Street, Jon might not seem like a guy that wants to keep life simple – but that’s exactly the insight that drove the decision to build the Grandhood proposition.

A pension is low interest for most consumers, even though they know it is important. Millennials and Generation Z are projected to have somewhere between 10 and 32 jobs throughout their life. The mere thought of tracking and collecting all their legacy pensions creates anxiety and some may give up on saving entirely. This is a huge societal problem. Furthermore, paying annual management fees on each and everyone of these legacy pension pots will erode your savings in the long run.

Giving employees a more simple path to pension planning might be the idea, but enabling SME’s to be part of the solution is where Grandhood has a real differentiator compared to the big players running the market.

Grandhood and other Fintech’s operate with a significantly lower customer acquisition cost due to the inherent digital DNA of our solutions. Hence, we can serve small businesses and still maintain a viable business, while incumbents are struggling to find profitability in this segment of the market and are thus incentivized to cater to larger companies.

Scaling in Scandi – Staying in DK means looking globally for talent

Denmark has a high skill economy already running at capacity – so staffing can be a challenge. At Grandhood they solve that by looking anywhere and everywhere for talent.

We have actually managed to have two top talents relocate from Singapore and Paris to join us in our Copenhagen offices. So far we are 13 people and leadership is playing an increasing role. We have 5 different nationalities and we have people working in tech, product, asset management, marketing and business development.

Being a disruptor still means dealing with the big boys of finance

Though a small team, Grandhood has faced the same problem many other disruptors have had to consider – when and how to work with existing players to achieve scale and monetise their proposition with a wider audience. With Saxo Bank (DKK 3.0 billion in revenues – 2017), they have chosen a smaller yet still substantial player in Nordic finance to collaborate with. Jon is sanguine about the trade off’s necessary in such decisions:

I genuinely agree with our partner bank, Saxo Bank, in that a meaningful disruptive factor in future financial markets will be partnerships. A mutual understanding of division of labour and competitive advantages is the foundation of the next generation financial solutions.

Old people – not only found in Denmark

While Grandhood sharpens its model, builds its platform and widens its product offer, Denmark remains the immediate opportunity to focus on. But the team are keen to look overseas in the medium term.

We do have international ambitions. However, initially the plan is to prove the business case in Denmark in the small business segment in 2019 and then entertain a soft launch in a second country in 2020.

The author of this article, Martin Best is the Managing Director of the agency Full Reach. Martin is a London-based global Fintech expert, and was previously Head of Brand Marketing, EMEA Marketing and Global Marketing Partnerships for Fintech superstar WorldRemit, where he delivered the global campaigns ‘Money in Safe Hands (2016) and A better way to send money (2017). In 2018 Martin supported WorldRemit’s expansion of mobile wallet services in Africa. Martin has an international career spanning several countries including Director of Marketing for Carlsberg Group in SE Europe, and several senior Director positions in Russia, Asia and Scandinavia.

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