An Interview with
Co-Founder & CEO
Rainbow Group at its core is a financial technology marketplace that operates in different segments through three companies in Vietnam. The group was incorporated in 2018. We are focused on developing an eco-system of end-to-end digital platforms aimed at creating a new-in-class experience for customers for their different needs. Our portfolio of products and services include MyRewards – an unique B2C loyalty platform that aims to rewards every spend, MyInsure – an insurtech platform aiming to deepen insurance penetration in Vietnam, MyMoney – a platform that redefines how customers compare and experience financial products, MyBike – a marketplace for motorbikes and MyHero – a sales-tech platform that powers our 3,000+ partners company sales team providing the essential last-mile physical conversion through our financial services distribution company
Tell us about your background, and how you came to found your company?
In my last 10 years in Vietnam, having spent equal amounts of time in banking and consumer finance respectively, I had the opportunity to cover both the breadth and depth of the market and have witnessed a sea of change in the financial services industry in Vietnam and people’s general attitude towards this sector. I have previously been Chief Exectuive Officer for Post & Telecommunication Finance Company (PTF) and prior to that have served in the top management for consumer finance companies like Home Credit and banks including VIB and MSB. I have also been actively engaged in advisory assignments for leading industry players, VC, PE firms and McKinsey with focus on digital transformation, retail banking, consumer finance, payments and risk management. The primary foundation of Rainbow Group and the ideation of ecosystem platforms emerged from the gaps that witnessed in the market for both millions of mass consumers and over 4 million micro SMEs. We believed we had a responsibility to cater to this group and attempt to improve their life by rewarding them, protecting them and by making it easier to access essential financial services.
What is most important to you and your organization – mission, vision, or core values? Why?
This is a little bit like trying to answer which sense is more important—sight, smell, hearing, taste, or touch? The truth is that they are all important. At Rainbow Group our vision is to inspire and enrich people's lives with financial independence. While this remains at the core, we have derived a mission to ensure we know where we are and how to get closer to our vision. Our core values define specific behaviors that we expect from one another instead of being corporate ideologies.
Can you explain briefly how your service(s)/product(s) works?
Digitalization has changed every aspect of people's lives and has also penetrated their behaviour towards financial services shrugging off the challenges presented by the pandemic making digital banking an irreversible trend. Unfortunately, while we saw many organizations providing new digital engagement options, few have created the experiences that consumers demand. And that’s exactly where we come in.
Our ecosystems begins with our loyalty platform ‘MyRewards’ designed to reward our users for their everyday essential spends, like a morning ‘pho’ or mid-day ‘banh-mi’ or an evening ‘café sua da’, that typically go unrewarded so that they can collect these points to redeem against non-essential spends like a nice dinner with the family. And all of this with no cost pressure to the millions of micro-SME that we target with this platform while offering him an opportunity to digitize the business in a simple yet effective way.
The journey continues with the theme of protection with ‘MyInsure’ - an AI-powered health & lifestyle based insurtech platform that would offer unique, simplified, tailor-made insurance products with a customer-centric approach for all consumers and mSMES. For this platform we have partnered with PVI - one of the leading insurance companies in Vietnam. These are products that our customers will love and we are also giving away a free year of protection for all new users of the platform. More on this once we launch in a few weeks.
The journey doesn’t just end here. With our ‘MyMoney’ platform scheduled to be launched in June, both our users and mSME partners will get access to simplified, easy-to-access financial products. Our ‘MyHero’ platform will further go on to provide additional income opportunity to millions of mSMEs while they continue to focus on their newly digitized business.
How has the industry been changing in recent years?
Financial services in 2020 was defined by a sudden acceleration in digitization and digital engagement—pushed by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Exchanges moved to remote trading, mobile banking transactions spiked, card-not-present transactions saw an unprecedented growth and mobile payments soared higher. With the post-crisis normalcy gradually settling into place, it is now becoming obvious that embracing disruption and accelerating the pace of technological change is emerging as the most creative force in the financial services ecosystem today. Financial services industry in Vietnam particularly has done extremely well in 2020 remaining immune to the impact of Covid-19 with post-tax profits increasing by over 10% across the sector. While some of these changes have been in motion for a while. the key trends going forward will include consolidated ecosystem banking/finance (1MG, Grab, Rainbow), fintechs moving focus from digital payment to personal and SME finance, rise of standalone digital banks aimed at the youth, seamless adoption of fintechs by traditional financial institutions and deeper integration of AI/ML based credit decisioning.
What makes you different from what’s currently available in the market?
What makes us different from the rest is our approach to the problem and simplicity of this approach. At Rainbow Group, we want to solve real problems that people face. There are plenty of loyalty programs in Vietnam but they do not resonate with the mass because of their choice of merchants that work better for mass-affluent consumers. There are few that have attempted to digitize or financially embrace the 4 Million micro SMEs in Vietnam that collectively contribute a chunk of the GDP and serve over 50 Million consumers. On the other hand insurance penetration in the country is low and there is need for essential protection but consumers often feel discouraged with complicated buying process and introduction to expensive non-related products. It is important to hold these consumers’ hands and introduce them to essential protection - one tiny step at a time.
What does the future hold for your company?
What we are building here is not just marketplace platforms but an ecosystem that aims to gives back to the society we operate in by driving our financial inclusion agenda. Our ecosystem will ultimately digitize micro-merchants, give them access to small ticket digital credit so they can invest back into the business, reward mass customers who represent the largest consumer segment in Vietnam, deepen the penetration of affordable essential insurance, simplify access to traditional financial products and offer everybody an opportunity to have an additional income stream. We have made significant investments towards customer data platform (CDP), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), a state of the art CRM and marketing tool in addition to design thinking capabilities to achieve this. Over the next 5 years, we expect to drive inclusion for over 15 Million users and 500,000 micro-SMEs across our platforms.