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  • Writer's pictureRoy Urrico

IgniteFI’s Fractional Fintech Provides Startups with Timely Expertise

By Roy Urrico

Photo by Pixabay:

Operating a fintech, particularly in its early stages, often requires a team of experts with varied backgrounds to help transform innovative concepts into market-leading solutions. This is where IgniteFI claims its new offering can become a strategic advantage for both fintechs and financial institutions, such as credit unions, fintechs serve.

IgniteFI Founder/CEO Julie Esser

Our Fractional Fintech service combines the necessary structure and expertise with the flexibility to align with a fintech’s business phase,” IgniteFI Founder and CEO Julie Esser said. “We can leverage our extensive network and experience to help build the ideal fintech workforce, from a broad-spectrum team all the way down to the smallest spark a fintech might need. I founded IgniteFI to help fintech innovators transform their vision into reality.” 

Fractional Fintech offers a customized team of consultants selected specifically for their expertise. Esser noted they could include a fintech needing a chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, chief technology officer, or product visionary. The new IgniteFI service provides the specialized talent to complement the vision and drive the business forward.


Esser explained, “There are some people out there that have great ideas and do not know how to establish an organization or to how to get started. We could build the foundation around an organization. Bring us the product idea and let us do it. Let us see if it makes sense. We will determine product market fit. We will create the go-to-market strategy. We will bring additional resources behind it and bring it to the marketplace and see what happens.”


Fractional Fintech Satisfies a Need


IgniteFI was founded in 2022 and has been working with fintechs to bring products and services into the credit union market, Esser explained. What the company found, she added, is that fintechs often lack certain skill sets.


“The Fractional Fintech is really designed to bridge some gaps of expertise and skill sets that they don't currently have, to really help them accelerate their growth further,” said Esser. “You only can do so much with the resources that you have. Fractional Fintech is designed to bridge those gaps and to help them really get going faster.”


Esser continued, “Fintechs often do not have the resources to scale as quickly as they need with the required expertise. With Fractional Fintech, as your business evolves, so does your team, adapting to new challenges and opportunities. This way, the business leaders are entirely in control – a luxury startup fintech leaders do not often experience. So that means that it is not a full-time employee, it is more fill in services when they need it, type of an approach.”


IgniteFI has resources available for fintechs that can fill gaps in areas such as client success, compliance, marketing, sales, IT, and administration. “So anytime they need these resources, they can engage with us and they can determine how long they need these services. It could be short term, it could be long term, whichever they choose,” said Esser.


Esser mentioned that compliance, for example, is a big issue because many fintechs do not understand credit union regulatory mandates. “Bringing in somebody that knows the regulations inside and out, that's invaluable information. They can build that expertise inside their product, inside their service, inside their organization, whatever the case may be.”


Esser also pointed out that after utilizing these services on a trial-basis, fintechs can determine if they need to hire an employee on a full-time basis “to have that expertise in house.”


Timing It Right


Esser maintained IgniteFI’s business model is to study an organization’s position in the marketplace and operationally as well. “We dig deeper into the product. We look at what they are doing currently from a marketing and sales standpoint. If there are certain things they need to have from our perspective, that's part of our recommendations back to them. Most of the time, they will ask us to help them in executing our recommendations. So, we will bring in that expertise then fill what they are missing.”


Esser explained IgniteFI tries to connect with a fintech at its early introduction into the market – mostly when they reach the Series A to Series C funding rounds, which generally follows seed funding and angel investing. “What we try to do for any of our clients is (help) get their first three referenceable clients faster. The first ones are always the hardest, right?”


Esser said it is one thing to attract an opportunity, but is the fintech ready for what comes next? “Do you have your agreement in place? Do you have your due diligence package in place? And sometimes they are like, due diligence, what is that? They have bits and pieces of things, but they do not have it together as a package. We provide that expertise to help them get ready.”


IgniteFI can also teach fintechs about CUSOs. “Really helping fintechs understand what CUSOs are and their role. If they are interested in establishing one, we can support them in getting a structure set up,” said Esser.


IgniteFI is also open to working indirectly and directly with credit unions. “Credit unions are very much a me-too market. Once credit unions start seeing some early adoption by those that are leading the way, they tend to follow. We are really helping (fintechs) in getting their messaging, their brand position, value proposition statements in check and get sales ready.”


IgniteFI’s expertise is not limited to fintechs. “We call it Fractional Fintech simply because it was geared towards the fintech market primarily. But who is to say that credit unions or other financial institutions could not leverage the talent and expertise as well if they need to.” Esser added. “What we are seeing is that oftentimes in working with our clients and providing the products and services into the credit unions, there's definitely a resource issue (at credit unions).”


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