From left to right – Niels Mulder, Danny Wilson, and Daan van Klinken.
Our investment in Flow
Published by Vassil Terziev, Roberta Tihomirova, and Nikola Yanev.
The founders of Flow, Daan and Niels, were rivals in their design education, keeping an eye on each other at all times. If you ask them, they were both the best. After university, Daan started working at a design agency. He was looking for another good designer and thought of Niels. From that moment on they joined forces and became a product duo. Business plans and dreams were made during the carpool rides to Amsterdam. What can we still make, what do we want to do ourselves? There was one missing category in the App store, for which they had never made an app before: the financial category.
Remember how unthinkable the concept of self-driving cars sounded? But now that developments have moved on, it’s not a crazy thought any more. Daan and Niels wanted to do just that but for money. They call it self-driving money – all money matters on autopilot. Meet Flow.
Flow is a money management app
that automatically distributes incoming money flows across budgets, savings accounts, and investments based on “triggers” that users set themselves. It helps them manage their money by using smart rules to set up a money system that automatically budgets and prioritizes income. This way, money flows directly into “jars” or different accounts, so that users have an overview of their income and expenditure.
Now that digital finance and neobanks are present everywhere across the world,
personal financial management has been elevated to a much more meaningful level. Thanks to open banking, Personal Finance Management (PFM) applications are not just a digital diary of income and expenses, but rather a tool that integrates with the user’s money accounts. Having an IBAN is a commodity and the new battleground among fintech providers is to offer smarter software and user experience on top of the banking service.
Globally, there is a growing population of freelancers, gig-workers, and self-employed that represent the evolving concept of the future of work and are viewed as the power users of fintech. More and more people are seeing freelancing as a long-term career path and the field is expected to continue to grow as a younger generation enters the workforce. A research commissioned by Upwork found that in 2020, freelancers represented 36% of the US workforce, adding approx. $1 trillion to the economy. In Europe, over 22 million workers are classified as self-employed.
Although enjoying independence,
freelancers have to deal with tasks that are traditionally handled by employers. These include doing invoicing, balancing cash flows, bookkeeping, paying taxes, arranging insurance, etc. The average time estimated for doing these administrative tasks is 43 hours per week on average for Europe. Staying on top of their personal finances and dedicating time for money management is critical for the success of the freelancers’ business. However, they often lack the time and overview to manage their financial future properly. In addition to freelancers, consumers, who are not always able to muster the necessary financial discipline, also need a money system that would take all the worries out of their hands.
Addressing these pain points,
Flow integrates with the users’ existing financial accounts, in order to take care of savings, taxes, investments, remittances, bills, etc. As the name suggests, in the core of the application are the so-called payment flows. Each flow is a predefined instruction for the app to transfer money between the user’s accounts or to an external party. The main pain it solves is to allocate the appropriate amounts for taxes and insurance out of the income that is coming in, as well as to manage the timing of all payments going out. On top of that, Flow redirects money towards savings accounts, pension and investment accounts, family members, charity etc. Users can choose out of a library of flow templates or define their own.
Flow contributes to achieving the users’ financial goals, whether that is pensions, schooling expenses, home ownership, or a rainy day holiday fund. They rest safe in the knowledge that their money is working for them and their needs, without having to crunch the numbers on a daily basis. The app is currently live in the Netherlands and supports a number of popular banks and providers of financial services through the use of open banking and other APIs.
Flow was founded in 2018
by Daan van Klinken and Niels Mulder after two sleepless nights on a hackathon weekend. The result was there – a name, an iOS app, a website, a logo, and a brand were created. Daan put the idea on Twitter and immediately received reactions from influential finfluencers plus an invitation from the neobank bunq. Then things went fast and Flow was born as a business.
Both of the founders are highly experienced product designers and strategists with a track record of building fintech companies and international teams. Niels, founder, co-CEO & COO, is a former product designer at Yolt, Philips and Liberty Global. Daan, founder, co-CEO & CPO, has over 13 years experience in building high profile international product strategies and was part of the product team at Yolt, ING, Philips and many more. Danny Wilson is a co-founder and CTO, digital architect and engineer. He has background in building large scale international platforms and describes himself as a full time money geek.
Sparked your interest? Learn more on Flow’s website or get the app – https://flowyour.money.