Embrace change, take risks, and disrupt yourself

Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify Listen on Pandora

The Unique App That Makes Financial Education Rewarding

Capturing the attention of GenZ and digital-first consumers is an ongoing challenge. Financial well-being is a major goal for these segments … but engagement is elusive.

Zogo is an award-winning app that gamifies financial literacy for younger consumers. Created by a Chinese immigrant, at the age of 19, Zogo currently serves 600,000 users from 200 financial institutions, including American Express.

We are fortunate to have Bolun Li, founder & CEO of Zogo on the Banking Transformed podcast. He discusses the origination of this gamification-based app and the growth that has been achieved since Zogo’s founding.

Jim Marous:
Hello, and welcome to banking grant forum. I'm your host Jim Marous. Owner and CEO of the digital bank report and co-publisher of the financial brand. Capturing the attention of the younger consumer in financial services is a major challenge. Financial wellbeing is a primary focus for these segments, but engagement is very elusive. FinTech startup Zogo is an award winning platform that gamifies financial literacy for younger consumers, using bite size modules that can move market share and engage consumers. Created by an immigrant at the age of 19, from a dorm room at Duke University, Zogo serves over 600,000 users from 200 financial institutions in just one year. We are so fortunate to have Bolun Li founder and CEO of Zogo on the Banking Transform Podcast. He will discuss the origin of its innovative app and the growth that has been achieved since Zogo's founding.

Jim Marous:
So I'm going to assume that most listeners to bank transform podcasts are not first generation immigrants. I'm also going to assume that none of my listeners on the show came into the U.S. alone at the age of 13 and created a financial app in the dorm room at the age of 19. So welcome to the show Bolun. As I said, in our introduction comments, you are officially the youngest person we've had on the show and probably one of the better and more exciting stories. So before we start, can you provide our listeners with a little background around yourself, as well as what inspired you to create a financial services app while attending Duke?

Bolun Li:
Yeah, for sure. Thanks for having me. So I came, like you said, I came to the U.S. when I was 13 years old from China and went to this school in Boston. Lived with host family all four years in Boston. And when I was in high school, my teacher like really encouraged me to look into entrepreneurship and I did some programs and so on and so forth. So when I got to Duke like entrepreneurship, wasn't really like, wasn't really this scary thing. Like I've kind of had a little bit of experience in high school and I got kind of bored with my classes my freshman year at Duke. So I was like, you know what, let me try to see if I can put something together and start a company. So I was, I was 19, it was my freshman year.

Bolun Li:
I was in my dorm and I just started working on Zogo. And I remembered I attended this financial literacy seminars that year when I was in school. And it was in this huge auditorium. Like all the kids came to the auditorium and the school invited a bank to come to the school to speak about financial literacy. It was like two, three hours on presentations about budgeting, whatever. Like, literally if you look around the room, it's hilarious, because like everyone's on their phone, texting each other, like making fun, like on their Instagram, right? No one was paying attention to this banker. Who's like wearing suit and like putting on this presentations.

Bolun Li:
And by the end of it, the banker would give each student a little flyer and was like open a checking account and you'll get $20 when you open a checking account with us. And we were just walking out of the room. It was like, this is the most stupid thing ever. Like I like, there's no way we're going to even look at this bank. So that kind of inspired me to see, I saw two problems during that seminar. Number one is I saw that financial literacy wasn't being delivered the right way to young people. And number two is financial institutions doesn't really know how to reach this generation the right way. So kind of combining the two together, we build Zogo.

Jim Marous:
So how does Zogo work and how do you bring together financial literacy and a gamification component?

Bolun Li:
Yeah. So I don't know how many listeners have used the language learning tools before on the app store? Like Duolingo, Rosetta stones. I don't know Jim, if you're familiar with these, these apps? Like Duolingo is a great example. Almost, if you ask any 20 something years old, they definitely have heard of Duolingo. And have used it to learn something like learn some language. They break down this very complicated language into bite sized formats and gamified it with points, leaderboard so on and so forth. So we see money as a language. Financial literacy is a language that is very difficult to understand. So what we did as Zogo is we break down these very complicated financial concept into bite size modules. And we add all the gamification components. User completes a module, they earn some pineapples, which is an in-app currency at Zogo and they can use their pineapples to redeem for rewards. So they're literally getting paid to learn about financial literacy. A lot of the inspiration came from the language learning tools that our generation used.

Jim Marous:
Where did you start? I mean, financial literacy is a very broad topic. What seems to be if you were to pick one or two areas of the biggest gaps between what a younger consumer doesn't understand and what financial institutions don't do a really good job of helping them understand? What are some of the components of financial literacy that are the most challenging from your perspective?

Bolun Li:
Yeah. You know, this is so interesting because we have about 36 topics, different topics on the app covering credit, insurance, blah blah, blah, blah, blah. And by the way, we have people of all ages on the app as well, from 13 years old, all the way to 70 years old. Yeah. So we've seen like different age group have chosen to start with different topics.

Bolun Li:
And if you look at the younger generations on Zogo, the number one topic, believe it or not, the number one topic that they pick is how to get credit. And even when I kind of saw that stats, I was really, I was really shocked because I wouldn't think that would be the first thing on the mind for young people, but that is. How to get credit. And number two is get to know financial institutions. That's the second, most popular topic for young people under 25.

Bolun Li:
So I think there's just a need for young people to demystify what's going on in the... Number one in the credit market. And number two, I guess just financial institution as a whole. They just don't understand. Right. That's why they want to learn more. And hopefully Zogo is like a place for them to go to get to know these things.

Jim Marous:
So can you explain some of the challenges you had when you went from ideation to building a financial services app for what is really a very hard to reach consumer? Because even when you bring gamification in there, the attention span and the ability to move from item to item, and certainly it's all mobile. There's challenges when you look at not only where you start, but how do you describe the elements of financial services and then how do you do it in a, what I call a legal framework? Because you get into financial services and you start to impart information, it's got to meet some regulatory guidelines as well.

Bolun Li:
Yeah. I would say you can imagine a 19 years old trying to... When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing. And then I would say one credit I would give is a credit union industry. They were kind of the first group of customers that started to help us with figuring out how to deliver or how to present this. And like all, you said meeting the legal requirements, so on and so forth. But first and foremost, okay. When we built this thing, when we're 19, we wanted to build something that would be helpful for ourselves. And that was kind of the, really the guiding principle, like something that we would use ourself, right? And the gamifications and all that. Those are cool. Like those are cool elements. But at the end of the day, this is what gamification is all about.

Bolun Li:
It's not about the points. It's not about whatever. It's about making the users feel like they are hitting a goal, some kind of goal all the time. Like in gamification we call it a dopamine hit. Like just making sure they're hitting that... Getting that feeling. That's why no one wants to read. There's not a lack of financial literacy content on the web. There's so many of them in fact, but what Zogo has done is we make them super short so that the user feel like they're learning something all the time. Like really quick feedback loop. So it took a, took us a while to figure that out. And then plus the incentives, plus the rewards that are embedded with the pineapples and everything, it just get people started. Right. And then, and we think that's kind of the hardest thing is to get started. I don't know if that answered your question, but...

Jim Marous:
Yeah, it does. And what's interesting is I'm talking a lot recently in presentations and webinars and podcasts. The fact that we really, as an industry are moving from the need to build better experiences, to building better engagement, to more interactive, accurate action that we're talking about. You bring up some very interesting components that it's really not just a gamification, it's the way we talk to this generation. We tend to, financial services will never be blamed for under communicated. We, we make everything much bigger than it has to be. Are the financial services institutions that are partnered with Zogo using this as their content delivery tool for this generation? In other words, did this replace other content they previous had on the site because it's easier to consume?

Bolun Li:
A hundred percent, a hundred percent, right? So like for example, Zogo, like we have an existing library of about 500 educational modules on all kinds of topics. But on top of that, the financial institution we partner with can add additional, like customize and add their own modules super easily to Zogo. So we have institution, this is super cool, by the way. Like we have financial institution adding modules to teach people about their history of how they got started, right? Like some of the community banks and like credit union have like crazy histories. And this, it's really interesting for young people to know about how they got started and what credit union even mean by the way. What community banking even mean. So, so we've seen a lot of use case around that.

Jim Marous:
Well, it's interesting than what you just said there, where organizations build their own modules. Is there a little bit of crowdsourcing here where they get more modules from you, but you could in return get some ideas for models you can build for other organizations based on what your partners are already building?

Bolun Li:
A hundred percent, a hundred percent. That's the idea. Like a lot of the modules we have on the app, we will not have, unless our partner has told us that they have seen interest around the topic, right? So it's really, it's really a crowdsourcing effect. Like for example, Jim we are starting to get into the investment categories, like the investment apps. You know those like robo advisors and stuff like that? And they're giving us so many ideas of what we need to teach people about investing. And it's really a collaborative effort from everyone that we work with.

Jim Marous:
Well I have a saying I use way too often: but just because you build it doesn't mean they'll come or buy it. Could you explain how you actually partner with both legacy and FinTech firms to expand the reach of your service? I mean, how did you in the very first time knock on the door of financial institution as a 19 year old and actually

Bolun Li:
I know...

Jim Marous:
Get somebody to listen to you? Because heck I've been in the industry a whole lot longer, and I have a hard time reaching some of these financial institutions.

Bolun Li:
Yeah. You know, honestly, I think back, I don't know how, how it happened, but basically just got very lucky. I went to a couple conferences, credit union conferences, one is called NACUSO and then I went to Finovate and we actually won Finovate we did, we won best of show.

Jim Marous:
I was going to say, you definitely went to Finovate yeah.

Bolun Li:
Yeah. We won the best of show there. And then we.. And then like, I think it's just from the conference, it just a concept resonated with people so much that we just started getting inbound, like inbound request from credit unions, from community banks. And we had our first, 10 pilot, like just like, a lot of the other FinTech, how they get started. And then it did really well. And then kind of just expand from there. And today we have close to 200 financial institutions all across the U.S. And sitting here today for the past two years, I don't know how it happened. I think it's just our commitment to this industry and how, like we really care about our partners and we do whatever it takes to make them happy. And I think that kind of help us move the needles and move it forward.

Jim Marous:
You know, you've mentioned credit union several times. Has that been the part of the industry that's been the most receptive? I would imagine just because there're changes in the way they do things, I would imagine that based on size, based on the type of institution, credit union be very receptive. But how about legacy banks? How about larger finance institutions? Have they been well received by them or do they put in roadblocks that are different from the smaller organizations do?

Bolun Li:
Yeah, I mean, we definitely started with the smaller ones. We, so the way it works, we started with credit unions. We moved down to community banks and today, I mean, we have American express as a customer, these large legacy banks. There's another, really top five retail banks, that's going to become a partner. So it's really, it doesn't matter the size now. And as much as back in the day, because we weren't really proven back in the day. But today we work with, we also work with FinTech, actually. Large FinTech companies like Moneyline, new banks of the world. So it really is just whoever an insurance company, by the way is another one. We have insurance customer clients that want to teach their customer by insurance. Because what we realize is teaching, like education at the end of the day is the best loyalty like best way to get loyalty from customers. And I think the financial institutions realize that as well.

Jim Marous:
So once you've sold it to a financial institution, how does these partners actually reach their intended audiences to let them know about Zogo? Because again, I'm going to use the term, if you build it doesn't mean they'll that people find it. And financial institutions tend to build a whole lot of stuff into their website that nobody can ever find. Nobody ever knows it's even there. How do your best partners reach the intended audience and tell them that there's this great app that you don't even have to be a client or a customer to access.

Bolun Li:
So that's a great question. And I think this is one of the things we did really well early on. Almost all of our financial institution partners when they launched Zogo. So they purchased the Zogo app, which basically they get an access code to the app that they can distribute to their members, to their customers. So we have credit units that just, they have hundreds of thousand, like a hundred thousand members. For example, they just send an email, very simple, that's it. Send an email to all the members and all the members, maybe five to 10% initially get onto the app, actually downloaded the app because they know they can get paid to learn. Like that's a novel concept.

Bolun Li:
But once they get on the app, we have a feature called referral. A user can invite a friend to join the app and they can earn a thousand pineapples for doing that, which equals to a dollar in reward, right? 75% of our user base today got on the apps through referrals from friends and families. So basically when the way financial industry do is they just launch it and they don't ever have to look at it or do anything about it again. It's just kind of keep growing in the community by itself. Parents will start telling their kids about it. Kids tell their friends that, oh my God, look, ABC credit union is paying me to learn. Right. And they just kind of grow itself.

Bolun Li:
And then we have some more sophisticated institutions that are integrating Zogo into their mobile banking app. Like Visions credit unions is one. They integrated into their system and that's even easier. Like they just literally get a lot of people every single month to just join.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting because you could actually, if you know the path that it, that some of your participants, your app users use, you could actually have a popup on the mobile phone that says by the way, have you gone to this module and earn your pineapples?

Bolun Li:
Exactly. We do that for sure. And you know, we even do popup where if a user just learn about, let's say credit card, right. Or loans, we do a popup as well for our financial institution partners so that they, if they're interested, they can go visit the financial institutions as well.

Jim Marous:
Yeah. How many modules are part of the Zogo app? Right

Bolun Li:
Now? We have about 500 modules on the Zogo. And do you want to hear a really crazy stats, Jim? So we've launched the app for about two, three years, like close to three years. Take a guess how many modules has been completed by our users in the past three years?

Jim Marous:
That was one of the two questions coming. Next slide, 200,000 participants. I believe you said you have a number of organizations. I... A million education modules?

Bolun Li:
20 million education modules has been completed and that's equivalent to about close to 10 years worth of time of users spending on the app, learning about financial literacy. You would never thought people would actually spend time doing that, especially kids.

Jim Marous:
So for, for a typical either median or mean, I don't care, which one, user, how, how many times do they get engaged with your app? How many modules?

Bolun Li:
It really depends. But you know, when we did a pilot with this large financial institution, it's about 30 minutes a month, a user was spent on the app. So 30 minutes a month learning about financial literacy. Yeah. And today we have about 600,000 users on the platform.

Jim Marous:
Oh, I'm sorry six hundred thousand. That's six hundred thousand.

Bolun Li:
And that really adds up. So it really adds up like over time for the module they complete.

Jim Marous:
So financial literacy is obviously a very broad topic. And you already mentioned the crowdsourcing that's done in partnership with your financial institutions. Are there any other ways that you approach innovation at Zogo right now?

Bolun Li:
Yeah, so we, obviously the pineapple is a really interesting thing that we've created. And it's crazy that our users would literally do anything for pineapples. Like it's crazy. Like basically our financial insurance sometimes send an email and say, go follow our Instagram account. We'll give you a thousand pineapples. Then all of a sudden, like thousands of people just follow their Instagram account. But anyway, what I was trying to say is there's something about the pineapple that is really powerful and we are looking to the way. And I'm sure you are very familiar with this space as well, like in the crypto space and how we can potentially create some synergy there. And helping our financial institutions to get into this space, through Zogo with the younger audience. So that's definitely a big thing that we will be unveiling later this year.

Jim Marous:
So is there any recent module let's say in the last six months that you added that really just moved the needle. Blew it off the charts. You going, I didn't see that coming or?

Bolun Li:
I have one for you and you're going to laugh when I say it. So this topic is called how to play poker. Okay. And people are going to be like, what the heck poker? But you know, poker actually is, it's a good way to train life skills and to train negotiation skills like so on and so forth. Like a lot of the people in finance learn poker to learn about risk management. And we don't teach how to gamble to be clear in Zogo, but it's to use poker as an example of how it translates to your financial lives. And it is kind of this topic that we started once again, crowdsourcing. Like one of our partners mentioned it and it has become the most completed, the highest completion rate on the entire Zogo app, how to play poker.

Jim Marous:
But again, it's finding new ways to communicate something that's extraordinarily threatening to people. It is something that people don't like to talk about. But where nobody with everybody feeling uncomfortable, you've got to find new ways of communicating. And again, I would imagine that all your developers and all your innovation team and even the organizations that are heavy users, they are using their employees and your team that are all young to say, here's the way you could probably reach this audience.

Bolun Li:
Exactly, exactly. Like we have almost all of our financial institution also use it for their employees and for their training. So that's another thing that they're doing. It's also a classroom for teachers. They give it to students as like, almost like a homework. So it's just a very flexible tool that people can use, like wherever they want.

Jim Marous:
So as we've been discussing, Zogo uses gamification and really bite sides modules to improve financial literacy. Are there ways to leverage these two tools to expand the use of financial services as well. In other words, to help sell or introduce products to the marketplace you're talking about?

Bolun Li:
Yeah. A hundred percent. I mean, we know at Zogo, we believe that education is the best sell. When you educate someone about something, it's a very natural thing that the other person start trusts you more and want to do business with you. Right. So when, like I mentioned, our financial institution can freely create any modules they want on the Zogo app. There's just one condition. It has to be educational. Even if it's about their products, it has to be educational. And we have just some crazy, crazy convert, like rate of conversions from these modules to like the actual products. Because it's not just like, Hey, like, you know what I experienced when I was in high school. Here's a checking account, earn $20 when you open a checking account. But instead it's educating you with a few modules, some quizzes, right. And then at the end, inviting you to check it out. Right. So that's kind of our way of doing it.

Jim Marous:
Yeah. To bring up the point of what you said earlier in the podcast was that you said that initially the way you got into this business was a banker came in, said, they're looking to educate you about financial services. And at the end, they tried to sell something which kind of killed the whole mindset. Not that it wasn't already killed before that, but the reality is people want to be given the opportunity to make their own decisions. So I think it's interesting the way you're looking at that. How has Zogo been funded today? I know there's been some venture capital funding, but do you receive funding from financial services companies? Do you receive it from the actual users? What's the monetization from your perspective and also what's the monetization from the financial services firm's perspective?

Bolun Li:
Yeah. So we are completely bootstrapped, believe it or not. And all of our funding where, I don't even know if we call it funding, but it's all from revenue, right. From financial institution being part of this community. We really, we did some angel things. Like angel, when I was really early, but we didn't really raise venture capital or anything like that. And we did that very consciously, right. Because we want to make sure that our customers, which are the financial institutions are going to be always front and center for us. Right. Like we want to make sure they always have the best experience because they are our investors. And also it's because we're so young, no one wanted to give us money, but...

Jim Marous:
I like that you had to give the PR answer and then the real answer is nobody wants to give us money. Yeah. I gotcha.

Bolun Li:
I mean, there were people that wanted to give us money, but they wanted me to like quit school and all that kind of stuff. And I was like, no, I'm not going to do that. You know, I'm going to, I'm going to, you know, and I ended up graduating just like a year early so that I can focus more on Zogo. But I'm really proud that we chose this path because we have an intense focus on our customers and what they, what their needs are. Right. And we respond fast to what they want.

Jim Marous:
So how do financial institutions then pay you? How do you get monetization from them?

Bolun Li:
Yeah, so they, it's very simple. They pay an annual subscription fee for the service, depends on the size of the institutions. It's a different plat... Different fee structure, but there's also when they integrate into their mobile banking app that's the separate products we have. So it's just very simple. We don't want to make things complicated. And once you're a part of the family, you are part of the family. We don't do this user cons or like all that kind of stuff. We in fact want as many users as possible on the platform. Oh, one, one other thing is financial institution are the one backing all the rewards in the app.

Jim Marous:
The financial institutions are the backer?`

Bolun Li:
A $5 gift card. Yep. When they, when the user earn $5 gift card, the financial institution are the backer.

Jim Marous:
Got it. So really the user, the final user, the app, the person taking the courses, doesn't pay anything. The financial institution pays you a licensing fee to have it on their platform, and then they pay the rewards. That's pretty good. So when you look at that overall. When you look at what you've built, are you today a profitable organization or are you generating revenue?

Bolun Li:
Yeah. I've been profitable was pretty much since day one. And mainly it's also because we started in college. So we were super, super cheap with ourself, but yeah, no, we were, we are profitable. Yeah.

Jim Marous:
So when you look at the growth, I mean, I could see it. As it happens a lot of times on these podcasts, people are talking and my mind's swirling on, geez. There's so much opportunity here. When you look at the potential expansion of your concept, which is financial literacy, but it's really more than anything else, a better and improved communication process around financial services. Where do you see the biggest opportunity for Zogo? I think you mentioned you're starting to get into investment services, but what are also some opportunities you see out there that you say this is on our potential to do list down the way.

Bolun Li:
Yeah. I think Jim, you hit the nail on the head about Zogo is a communication. It is a content delivery platform, right. Is a new way of delivering content. And guess what, like every single business have content marketing and use content as a way to engage their audience. Right. We were very lucky that we started in the financial services space and that financial literacy is such an important topic for, for our audience and for the users.

Bolun Li:
But I think the opportunity is obviously we're going to start with the financial services like insurance, right. There's a lot of things in financial, like car dealerships, right. So on and so forth. But the big vision is to have Zogo be the go to place to learn about all the complicated things. Like all the life skills that you didn't learn in school. Right. And have it be sponsored by the businesses that are in that industry. Right. So, that's, we want to pay people to learn. That's, what's really interesting to me. We don't want, we don't think people should pay to learn.

Jim Marous:
Right. And it's certainly, as you said, not just a Gen Z situation. I mean, nobody wants to admit, and we've seen this in other organizations that do communication and try to have some financial literacy impact, is that the challenge right now is people don't want to admit that they don't know things. But if they're in an app by themselves, they don't have a real problem in trying to figure out how do I teach myself? So we've gone over the opportunities. What's been the biggest challenge to date for Zogo and for you?

Bolun Li:
Oh, wow. I think definitely early days when I first started. I have some, so many stories of how we were scrambling, because we just didn't know what we're doing. I mean, this is my first business ever. This is my first job ever, never had a job before. So we don't know how it works to manage employees early on. We don't know how it works to... I was very fortunate to have a group of really motivated, really smart people, right. Like to start a company with, but thinking back, I think some of the biggest challenge are definitely like how to motivate employees. How to make sure that how we communicate the financial institution, the messaging. And if there's one lesson that I learned throughout the past four years is to keep things simple, right? There's such a thing of like simplicity. Its, at the end of the day, the biggest, the biggest asset that we have. And I think there was this one point where my mindset just changed to this simplistic minimalistic mindset and it just changed everything.

Jim Marous:
Well, I think it's interesting because, as you know, the financial service industry is in no way simplistic. We really, we work in the opposite direction. Account opening experiences are extraordinarily long because we feel like we have to include everything in the capture of information. So when you've met with finance institutions and going into that challenge a little bit more, everything you said today makes amazing sense. It seems very easy. I doubt if it's priced out of the marketplace. Somebody sits down with you and they love everything you say, but they don't move forward. What does the typical reason why? What stands in their way in a normal situation where you go, geez this roadblocks been there before and it doesn't completely surprise us.

Bolun Li:
Yeah. You know, it's funny, it changes over time. When we first started the company, it's usually that we don't have a lot of experience and that we are a very young company. Today, most reason for not moving forward is usually timing and budgeting at their budgeting cycles. So it's just a matter of... I always tell my team, there's never a loss deal. It's just not the right time. And we just, we are patient. And I think they were very soon realize, a credit union down the road is starting to use it and getting all these users on their thing. And then, you know. So, it's just a, I think it's really interesting to see how it's been developed because way back in the day. Like I get so many rejections, it's like, it's crazy. But it's really cool to see, like these days, a lot of the early peoples kind of saw what we have done and very proud of the progress that we've made and decided to kind of join two years later to be part of the family. And I still think that's awesome.

Jim Marous:
Yeah, it's interesting because legacy thinking gets in the way. Any change, anything new is not the most comfortable zone for financial institutions. It goes without saying that's probably the biggest inhibitor of moving forward is complacency. And we used the words, budgeting cycles and oh, chief, we didn't have this planned. Or we, as an industry come up with so many excuses. And the reality is most of the excuses, I love everything you're saying it is just not what we do today. And it's crazy because you go well, at what point does it become something you do today? You know, it's a big challenge there. Finally, if an organization wanted to move forward with your platform, how long does it take to implement it from day one, till the day you can turn on the modules?

Bolun Li:
That's actually one thing we're most proud of. It takes 24 hours and all we need from them is a logo. That's it. It takes 24 hours from contract signing to lunch. They don't have to do anything. And that's one thing we learned, like Jim, just like you said, a lot of legacy institutions are really worried about starting new things. And a part of that is really doing a lot of work to start this new thing. And then it, what if it doesn't work out? Money is an issue as well, but it's not as big of an issue as them putting in the work, like, you know, blah, blah, blah. So we just eliminated all of that. Like make it super simple for them to launch. They don't have to do anything.

Jim Marous:
There is no data transfer. You don't have any data transfers.

Bolun Li:
No data transfer, no due diligence. Yeah. Even when we do something like an Amex, there's no really not really due diligence, that big of a due diligence lift as at all. So it becomes this really turnkey solution that they just have to have money to pay. And it just really doesn't need a lot of maintenance or a lot of extra work from their side.

Jim Marous:
Now does your team...

Bolun Li:
We're very proud of that.

Jim Marous:
You know, one of these things is you give them, they give you the logo, you give the modules, everything sounds great. Do you, does your team help them or provide them ideas on how to actually market it to their customer? Because I've been in the banking industry long enough to know there's sometimes we buy things and then we never really turn them on or use them to their max or, or maximize the potential. Do you help them with that? Because it obviously there's value in keeping that financial relationship, that institutional relationship, but you really, I don't think, have any benefit on us scaling. So have them succeed is for them not really for you.

Bolun Li:
Yeah. So we have about 50 people in the company today and there's one department, there's like sales department, product department, whatever. But there's one department that I told them, there's no limit in budget. Just spend whatever you can to get the job done. And that's the customer success department. And, and literally we go, we have a, we set up biweekly call with every single institution that we work with, no matter their size. You know, even if they're a 10 million dollar credit unions, we still do that just because we learn so much from them. Like we learn about what they need and we truly care about our customer once again, because that self funding kind of thing. So a hundred percent, we have a launch meeting with them. We have a biweekly call with them after the launch and throughout we share ideas across all the institution we work with. We have round tables where they get together and share how they've been marketing Zogo and all kinds of ways to get them to feel like they're part of a community. Right?

Jim Marous:
Bolun, thank you so much for being on this show today. What an exciting story. You hit me at the end with a really interesting one was you have 50 employees. I'm going, I'm not too sure if I know anybody at your age that's sitting there being in charge of 50 employees. So you're learning not only about what your app can do, but what you're doing as a leader too. So that's exciting, obviously your passion for what you're doing is overwhelming and good luck with everything going forward.

Bolun Li:
Yeah. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

Jim Marous:
Thanks for listening to banking transform. Raise the top banking podcast and winner of three international awards for podcast excellence. If you enjoy what we're doing, please give us a high rating on your favorite podcast app. Also be sure to read my articles on the financial brand and look at the reports we're doing for the digital bank report. This has been the production of Evergreen podcast. A special thank you to our producer, Leah Longbrake Audio engineer, Sean Rule Hoffman and video producer Will Pritts. I'm your host Jim Marous. Until next time. Remember it doesn't matter what age you are. You can still achieve amazing things.

View Less

Recent Episodes

View All

From Personalization to Profits in Banking

Banking Transformed
Jim Stapleton, Senior Vice President at Epsilon, shares how banks and credit unions can deepen relationships by understanding customer behaviors a...
Listen to From Personalization to Profits in Banking

An Inside Look into Morgan Stanley’s Evolving Brand Strategy

Banking Transformed
Alice Milligan, the CMO of Morgan Stanley, discusses her career journey, the global brand strategy of Morgan Stanley, and how data and analytics i...
Listen to An Inside Look into Morgan Stanley’s Evolving Brand Strategy

WeBank: A Model for the Future of Digital Banking

Banking Transformed
Henry Ma, executive vice president and CIO of WeBank, discusses WeBank’s mission of delivering financial inclusion at scale by leveraging AI, bloc...
Listen to WeBank: A Model for the Future of Digital Banking

Delivering Financial Education to Customers and Communities

Banking Transformed
Ryan Swift, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at EVERFI, discusses the value that financial education has in helping financial institutions...
Listen to Delivering Financial Education to Customers and Communities