In 2017, Salmaan Moolla recognized a gap in younger individuals’ financial knowledge and education. Working with the school system and business professionals, Moolla developed a financial literacy curriculum aimed towards high school students. After seeing tremendous success pitching to education boards and The Government of Saskatchewan, Moolla considered ways to scale this idea and impact across the country, so he took it to Regina’s business incubator, Cultivator. In 2019, Moolla’s financial literacy curriculum entered the fintech (financial technology) industry and developed into Fifo.
“How could we make the curriculum more accessible to everyone?” asks co-founder Jana Ham. “The first step was to build a team who could do it.” Moolla brought on two of his good friends, Jana Ham and Robyn Ham, and then the team grew to add four more computer science and business students: Shez Ratnani, Preet Pancholi, Prasoon Pawar, and Talha Babar.
Fifo is a SaaS-based (software as a service) tool that makes financial literacy easily accessible to everyone. The app acts as a personal finance management tool that lets individuals know which products and services are available to them. Using AI and machine learning, users get a gauge for how much they know about personal finance and financial literacy, and they learn which of those services are best suited for their needs, passions, and goals.
“It is similar to chatting with a financial advisor,” explains Ham about how the app works. “You start by building a budget, answering questions about yourself, and that data finds about who you are and what your goals are.”
Profiles are tailor-built to users, and they get a ‘MyFinScore' that acts as a risk evaluation tool. Benefitting both sides, Fifo gives users the learning resources they need to manage their money responsibly, and financial institutions get to know their clients better.
In the app, users receive tips and it is synced with their transactions and goals. “It’s even gamified a bit,” shares Ham. “You can compete and compare your goals with friends to make it fun. There’s a lot of stigma in the financial world that we’re hoping to break.”
The simple, user-friendly system is currently running as an app, and the team plans to build a web application that can be used by financial institutions to directly link banks and credit unions with consumers. Ham and the team are competing in a couple of fintech competitions, such as with Fintech Cadence and Desjardin Credit Union, where they’re hoping to become integrated partners.
“We want to further understand the risk assessment tools that banks use and understand their products to serve as integrations into our app,” Ham says.
As students who are just finishing school, there are countless possibilities for the Fifo team. Their goal is to grow the app across Canada, working alongside credit unions and banks to spearhead their clients’ financial management. “Personal finance is very much a global need,” Ham explains. So from there, they hope to then head into the US market.
“We’ve had great mutual support from Innovation Saskatchewan,” Ham smiles. “We’ve been involved in nearly everything that has come up!” Fifo is Innovation Saskatchewan’s first 24-hour startup, and they have also been a part of many other groups in the tech community, from WESK Founders Table, Future Founders, Enactus, and Cultivator Powered by Conexus.
The team has appreciated all of the support from Saskatchewan and plans to continue building their app and their team here in the booming tech sector. “There isn’t a huge financial hub in our province, so we really stand out,” Ham adds. “We have access to plenty of resources, and we’ve gotten help from our networks to face problems together.”
Founders: Preet Pancholi, Talha Babar, Robyn Ham, Salmaan Moolla, Jana Ham, Shez Ratnani, Prasoon Pawar
Incorporation Date: Summer 2020