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Strands celebrates its 15th anniversary as one of the world’s largest providers of innovative banking solutions. Its software, which allows banks to offer personalized digital experiences to their customers, is implemented in more than 700 financial institutions in 30 countries.
Last year, Strands increased its contracts by 30% thanks to the acquisition of 9 new direct customers in various regions: Latin America (1), Europe (5), and Asia (3); as well as of around thirty Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) customers.
Under the leadership of its CEO, Erik Brieva, Strands now has offices in Miami, Buenos Aires and Kuala Lumpur, in addition to its headquarters in Barcelona.
Fifteen years of recommendations based on artificial intelligence
Strands was founded in Barcelona (Spain) and Corvallis (Oregon, US) by a group of doctorates and experts in artificial intelligence.
However, becoming a FinTech partner for banks wasn’t always among Strands’ plans. In 2004, the company introduced a new generation of customization systems for the music industry, which were based on an algorithm able to process large volumes of data and transform them into recommendations. Specifically, the system suggested new music to users based on their preferences and playback history. In 2012, Apple acquired the algorithm’s patent and Strands began a transformation process.
“At Strands, we are experts in Machine Learning, that’s our DNA”, says Erik Brieva, CEO of Strands. “After Apple’s acquisition, it was decided to invest all the company’s knowledge in big data and artificial intelligence in creating a technology that would allow people to improve their quality of life through intelligent management of their finances,” he adds.
For example, through Engager, a machine learning-based component, Strands’ financial management software enables banks to offer their customers—both individuals and SMEs—personalized recommendations and solutions that are tailored to their situation, needs and consumer habits.
Growing up with a diverse and multidisciplinary team
Much of the success of this transformation is due to the company’s ability to attract, retain and foster talent.
The growth of the business has been followed by an exponential expansion of the team. “In 5 years, the workforce has increased fivefold,” says Erik Brieva, who joined Strands in 2014, when the company had a team of 20 people. Strands currently employs more than 120 professionals, of 28 different nationalities, distributed in its four delegations.
Strategic partnership with Mastercard
One of Strands’ latest milestones has been partnering with Mastercard. Both companies want SMEs to benefit from all the possibilities that FinTech offers. As a result, Strands and Mastercard are working together to provide banks with an integrated financial management platform and payment tools designed specifically for their SME customers.
“SMEs are the backbone of the global economy and represent one of the largest sources of income for banks, who are still offering solutions designed for the individual user”, explains Erik Brieva.
According to market analysis, 61% of SMEs place cash flow management among their three top priorities when discussing how to ensure their financial future. Still, banks are presenting SME’s with solutions that do not meet their needs.
That’s where Strands comes in, making available its financial technology to banks in order to reach SMEs.