In this month’s Partner Spotlight we are featuring Fiter – one of our most globally distributed partners. Fiter truly exemplifies the collaborative spirit of the community as it was borne out of the partnership between two long-time Mifos community members, Robert Jakech and Javier Borkenztain. As the team continues to bring on customers from fintechs and financial institutions around the globe, their team has continued to grow, with Mifos community members joining their team, as well as brining fresh new talent into the community. Fiter is active throughout the community and committed to being a lead contributor to Mifos and Fineract. They are also one of our first partners to make a financial commitment back to the long-term sustainability of the Mifos Initiative by pledging a portion of their revenues as a donation.
This regular blog series will shine the light on some of our top Partners. Not only do we want to recognize them for their accomplishments, we want others to learn from the approach they’ve taken to promote and implement Mifos.
Mifos Partners are one of the most crucial links in our community – they are the driving force that is promoting and supporting Mifos worldwide. Aside from championing our product and bringing the Mifos technology to new markets, they act as the fundamental bridge feeding in MFI requirements to be developed by the community. Partners don’t stop there as many are also developing and localizing the product to fit their local market. For all these reasons, we focus our full energy on making Partners successful – they are the primary channel to market, the eyes and ears on the ground, and the entrepreneurial force that will help us sustainably scale. We’d love to recognize your partner organization in this monthly spotlight so please reach out if you’d like to be featured.
Let’s take some time to learn more about Fiter directly from their team.
Overview of the Partner Organization
Fiter – Financial Technologies Revolution – is an industry-leading innovator that creates, distributes and supports enterprise-ready open source core and digital banking platforms for financial institutions
Fiter was founded in 2017 when our founders Robert Jakech and Javier Borkenztain partnered to create the company with the mission of bridging the gap between finance and technology.
Both our founders were involved in the Mifos community for many years and had been working on Mifos projects in Latin America for a couple of years before founding Fiter. Fiter’s founders are based in Uruguay and Australia with our first client in Mexico and our first delivery team in Uganda. Since then, we haven’t stopped growing as a distributed company.
We now have clients in Europe, the Americas, APAC and Africa and a team spread across 12 cities. Our clients includ Fintechs, MFIs, Banks and other companies that leverage bespoke solutions on top of the Mifos and Fineract stacks.
What Motivates Your Contributions?
As part of a community, we are mandated to give back. We receive a lot from the community, and to give back is not just a question of retribution, rather than a moral mandate. We feel part of a greater community and that’s what makes Mifos and Fineract so special. We strongly believe that community outperforms the individuals.
We are living in the open-source era, where much more can be achieved with different stakeholders contributing to their places and skills.
As part of our efforts to contribute back, we have created a dedicated team to work on open issues for the community and contribute back as much as we can to the upstream project.
Why did you choose to build a business on top of Mifos/Fineract?
The financial industry is being transformed by Fintech. New players are coming to the space and the traditional players need to modernize their tech stack towards open and modern architectures. The open-source nature of Mifos and Fineract creates an ideal framework for that. Open Source is how the software industry creates standard products. Fineract has the mission to become the standard core for the financial industry.
Core and digital banking is an industry of $20 billion/year and yet open-source market share still on its infancies and not yet capturing a relevant portion of this market. We foresee that this is going to change soon, and we are ready to lead the change.
What has been the most valuable part of being part of the Mifos community?
Having the opportunity to work with people from different parts of the world towards a greater goal of alleviating poverty and improve the lives of billions is what makes us proud. Most of the team members of Fiter came from both open source communities, and that’s amazing.
On a daily basis, people from Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Apac interact within Fiter to work on relevant projects across the globe. This multicultural distributed nature of Fiter is possible because the communities, without them, Fiter wouldn’t exist.
So, what is the most valuable part of being part of these open source communities? The people we found in them.
Which customers are you working with right now?
Interestingly, we have worked and currently work with an array of financial institutions playing across different key markets. To mention a few, we have worked with companies like Banco Compartamos in México and Agros Foundation in Seattle. Currently we have live projects in Mexico, Colombia, Jamaica, España, Israel, Nigeria, Swaziland, Australia and Estonia.
What differentiates your firm from other partners?
Fiter is the first Mifos and Fineract global partner. We have clients in 13 countries and a team in 12 cities. We have the opportunity to see different trends across many regions and cross-pollinate ideas from our clients.
Our clients are innovators and entrepreneurs that are willing to adopt new technology to create new financial products to alleviate poverty, provide better financial services and innovate.
We are bringing innovators, Fintech, and others to the community, and that makes us feel very proud. We foresee that these innovators and early adopters will pave the road to bigger actors join our community and capture the huge opportunity.
What opportunities do you see in the market right now?
The market opportunity for core and digital banking is almost $20bn per year. History does not repeat, but rhymes, so if we compare the open source trends in other markets (cloud, operating systems, big data….) we can expect to capture a lot of this market within the open-source movement, against the big vendors in the industry, all of them, proprietary software.
We see that Mifos and Fineract can capture a significant portion of this market, and bring to the community bigger players. Today, most of the users of Mifos and Fineract are small players with a few but important early adopters as exceptions.
In order for big players to join the community, they need to have professional services or what we call enterprise-ready solutions. They need to have vendors and solution providers that allow them to build and rest assured that the solution will stand for long. We are working on different business propositions to allow these bigger players to receive services and solutions based on a subscription model.
Also, we will dedicate resources to work directly on the upstream projects to improve the offering and perceived quality of the products on the community.
What words of advice would you give to others in the community?
The community outperforms the individuals, so we need to focus on the greater good. The market opportunity is big enough for all of us, so we need to focus on becoming a strong community.
The market to capture is orders of magnitude bigger than the ones that know about Mifos and Fineract, if we focus on growing as a community and improving the products, we will become the standard stack for the financial industry, as Linux did for the operating systems, Fineract will do for the core and digital baking industry.
We need to embrace the concept of coopetition (cooperation + competition), we will compete for some deals, and that is going to happen, but above all, we need to cooperate on the community, on the upstream project and the common goals. A strong and healthy community is the best resource we all have.
Personal Introduction to the Team
Robert Jakech – Fiter Co-Founder
Javier Borkenztain – Fiter Co-Founder