“Everything is based on technology,” says Camila Valdés who serves as the chief data officer for Accion partner Destacame. The online platform enables users in Chile and Mexico to manage their financial lives, access free digital financial health tools, and see appropriate financial service offerings. From back-end development to the way users engage with the platform, innovative technology enables Destacame to understand and serve its customers better, and it will continue to be crucial as the fintech startup grows.
Nel Pérez is Destacame’s chief technology officer, and he’s the perfect person for this job. Even as a child, Nel was tech-obsessed, focused on learning everything he could about computers and programming. “It was love at first sight with technology,” he says. Despite his abiding infatuation, he emphasizes that his role is not about employing technology for technology’s sake — it has to have a purpose: “It’s not about the technology — it’s about the needs we have that technology can help solve.” Internally, this means leveraging data analytics, cloud storage, and other solutions to keep all of Destacame’s processes running smoothly.
Technology is also the vehicle Destacame uses to connect with its users externally since they can access the service from their own computers or mobile devices, wherever they are. This ability to interact with users regardless of distance is crucial for Destacame’s mission and growth. “Technology allows us to have more of a range, so we can reach the community, whereas before it was impossible because it was not cost-effective. It also allows you to attend to each person’s needs individually. So it’s a service that suits everyone,” says Camila.
And technology’s not just useful for reaching new users — it also assists Destacame in building existing customer relationships. “It helps us have a very close relationship with users,” says Virginia Chacón, Destacame’s head of operations. “We can even use Whatsapp to contact our users.” Staying in touch digitally helps Destacame provide customer service and make sure users can all receive the right messages at the right time to take advantage of credit-building opportunities, access services, and build their financial health.
As Destacame continues to grow, the fintech startup is finding even more ways to leverage technology to improve its platform, and José Luis Birrer, Destacame’s product manager in Chile, helps guide that process. Unlike his colleague Nel, José Luis never planned to work in technology, but after interning at a tech company, he found a sense of purpose in the work: “Technology allows people to use data in a better way — better products and better access to services.” He designs new products and implements improvements for existing ones with two factors in mind: first, solving users’ problems, and second, making sure it’s profitable so that Destacame can continue to scale and reach more customers. To inform its development, Destacame analyzes data to understand its users better and build products that meet their needs. “It’s about getting to know our clients so we can see what they need and how we can help fulfill those needs,” says José.
To help fulfill customers’ needs, Destacame is currently working with our Global Advisory Solutions team on providing even more robust services. The project, supported by MetLife Foundation, will expand Destacame’s platform to include a financial health dashboard that clearly assesses users’ financial health and sets a roadmap to help them achieve their long-term plans. The platform will also recommend additional products, services, and tools for paying down debt, starting a business, saving for school, and more — these recommendations will evolve along with each user’s financial situation, helping them to take the right steps at the right time to live a financially healthy life.
“Technology used properly can make a huge difference in people’s lives,” says Nel, summing up why technology is so crucial for Destcame’s mission. By always putting users’ needs at the center and emphasizing financial capability-building, Destacame is making the most of technology and setting an example of how inclusive fintech can improve lives.