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Fireside chat with Keren Moynihan, CEO& Co-Founder Boss Insights

Who is Keren Moynihan?

Former commercial banker & 2nd time founder, Keren Moynihan is the CEO& Co-Founder of Boss Insights. Boss Insights offers Business Data as a Service. Our single API enables easy access to hundreds of sources of accounting, banking and commerce data (eg. Quickbooks, SalesForce, Stripe) bridging data gaps between banks and business customers in under 1 minute. Banks know where a business was, is and will be on demand. Keren has 15+ years’ experience in financial services as a banker, advisor & mentor. Starting as a JD/MBA, she worked at a division of the TSX before moving to commercial banking at RBC. Her first startup was an impact company financing large buildings to be energy efficient. With Boss Insights, Keren seeks to empower lenders with the latest data technology so they can measure lenders on their merit in addition to their colateral. With real time data and insights, loans and banking accelerate from months to minutes. Under her leadership, Boss was awarded the 2020 Unicorn Challenge Winner by Women In Payments, Corporate Vision Magazine’s 2020 Most Innovative Leader In Lending Technology and 2019 Executive Leader in Lending, featured in Forbes, ABA and The Financial Brand for saying “Banks Must Adopt APIs or Fintechs Will Win”.

What’s the story behind Boss Insights?

About Boss Insights Boss Insights provides Business Data as a Service bridging data gaps between banks and business customers. The single API gives real time access in 1 minute to the leading number of data sources. With accounting, commerce and banking data (Quickbooks, Salesforce, Stripe) banks and lenders accelerate lending and cross selling from months to minutes and gain a clear picture of portfolio health. Boss Insights is proven & trusted by innovative financial institutions for processing 50% more loans, 90% increased digitization, and processing and servicing business loans 80% faster. Our Vision and Mission Boss Insights started with a vision to empower lenders to measure businesses on their merit in addition to their personal credit. Our mission is to provide banks and credit unions with a real time understanding of their business client enabling them to offer customer delight. Boss Insights empowers lenders within weeks so they can support the economic engine of our society: SMBs and Commercial Businesses. We recognise that the traditional lending process has checks and balances in place that favour the privileged: people who’ve had the opportunities to build a strong credit history, helping them get easy funding. There are people with talent and grit that are systematically disadvantaged from gathering strong credit. In 2019, only 28% companies received the support they need due to inefficiencies in the existing lending process. Our platform gathers real-time business information, empowering financiers to evaluate businesses on merit in addition to collateral, making it possible for businesses who may be systematically disadvantaged to obtain loans they deserve. In turn, this will lead to a more diverse and inclusive industry. TECH Meets FIN Boss Insights is a Tech meets Fin story. The founders met in 2010. In 2013, One founder, Luke Moynihan, was scaling Amazon’s internal processes while the other founder Keren Moynihan was working as a commercial lender. He noticed how impactful it was to access real-time insights for Amazon and thought to democratize the access for all businesses. The fin founder, Keren, having worked with hundreds of businesses wondered why the process was so painstakingly manual. She heard the echoes of voices from those with cash flow challenges as she struggled to find solutions. Sometimes she could make it work, and other times she couldn’t. Today, a majority of business loans are declined. Of the businesses that receive loans, only half of their needs are actually met. The lenders want to give you the money, so this process should be easier for everyone. They combined the industry need with the technical capability to offer traditional lenders with the latest in tech and data sources to solve the problem. We met Jordan Cohen, VP Sales in 2019 who was working at OnDeck, a private lender at the time. In 2020, we joined forces. Simon Brightman was managing data and strategy at TransUnion and looking to join an impactful startup. We connected in 2020 and he joined as Head of Product.

Name one of the biggest challenges in your business.

Hiring talents for add, not fit. It is challenging to attract talents who own an entrepreneurial mindset, are ready, willing and able to get traction as well as add value to the team. CBC highlighted Boss Insights as a great company to work at as roles are fit to people and not the other way around. In just a few years, we have created a team of 9 individuals that is talented, diverse and innovative. This is not a coincidence but a mindful decision to create a respectful, inspirational and multicultural corporate culture. Diverse teams lead to diverse ideas and innovation. Boss Insights has a workplace that represents 9 different cultures and it was done by seeking out the best talent. At Boss Insights the goal is not to agree, but to discuss and collaborate in order to produce the best product with the most impact. Our challenge to hire talents for add, not fit continues as our company grows.

Since the start of the pandemic, how did you see yourself or Boss Insights contributing to the community?

Boss Insights started with a vision to empower lenders to measure businesses on their merit in addition to their personal credit. Our mission is to provide banks and credit unions with a real time understanding of their business client enabling them to offer customer delight. Boss Insights empowers lenders within weeks so they can support the economic engine of our society: SMBs and Commercial Businesses.

This statement could not have been more true, when the unthinkable happened in March 2020. When the pandemic hit, Boss Insights went through four stages: reaction, listening, partnering and collaboration. The first thing we did was react, ensuring all employees were financially secure for 6 months, to the determinant of the founders. By March 16th Boss Insights went 100% virtual. We then started listening. Early on we predicted a large surge in loan applications were soon to come. We offered part of our technology for free as we wanted to support the businesses being affected by COVID, then our prediction came true. On April 3rd The SBA released a loan offering that would in the coming months amount to a total of $659B. In just 14 days, 14 years worth of loan applications flooded the system and many problems for businesses soon arose. The SBA loan portal was crashing, denying access to the available funds, and bias manifested in the form of lenders prioritizing existing customers over new ones just because there was no time for an extensive vetting process. We moved quickly to adapt our platform to the U.S. PPP program, working to automate and eliminate the manual process this program created. Soon, people started to take notice. Our accelerators partnered with us, offering support and access to market, publications such as Forbes covered our solution, then through these partnerships, Boss Insights secured a collaboration with Oracle. Boss Insights has been working around the clock to provide the latest in digitization accelerated by COVID. The dust is now slowly settling, but will banks and credit unions take the lessons learned and make real changes moving forward? Boss Insights has personally seen Financial Institutions adapt. Sales cycles that could take up to 6 months to two years were closed in under two weeks. What has really changed in 2020 is that the future has been propelled to the now. The last decade’s attitude of waiting is no longer sustainable as financial institutions now face a reality that is too big to ignore. Boss Insights’ job now is to be relevant to those players who are embracing digitization and partner with them. The biggest impact we have learned through all of this is that digitization is no longer a nice to have, it’s a need to have and part of business continuity. We work long hours so that businesses can have a fair chance at getting the money they so desperately need. At the end of the day, each business is run by people, people with families and lives who depend on access to capital, they are not just numbers on a financial statement and should be represented as such.

As a female entrepreneur, how do you see yourself championing female entrepreneurship?

Outside of Boss Insights, I also work as an Advisory Member for the Career Foundations IT Division committee. The goal is to prepare students, post-graduates and the underemployed for career opportunities. Additionally, I have participated in several diversity panels including Women of Influence alongside other incredible female founders and the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce’s panel on founders and venture capitalists where I moderated the discussion on promoting strategic relationships between the two groups. More ways where I exhibit leadership in advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship is through mentoring at both Futurpreneur Canada and Maple Leaf Angels as well as judging at TiEQuest. Quoted for saying that “data is the Achilles’ heel of bias,” I have been involved in several diversity programs and initiatives including: Women of Influence, Women in Finance, Tech Undivided and recently winning the 2020 Women In Payments’ Unicorn Challenge and Corporate Vision Magazines’ 2020 Most Innovative Leader in Lending Award. Recently, in a Tech Undivided video I was quoted for saying “Every women starting a business today is here because of the people who came before us. Now we exist in a time where whatever it is we set our sights on we can go for. Whether we have an equal shot of getting there, remains to be seen.” In Women Of Influence, I was called, ‘a woman on a mission to help companies predict the future.’ There’s been a lot of progress over the past two decades, and Boss Insights is grateful for the support. Recently, on a panel at Women In Finance, Senator Colin Deacon stated that Boss Insights was a company to watch. I have acted as a mentor and advisor to other diverse founders and have spoken on panels regularly stating on the topic of being a female founder that “Being responsible not just for Boss Insights, but for the diverse founders who will follow behind me, it’s my job to demand that we eradicate the unconscious bias that exists. When we can be in a world where people are evaluated on their merit, where people are judged for their achievements and not their packaging, we will have taken a serious step forward.” To define myself as a thought leader in the fintech industry, I have also written numerous articles, some of which have been featured by:

  • Bank Innovation: Compound data – The Key To Digitized Lending. “It’s often said that data is the new oil. Today, this is undeniable. Stated more accurately, however, insights are the new oil and Compound Data is the drill.”

Please share a few of your favorite books, films and/ or podcast series.

Book: Man’s Search For Meaning – Viktor Frankcle Music: Leonard Cohen, Cake, Tegan & Sarah, Elastica, to name a few, anything Dub like Fat Freddy’s Drop Movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Youtube series: Shout out to The Sorry Girls – fellow Canadian Entrepreneurs who have been doing it themselves for a decade.

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss about their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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