Montreal-based Flinks has announced that Clayton Feick will be its new chief revenue officer as the financial data product startup prepares for growth stage.
Feick was most recently vice president and global head of sales and business development for Quandl, which provides alternative and core financial data for investors. Feick led Quandl growth until its acquisition by Nasdaq’s Global Information Services business unit in December 2018. Feick stayed on at Quandl until December 2019. Before that, Feick was a global lead at Thomson Reuters, managing relationships with the firm’s largest Canadian clients as part of its financials and risk business.
“The connectivity that we allow is only as good as how well the data is used on the other side.”
Speaking exclusively to BetaKit, Frédérick Lavoie, chief operating officer at Flinks, said that Feick will help the startup become a more “well-oiled machine.” Lavoie, who Feick will report to, said the business has so far found success with mid-sized clients. Now, Flinks is working with large enterprises, meaning that someone with Feick’s background could help make the sales process more scalable.
“There’s so many stakeholders in a large enterprise environment,” Lavoie said. “Having a quarterback is, to a degree, one of the ways we look at Clayton’s role…for sales operations.”
For Feick, a ten-year veteran of the financial services industry, coming to Flinks is an opportunity to work at a startup working on bringing more data-driven approaches to the finance industry, which traditionally has been slow to adopt technology. In his past role at Quandl, he worked primarily with capital markets firms that were early adopters in embracing technology.
“I see that type of change happening with more traditional providers outside of capital markets in retail and commercial banking,” said Feick. “There are literally dozens and dozens of different use cases where the application of data can optimize or make more efficient the experience for the customer.”
Flinks launched in April 2017 as a solution for FinTechs to connect their apps with customers’ banks and account ownership, verify account balances, or access transaction histories. The startup’s long-term goal was always to expand beyond these API capabilities, and find useful insight with data.
Since it was founded, the company has expanded to offer products in two buckets: data aggregation and financial insights. Its Attributes product, launched in the fall, allows financial companies to aggregate the raw financial data of their customers and receive insight that can help them serve those customers better based on that information. The feature has use cases for assessing credit risk and onboarding.
“Ultimately, the connectivity that we allow is only as good as how well the data is used on the other side,” said Lavoie.
In order to ensure that customers are fully aware of how their data is being used with Flinks, Lavoie said it uses an explicit consent screen outlining how a user’s data could be used at a high level beyond a bulky terms and conditions page, which can hinder a user’s ability to be fully informed about what they’re consenting to.
“In the music industry and the shopping industry, you have a really hyper-personalized experience because the service providers that you use have so much data,” Lavoie said. “But in finance, it’s been the opposite for a long time.”
Lavoie said that Feick adds important expertise as Flinks prepares to enter a growth stage mode, and looks to expand into other markets. It has early operations in the US, but Lavoie declined to share which new beyond North America they would be targeting.
As artificial intelligence plays a bigger role in how all companies use their data and make decisions, Feick sees solutions like Flinks —which has a mission of delivering better quality data to financial companies — as becoming increasingly important.
“Having good, clean, reliable data and the infrastructure to gather it and deliver it is of the utmost importance to ensuring that all those other technologies work well,” said Feick. “I think no matter what, there’s going to be some critical third parties in between all the financial institutions that will be tasked with providing the infrastructure to collect and deliver data in a secure way.”
Image courtesy Flinks