Fast-growing French fintech Defacto recently underwent a complete rebranding journey, prompted by an unexpected legal challenge. To find out more about it, we chatted with its co-founder Morgan O'hana.
French fintech Defacto, renowned for its instant embedded lending platform, recently embarked on a transformative rebranding journey. Since its founding in 2021, Defacto has made significant strides in the financial technology sector. Specialising in short-term loans for small and medium-sized businesses, the company has deployed over €250m in financing, boasting an impressive average quote to capital time of less than 27 seconds.
Now, with a renewed focus on personalised lending and proactive debt recommendations for small businesses, Defacto is poised to deepen its impact after securing an additional €10m in an extension of its Series A funding round announced earlier this month. With its API-first approach and investment in AI modeling, Defacto leverages a diverse data set for its underwriting system, integrating with over 30 financial tools to offer tailored solutions to SMBs.
In an exclusive interview for the FMH, Defacto's co-founder Morgan O'hana sheds light on the reasons for the company's rebranding, the meaning of the new brand identity and its forward-looking strategies.
Trigger for Defacto's rebranding
The rebranding initiative began unexpectedly with a legal threat over Defacto's name. Fortunately, the dispute was resolved in Defacto's favor, yet it sparked a necessary introspection. The company saw this as an opportunity to overhaul its external presence, particularly its website, to better articulate its evolving services and ethos.
The new brand Identity
Defacto's refreshed brand identity is a celebration of shared pride and identity among its employees and customers. Recognising the growth and evolution of its customer base and team, Defacto retained its original brand attributes defined by simplicity, sassiness and intelligence in combination with its "bold yellow" but incorporated a more inclusive color palette and engaging photography.
This revamp, a collaborative effort between fintech veteran and ex-Spendesk Stephanie Bowker and NY-based design studio Fuzzco, aims to resonate more profoundly with the people and businesses Defacto serves.
The rebranding process
With a strong desire for speed, Defacto set an ambitious three-month deadline for the completion of the rebranding project. So, the overall process plan included the following key stages and timeline:
Goal alignment x 2 weeks,
Partner sourcing x 2 weeks,
Visual direction co-creation x 4 weeks, and
Execution culminating in a revamped website and comprehensive launch strategy x 4 weeks.
A key challenge was the absence of an in-house marketer, a gap filled by the partnership with Stephanie, who brought her expertise in managing the project and leading the creative strategy.
"We really appreciate speed at Defacto as we believe it encourages decisiveness and is the expectation of today’s world."
Communicating the changes
To disseminate the rebranding news, Defacto adopted a grassroots communication strategy, engaging partners, customers and employees. This approach was complemented by the creation of engaging videos, enhancing the organic reach and impact of the new brand identity.
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Marketing priorities and tactics
Currently, Defacto focuses on strengthening its partnerships and enhancing its direct lending experience for SMBs and startups, emphasising proactive financing recommendations. This strategic pivot is accompanied by a commitment to educational content for both potential and existing customers, fortifying Defacto's position as a leader in financial solutions.
"Partnerships have always been the cornerstone of our distribution and trust-building strategy. Now we’re focusing on investing more in our direct lending experience for SMBs and startups. This includes building more proactive recommendations on how and when to best leverage additional financing. From a marketing perspective, this means a focus on educational content for both potential and existing customers."
Standing out in fintech in 2024
In a crowded fintech space, Morgan believes that successful brands must balance simplicity and accessibility in service communication with boldness and relevance in market presence. This philosophy guides Defacto's strategies as it continues to innovate and expand in the European market.
"I believe brands and services that stand out do a good job of balancing the need to be simple and accessible when it comes to how they communicate the value of their service but bold and constantly relevant when it comes where they show up."
Defacto's rebranding journey, as narrated by co-founder Morgan O'hana, is not just about a new visual identity; it's a testament to the company's adaptability, commitment to customer-centric solutions and vision for the future. With its innovative approach and strategic expansions, Defacto is well on its way to becoming a European leader in B2B lending.