Updated: Apr 14
Have you ever wondered what makes a successful fintech marketing strategy? In our "How they did it" series, we look at how some of the most successful and exciting fintechs in the world approached marketing in their early days.
Here is the founding story of SwissBorg, a Swiss-based fintech start-up launched in 2017, that managed to raise over $52 mn and build a community of more than 150,000 members in less than 3 years.
“At SwissBorg, we put our community at the heart of each decision we make.” Jacqui Pretty, Senior Marketing Manager, SwissBorg
Similar to other fintech startups, SwissBorg started off with building a community. Before developing and launching their core product, The SwissBorg Wealth App, the company’s founding team focused on building a loyal community base first.
“A strong foundation of community members who believe in your vision is a great advantage for the overall journey - from product development to market entry.”
Building a community first is one of the most effective go-to-market strategies, especially for early-stage startups, because it allows them to easily validate the market and establish trust in their brands.
How SwissBorg did it
Shortly after the launch of the company, SwissBorg released their very own token, CHSB, during an ICO in which they raised over USD 50mn from 24,000 individual contributors from around the world.
“Staking our own token, CHSB, has been a great marketing asset for us. Not only does it provide zero fee / low fee exchanges on the Wealth app, but it allows our users to take part in referendums to decide which direction our company moves in. The best example of this was whether to create a desktop or mobile app before we created the Wealth app. We also have a “Protect & Burn” mechanism, which protects our community when CHSB is in a bearish zone (based on a 20-day moving average). When this happens, we buy back tokens and burn them.”
In addition to their own token, SwissBorg also launched a Bitcoin price prediction app as part of their community-building strategy. The app is essentially an educational game that encourages players to make predictions using various analytic tools. So far, the app has been a huge success and helped SwissBorg increase their community to over 150,000 members.
To grow its community even further, SwissBorg recently introduced a new Rewards Programme that has already started to generate real momentum in new users. Contrary to most reward programmes used in the industry that require users to share a referral link or use a unique code, SwissBorg decided to take a rather different approach and gamify the process.
Instead of generating a referral code or link, SwissBorg’s reward creates a unique scratch card that is sent to both the referring customers and the referred friends, which they need to unveil by rubbing their thumb on the app screen. Each ticket can be worth up to €100 and the number of friends customers can invite is limitless. In order to improve retention, the referred user is required to deposit at least €50 in the app before the reward can be received.
The use of gamification strategies in marketing has become very popular over the last few years, especially in the tech industry. And this is due to the fact that they tend to be particularly effective for increasing consumer engagement, loyalty and driving specific behaviours as they tap into the natural human lust for competition, rewards and status.
Forming partnerships with other coins has also been instrumental for growing SwissBorg. While many competitors and crypto exchanges charge substantial fees for somebody to list a coin on their app, SwissBorg allows this for does this for free hoping to encourage greater collaboration within the industry. Their strategy is to only work with other coins that align with their values and where a sustainable partnership can be built.
In terms of channels, YouTube was one of SwissBorg’s key communication tools that it used to connect and engage with some of the major influencers in the crypto space. In just over a year, SwissBorg’s Cryptonites YouTube Channel has grown to nearly 5.5k followers and generated more than 350k views. But most importantly, the channel has helped SwissBorg form important relationships with the crypto community, with (free) endorsements from popular crypto figures like Ivan on Tech and That Martini Guy.
The key to the success of SwissBorg’s YouTube strategy is the fact that its main objective was to connect and collect insights from the brightest minds in the space, rather than promoting the business - just pure, great content.
Finally, the SwissBorg DAO, a work and skill-sharing community platform, has also been monumental in encouraging further adoption and community building. The SwissBorg DAO often takes on “missions” (i.e. jobs and tasks) to help the company grow and receive CHSB in return. This can include writing articles, producing social media content, and much more.
After building a strong, loyal community, SwissBorg focused on creating a unique piece of technology to power their flagship product. They call it the Smart Engine and it currently connects to 4 of the biggest crypto exchanges, in milliseconds, to get SwissBorg’s users the best price and liquidity available.
Transparency is key to a loyal community
Providing a market comparison technology does not go without its fair share of scepticism - how does a user truly know SwissBorg is giving them the best deal available?
Transparency is everything! That’s why, SwissBorg also provides a visual map of exactly how the exchange was executed, showing its journey across multiple exchanges using different cryptos with no hidden fees.
For users in need of investment guidance, the team have further developed an AI-powered market analysis tool that provides an indication of which way the market is going, every hour.
What’s next for SwissBorg?
SwissBorg’s ultimate mission is to put wealth back in the hands of its community members. It is about making wealth management safe, fair and accessible in a world where typically this is not the case.
So, SwissBorg’s Smart Engine technology, often referred to as the Skyscanner of crypto investment, aims to do just that. Skyscanner is hugely successful for providing its users with a comparison of the market to allow them to get the best deal. In a similar way, SwissBorg's Smart Engine uses multiple exchanges to find the best price available but unlike Skyscanner, it creates brand new routes between fiat and crypto pairs that don’t yet exist on the market.
About Jacqui Pretty: Jacqui Pretty is SwissBorg’s Senior Marketing Manager, with over 12 years of experience in digital marketing, content and entrepreneurship.
Having worked in the fields of blockchain, finance, small business and online education, at SwissBorg, Jacqui is excited to be bridging the off-chain and on-chain worlds by making wealth management easy, safe and accessible to all.