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Yoyo Wallet: How to prove a product-market fit with a pilot project

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

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 have approached marketing in their early days. Today's story is about Yoyo Wallet and their strategic pilot project with Imperial College London.

Yoyo Wallet
Image source: Imperial College London
Yoyo ran a pilot project with Imperial College London to test the business’s concept model and identify consumer needs.

Run a pilot project to take your idea from concept to market

After coming up with the idea of creating a new generation mobile payments and loyalty solution that provides value to both retailers and consumers, Yoyo’s founder Michael Roplh faced the challenge of turning his idea into a viable proposition. The first struggle was to find customers who would validate his idea. Looking at different consumer segments and potential partners, Michael and his team identified students as the best target group and a closed university campus as the most suitable setting for their pilot project.

Thus, they pitched their idea to one of London’s top universities, Imperial College. Imperial liked the idea and agreed to trial Yoyo’s concept at their premises. Next step for Michael and his team was to speak directly to the project’s target group including Imperial’s retail outlets and students, and try to detect key problem areas where they could provide a solution. That’s how they discovered that the biggest problem was physical cash, which is

usually the main cause of cost, loss and friction between the customer and a retailer. In result, Imperial decided to become the first university in the world to provide a mobile wallet solution for its students and retail outlets and, therefore, completely remove the need of using physical cash at their premises.

Armed with a working idea and a customer, Michael and Yoyo’s team then focused on building the best product around both. Similar to Facebook’s launch model, Yoyo’s go-to-market strategy was to first gain a steady foothold at Imperial College on the back of which, later, they could reach mass users across other London universities and eventually attract outside retailers to adopt the new technology.

Two years later, Yoyo was available at more than 70 university campuses and over 200 corporate canteens, and processing hundreds of thousands of transactions. That’s when high street retail giants Planet Organic, Wrap it Up and Caffè Nero got also attracted to the new type of retail experience Yoyo was offering.


Founded in 2013 by Michael Rolph, Alain Falys and Dave Nicholson, Yoyo is a payments and loyalty platform that started off as a pilot project at Imperial College London. The fintech currently has more than 1.5 million users and over 750,000 monthly active users.


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