SALT Asked Slate: build us a FinTech
When Joe Dalton, CEO, and his team at SALT Finance came to us with their idea of digitising the boat finance market we jumped at the opportunity. We helped launch SALT in 2021/22 to provide their customers with a robust and easy to use boat buying solution, which combines boat finance with the additional services needed to complete the purchase. SALT operates in an FCA (financial conduct authority) regulated space and so all operations of the business from technology to process have to be signed off and licensed accordingly. Slate welcomed the challenge and the solution speaks for itself.
Anyone that has bought a house knows how stressful it can be. But houses don't float and can not sail away like boats can. Lending in asset finance is more complex than meets the eye.
SALT is fuelled by a deep enthusiasm for change, improvement and progress. In choosing Slate, their aim was to build a fintech for the marine industry, delivering a no fuss product to their customers that allowed like-minded people to enjoy the wonders of being out on the water. The main driver for SALT was to provide a seamless digital app to fit everyday lifestyle and tech, offering speed and convenience to their customers with the utmost simplicity.
They also needed to manage the entire process from end to end. Being able to see when customers had registered on the app and performed a quote was key to success and Slate was asked to develop a leading admin portal to suit. Functions like administering contractual agreements and live payment schedules were going to be critical.
But it is not only SALT that needed to keep an eye on the customer journey. Most boats are sold through dealer networks, so SALT also challenged Slate to build a comprehensive dealer portal for the dealer network to use to help customers track ther progress from enquiry to happy boat owner.
Speed of answers and speed of access was SALTs' no. 1 priority. They know their customers want to get on the water quickly, and with immediate answers, we helped SALT make that happen.
We enabled SALTs' helpful and professional team help their customers by giving them the information they need when they need it. Through an intuitive admin portal the team know what they’re talking about, so their customers remain in safe hands.
We developed a user friendly app that helps customers of SALT manage their account 24/7, no paperwork and no fuss.
Timeline: 6 months
To get SALTs' customers on the water faster Slate needed to act fast too. Through a series of virtual and face to face discovery sessions we sat with SALT to break the problem down. As we learnt we shaped the technology around the solution. We identified the best cloud provider, finding the balance between ready to use cloud services and bespoke development work. We then got to work building the solution using a combination of code tools to grow the app and business. Getting the app up and running quickly & securely with fully managed backend infrastructure was key. Being able to customise the apps as we moved to boost app engagement was always going to be part of the plan. From starting from scratch SALT was ready to launch the first version within months and we have iterated ever since.
We designed three separate systems for SALT to run their business from as well as intergrating to multiple third party systems. Take a look at the various components of the system that we delivered as a team.
In Google Firebase we chose a system that could help us “build, improve, and grow”. Developers don't want to write code for the sake of it - they want to solve problems and that is exactly what we are at Slate - problem solvers. Firebase gives us services like authentication, databases, config, storage, and messaging so we get to focus on the apps themselves and understanding the specific business problems that SALT needed to solve. All services are hosted in the cloud and scale with little effort from developers. Whats more is the free tier is very generous to help you get started with little or no cost.
The core of the system and where applications turn into full blown loan agreements the admin portal provides SALT with the information they need to run the business at their fingertips. The portal integrates seemlessly with the client facing app and data is streamed rather than loaded meaning each screen is live and when the data changes the screen changes - no reloads. With this state of the art approach of data management we were able to complete functionality to help manage applicants, vessels, quote details, supporting documentation, dealers, interest rates and more!
Where all dealers in the boating network go to track client application events from having their ID verified automatically to managing uploading of dealer specific information such as boat invoices and hull identification numbers. The dealer portal is critical to success of the final system and is a second client facing app outside of the mobile version. After all, dealers are clients of SALT as well as the end client who is applying for finance. By bringing everyone together with state of the art technology SALT is able to service its target market efficiently and effectively.
Paramount to success and the start of the customer journey is the all singing and dancing mobile application for iOS and Android users. Using live data throughout that is streamed to the admin portal in realtime the app enables users to get a monthly finance quote, apply for finance and do everything from upload supporting documentation to manage their payments. Written using state of the art technology that is bossing the cross-platform application development market at the moment SALT is well positioned for awesome new features to be rolled out in the coming months. Watch this space!
Third party integrations
In the modern application development environment a huge consideration is always third party integrations to bolster the overall customer experience and add functionality not otherwise available in an automated fashion. SALT was no different and integrations were considered from the outset to services that enabled automatic ID&V checks, KYC checks, Open Banking connectivity and electronic document signature. With Slates' experience we were able to add these awesome features without compromising on delivery timelines before launch.
Dont take our word for it
Listen to Joe Dalton, CEO & Founder of SALT speak about the journey he has been on with Slate and how we helped him go from idea to product within 6 months.
We are proud to call SALT a customer of ours having delivered technology across the board to enable the business to thrive fulfilling its fundamental function - helping customers get access to finance and then managing their loan payments.