Investing as a retail investor is often inefficient due to the high fees involved, as well as frustrating and confusing due to the plethora of products in the market. CEO and co-founder of Endowus, Gregory Van, identified a gap in the market and sought to democratise access to financial advice and investment solutions for everyone.
Together with his partners Sam Rhee, So Sin Ting, Joo Lee and Junxu (Jx) Lye, Van built Endowus as the leading investment platform that provides personalised financial advice and best-in-class solutions at low fees across private wealth and public pension (CPF & SRS) savings. Clients can make and manage their investments conveniently through the firm’s online portal or mobile app, without being charged sales or transaction fees.
Endowus prides itself on its ability to quickly communicate back and forth with clients, answering questions and making recommendations. “We want to help people find investments that work towards their goals,” said Lye, Chief Product Officer at Endowus.
With communications such a fundamental part of the company’s approach, it needed a technology solution that would help it seamlessly interact with clients. Rapid growth in client numbers, upwards of 15% per month, meant that 50,000 to 100,000 SMS messages were exchanged per month, on top of the thousands of emails that they were already sending.
Early on, the firm contracted Twilio to enhance its ability to send and receive SMS messages through its intuitive and easy-to-navigate app. “We saw that Twilio was also a young, exciting company and they were genuinely interested in how they could help us grow,” said Lye.
As Endowus grew, it also needed to expand its communication services and provide more personalised customer engagement, while ensuring that their SMS messages were being delivered to the right customers. It needed a reliable and cost-effective method to ensure its platform was communicating with an authorised account user whenever new transactions or decisions were made. This also applied to the firm’s email program. With thousands of emails moving between clients and the accounts team, they often faced challenges trying to deliver personalised messages efficiently at scale. “Adding a personal touch to a transactional email seemed like a behemoth task as we had to manually make changes to the HTML code. It was time-consuming for the entire company as we had to involve our software engineers and Quality Assurance (QA) team in the process as well,” said Lye.
The fast growth of Endowus was also stretching its capabilities to quickly address client questions and issues. Support agents needed the ability to access client records in mere seconds to deliver personalised engagement. “This was critical because we wanted to demonstrate to our clients that they weren’t just numbers in a queue,” said Lye.
The pandemic made this need even more vital. “We noticed that clients were becoming increasingly concerned about their portfolios as the pandemic spread. They needed valuable advice to help direct them on their investments,” added Lye.
Using Twilio Verify’s flexible and secure user verification application programming interface (API), Endowus now makes user authentication easy with auto-generated, one-time password messages.
Incorporating Twilio SendGrid gave Endowus better control over its email program. “Anyone with an idea can now go onto the SendGrid platform, suggest a chance, and if approved we could get it out within minutes. We did not have to go through the entire software development lifecycle process and involve our engineering and QA team,” he said. “The system allowed for easy personalisation.”
The Endowus team has also been impressed by how easy it is to expand Twilio and work with its interface. “It doesn’t require a tech with specialised skills to work with it. Our team can go in and make a change, visualise it, test it and then send it out. That increases our productivity,” said Lye.
Creativity is also encouraged using Twilio. “Because it’s so easy, anyone on the team can have a creative idea for something to communicate, and we can easily try it out and test it before it goes into the system.”
The Endowus customer success team was closely involved in the Twilio project and quickly began to see results. “They saw that our relationships with clients were taken to a deeper level in less time,” said Lye. “Our text messages were more contextualised and fit the specific scenarios the client needed to establish them on their journey with Endowus.”
Twilio’s easy scalability also helped the wealthtech firm deal with a surge in customer inquiries during the onset of the pandemic. “During those first, intense months of the pandemic, the financial markets were in disarray and people were scared of the market volatility,” said Lye. “We had many more inquiries over a short period of time as clients sought information and investment advice. Twilio’s easy scalability allowed us to respond swiftly without compromising on customer experience.”
Lye believes that Twilio has also been integral in the firm’s ability to expand its product offerings. “When you communicate easily and personally to people, that helps them trust your organisation. Using Twilio has given us that capability and helped us grow into the company we are.”