Get to know canB - Techstars Sustainability Paris Accelerator

Nov 03, 2022

Frederic Schrapp (co founder & CEO), Antoine Lefebvre (CTO), and Vincent Bustarret (CMO)

01. Describe the problem/the industry that you are trying to mediate.

While the major French banking groups are responsible for the emission of 3.3 billion tons of CO2 since 2021 (i.e. eight times the emissions of France), changing the world through finance has become a firm conviction, as it is the most powerful tool to shake things up and respond to social and environmental problems. We are entering a situation in which the traditional way in which banks operate, supporting projects that are destructive to the planet and to human beings, is no longer viable.

For instance, just in the field of energy, the figures for the sector are staggering: no less than 400 billion dollars have been allocated to oil and gas projects by the largest banking groups over the last five years, according to calculations by the British association ShareAction. 

The wave of impact banking is just rising, supported by citizens' aspirations for a better world. canB financial products empower their holders and make them, with no efforts, the committed people they want to be.

Through its network of 32 NGOs, canB is supporting the seventeen SDGs and will accelerate its development to particularly accentuate its impact in the fight against global warming.

02. How did the idea to create the company come to mind? How did your team come to be?

During his fourteen years as a photovoltaic entrepreneur, Frederic Schrapp's ambition to fight global warming always grew stronger.

Realizing that as an individual it is not easy to contribute to the necessary changes due to lack of time or means, his frustration was reinforced when he found that it was shared by 70% of the population, who would like their money to have a positive impact. In contrast, only 24% feel that traditional banks are playing the game. By 2018, the fintech regulatory revolution was underway, but changes for the common good were still too timid from his perspective. That's when he decided to launch canB, with the intention of reinventing banking to make it more ethical.

Through the name canB - "can be" - the company demonstrates that it is possible to easily become actors of change, on a daily basis, with transparency.

03. Why did you choose to participate in the Paris Techstars accelerator program? What are you looking forward to the most? 

A year after launching the Impact account and card, we were beginning to get some good knowledge of our customers and feedback on the product as we had imagined it. Technically the product was working great, but we realized that we needed to rethink the simplicity of the customer experience (even if it meant removing some features) and revise the business model (by abandoning the Freemium offer). But these necessary decisions meant strengthening our offer with a new product that would generate more impact. The objective was clear: to invest our customers' savings directly in sustainable projects rather than giving to charities a fraction of our customers' spendings.

It was at this stage of the process that we joined the Techstars programme. It was perfect timing to be challenged on our thoughts, to structure our action plan and to look for funding.

The least we can say is that we are not disappointed!

The content of the workshops offered to us by talented speakers, the wise advice of our inspiring mentors... During three months all of them push us to our limits, in order to save us an infinite amount of time.

04. What are you the most proud of in your initial journey with your company?

We officially launched the service in April 2021, which was a huge source of satisfaction for all the teams that worked on the project for two years.

In the past year, 3,000 people have opened bank accounts. In total, this already represents nearly 90,000 euros donated to non-profit projects! We hope to have 12,000 active accounts open within a year, and 50,000 accounts in three years. 

05. How do you plan to measure the positive impact of your company in the next 5 years? Environmentally focused question.

To maximize our impact, we are now in the process of building a revolutionary savings account to convert every sleeping euro into a useful euro. We are convinced that this product meets a strong demand: 8% of French people expect their bank to offer a socially responsible and solidarity-based savings product (3% consider this to be the main criterion of their "ideal bank").

For the latest news on our applications, please visit our page.