Michiel Alkemade is the founder of Roos, the smart assistant that helps you to keep an overview of the fixed costs of energy, mobile phones, internet, television, insurances and more. Roos tells you what the best choice is from the overwhelming offering and when it is time to switch. This leads to structural savings, saves time and gives assurance that you are managing well.
What is Roos?
“Roos is a financial assistant that helps to keep your finances comprehensible. We are focusing on the expenses. Examples include energy, telecom, insurances, but also subscriptions to newspapers, magazines or memberships in sports clubs. Roos provides control over what you spend so you can save on fixed costs. Besides the function as an alarm clock for your subscriptions, Roos also gives tips on how to save and to make you financially smarter.”
Why did you start? And how did the idea arise?
“To shoulder the burden of the people. The financial administration is a struggle for many. Roos helps you to understand your own finances by providing insights and overviews and by signaling when you could do better. For example, when it is a good moment to switch to another energy supplier because in doing so, you could save €400.”
What is your personal motivation?
“I want to make the Netherlands financially smarter and more fit. Consumers do not want to constantly check whether they are doing well, though it does eat away at them that they could probably be saving money. In the past, I developed a top 4 comparison website. What I experienced back then was “we help consumers with a better deal, but do not have a relation with them and loyalty is notably limited.” We are doing well when users trust us and come back to us to keep their finances in order.”
When did you know Roos was viable?
“When we noticed that we grew organically, that the stream of contracts that people entered started flowing. That did not happen by itself: we actively contacted customers to see what they thought about us and what they expected. By now, you can also approach Roos as a chatbot through Facebook Messenger and quickly check whether you are doing well concerning your energy use and SIM-only subscriptions. You can directly make an informed choice and switch to another provider.”
Are you also offering B2B services?
“Yes, data APIs and comparison modules, for example, that companies, as partner from Roos, can use to quickly expand their services for their customers. Also, there are opportunities to integrate our services.”
What do you expect of your participation in the AIA18?
“From our participation in 2016 we learned that the AIA yielded a lot of sympathy. It increased our visibility. We are rapidly recognized in the market and that is mainly due to the large AIA network. Your announcements on LinkedIn generated a lot of interesting responses. We also actively used the opportunity to let as many people as possible vote for us for a spot on the stage.”
Why did you decide to sign up again this year?
“We are enthusiastic about the positive promotion through which AIA put us in the spotlight. Now that we have grown, this offers us new chances in our user and partner network. Currently, we have a fixed group of a few thousand users that deploy us with trust and we’d like to increase this.”
What trends do you recognize in Roos’ market in the coming years?
“According to research, 46 percent of the Dutch residents pay for subscriptions from which they forgot that they were still running, and that will cost them. And 77 percent stores invoices at various places, as pdf or e-mail on their phone, pc or tablet or on the well-known pile of pending post. And then we have the growing number of ‘my’ environments. It stimulates the trend of collectively losing the overview of our financial administration. Something that Nibud recently confirmed once again.”
What challenges are you currently facing?
“Scaling up is interesting. We want to grow together with our partners. Roos is interesting for insurers, energy– and telcos to raise awareness for their products. Besides, we examine the possibilities to capitalize on the new PSD2 regulation. That provides insight into new services that can arise through financial transactions.”
What is your golden tip for entrepreneurs?
“Time costs money and it’s not coming back. Thus, prioritize. Lastly, a bonus tip: learn through continuously staying in contact with your users and potential users. How do they feel about your product, what could you do better, what do they need and how could you still make things easier for them?”