22seven's Christo Davel: fear and desire in the finance world

Wednesday night saw the irrepressible Christo Davel, founder of the exciting, yet controversial start-up 22seven, present to an eager audience at the February 2012 Heavy Chef Session.
Davel, a man widely discussed in the press recently, spoke about human behaviour and the challenges within creating the ideal User Interface (UI).

"Fear is a far greater motivator than desire," said Davel during the session. "For example, it has been shown that investors are more likely to sell a winning stock than a losing one. Investors will hang onto a dud in the hope that it will rebound, but they'll dump a winning stock out of fear."

The Heavy Chef initiative is the brainchild of Fred Roed and Mike Perk, co-founders of digital marketing agency World Wide Creative. The name comes from the adage 'never trust a skinny chef', so the initiative invites 'Heavy Chefs' from around the world to talk on hot topics within digital marketing. Christo Davel is certainly someone who is prepared eat his own food, and he openly spoke about the challenges he and his team faced in creating a new product in the financial sector.

"We see irrational behaviour all the time," says Davel, explaining his reasoning for launching 22seven. The problem that 22seven is trying to resolve is the lack of awareness in our behaviour around money. Davel demonstrated the product to the Heavy Chef audience, which was made up primarily of marketing managers, digital marketing practitioners and budding entrepreneurs, showing how we miss some of the basics of simple financial management.

22seven aims to provide its subscribers with an unbiased view of your monthly spending. The system logs into your bank details and then draws easy-to-understand reports of your financial behaviour. Banks have slated the system, accusing it of 'phishing' since it requires your log-in details. However, Davel argues that internationally similar systems such as Mint.com have been widely and successfully adopted by the banking community.

FNB recently announced its support of 22seven, with the other banks starting to change their stance. Davel stated in his talk that he was confident that sanity would prevail with the rest of the 'Big Four'.

The service is currently free to sign up, but Davel revealed that he will be charging R70 per month once it comes out of Beta. Davel admitted the system still needed to be improved on, and integration with the banks made it difficult - so "I don't feel it's fair to charge while we're still fixing things". Despite the initial challenges, 22seven has seen a significant uptake in its first month - so much so that their servers struggled to handle the response in the first week.

A video of the talk will be available on the Heavy Chef website: www.heavychef.com.

To be invited to upcoming sessions, click here.

2 Mar 2012 13:21

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