Founder Spotlight of Finhay: Huy Nghiem
Founded in 2017, Finhay is a one-stop shop wealth management platform that helps users perform micro-investments in mutual funds in Vietnam. In the same year, Finhay won and was certified as an “Enterprise of Science and Technology” by the Hanoi Department of Science and Technology. Starting from just 50,000 Vietnamese Dong, or slightly more than USD 2$ (US$2.11), Finhay is now one of the top three players in Vietnam with a 10X growth rate. The Finhay team’s achievements didn’t stop there, they went on to become one of the two fintech companies in Vietnam that were listed in the “2019 World Top 100 Fintech” assessment by KPMG.
With this success, Finhay’s goal is to cater to the underserved people in the market and to especially focus on millennials to help them build their wealth wisely. Financial integrity and users’ benefits are prioritized at Finhay, allowing them to save, invest their limited capital flexibly, and build their desired assets, helping them hedge their future.
The genius behind the company:
Founder Huy Nghiem, one of the honorees in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2020, spent his childhood and adolescence in Hanoi, Vietnam before relocating to Australia to complete his bachelor’s degree in Commerce (B.Com.), Accounting, and Marketing at the University of Sydney. He told Headline that the change in perspectives and environment helped shape his values and characteristics that eventually led him to pursue the career he has now. The experience of meeting people from different backgrounds and gaining new perspectives has affected him immensely along the road of entrepreneurship.
Through Nghiem’s experiences gained from launching his first and second start-ups and joining AMP Australia as a financial advisor, he noticed that the financial service sector in Vietnam is too expensive for retail clients, investment processes were clunky, and with many problems ahead. With this in mind and a resolution to make things easier, he decided to found Finhay.
Can you talk a bit more about the multiple channels Finhay uses to approach its user base (Gen Z, Millennials)? How did you come about it? (Podcast, educational content, TikTok, etc)
We have been using multiple popular social channels in Vietnam including Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Youtube, and more. Especially Facebook, this channel remains to be the highest engaging platform for our users due to its popularity in the country. Depending on our purposes of engagement, we approach our clients differently.
Chatting/discussion: Facebook Page, Facebook Community
Educational content: Youtube
Short and sweet video: Tiktok
News/short post: Instagram, Facebook
What are the main differences between Finhay and traditional financial institutes?
Whilst traditional businesses maintain to have many brokers or sales in-house, Finhay focuses on online/mobile-first experience. Users are served differently. For clients who desire to have in-person meetings and support, traditional players would be the right solution for them. Meanwhile, for clients who prefer to self-serve and make their trade decision with a seamless trading experience, then Finhay is the solution for them.
Among all your accomplishments at Finhay, which one made you the proudest?
The proudest moment is that the company sailed well and was able to stay afloat during the covid pandemic. We were able to maintain employment for all the team members, whilst many other firms were cutting jobs.
What are Finhay’s values, and why are they important? Can you give us a quote about Finhay’s mission and your vision for the company?
Trustworthy — We are dealing with money, this value is one of our cornerstones in being at Finhay.
Innovative (Disruptive) — We are living in an age where life changes swiftly due to advancements in technology, hence, being disruptive/innovative is a value that we promote at the firm.
Passionate — We want to go to work with purpose and a passion to achieve it. Also, clients can “feel” the passion via the product that they use, without it, there is no differentiation compared to other products in the market.
“Think investment, think Finhay” — Huy Nghiem, the founder of Finhay.
What’s the biggest risk you took when you founded your company? And what was the moment when you knew this was the startup idea to build?
I wouldn’t say it is a risk, but back in 2017, there was a decision that I had to make. Either to work full-time in Australia or go back to Vietnam to work on the idea of Finhay. At that point in time, many opposed the idea of going back to Vietnam to work on my startup idea. I am glad that I have made the right decision and established Finhay. The moment was super simple back then, I remembered the slogan “Just do It”. Afterward, I sold all of my items in Australia and returned to Vietnam.
The idea was started when I was in Australia observing the financial market in Australia and Vietnam. I wondered how I could invest in Vietnam back then. It turned out that there were a lot of in-person meetings required, and document signing from service providers in Vietnam. Therefore, I asked myself why can’t we make our life easier by doing all of those online, hence, the idea of online investment started.
Outside of work, what is the most important to you?
Spending time with my family and friends. I think spending time with your loved ones is very important. As well as, taking the time to do other things and dine out in order to recharge, after burning lots of energy and exhausting brain power (which I like to call brain currency) at work. We have enough energy to do certain things effectively, once it runs out, it is not functioning as intended. Traveling, whether it’s outside of Hanoi (my hometown) or abroad, helps me change my perspective and recharge.
What was your dream job as a kid?
Entrepreneur/CEO. However, as I got older it changed. I think I realized there is more to achieve, to be a human being that can create value for society as much as possible.
Now, I think of Richard Branson as the type of person and the character I want to be.
Can you share the story of how you met Headline and what your experience has been working with us so far?
I was introduced to Headline by our super supportive investor, Insignia. The experience was great when I first had a zoom call with Abby from Headline, and then the team right after. Abby introduced me to many partners and I was super glad that they were interested in Finhay. We had many conversations, I didn’t feel like I was talking to investors, it felt more like friends talking to each other and sharing insight with one another. Even now, the experience remains consistent with my first impression.
What are your top three reasons for entering this market? How do you see the market in Vietnam?
The Vietnam market has many opportunities due to its inefficiencies in a number of sectors. The market has a lot of potential because of its population size, technology adoption, rising middle class, and more. The country has almost 100 million people, and most of them live in big cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, and Can Tho. Meaning new services can easily be launched in highly dense cities.
On the other hand, technology adoption becomes popular due to the encouragement from the government on digital transformation in the country. Many tech startups would have the opportunity and advantage to be welcomed by a number of early adopters.
Also, overseas talents are entering Vietnam including Vietnamese born overseas. This helps improve the high-skill workforce hence better quality of products or services.
The financial market is improving day by day. Given that trading volume has more than tripled since 2020, one-third of the total new trading accounts were opened in 2021. Overall, the Vietnam market is bustling and I am excited about the future.
*This article was edited for clarity.
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