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Start-ups 15 Feb 2018

BBVA partners with new venture Azlo to help bank underserved entrepreneurs

More and more people in the U.S. and across Europe and Latin America are choosing to start their own businesses or to take jobs that better fit their work-life balance.

A report last year suggested that by 2020 in the U.S. alone, 43% of workers will be employed in freelance capacities – a trend that is expected to continue to grow.

This segment, which is often referred to as the Gig Economy or the ‘work on demand’ sector often struggle to secure the right level of banking provision – both on a business and personal basis.

For this reason, BBVA has partnered with a new player in the market, Azlo, who are aiming to plug the gap many in this sector experience. BBVA has both invested into Azlo, and helped incubate the business in its New Digital Businesses unit in San Francisco. The move, similar to the recent announcement about digital security business Covault, is part of BBVA’s focus on fostering disruption in the banking sector, and ensuring it learns from the innovations coming from outside the business.

Azlo is a digital business account that seeks to increase the availability of both domestic and cross-border banking services for an expanding and changing demographic of customers by offering accounts with no fees or minimum monthly deposits.

Azlo’s key differentiators include unlimited domestic and international payments, billpay, mobile check deposit and digital invoicing – all of which the company’s customer research has shown are key issues for those in this sector.

However Azlo is going further than this, by ensuring their solution offer a full-service experience that integrates seamlessly with modern digital business tools such as eCommerce, point-of-sale and marketplace providers, and to do so, across a multitude of linguistic and socio-economic boundaries.

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Azlo offers a digital business account in the U.S.

Azlo’s CEO Brian Hamilton explains how the business’ services are designed to facilitate a free flow of capital with a strong focus on this core group of customers who are expected to be a driving force in economic expansion in both the US, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

He said: “Azlo’s goal is to level the playing field for the growing number of entrepreneurs and small businesses who wish to participate in an expanding global economy that is driven by entrepreneurs, small business owners, and freelance professionals.

“The challenge they face is that their business needs, the specific requirements that they have and which will help them bank more effectively, more comprehensively, are just not being met. This is what Azlo solves!”

However Azlo is also aiming to create a deeper relationship with its clients, by offering a dedicated small business account, along with access to workshops, live events, and a community of entrepreneurs.

The business’ Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Ramona Ortega, added: “What distinguishes Azlo is it’s focus on the new economy, including millennials and underrepresented entrepreneurs, and creating a deep and valuable relationship with its customers through community engagement.”

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