‘Adulting’ at Mogo: Building a Millennial Culture

Walking into the Mogo headquarters in downtown Vancouver, the first thing that strikes you is the breathtaking panoramic view of the city, wrapping around the building to include a view of Coal Harbour and the snow-capped North Shore mountains.

The second thing you notice is the nondescript container of slick-looking Mogo-branded condoms displayed invitingly on the Mad Men-inspired reception desk, asking on the packaging if you’re “getting screwed by credit cards.”

Both are fitting symbols for the fintech company that caters to millennial priorities such as lifestyle and experience, while emphasizing responsible financial “Adulting,” offering customers personal finance options and education on financial first principles in a connected world.

Mogo, on a mission to become Canada’s leading digital financial brand for millennials, has combined the entrepreneurial mindset from its early days with the millennial priorities of their customers, employees, and founders to craft a unique culture, one that is reflected in the design of their stunning 14,000 square foot office downtown, their novel and award-nominated Adulting 101 marketing campaign that combines comedic wine tasting with personal finance lessons, and their passion for the fintech revolution.

“We don’t think of millennials as an age range,” says Robin de Pelham, HR Director at Mogo. “We think of it as a mindset.”

The millennial mindset, explains de Pelham, is forward-thinking, highly connected, adaptable, and authentic. This is typical, she says, of the customers they serve, the employees they bring on board, and the culture they foster.

An individual that fits with their culture, de Pelham explains, is one whose values align with Mogo’s. In a staccato cadence, de Pelham rattles off a list of these values: Ownership, Innovation, Results-Driven, Fun, and Frugal.

Frugal? “That doesn’t mean being cheap,” says de Pelham. “That means making a spend if you’re going to get the right value.”

True to form, the company that emphasizes ‘Financial Fitness’ is keenly cognizant of the effect of sound financial thinking, not only on the company’s bottom line, but on the lives of its employees.

“When you look at studies done in the last couple of years, employees feel like their financial well-being is a huge pain point for them, and they’re really looking for their employers to help. One of the stats that really resonates with me is that 20% of people feel like they’re distracted at work because of their finances,” de Pelham says.

De Pelham says the team is proactively taking their external Adulting 101 program on financial literacy, and rolling it out internally so that coming to work also means engaging with an education resource that promotes financial health and prosperity.

This fits in with another philosophy prevalent at the company: work-life integration. The two need not be disparate pillars in an employee’s life, but can instead complement one another. A manifestation of this philosophy, de Pelham says, is the flexible scheduling employees can enjoy at work.

“As long as you’re meeting your deadlines and managing your schedule, you can be as flexible as you need. We have people with young families who come in a bit earlier and then leave at four to hang out with their families. Then we’ve got others who may want to be at work later or may want to spend social time with Mogo people,” says de Pelham. “We really look for people who can own their own destiny. Adulting as a concept is really important to us. ”

As for benefits that Mogo offers its employees, packages include comprehensive health and dental benefits, and a strong focus on education.

“We definitely encourage people to pursue education, whether that be access to online resources or attending different conferences. For example, I was able to go down to Zappos last year to one of their culture camps, see their facility, and learn about their culture,” say de Pelham.

In what de Pelham describes as the flat environment, “everyone has access to senior leadership.” Founder and CEO Dave Feller can often be found at someone’s desk, in one of the many break out spaces, or in one of the two lounges talking to people and asking opinions, which they then make an effort to implement on the site and in the service. When you’re employed at a place that serves your demographic, de Pelham suggests, your opinions are taken seriously.

The team at Mogo is “looking for people who fundamentally care about helping people with their finances, and who have tech skills and really want to be a part of the fintech revolution,” de Pelham says.

They are currently hiring for positions throughout the country.

Mogo is a job board member and is hiring. Profiles are included with membership.

Mogo Seeks to Combine Finance with Technology to Digitize Consumer Lending

Mogo is a financial technology company driven by the fundamental belief that banking and consumer finance will ultimately become a completely digital experience.

“That is the future,” founder and CEO David Feller said.

With second quarter 2015 results showing loan originations up 137% and revenue increasing by 122% compared with the same period last year, they’ve fittingly put their money where their mouth is.

Feller banks on the idea that a technology and data-first financial company can not only provide superior service, such as opening an account with full identification verification in minutes, but a superior and more consumer-centric model of credit.

“Consumers are not only looking for convenience. They’re looking for a smarter solution, and one that makes it easy for them to be in control,” Feller said.

The company has just announced the finalization of an agreement with Fortress Credit on a new expandable revolving credit facility of up to $200 million, bringing their available loan capital up to $250 million. The new credit facility will be used to finance the continued expansion of Mogo’s consumer installment loans of up to $35,000.

These loans of up to $35,000, termed Mogo Liquid, have starting rates of 5.9 per cent, and are predominantly targeted at middle-income Canadians.

“One of the unique things about our solution is that we offer consumers across the full credit spectrum the opportunity to lower their cost of credit and get out of debt faster compared to their existing alternatives,” said Feller. “Credit cards make it very easy for most consumers to overspend and get into debt, and stay in debt for a very long period of time at a very high rate, and then outside of credit cards, there’s consumer finance and payday loans, which share a similar characteristic in that they generally make it hard for consumers to get out of debt in a reasonable time frame, at a reasonable cost.”

Feller said, “At Mogo we have effectively designed a solution so that regardless of your credit score, you will have the ability to borrow money from Mogo, and most importantly, most likely considerably lower you cost of credit versus what your existing alternatives are, given your current credit situation, and then importantly, give you a path to lower your rate through what we call the Level Up Program.”

The Level Up Program is designed to reward customers for good payments on their loans. After twelve months of good payment history, consumers can ‘Level Up’ to a lower rate than the ones they originally qualified for.  The Mogo blog claims that over 66% of their customers have already Leveled Up to a better rate.

Feller said, “It’s adding gamification to personal lending. Every payment, every month, we proactively communicate to the customer ‘Here’s where you are with you load. Here’s how much money you’ve paid off. Here’s how long until you’re out of debt. Here’s where you are in the Level Up program. Every payment you make brings you further up on the Level Up program, and you can Level Up to lower rates, even if your traditional credit score doesn’t improve, your Mogo score continues to improve through the Level Up Program.”

The team at Mogo believes that commercial finance is ready for disruption, and that their competitive edge lay in the use of technology and data to both reduce operating costs and provide a more appealing financial solution to consumers.

“We very much look at banking as if this is a Blockbuster-Netflix. The banks today have over 6000 branches in Canada. One of the main banks’ branches is over 20,000 square feet. The cost of that one branch alone would cover more than the entire overhead of Mogo,” Feller said.

He continued, “What we ultimately end up with is a very valuable experience and product offering for consumers that makes it a lot easier in the future for the next generation of consumers to actually stay in control of their financial health.”