Update on Dozens' fixed-interest bonds and protection

Hi @JustJordds,

There’s a few points baked into your question (which is valid of course), so lets unpack them here and hopefully I can do justice to all of them.

I think the three main drivers for us releasing new features are: 1) Platform load and stability 2) New features and partnerships in existing regulatory frameworks and 3) New features and partnerships under new licenses.

Let me start by saying that for all three aspects, our decision-making is about as conservative as a fintech can be (given need to grow, keep fund raising etc). We are really here to create a new-age financial services company, not just another fintech. Its easier to do the latter (in the short-term specially) and we may never get to our near-impossible goal of creating a new paradigm in finance but all the same, that’s our goal as a management team. In other words, we would simply not be happy being a regular fintech (as I type this, have just landed back in London to head straight to our physical community event and opening of our first physical presence on the high street at Harrow Road - how many other fintechs have done that, especially in year one).

So for 1 above, we are growing really fast… and want to ensure the platform never fails on our end (ie not because of one of our many partner integrations but simply our infrastructure). Adding features puts extra load on even currently working stuff (regression testing etc) so there’s some degree of caution but this is actually the easiest to solve. So clear roadmap available for this (will ask the team to share asap).

For 2, same as 1 but with an extra dependency on partners. We have now started to work with some really big names, and sometimes they won’t move as fast as us or as fast as they think they will, and that’s just part of life. So, clearish roadmap on these but with a degree of possible delays.

3 is where Grow and Invest fit in - this uses our MiFID Investment license from the FCA (fun fact: did you know we are the only firm with both an emoney and an investment license, enabling that super wide proposition). The Investment license is a huge degree of responsibility and accountability with the regulator and our customers (much more onerous than operating a payments only business and tying up with investment operators). So, our approach has been even more extra cautious in this - we have set out exact journeys for both Grow and Invest including portfolios available etc with the FCA and would ideally get a no-objection from them before making it available for mass. At this stage of our existence, the growth has been so much more than expected and the early data from the first bonds issuance factored in, I just want to be super secure in switching on this offering. We are very nearly there but as I said before, given our very small size in the grand scheme of things and our quite innovative offering (the bonds, the Tinder-inspired risk profiler for Investments etc), we simply cannot commit a date yet. I know it’s frustrating for you, and on bad days it’s frustrating for me - and then I remember the wise words from the last scene of American Beauty! :slight_smile:

I can be honest and say our biggest risk as a business is continuous fund raising - no different to any other startup our age or older. Profitability is a while off although with a very thought-through business model, I think we will get there much earlier than our competitors.

The roadmap and our ability to execute at pace (you can judge from our scope, speed and recognition thus far - Optima #8, Startups100 #25, and big name partnerships) is our strength.

The team at Dozens and I remain grateful for all of your early custom, enthusiasm and feedback - and I promise transparency on the journey back. Help us make Dozens count… not just count a little bit but really count. A little patience in the early days will go a long way for that. :upside_down_face:

PS: Action taken on me - to publish a roadmap till end of 2019, along 1-2-3 above.

PPS: In true community spirit, am going to request the same from you guys that I do from the team (fun fact 2: two people from the community are now in the team!)… please don’t just wait for awesome proactive comms from us; its not one of our strengths yet and we are working on it. So, for now, whenever you have a question, just put it out here and tag me. I will respond.

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Thanks AC, I don’t mean or want to come across as a pest - just I really want to see this come to fruition because it is so different to everything else out there atm!

I know Dozens are extremely busy with everything it just felt as if things dropped off the radar following the crowd raise so I was a bit sceptical as to what was going where!

I’ll be sure to keep dropping any questions I have here when I can!

In terms of funding - have you scheduled a specific time frame for the “pot” so to speak - is there a ticking clock or is it fairly free-flowing for the foreseeable future?

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Co-creation event about “bank branches of the future”

No worries at all @JustJordds - keep the questions coming. Fyi, financial situation is not different from the public Info memo expectations.

Another month and a half goes by and we are no closer…plus no information from dozens again…

Very quiet all round. Time of year perhaps? R-

The quiet is clearly worrying some people.
If August was going to be quiet, it might have been better to say so!

The second bond was originally slated for before the end of the tax year, so it’s been a long wait, really

There are very many exciting things in the pipeline and these will be announced very soon.

August is a month where not only Dozens staff are travelling or on holiday (I’m writing this from a sunny seaside porch in Canada) but many customers and investors are too. As promised, we will make announcements to all customers in a way that is fair & timely to all, so expect news shortly, but probably not this week.

With regard to Seedrs comments, I believe there was a reply posted recently

#wishyouwerehere

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I think the terms fair and timely are not in the vocabulary for dozens. Announcements have been slow and not fair to all as for a lot of information it is only expressed on here and not to those that don’t access this forum. There have been huge delays in getting any information and it has been misleading all along!

Apologies but you have said that

which means you are receiving information? Dozens is a start-up and that needs to be considered at all times. They don’t have the same funding or reputation as high-street banks or as other Fintech banks such as Monzo.

This is far from the truth. Plus you have said you are receiving information. For it to be misleading Dozens would offer the investments monthly, as planned, without any guarantee and then the information would definitely be misleading and cause the customers problems. Instead of seeing things negatively, see it as a positive and that they are trying to consider the customer at all times, something many banks and companies don’t do anymore.

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I may be receiving some information because I read it here, however the majority of the customer base won’t know to look here for it…therefore a lot of customers won’t be getting any information. If you want to say they are thinking of customers then communication is key but it is very poor. If I didn’t look here I wouldn’t know anything that was going on
High street banks know not to advertise a product (5% bonds) unless they could actually deliver. Dozens have failed for months to release them despite having had an advertising campaign encouraging people to sign up to them.
Doesn’t matter that the company is start up. The problems are evident

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I think its very important lesson, if a new company can’t get communication right with only a few thousand users, imagine what its going to be like with millions. The problem is, Dozens plays on its fixed bonds and people have been asking for months about it. And for them months they get its coming, regulatory issues, and so on. When in fact the reply needs to be, we can’t do them at the moment as we are changing how we are operating them, so will relaunch in October, then you won’t get people asking every week or month what’s happening, it would be clear.

The issue isn’t going to be regulatory as there hasn’t been any new regulations that substantially change anything. So it will be whatever reason Dozens have for delaying it, and no one knows, because no one is saying anything.

Promises of updates are great, but I remember seeing that from Curve, it now probably has the worst information team ever, with promises on a near daily bases and nothing materialising.

This isn’t meant to criticise, its just pointing out some obvious flaws, that I think need to be addressed now while Dozens is small, not when its got so many customers its playing catch up.

I missed out on the bonds last time, so been eagerly waiting them for months now.

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Totally agree with this!
Communication is a basic that the end consumer needs and should rightly have
They managed to issue them once so what’s changed??
Being a startup or new is not an excuse. Own up to the issue and communicate then people will be able to understand

Thanks guys.

We do take your point about the delay, and we apologise for this again.

In retrospect, if we had known that the full delay would have been as many months, it would have been great to be able to say “coming in X”, but as I’m sure you will appreciate, things are not always that clear when you are working on it.

We stopped promoting the fixed-interest bond in our communications to avoid any confusion. I realise that many of you here joined in the very early days and were among the first 1000 or so customers, but our focus since then has been on all the other things we also offer the 15,000 customers who have joined since (plenty about features like bill-splitting, spending abroad, budgeting, etc). We are not just about the bond after all.

There have been different issues affecting the bonds. At the very beginning it was a technical matter. We worked REALLY hard to bring out the bond before April, but it was just not possible. As we had been talking about that issuance we not only apologised in writing, but paid out thousands of pounds to all customers.

However, we are also a very unusual and unique business and having raised funds through Seedrs early-on, we’ve had work to do behind the scenes on corporate matters. @AC mentioned this in some detail in posts above like this one, and also the following:

If all of this was only in our hands, we could commit to a date - but it isn’t. If we had said “coming in October” for example and completed work earlier, many customers might not have been ready, or if we had promised a date we couldn’t make, then customers would have had to cancel plans. Neither are fair, so we have not mentioned a date.

I can promise you that the work is feverish and ongoing. I do believe that in combination with other developments to the app and the business, you will find the results very exciting, but I’m afraid that I won’t make myself a liar by promising an exact date quite yet … but it really is “soon”.

There is a newsletter going out to all customers shortly with updates on all the many things that are ongoing in addition to this matter, and in the next week or so the team will be back to full-strength, rejuvenated and refreshed after the holidays, and we will have lots to say.

I hope you’ve all had a chance to have a summer break too

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Thanks for your reply, but I think the point you are missing, is and I have literally just taken a screenshot right this minute on your front main page. It clearly is promoting the fixed bonds. That is what anyone sees who comes to the dozens website. (I can’;t upload the screenshot, some error message about aws key is incorrect, so pasted what it says)

icon

5% p.a. fixed interest bonds

Even if you’ve saved just £100 at the end of the month, you can access higher returns to keep your money growing. There’s no lock-in.

Edited to add. The app download page on Google Play at least, also shows the bonds as a feature before you even download the app.

Robert, maybe you should try going to your website…clearly linked on the home page is the following page about the bonds - https://www.dozens.com/our-5-bonds-everything-you-want-to-know/ - it doesn’t mention you can’t actually get them, instead it encourages you to get the app and bid on a bond now!
The £2 we got only covered the initial delay but it has been delayed much further than what was thought, meaning the £2 doesn’t cover it anymore. So do we get further funds to cover the never ending delay?
You may not be just about the bonds but the bonds are something that drew in (and continues to do so as you do actually continue to advertise on your website, Google play store, etc) much of the customer base, who are getting increasingly annoyed and disgruntled

true - the bonds are still mentioned on the website and the google store. These, and also our Invest shelf, are still our products and integral to the features of the app and account. Although they are not available today, they will be available to all customers, so we’ve not removed them completely from the description.

I was referring to the advertising that was mentioned above. This is what is drawing in the majority of customers. We did advertise the fixed-interest bonds before April, and that is why we tried so hard to bring them out and it was these bonds that we paid the potential interest for. When they were not immediately available, we stopped advertising them and have not done so since then.

The blog post you link above is a necessary description for existing and future bond customers, so we cannot remove it. The bonds exist - 60 or so customers have these, so although we have not been able to issue more, these are actual products that we plan to make available again as soon as we possibly can, and I have already mentioned what has changed since then to mean we have had to delay.

Hope that is clearer.

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There’s definitely frustration brewing and a startup is going to feel the heat at every slight misstep and delay…

It was a very ambitious timetable from the start, however, so maybe a few months’ delay is not that surprising.

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Not surprising at all, the lack of informed communication is the issue, not the delay.

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Absolutely. I was thinking really that the two are linked - dozens maybe set unrealistic targets, then didn’t really realise or communicate clearly how much they have had to change.

Bottom line is that dozens is still a beta product, so this kind of misalignment between user expectation and delivery is exactly what you’d expect. Cf. every other fintech startup…

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