Game on, Birmingham! University Fancards, a local fintech company, recently raised over $4 million in a Series A investment round. We chatted with the executive vice president of operations Greg Boggs to see what this means for the company and Birmingham as a whole.
University Fancards—who they are and why you should pay attention
You might be more familiar with University Fancards than you realize. The prepaid, reloadable cards feature your favorite team and are found in national chains like Walmart and Target.
Obviously everyone should choose the Alabama Crimson Tide, because we’re the best, but there are tons of teams you can pick from the Big 12 to the SEC. With the new funds and growing business, there’s a good chance more teams will be added.
How the investments will be spent
According to Greg, the funds will be used for marketing, product enhancements, adding schools and growing their team. That means there could be more hiring here in Birmingham.
“There are also several customer-focused initiatives, like our rewards program, that we’ve been holding back on until funding. Those will be getting major upgrades that cardholders will be really excited about.”Greg Boggs
FanData—the mighty database
Why should you care so much about FanData—the company’s database? If you’re an investor, it’s a pretty important resource.
“FanData gives us a chance to see where fanbases like to spend money using data aggregation. Athletic Departments are intrigued, because they always want more information on how they can target new sponsors and offer value to their fanbase.,
Investors see FanData as a key driver of revenue generation for us as we continue to grow our cardholder base and focus on ROI.”Greg Boggs
Just like Bham Now’s small business guide, their database was built in-house. University Fancards faced over 120 rejections from investors—why? As the team continued to meet, the investors would always bring up data and the possibilities of building out a platform.
“I’ll never forget the team meeting where FanData was born. We had just been rejected by a big-time investor and when we sat down with the team we asked everyone ‘What are we missing?’
Every single employee’s answer was ‘data.’ What’s really awesome is that we built our platform 100% in-house, meaning everyone had to learn new things and contribute to the platform.Greg Boggs
Next steps for the local company
Founded in 2015, it’s obvious University Fancards is not just growing locally, but also on a national level. Now, after a successful round of investments next steps are being put in place.
Continued growth both internally and for their consumers
“Internally, our biggest growth goal is all about how we can automate a large portion of our processes so we can be as efficient as possible as we scale the company going forward.”Greg Boggs
The company isn’t just seeing growth internally, though. The team is noticing consumer habits and making adjustments for further customer accessibility.
“On the tech side, we’ve seen many more of our cardholders utilize their Fancard in their Apple Wallet with Apple Pay, and our cards will be available in Google Pay soon for additional safer, contactless payments.
Plus, the ability for cardholders to add sub-cards to their accounts for their family and friends has been a major growth driver, and we expect that to continue.”Greg Boggs
Living in the present with an eye toward the future
What are University Fancard’s three goals for the next year?
- Grow retail presences
- Acquire new cardholders
- Add a few more schools (be on the lookout for another ACC school coming on board SOON)
“As for adding to our team, we plan to hire at least a couple of new faces later this summer, but we’re always keeping an eye out for talented individuals who can enhance our company culture and bring a unique skill set to the table.”Greg Boggs
If you’re interested in working for the team, check out more info here.
Fintech is moving forward in Birmingham
With no one in the Fancards office right now, things have gotten a little weird. Almost too weird… pic.twitter.com/a7gmxHSPeL— Fancards (@ufancards) April 2, 2020
COVID-19 is officially declared the biggest party crasher, but we’re happy to see local businesses growing under the circumstances
“We love being a part of the Birmingham community because we think it has such an entrepreneurial spirit.
Obviously, in light of this COVID-19 pandemic, many of Birmingham’s businesses have taken a hit, but we know that this is a strong community as well. We can’t wait to see how so many of these fantastic firms and people bounce back even stronger on the other side of this.”Greg Boggs
With the local company’s growth and many like it, Birmingham is aimed at becoming something bigger than we may realize. Not to worry, because no matter how much are city grows, local companies understand who helped them get there.
“I think Birmingham is prime for Fintech growth. If you look at companies like Immediate, who just raised a round, Prepaid Technologies and what Stephen Faust has been able to accomplish.
Most people don’t know this, but before Bill Smith started Shipt, he sold a prepaid Fintech based in Birmingham. Even as we grow, it’s very unlikely that we will have to hire outside of Birmingham, as there is plenty of technology, banking and financial talent already here.”Greg Boggs