Realizing that diligent personal finance management is essential for a well-balanced professional and personal life is the inspiration behind Crunch, a Dubai-based FinTech startup.
Crunch is a new personal finance management app that aims to empower people by allowing them to manage their money, grow their net worth, and achieve financial wellness through one secure platform.
“According [the] According to the American Psychological Association’s annual report, about 81.5% of Gen Z and Millennials say money is a major source of stress. I believe that money should not be your source of stress, but rather a tool to help you relax,” says Husam Aboul Hosn, Founder and CEO of Crunch.
Crunch, founded in May 2022 under the innovation license of DIFC, was born when Mr. Aboul Hosn, 37, had an epiphany.
The early-stage startup’s mission is to make managing personal finances simple and stress-free by seamlessly syncing a user’s bank accounts, credit cards and loans, giving a real-time view of its income and expenses.
The user can also choose to manually track accounts, such as their cash account, and enter transactions themselves.
Using technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to categorize transactions, savings, and expenses, Crunch allows users to monitor budgets, visualize monthly expenses, track expenses, and set goals personal finances, etc.
Mr. Aboul Hosn, who was born and raised in Lebanon and is an engineer by profession, started out in the construction industry and struggled with his personal finances.
“Surviving on a modest salary that barely lasted until the end of the month meant my life was like being lost in a maze,” he says.
The turning point was his decision to pursue a master’s degree in business administration at the University of San Diego after winning a dean’s merit scholarship.
“Student life in the United States taught me a vital lesson that I missed in my later years: how to take control of my own finances,” he says.
“User-friendly apps have allowed me to track my own savings, set monthly budgets, and make healthier financial decisions to achieve my own well-being and get the most out of life.”
After graduating in 2013, he returned to the Middle East and continued his career in the construction industry, but this time with more emphasis on cost control, budgeting, financing of projects, feasibility models and projections.
Although he enjoyed professional success, Mr. Aboul Hosn became restless as he sought to share his idea of achieving financial well-being to a wider audience.
“I decided to take a drastic change from leaving the corporate world, quitting my full-time job to focus entirely on Crunch,” he says.
“Because managing personal finances is not a skill taught in schools, we want to make money management easy and accessible to everyone.”
A 2019 financial literacy survey conducted by Visa found that 43% of respondents in the UAE between the ages of 16 and 24 felt they were not ready to manage their own money, while 53% said schools hadn’t prepared them enough to take care of their finances. .
In a separate study by insurance company Friends Provident, around 45% of UAE residents said they had not yet started saving for retirement.
Crunch was his solution. The app offers multi-currency functionality and customizable alerts, giving users all the tools they need to focus on growing their wealth across multiple investments and savings options.
“At Crunch, we believe managing your finances should be as easy as sending a text message. It should be done anywhere, anytime and with just a few clicks.
The FinTech, which allows customers to connect to 15 UAE lenders, uses bank-grade security, including TLS data encryption and FaceID login, to keep data secure, private, anonymous, safe and protected at any time.
It does not have access to, nor can it store or record users’ bank details.
Crunch has partnered with Lean Technologies, a government-regulated technical service provider to ensure the highest security standards.
The app initially focuses on the United Arab Emirates, but plans to expand into neighboring countries in the short term and expand internationally in the long term.
“We have a long way to go but I am very optimistic about the evolution of the FinTech landscape,” says Mr. Aboul Hosn.
“Regulations and technologies are accelerating at an unprecedented rate when it comes to open banking, Web3, digital currencies and similar technologies. We look forward to playing a part in the evolution of the space.
We have a long way to go but I am very optimistic about the evolution of the FinTech landscape
Husam Aboul Hosn, founder and CEO of Crunch
Earlier this year, the company raised a seven-figure sum, in dirhams, in a pre-seed funding round from family and friends. The funds were largely used to hire a small software development team and launch a mobile app on Apple and Google app stores.
An integrated marketing campaign begins in December to attract new users to the app.
“We are going to participate in a head turn [of funding] aim for a seven-figure amount [in US dollars] early next year. The money will be used for marketing, expanding our team, focusing on new features and growth,” says Aboul Hosn.
Since its launch a few weeks ago, user adoption of the app has grown 200% week over week organically, even before any marketing spend.
Crunch has a subscription-based revenue model that costs Dh20 per month, or Dh200 per year, to use the app’s unlimited features after the 60-day trial ends. Alternatively, they can upgrade to a free plan but with limited features.
Changing regulations and pressure from governments to support FinTechs in the Mena region make it a ripe market for talent to grow, demand to grow and funding to flourish, says Aboul Hosn.
“We believe we have come at the right time when consumers are demanding speed in all aspects of their lives, whether it’s buying things, getting around or even learning something new. – managing money and performing financial transactions should be no different.”
Q&A with Crunch app founder and CEO Husam Aboul Hosn
Who invested in you first?
I am grateful to have had an extremely strong and powerful support system from my family and friends who were confident in my determination to succeed and my advocacy to create social and financial impact.
Their conviction fueled my will to continue, and their patience in listening to me talk about Crunch, in sharing constructive and accurate feedback, was invaluable.
Which already successful start-up would you have liked to start?
I have always been intrigued by the intervention of technology in our well-being and health and how, if used correctly, it will improve our performance, our habitual acts and our state of mind. An example that comes to mind is Whoop.
What is the next big dream you plan to achieve?
Depending on how quickly regulation makes our operations easier, I would like to see a world where blockchain technology is better used to make our lives easier in all aspects, especially when it comes to money-related activities.
What new skills did you acquire during the process of launching your start-up?
Given the nature of a start-up, where you have to roll up your sleeves and work to grow several aspects of the business, I learned a lot, in legal, marketing, finance, finding talent and selling the vision .
But the most valuable skill, in my experience, the key to success, is resilience. By this I mean adapting to adversity and staying calm and focused in the face of disheartening events.
Who is your role model?
I admire several role models who have taught me different values. I admire Mark Cuban’s business acumen and drive and how he managed to build an empire. I also admire Warren Buffett and his understanding of long-term rewards, but especially his ability to stay humble.
I will also never forget my parents, who taught me integrity and showed me firsthand the importance of putting health, family, and relationships first.
I am constantly learning and unlearning different patterns by reading books and listening to podcasts – my two favorite podcasts would be: The Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett and The school of greatness by Lewis Howes, who bring in inspirational leaders or experts every week to discuss topics such as personal well-being, love, business challenges and mental health.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
With the way technology is changing exponentially, it’s hard to predict this. I would like to say that I will continue to build something that I am passionate about and that makes me feel fulfilled but, more importantly, something that helps people have purpose and live more meaningful lives.
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have started earlier to follow my passion and what I believe in. It’s extremely rewarding to do something you’re passionate about, even with all the fear that goes with it.
Updated: November 28, 2022, 04:30
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