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Raison d’etre [rey-zohn -de-truh; French re-zawn -de-truh]
Pronounced rey zohn de truh, this is an English word of French origin that means a thing’s reason or justification for being, or existing
The Flance Origin
In December 2021, we set out to reimagine the future of work benefits by building a platform for gig economy workers, and that’s how Flance was born.
Basically, anybody that does not work in an office can get access to basic benefits like insurance, healthcare, pension,and loans, at a small monthly fee.
We have been on that journey ever since, and it has been a very tedious and interesting one.
So let’s talk about why we started doing this thing, and what exactly it is.
“Why exactly are you doing this?,”
Is a question my co-founders and I have gotten countless times, from different people, all asked with the same level of genuine curiosity.
I have given this answer so many times, over and over again, that it makes sense to crystalize and articulate it in written words.
Surface level; it is ridiculously expensive to pay out of pocket for an insurance need. The price difference between paying for a healthcare plan out of pocket, and having an insurance plan can be a lifesaver.
For example; in Lagos State Nigeria, the average nighly admission fee in a hospital is around $50. Meanwhile, an annual insurance plan of $25 can cover this same cost for a year, with added benefits up to $2,000.
On a deeper level, beyond the price point, like every problem, deciding to work on this one was a mixture of personal pain points and data-backed market research.
Let’s take a look at it;
Benefits are a headache for everyone
Simply put, this is a genuine problem, not just in Nigeria, or Africa, but around the world.
We started out focusing on gig economy workers that did not work in offices; Uber and Bolt drivers, software developers, freelance creatives, hair stylists, contract staff, and everyone that did not receive added benefits from where they work.
These people are divided along two lines; those who cannot afford to pay for these benefits individually, and those who can, but cannot afford the time and inconvenience of sourcing these benefits individually.
We talked to 250 of these people; 96% of them would pay for a plan that allows them to get access to these benefits in one place.
Of this number, 25% did not care about the price point it came in at, while the other 75% swung between affordability and ‘mid-range’ price points.
These people are able to come on Flance, and purchase a moderately priced monthly plan, or design a bespoke one that fits their needs and budget; amazing stuff.
The aforementioned is already a beautifully carved out market segment by itself, but there was another one ripe for the picking; tech startups and small businesses.
At first glance, these people are antithetical to the initial market segment mentioned, but upon closer look, not so much. I will tell you a story why(not), a very short one;
For the last 8+ years, I, Victor Ekwealor, have worked with tech startups in Africa, and as at the end of May 2022, my pension balance is currently ₦112, 480.40 ($272). And this is the experience of the bulk of employees in tech startups and small businesses.
I used to be very upset at this benefits discrepancy until I got a look on the employer’s side and figured out that this isn’t malicious; it is extremely difficult for a small business to provide employee benefits.
In startups and small businesses, everyone is too busy with multiple roles to take on the arduous task of sourcing and arranging benefits for employees. It is what it is.
The global economy is hard; inflation is at an all time high, and costs of living have skyrocketed with it. Most startups, especially in developing economies, are unable to match compensation with these rising costs, and are also incapable of mustering the financial war chest to retain their talents.
And this is where Flance comes in; to help employers figure out how to sustainably ensure their employees are not left out in the cold, or lost.
The market is ready
“Two billion workers — representing 61.2% of the world’s employed population — are in informal employment.”
The aforementioned is a 2018 study by the International Labour Organisation (ILO); a United Nations’ (UN) agency charged with international labour practices. In short, there are more people that are formally employed than not, and that is not changing anytime soon.
These people have jobs, but thanks to different employment laws across the world, most of them are not classified as full employees. A big example of this is how Uber and Bolt drivers are not considered employees of either companies.
Regardless of these classifications, these workers have adult responsibilities and resultant needs that would be catered to by employment benefits.
On the other hand, the nature of work is changing drastically
Thanks to the YOLO effect of the pandemic, everyone has taken a very pragmatic approach to their careers, and this has resulted in massive resignations and switches; cue the The Great Resignation, and all similar movements around the world.
Long term employment is dead, full time jobs are dead, and remote work is gaining traction; this means that more people are going to leave their structured jobs and, subsequently, the security those jobs provide by way of benefits.
Employers will have to fundamentally reimagine sustainable ways to keep their employees, without breaking their back, and their banks.
That, my dear reader, is where Flance comes in again.
Now, how exactly will this work?
Unlike the first question, there are not a lot of people asking this. I just imagined that if you got this far, it’s only fair you know the exactitude of how this product will work.
It is really simple; users sign up, get KYC’ed and then for a small monthly fee, get access to a wide range of benefits; healthcare, insurance, pension, loans, etc.
The plans are structured in two ways; moderately priced pre-curated options, and the ability to create a bespoke plan for yourself that fits your needs and budget. Simply put, you can pay for plans we have made, or create your own.
We are just getting started and gearing up for the journey ahead.
Thanks for getting to this point,
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