Auto repair

Integrated payments, instant auto repair financing

For an industry that recognizes the need for speed, the auto repair industry has been a bit slow in the race to digitize. As in other verticals, FinTech platforms are busy providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the tools they need for digital speed.

DigniFi is a mission-driven company dedicated to serving underserved credit markets to finance automotive repairs at dealerships and independent repair shops. In over a decade of operation, the DigniFi platform has grown to include 5,000 merchants who use the platform to arrange funding on the spot.

The company is also committed to the diversity of its workforce, as evidenced by the fact that its team is made up of 50% women.

The company’s chief financial officer, Mariana Coontz, embodies these values.

PYMNTS caught up with her in a wide-ranging interview that touched on mission, vision and values ​​as well as the challenges of running the CFO’s office in an uncertain macro environment.

Enable SMBs to automate payments

According to Coontz, the auto repair industry’s reluctance to digitize has given the company she works for an unprecedented opportunity to serve as a resource for customers who may be able to replace a Mercedes’ head gasket. Class E 1989 eyes closed but just as muddled by the intricacies of financing and systems integration as the next person.

“The challenge is to create an experience for both the merchant and then the consumer that is frictionless and seamless in a way that makes sense in an era of higher inflation than we have seen since. very long and where the consumer is in a hurry.”

In his part of the business, that means using all the tools available to vendor and client teams to stay at the forefront of credit innovation, delivering accurate forecasts that give decision makers all the information they need. need to make strategic decisions. Often, this means walking a tightrope between innovation and meeting rigid standards.

“You always have a risk discipline and a risk bias in your way of thinking, so you need to underwrite credit responsibly to deliver the right kind of credit box to consumers,” she said. “You have to manage it, but I think if you have the right processes in place to be able to do it, it’s just something that comes with the territory.”

Funder, finance yourself

Although there is no FinTech startup, the company is privately held. To finance the planned expansion, according to Coontz, “we did a debt financing with Brigade Capital Management.”

She shared her thoughts on the capital market in general: “Certainly this year the markets have changed quite significantly. You focus much more on the discipline that you create and how do you get a positive result faster, how do you become operationally efficient, faster? »

In short: profitable growth is here, growth at all costs is over.

“It doesn’t change my pace of operation,” she said. “I’ve always walked into any organization and thought, ‘How can I run this business more efficiently? » How can I make sure that I am, that I am creating shareholder value from whatever seat I am sitting in and that I have grown up in the financial side or the risk side of the organization ? »

Often it comes down to communication, she added, helping to tell a story that puts the company’s finances into a larger business and economic context.

Flexible teams

Coontz said DigniFi is a remote business, which helps him build a strong, dynamic and diverse team.

“The digitization of the general economy has created a virtual world. You have to make sure you’re inclusive and people feel that camaraderie and culture, even if you’re… sitting in different places around the world.

And that prospect, Coontz said, may well provide an ideal starting point for expanding into other markets.

“It’s part of the growth plan. It is definitely a strategic change in the direction of the company. And certainly, moving into different verticals is something that’s on our roadmap. As we go through the next six or 12 months and build the right disciplines, we are absolutely going to explore that.

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About: Results from PYMNTS’ new study, “The Super App Shift: How Consumers Want To Save, Shop And Spend In The Connected Economy,” a collaboration with PayPal, analyzed responses from 9,904 consumers in Australia, Germany, UK and USA. and showed strong demand for one super multi-functional app rather than using dozens of individual apps.