[UPDATE 04/09/18: All is well for Shine that just succeeded in raising 8 million Euros]
French freelancers are getting a nudge from the French government. More freelancers means less unemployement. Becoming a freelancer is meant to be easy for all. As it turns out, the paperwork is still a hassle and a designated bank account is mandatory. Luckily, the French start up Shine covers it all.
Nicolas Reboud, French entrepreneur, had a company named Printic. To help him with some webmastering, he asked freelancer Raphaël Simon. When the latter explained his daily struggle with the freelancer status and they both decided to take on the challenge. The startup Shine was launched in April 2017. The service was in beta since October and the official product launch was last Monday.
But what is Shine?
Shine is a hybrid service that aims to be a freelancer’s toolkit. From within the app, one can become a freelancer in just 5 minutes: Shine takes care of all the nasty work. Invoicing is also available together with a client database. On top of that, Shine is also a bank account: to serve as the mandatory designated bank account. All is neatly stitched up in a smartphone app (no desktop).
Is it a bank or is it a toolkit?
Well, it aims to be both with an active community on social networks. Any freelancer can request help from within the app through a FAQ or chat. Invoicing is easy and frequent looks at the banking app are no more as the user gets a notification as soon as the invoice is processed and paid.
All freelancers are not equal in their status. Some pay their taxes monthly, others quarterly. Some get full taxes right on and some start low. All this is addressed while registering so the app can remind the user that it’s time to pay up (and how much). The app also reminds the user to start saving up.
Many tools, more or less expensive, exist. Shine ambitions to become the obvious go-to service for anyone wishing to become a freelancer.
A bank account with no frills
Beside the “freelancer support” and the neat app, the strongest feature is the bank account through fintech expert Treezor. The subject of the mandatory designated account is a bit of a hassle for freelancers. Traditional banks object to having a regular account serve as a pro account. Pro accounts are expensive and offer features that are of no use to freelancers. Nicolas smiles at the idea of a pro account that can handle wage transfers… when a freelancer, by definition, has no employees to pay. Yet these features are costly. Shine strips the account of these useless features and ends up being a free account. With a free Mastercard. Commissions on selected transactions are what pays for it all. Everything is made to support the freelancer: even the IBAN and BIC numbers are written at the back of the Mastercard to be available at all times. Can’t risk missing a quick payment because you don’t have your banking informations at hand.
The freelancer’s copilots
The Shine team has to deal with a few more challenges than most others. Not only do they need to provide customer support, same as any other online bank, but they assist freelancers with all their issues. The team is versatile and keeps up with changing regulations. The team now adds up to 15, including the two founders, Nicolas and Raphaël and they’re quite proud to add that 45% are women. Not a bad ratio for a fintech startup.
Many updates are on the way as well as new useful features like check-cashing. The team is very receptive to all comments concerning the app and the services but so far the feedback has been excellent.
It sure is a gutsy move to launch a bank with a rainbow-like logo. But a clever one as freelancers enjoy not playing by the rules. In the year to come, both in France and abroad, millions plan on making their move into freelance work. They’ll all need help and they’ll all need a bank. Looks like the future is rather shiny for these guys!