It’s called Zimple Money and, simply put, it software platform that provides automated billing, collections, alerts, reminders, posting and tracking for loans of every kind – from moms and dads managing loans and allowances to their kids to property owners collecting rents and making deposits.
“It’s basically a loan accounting system a top a payment tool,” says the 62-year-old Rabago. “It sends a bill, processes the payment, applies the payment to the interest fee and distributes the money to your checking account. … You could have a thousand different loans in your portfolio if you wanted to. ”
Rabago, who’s also an artist and stone sculpture when he’s not monitoring his company’s financial activities, developed the software behind Zimple Money in 2008 after leaving the day-to-day operations of Telogis, a then New Zealand-based firm he had invested in and worked closely with for seven years.
The company’s engineers had figured out a way to marry GPS technology with communication data and install it into a flip phone using the same circuitry. It’s a unique Internet cloud-based application that was used primarily in the trucking industry for truckers to more easily communicate with their dispatchers while on the road.
Telogis, now based in California, was purchased by Verizon in June of 2016 for an estimated $930 million, according to industry reports, and its mobile workforce, telematics, and compliance and navigation software is now being used by Ford, Volvo, GM and other car companies, as well as Apple and ATT.
At around the time of the purchase by Verizon, Telogis had 80 of the 100 largest for-hire fleets as customers and more than 300,000 vehicles under management.
However, he admits to using knowledge gained from his work with Telogis and his earlier experience in the commercial banking industry as pillars that led him to eventually launch Zimple Money.
“It goes back to contract lending and GPS software,” he says. “It’s all tied to my past experience and core knowledge. … It’s part of the evolution of fin-tech (financial technology) a decade ago; the idea of providing banking services to people who don’t have to go to a bank to get them.”
Like a credit union or other membership-based organization, potential customers pay a monthly fee of somewhere between $20 and $27 – depending on the complexity of the transactions in play – to join Zimple Money, and with it
Zimple Money currently has some 20,000 users and nearly $600 million worth of contracts under management.
“It’s a beautiful program,” says Kersten. “It’s tailor made for a family loan. You choose the interest rate you want; the terms (and) it calculates everything for you. In addition, Kersten says there’s “various options for accounting, or you can do the ledger yourself.”
Back then, banks used so-called “contract collections” to monitor loans to industries that couldn’t always qualify for traditional lending plans.
Rabago left banking after 12 years and set up his own consultancy guiding individuals and businesses unfamiliar with the ins and outs of commercial lending.
“We worked with businesses that needed to borrow more money,” says Rabago, and helped them “build a whole story around the business, making it simple” so clients understood cash flow and risk and were prepared to “go to the loan committee that would ultimately approve it.”
During his 19 years with National Corporate Finance, Rabago was exposed to a plethora of different companies and industries, including firms involved in GPS tracking.
One company he took a shine to was TD Services, which processed trustee foreclosures. While consulting with them, he noted how they “leveraged computer systems to do what humans have traditionally done. … They just automated the whole (foreclosure) process,” Rabago recalls.
Through another client – an oil well maintenance firm – he picked up on how it successfully tracked of the operations of 15 oilrigs and 80 to 100 vehicles up and down the southern California coast long before Fax machines were part of the business culture, let alone the Internet
Those experiences led Rabago to Telogis and eventually to form Zimple Money.
Rabago estimates he’s invested at least $1 million in developing his financial services platform, noting that the “secret sauce was doing the payment side in a way that didn’t put you out of business. We figured out how to do it and for a lot less (money) than Pay Pal” invested in it payment services.
Over the nearly three year investigation, Zimple Money couldn’t sell its services to banks, credit unions or investors. “We were told just to service the customers we had,” Rabago says. “We were able to grow on cash flow only.”
“I needed a break,” he says. “When I started Zimple Money, I knew I had to (find a way) to get out of my head.” Carving is a “total attention grabber. You’re using power tools, grinders, saws, chisels and air hammers. You have to really pay attention to what you’re doing.”
If Rabago’s past is any indication, his art studio will become the “large, loud and provocation” place he dreams of, and Zimple Money will be in the hands of a competent successor.