Esusu Creates A Robust Onboarding Experience That Increases Engagement

Esusu Financial, Inc. (hereinafter “Esusu”), a FinTech startup dedicated to narrowing the racial wealth gap in the United States, was looking for a new marketing stack to automate their onboarding program and expand their customer messaging efforts to focus on engagement.

Founded in 2018, Esusu was built to create equitable financial access for everyone in hopes of bridging the racial wealth gap. The company works with both individual renters and property owners or managers to report on-time rental payments to the major credit bureaus. This allows renters to establish or improve their credit scores, growing their financial wellness and increasing access to the U.S. financial system. Property owners and managers can offer Esusu’s services to their residents to incentivize on-time payments and maximize their net operating income.

With limited resources and pre-Series A funding, Esusu turned to Tech for Black Founders, a Braze initiative that makes it simple and free for early-stage startups led by Black entrepreneurs and technologists to capture and act on customer data to accelerate their growth.

During their time in the Tech for Black Founders program, Esusu went from an ultra-lean, pre-Series A startup to a $130m Series B one, growing swiftly throughout and achieving a unicorn status (characterized by a valuation of $1 billion or more). They now work with more than 50% of the largest landlords on the National Multifamily Housing Council (NHMC) list, up from 35% in January 2022, making it possible to help millions of Americans improve their credit through reporting on-time rent payments.

Bridging the Gap With Streamlined Onboarding and Messaging

Before Braze, communicating with renters was a slow and manual process, which required engineering resources. Esusu could not alert users on best practices when it comes to establishing and building healthy credit scores, and any kind of campaign at scale was impossible.

After implementing Braze, the Esusu team got to work upgrading their messaging strategy. Here’s what they were focusing on accomplishing:

  • Constructing a scalable way to reach all of their residents.

  • Integrating other best-in-class marketing technology, like their Customer Data Platform (CDP) of choice, Braze Alloys tech partner mParticle.

  • Building out communications so that renters are made aware they have access to rent reporting and new financial resources including Rent Relief and credit education and resources.

  • Reaching their users where they are, whether that’s email or SMS.

One of their first moves was to create an automated and streamlined onboarding flow. Using Canvas, our customer journey orchestration tool, Esusu developed an onboarding series that educated users on credit, familiarized them with the Esusu platform, reminded them that they need to check their credit, and more. Getting onboarding right is key for the business. ”If renters are unsatisfied, we lose the property owners,” said Winston Vakunta, Head of Marketing at Esusu. “If property owners are unsatisfied, we lose the renters. So for us, we have to be very thoughtful around how do we engage residents.” It’s essential that the messaging they send effectively engages users throughout their resident experience at a particular property.

To ensure the onboarding campaign worked, Esusu utilized the Braze platform’s dynamic audience segmentation capabilities to curate and target their messages to each user. They also leveraged trigger-based messaging to provide a responsive experience that reaches users when they are most likely to engage. After users are onboarded, Esusu is able to analyze user behavior in the Braze dashboard, allowing them to identify exceptionally engaged residents and target them for future outreach.

“Tech for Black Founders was an opportunity for us to service our customers with Braze, the premium product in the market. It’s been amazing.”

Winston Vakunta
Head of Marketing, Esusu

Better Processes, Better Growth

By leveraging the Tech for Black Founders network, Esusu has been able to create a holistic, data-driven strategy that drives engagement.

Key Takeaways

  1. Lean solutions work for lean companies. The scalable response to growth is marketing solutions to match it.

  2. Make a great first impression, and keep it up—effective onboarding is a critical element of longer-term customer retention.

  3. It’s essential for companies that work with interconnected B2B and B2C markets to balance the two; in a mutually beneficial relationship, one can’t thrive without the other.