By Riley Kaminer
Our lives are increasingly digital, yet our official identification documents are still pervasively analog. Sending your digital credentials via WhatsApp or email is not just a pain – it can be dangerous. For financial institutions, digital transformation is seen as a priority, yet McKinsey reports that only 30 percent of banks that have undergone a digital transformation report successfully implementing their digital strategy.
“Fundamentally, this is a data problem,” Louis Kinley, founder and CEO of Lynk Me, told Refresh Miami. “It’s not just about KYC or compliance. Problems will always arise when companies have data spread across different systems.”
Lynk Me helps companies streamline processes including compliance and customer onboarding. The company typically serves mid to large organizations ranging from 50 to 700 employees. The initial engagement usually involves a consulting project to understand immediate needs and tailor the offering accordingly. “Our focus has primarily been on banks and insurance companies, although we are expanding into HR onboarding workflows as well,” Kinley shared.
Unlike traditional compliance processes, which involve multiple trips to the bank and manual checks, Lynk Me aims to create an efficient workflow. The ideal end state, according to Kinley, is where the business can self-manage its data and compliance workflows after initial setup.
Kinley’s journey began as a software engineer working at a creative agency serving clients including Microsoft. He then cut his teeth at Koru, a SaaS startup that taught him the importance of pivoting.
All the while, Kinley began to fall in love with the Caribbean, especially Trinidad. The turning point came when Kinley and his co-founder, Kesha Julien, identified a significant pain point in the Caribbean market. Julien operated a Facebook store but faced difficulties in receiving online payments, leading them to conceptualize Lynk Me.
While at first the Lynk Me team was planning to build a cross-border payments platform, they realized that compliance was really the major issue that nobody was solving.
Despite conventional startup wisdom advising against building without customer validation, the founders dived in. “We started showing people the app, and we started to get a lot of interest around the onboarding components,” says Kinley. One CEO even told Kinley, “It looks like you just automated my whole compliance department.”
In 2022, a few years after launching Lynk Me, Kinley landed in Miami. His Miami move was strategic, capitalizing on the influx of talent moving away from Silicon Valley, especially evident during the pandemic.
Lynk Me operates with six full-time employees, including two in South Florida. “We’ve managed to build the business by bootstrapping, avoiding the need for external funding so far,” Kinley explained.
COO Julien has spent 10 years leading the monitoring and evaluation of national development projects and strategic planning for the government of Trinidad & Tobago and across the Caribbean, and she is currently studying for a master’s in data science at UC Berkeley.
The company is taking part in Endeavor Miami’s EndeavorLAB Black Founders cohort. “The caliber of people in our cohort and the structure of the program has been excellent,” commented Kinley.
As for the future, the focus is on enhancing AI modules and fine-tuning their narrative, as well as further developing their unique “turnkey data engine.”
“We love seeing how we can transform manual processes to let people be brilliant – do analysis, build relationships – and remove Excel spreadsheets and paper PDFs from the equation.”
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