By Mario De Jesus
On Wednesday March 23, 2022 – I had the great pleasure of meeting two brilliant individuals from Moneo, that being Sam Carter (CEO & Co-Founder) and Leo Utskot (CTO & Co-Founder). In our interview we discussed how Moneo positively impacts everyday people in Mexico and the future plans for Moneo.
What is Moneo?
Moneo is a receipt snapping, cashback rewards app, so the application contains published offers from different brands and retailers.
How does Moneo work?
In the application, the consumer goods companies publish their offers in the Moneo application. A consumer goes to a store, makes a purchase, then snaps a photo of their receipt and uploads it.
Moneo’s technology is developed to read the receipts line-by-line so they can extract data at the product level, which will then deliver the reward to the end-user depending on the purchase they have made. Using receipts is a vital part of Moneo’s process because in Mexico – 86% of payments are made in cash.
Moneo combines data from the receipt with survey data to deliver profiles to brand partners.
Moneo plans to offer discounted plans through the platform that you can purchase with your Moneo earnings.
“We think that would be a great way to help address some of the inequality issues in the country”. – Sam Carter
Our focus for this month’s newsletter is SDG 2: Zero Hunger. How does Moneo use technology to make progress towards this goal?
Sam Carter envisions two sides – on one side there are availability issues and on the other, there are access issues.
“The issue we mainly see in Mexico is access, which is related in turn to the availability to purchase. Mexico in the Global Hunger Index ranks around 39th of over 116 countries. So, the problem here is more about the ability to purchase as opposed to availability.
The working poor in Mexico is estimated to be almost 45% of the population. Workers earn less than it costs to purchase a basket of stable goods. What we are trying to do is help consumers save money and give them money back. In urban areas, Mexican consumers defined as working poor are those who earn less than $170 per month. So, if we help them save money on their everyday purchases, then that is how we can help address that problem”.
– Sam Carter
How would you like to see this technology grow? Do you think Moneo will explore further applications of what it offers, such as helping governments or nonprofits?
Moneo currently has a copy of their database on IBM cloud, which they aim to develop an API to anonymize and protect personal user data, but share the analytics of purchases. This will allow governments and nonprofits to access and use this valuable data to gain a better understanding of how the working poor live in Mexico. This data provides insight into a world that has yet to be discovered, as mentioned before, many Mexican consumer transactions are in cash.
“The government and other organizations don’t always have a perfect picture of what’s going on, what’s being purchased, and where the poor people will be living. Using our data, they could get a better insight into that”.
– Leo Utskot
Moneo, in regards to hunger and food, also wants to focus on nutrition. They have spoken about trying to incentivize people to buy healthier foods. Moneo does not believe in telling people how they should live, but rather they believe that financial incentives are a great way to change behavior.
Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to share with the AI for Good Foundation community and supporters?
“Using technology for good, using AI for good is an excellent thing to be doing. We are very happy to be involved in a small way”.
– Sam Carter
“I think the last 20 years, technology and the wealth technology has created has been focused on making a few people very rich, but we have to remember that innovation and technology also have always had the power to free people from poverty and make life easier for the masses.
I think if you have that in the back of your mind and sort of as guidance for when you develop things, You can hopefully have a bit of both. You can create capital and wealth, but you can also use technology to make the world better”.
– Leo Utskot