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Growth Hacking Case Study: Behind The Massive Growth Of These 7 FinTech Companies

Don’t have a super big marketing budget to do Super Bowl ads for your new Fintech startup? (Trivia: Those things cost $233K per second!)

Wish there was a cheaper, smarter way to grow super fast?

If yes, then you’ll love growth hacking.

With growth hacking, you can get 2+ leads week after week without spending 5+ figures on expensive marketing campaigns.

See the screenshot below:

This is the kind of result The Scalelab brought in for FinTech companies who want a low-cost but effective approach to growing their companies:

✔ 80% - 92% open rate (Up to 3X the average open rate)

✔ 50% - 63% reply rate (Up to 12X the average reply rate)

✔ 2+ clients week after week

✔ Around $100,000 in pipeline value

The growth-hacking strategy we used? Cold-emailing.

But the point is, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on costly marketing campaigns to grow dramatically.

With growth hacking, you can leverage inexpensive and innovative ways to grow your customer base exponentially.

In this guide, we’ll review growth hacking case studies that you can use to scale your FinTech company fast.

You’ll learn:

  • How to grow your user base to over a million without spending thousands on marketing.

  • How to encourage users to refer your software to friends.

  • How to get over 700,000 sign ups for a FinTech product that doesn’t exist (yet).

  • Low-cost marketing approaches that get the highest ROI.

So if you’re ready to growth hack your business, read on!

Growth Hacking Case Study #1: How Paypal Grew Their User Base to Over 100 Million

As of 2022, PayPal has dominated the online payment market. PayPal’s active accounts stood at 429 million users. Today, PayPal processes over $2.5 billion in payments daily.

What was the secret to their success? The answer seems to be paid referrals.

Growth Hacking Strategy: Implement Paid Referrals

Back in 2000, PayPal decided to offer referral commissions. They gave away $10 for each referring user and $10 to the new user.

The beauty of sending money to a potential new user is this:

  1. Initially, they don’t have an account.

  2. Thus, they’re forced to open an account to claim their free $10.

The results? PayPal grew 7-10% daily. Eventually, their referral program grew their user base to a whopping 100 million members at $20 per member.

In 2022, they still implement the same strategy with a few modifications. Both the user and referral still get $10 each, but only after a purchase of $5 or more. As a user, you can keep referring to earn up to $100.

What a way to strengthen up your FinTech company’s referral game, right?

Source: PayPal

How to Implement

To growth-hack your way to 100 million users like PayPal, try out their referral strategy.

✔ Give your users an incentive to refer your company to friends.

✔ Test various ways to reward referring users: free credit, and free shipping

✔ Test various ways to incentivize potential new users to open an account, eg. free trial, sign-up bonus

Growth Hacking Case Study #2: How Square Grew Into a $50 Billion+ Financial Giant

Square is a financial services platform by Jack Dorsey, Buzz Andersen, and Jim McKelvey. With the platform, SMBs can accept credit card payments and obtain financing. After 13 years of operation, Square has evolved into a $50 billion+ financial giant.

Source: Square

Want to know one of the growth hacks they used to become the financial giant they are today?

Growth Hacking Strategy: Leverage Word-of-Mouth

Square's former director of marketing, Khobi Brooklyn, reported that showing how their customers use their product was extremely effective. Here’s how they did it.



Target Social-Media-Savvy Customers

Square’s marketing team targeted social-media-savvy shop owners in the Bay Area as early customers, so they could help them spread the word.

Leverage Niche Marketing

Square would focus on specific industries like food-service providers and beauty shops. They engaged highly targeted publications whenever they released a feature relevant to those industries.

The results? The stories posted by customers and publications fueled word-of-mouth. As reported by Growth Hackers, positive word-of-mouth and delightful experiences helped Square build barriers that are hard to overcome by competitors.

The momentum they built in the first few years resulted in a large user base. As a result of their quality product, these existing users remained loyal. By 2018, Square further leveraged loyal users by acquiring nine complementary businesses - providing them with more solutions to their needs.

How to Implement

To growth-hack your way to a large loyal user base like Square, try out their word-of-mouth strategy.

✔ Target social-media-savvy users so they could spread positive word of mouth on social media.

✔ Target specific niches and engage highly targeted publications when spreading content about your software.

✔ Always optimize your product and customer engagements to retain existing users.

Growth Hacking Case Study #3: Why 700,000+ Signed Up for Robinhood’s App Even Before Launch

Robinhood is a financial services company by Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt. Investing and trading on their platform is 100% commission-free. Furthermore, the company aims to make investing easy and understandable for new and expert investors alike.

In 2021, they generated a whopping $1.81 billion in revenue which means a 90% year-on-year increase. And this year, they have around 15.9 million active users.

However, it’s important to note that Robinhood was popular even before its launch. Here’s why.

Growth Hacking Strategy: Gamify Your Waiting List

Before the founders launched Robinhood, the trading app was already extremely popular. This was because they gamified the landing page promotion (see screenshot below).

  • They bumped up people on the list based on how many they referred.

  • Their referrals referred more people, which created a snowball effect.

  • To gamify the waitlist, Robinhood showed each person who signed up a thank you message and the number of people on the list (which proved that the app was in-demand). If you wanted to jump the queue, all you needed to do was to refer to friends.

The results? Over 50% of signups came from referrals. Even more amazing, more than 700,000 signed up for their app even before it was launched.

How to Implement

To growth hack your way to 700,000+ sign-ups even before launching like Robinhood, try out their waitlist gamification strategy.

✔ Give incentives to people who refer your company e.g. bumping them up the waiting list

✔ Create social proof by demonstrating how many people are already on the list.

✔ Make it extremely easy for users to refer your app through effective CTA buttons.

Growth Hacking Case Study #4: How Blueleaf Got 10,000 Sign-Ups Before Launch

John Prendergast founded Blueleaf in 2010. This wealth management platform lets you do traditional reporting, trading, rebalancing, billing, and invoicing.

Source: Blueleaf

Their growth-hacking strategy is a combination of intrigue and exclusivity.

Growth Hacking Strategy: Intrigue and Exclusivity

To get 10,000 sign-ups before launching, here are two of the approaches Blueleaf implemented:




Encourage Potential Users to Request Sign-Up Publicly

To get into Blueleaf, you have to get an invite from the company or from a current user.

The company lets in a limited number of users per week based on how much they want in. Only those who request an invite or tell everyone about Blueleaf can get in.

This serves as a social proof and bandwagon approach that entices people to find out why Blueleaf is so in demand.

Implement a Strict Invite System

The other way to sign up for Blueleaf is to get referred in by a current user. However, they added a twist to the typical refer-a-friend system.

They’ve limited the time frames to invite a friend for just an hour or two. So anyone who wants in must request publicly on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere they can reach current users.

The app is already in the viral loop before it has even launched. Moreover, because of the limited time to invite friends, it creates a sense of urgency for people who want to join. They’re more likely to act quickly instead of putting off signing up.

How to Implement

To growth hack your way to 10,000 sign-ups even before launching like Blueleaf, try out their intrigue and exclusivity approach.

✔ Make potential users request sign-up publicly to serve as social proof to their network.

✔ To have exclusivity, limit the number of users you let in and prioritize those who requested to sign up publicly and followed your company’s social media platforms.

✔ To create urgency, limit the timeframe to refer to new people.

Growth Hacking Case Study #5: The Secret Behind Mint’s 1.5 Million Users in 2 Years

Aaron Patzer founded Mint in 2007. Two years later, this personal finance software service acquired over 1.5 million users. In the same year, Intuit bought Mint for a whopping $170 million. Today, Mint has over 20 million users.

Seems like an overnight success, doesn’t it? But here’s how they did it.

Growth Hacking Strategy: Know the Customer and Hype Your Non-Existent Product

Noah Kagan joined Mint as the Director of Marketing, even without any marketing experience. (This only proves that you don’t need to know traditional marketing to growth hack. You only need to be super obsessed with growth.)

But he crafted out a plan and launch strategy spanning 6 months. He was hired on the spot. The problem at the time is, they have no product and 0 users.

Here’s how they solved this.




Set measurable deadlines

For Mint, the goal was 100K users in 6 months.

Kagan and his team were able to reverse-engineer how to achieve this goal.

Know the customer

Kagan made sure their target customer was super specific. To do this, he visited a million coffee shops to ask people questions:

  • What’s your current financial strategy?

  • Do you need help with most of your finances?

  • Imagine your ideal personal finance tool. How would it work?

​From there, he identified that their target customers are young professionals and personal finance nerds.

This helped them:

  • Personalize how they approach potential users.

  • Craft their product with their potential users in mind.

They were able to leverage undervalued marketing channels such as niche influencers.

Hype your non-existing product

​At the time, Mint hadn’t developed their product yet. But, they need to build hype.

So they collected emails from people that fit their target demographic. Here’s how:

  • Create a monthly newsletter with financial tips.

  • Implement content marketing through blogging.

  • They’d sponsor smaller finance blogs with $1,000.

​By the time they launched their product, they already had 100,000 people on their email list.

In just 6 months, they crushed their 100K goal with 1 million+ users.

Source: Mint

How to Implement

To growth hack your way to a million users in just 2 years like Mint, here’s what you need to do:

✔ Set clear and measurable goals and reverse-engineer your strategy based on that.

✔ Know your customer through surveys and asking relevant questions.

✔ Collect emails from your target users and hype your product through relevant content.

✔ Leverage underutilized marketing channels such as niche influencers.

Growth Hacking Case Study #6: How Monzo Grew From 0 to 250,000 In Just 2 Years

Monzo is a UK-based online bank that offers distinct hot coral bank cards, an easy-to-use banking app, and amazing customer listening. Monzo scored 5 stars for customer service and 83% for overall satisfaction in 2021. In the same year, it was valued at £3.7 billion which is around 4. 38 billion in U.S. dollars.

Source: Monzo

What was the secret to their success?

Before they got their “unicorn” status in 2019, they grew their users from 0 to 250,000. Here’s how.

Growth Hacking Strategy: Queue Jumper Growth Hack

Just like Robinhood, Monzo also implemented their “queue jumper” growth hack where they only let so many users in each day.

Upon signing up, users are given a spot in line. But the catch was, if they referred friends to the app, they could jump the line.

The results? Monzo was able to grow users from 0 to 250K in just 2 years.

How to Implement

To growth hack your way to 200,000+ sign-ups like Monzo, try out their “jump the queue” growth hack.

✔ Embrace your users’ competitive spirit.

✔ Show the user how many are people is ahead of them and how many are behind (as shown in the picture above.)

✔ Make it extremely easy for users to refer your app through an effective CTA button.

✔ Give incentives to people who refer your company e.g. bumping them up the waiting list

Growth Hacking Case Study #7: How to Get 10+ Sales-Qualified Leads per Month With The Scalelab

The Scalelab is a B2B lead generation company that generates quality leads for sales teams week after week. In total, we’ve generated 5000+ leads and over $50 million in pipeline value for clients in FinTech and other fields.

And here’s how we generate 10+ sales-qualified leads every month for our FinTech Clients (Hint: This is the same framework we used to generate $100K in pipeline value for one of our clients.):

Growth Hacking Strategy: Multi-Channel Outbound Campaign and Hyper-Personalized Cold Emails

At The Scalelab, we use LinkedIn and cold email to deliver 10+ sales qualified leads to our FinTech clients. Our campaigns look like this.

Target a Specific Demographic

First, we define the client’s target prospect through qualifiers like industry, ideal headcount per company and job title. We do this by letting FinTech clients fill up a type form that specifies their prospect qualifiers.

Create a Specific Icebreaker Per Prospect

After conducting a prospect search based on the target qualifiers, we clean up our data through an email verification tool like Bouncer. Once we’ve got a clean lead list, we research each lead and create a custom icebreaker.

Most emails start with “Hi (name), I hope you’re doing well, we are (company)” which is quite generic. But at The Scalelab, we show prospects that the email they received is specific to them through ice-breakers.

The role-based icebreaker is a great example. Here’s the standard structure:

  • If a lead changed roles in different companies: “From Role 2 at Company 2 to Role 1 at Company 1, I’m impressed by your evolution.”

  • If a lead changed roles in the same company: “From Role 2 to Role 1 at Company 1, I’m impressed by your evolution.”

Integrating icebreakers like this to your cold emails make prospects feel like you’ve visited their profile. The results? Higher reply rates and more leads that we generate for our FinTech clients.

2. Be “Human” When Approaching Your Prospects

Send a Warm and Friendly Email

At the start of our cold email campaigns, we request a meeting with the prospect. Pro Tip: Aside from the personalized email, what makes us warm and friendly is the personalized picture we’ve added.

In the email, we offer them an actual coffee with a picture of the sender holding two cups. The right cup contains the sender’s name, while the left cup will automatically show the prospect's name.

Here’s the cold email template:

Look at the responses we got just by doing this:

3. Implement a Multi-Channel Approach

With our cold email campaigns, we don’t just follow up via email. We also engage with them via LinkedIn. Doing this gives prospects the impression that you’re keen to connect.

For example, on the same day we’ve sent the email to the prospect, we also automatically visit their LinkedIn profile via Lemlist.

This process serves as an “outreach warm-up,” allowing the prospect to recognize you once you land in their inbox.

Here’s another example. Two days after following up via email, we send them a simple message. If we’re not connected, then we send a connection request with a note.

Here’s the template:

The results?

  • 92% Open rate - (3X the average open rate of 25%)

  • 63% Reply rate - (12X the average reply rate of 1% - 5%

  • 68% Connection acceptance rate - (2X the average LinkedIn acceptance rate of 30%)

  • 10+ sales-qualified leads every month for our FinTech clients, most of which, turn into sales (see screenshot below).

How to Implement

To growth hack your way to a consistent 10+ leads every month like The Scalelab would for its clients, here’s what you need to do.

✔ Target a specific demographic.

✔ Validate your lead list with tools like Bouncer.

✔ Research each prospect and personalize your emails with icebreakers.

✔ Add personalized pictures to your emails to make it feel warm and “human.”

✔ Show your prospects you’re keen to connect through by connecting via multiple channels.

Learn the step-by-step process of how we scale FinTech companies.

Exponentially Grow Your FinTech Company With The Scalelab

The limited resources of FinTech startups make it difficult for them to use traditional marketing tactics effectively. As a result, they are forced to growth hack, which can lead to exponential growth at a low cost.

Growth hacking can, however, also apply to large corporations. Think about this. If growth hacking can grow your company without resources, imagine what it can do with resources.

Thus, you can leverage it at any stage of your business's development.

Want to growth-hack your FinTech company to a consistent 10+ leads every month? We at The Scalelab have decades of combined experience in cold outreach and sales.

  • After generating 5,000+ leads and over $50 million in pipeline value for clients, we know what it takes to consistently get you sales-qualified leads that’ll turn into sales.

  • Our team has helped companies land appointments with top-tier businesses such as Google, Nike, Citibank, and Samsung.

  • Our lead generation campaigns consistently deliver warmed-up and highly qualified sales leads that directly increase your company’s pipeline value.

Come and say hello or drop us a line at

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