How to start a Fintech startup

(Yannick Brunner) #1

Interesting in making the leap into the unknown and start your own Fintech company? This chat room is about discussing the dos, don’ts, how-tos, etc. and help you get started on the right footing. Feel to ask or share your practices from the sales, business, operational, regulatory or technological point of view (or anything else). Don’t hold back, the only dumb question is the one that never got asked :smiley: .

(Andre Borie) #2

Not sure about the do’s and don’ts but one thing you will need is a ton of luck and finding a completely untapped market (like Monzo did, as back in the day they launched the UK banking landscape was really sad).

I personally do not think there’s any value in those aggregators like Emma, Yolt, etc. The market is already pretty much saturated with the aforementioned players and I’m not sure that even those would end up profitable, so please don’t start Yet Another aggregator. :wink:

(Yannick Brunner) #3

Actually, I’m not sure I agree here. Monzo’s success is certainly not down to luck, nor was it for Google or many of the great technology giants you see today. Rather it comes down to the usual suspects: a clear vision, solid implementation, timely launch in line with prevailing trends, good cash flow management, etc. Most of the startups I have seen fail, didn’t fail for lack of a good idea, they failed because of: founder disputes, poor cash flow management, poor approach to gathering customer feedback and fine-tuning their product, etc. In my opinion anyone can successfully start a tech company provided they do a few things very well: identify a product-market-fit opportunity with plenty of research (before dropping everything and raising capital), constantly fine-tuning their product inline with user feedback, spend as little money as possible (boring cash flow management is underrated), work with people you know well enough to have big arguments with, etc. I could go on - but long story short “the good idea” syndrome is rooted in fiction.

There are obvious exceptions to this, was Facebook so successful because of its slow approach to opening up to universities and creating stronger network effects: something not intended by Zuck in the first place? The point I’m making is that for the majority of startup it’s not luck that led to their success, but hard work, cohesiveness, and flexibility in their approach.

I have a funny story on this subject. Back when I co-founded my first company. We didn’t have much, no team, a very average idea that didn’t excite anyone (enterprise facing financial proposition). My co-founder and I applied to one of the most prestigious incubators in Europe: Seedcamp. Neither one of us was very slick nor the most inspiring public speaker. All we had was a slide deck that got picked up by someone at Seedcamp and an email telling us we almost made the cut. We were also told it might be worth signing the standard NDA in case they still let us in the qualifier round at the last minute. This was our shot! We emailed back letting them know we didn’t have a printer and needed to come in to do it in person. There we met in person and tried our best to make a great first impression. Low and behold, we were invited to join the rest of the companies in the qualifying round (this included high-flyers like Revolut, also present in this cohort).

On the first day of a week-long assessment process, we went up on stage to do our dry-run trial pitch in front of the Seedcamp managers. We crashed and burned on the spot. Our pitch was a poorly made explainer video. The sound was awful and the whole pitch had no storytelling element. We got torched… We went home that night feeling demoralis ed. But we stayed up until 2 aim and started from scratch. Applied every bit of feedback to the letter. The following morning, we showed early and helped the Seedcamp staff as much as we could. We re-tried our pitch, this time successfully. We spent the whole day talking to everyone and stayed until the end to help clean up after everyone left.

The following day was the day where most teams found out if they got into the program. That afternoon we got called in and invited into a small meeting room. We were told our proposition was not the most polished, nor was it clear where we were going with it. But our perceiving work ethic combined previous experience in a relevant industry, led us to be accepted into the program. The same program that took in a high-flyer company like revolut, with existing users and amasing prospects. I’ll stop the story there, but our company blossomed slowly into something we’re all proud of today :), and served as the precursor to yet another company after that.

(Yannick Brunner) #4

(Danny) #5

How not to start a Fintech startup:

Don’t ask members on another fintech forum to design and create your companies logo
Don’t ask members on another fintech forum to think of your company name
Don’t ask members on another fintech forum to design your preepay card
Don’t ask members on another fintech forum to create your website
Don’t bribe members on another fintech forum with free swag

And so on and so on :upside_down_face:

If you know you know :joy_cat:

(Adam) #6

I think you spelt preepay wrong :wink:

(Oliver Mitchell) #7

Love the thread concept! I’ll be leaving my job to pursue my own fintech idea ( It’s about 5 months (and many conversations!) since I started looking in the problem space of inclusive financial products, but the leap is still terrifying.

@Yannick - awesome article, thank you for sharing

(Andre Borie) #8

Best of luck, but could you please remove the awful Messenger chat thing? It requires login (most people wouldn’t bother with), is a privacy nightmare and takes half the screen space on an iPhone 8… :sob:

(Oliver Mitchell) #9

Hahah, duly noted and I will remove!