Q: YOU WERE A STUDENT WHEN YOU STARTED TO SET UP FUNDING INVOICE, WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START A COMPANY IN THIS AREA?
A: So I was a student at Warwick and alongside my studies, I ran an executive chauffeur company where we provided chauffeur-driven cars to corporates. All was good until it came to payment. We were forced to give 60-day credit terms but we had to pay our drivers every couple of weeks which started to become an issue. Naturally, we went to our bank to see how they could help. Because we had only been operating for about 8 months at this point, we were offered a grand total of zero help.
Q: SO YOU JUST DECIDED TO FIX THE PROBLEM YOURSELF?
A: Well… yeah! I feel like the best businesses are often those which are born to solve a problem which affected the entrepreneur personally. We can almost draw parallels with Will King of King of Shaves. He had sensitive skin and the market wasn’t catering to his needs. There were clearly others out there with the same problem. His competitors were Gillette and Bic, while ours are the banks and a few independents. Of course, that’s not all there is to a successful business but it’s a start, it means that the passion is there because I’m personally and emotionally connected to solving this problem. We all know that cash flow kills businesses but I’ve seen it happen first-hand. Fortunately, the chauffeur service is still going – the new owners have done a great job of keeping on top of their cash flow and have even used Funding Invoice themselves.
Q: WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR MOST CHALLENGING MOMENTS?
There have been quite a few, actually. First off (*activate rant mode*), every single interaction I’ve had with a bank has been terrible – even those who claim to be ‘Fintech friendly’. There are banks out there than run fintech accelerators but struggle to open a simple bank account for a fintech startup and literally take months to make decisions. Every time you ask a question, they seem to somehow dodge it and send you round and round in loops of confusion.
Another challenge was hiring the first couple of team members. I was so used to doing everything myself so delegating work to others was difficult at first. Straight away, however, you notice a huge jump in productivity. Things that took a week before could be done in a day. I had to rejig things a little, but then the ball got rolling (down a steep hill) and so I started to make some important hiring decisions, which are now paying off, particularly from a culture-fit point of view.
On a more personal level, the most challenging thing is learning to switch off. I’m absolutely terrible at it but the lines between work and pleasure are so blurred at the moment. Usually, when you switch off, you’re doing something you’d rather be doing than work. But, for me, there isn’t anything I’d rather be doing right now. I work with great people, I meet some of the most ambitious business owners every day and each day is different – what more can I ask for? I know it probably sounds ridiculous, but right now I am exactly where I want to be, doing what I want to do and feeling like I am in the midst of creating something very special.
Q: WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE FOR FUNDING INVOICE?
I’m a dreamer by nature. I truly believe that if you can think about it you can do it. There are a few different avenues that we could take but, for me, the dream is to offer a completely integrated solution – a one-stop-shop if you will. We have a few things in the pipeline – I won’t say too much but there are exciting times ahead! Our first week of trading was a huge success, trading upwards of £60k worth of invoice financing. The only way is up for Funding Invoice!