Start-up thrills and fin tech flutters

Bailey Kursar talks product marketing

MarketInvoice sounds like a super useful proposition for start ups. Tell us more about it and how does your role rock their world?

You’re right- we’re helping hundreds of different businesses get access to finance, including some startups.

How do we work? Well, in a nutshell, MarketInvoice is a peer-to-peer lender that helps businesses borrow against unpaid invoices.

Imagine you’re a small graphic design agency, with Topshop as a customer- say, you’re redesigning their window display posters. You deliver the work and send them an invoice so you can get paid. Now, because they have 90 day payment terms, you need to wait three months before the money’s in your account. That can be a huge problem for cashflow, since in the meantime you’ve got staff to pay, rent to pay and more.

With MarketInvoice you can upload that invoice on day one, borrow 85% of the value, with the money in your account the same day. It’s easy to do, and only costs around 3% of the invoice total (cheaper if you use us more).

We’ve helped hundreds of awesome businesses grow, including names you’ll see on the shelves in Tesco, Waitrose or (if you’re feeling flush!) Harvey Nicks. Names like Pots and Co puds (yum!), G’Nosh dips and Don Papa rum.

The peer-to-peer bit just means we’re lending other people’s money- MarketInvoice is a community where investors can lend to great businesses on one side, and businesses can get finance on the other. It’s cutting edge tech that makes that possible- that’s where the future of finance is. Tech helps us cut out the middle man, providing a cheaper and quicker process.

You started off at a Finance start up. Now product marketer. Tell us, what drove that journey. Any tips for success?

I’m really lucky to have landed a job that I love, in an industry that I find super exciting.

I did English at university and didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. When I moved to London, I ended up in a role as an Accounts Administrator for a small, growing business. Random, eh?

So I worked doing bookkeeping, cashflow forecasting, credit control and fundraising preparation for a couple of years. It wasn’t what I wanted to do forever, but I found it really interesting at the time.

When I met Conrad Ford, founder of Funding Options (a FinTech startup aiming to be the MoneySupermarket of business finance), his mission really resonated with me. I’d been busy trying to fundraise for the company I was at, talking to bank managers that said ‘no’, and it struck me that here was a real opportunity.

I joined Funding Options as we launched our product, working in a small team of 7, doing marketing, support, product training, business development- really getting my hands dirty. I loved it. I’d found my passion, and worked with some of the smartest people I know in a close-knit team.

MarketInvoice came along at a great time for me; I wanted to grow my career and MarketInvoice was looking for their first marketing hire. I knew a lot about the product, having admired it from afar, and knew the company was on a fast track to growth. Since joining I’ve rebranded and grown the team to 4 (we’re also hiring!).

My top tip? Do what gets you excited. It’s the excitement (that ‘butterflies’ feeling) that’ll get you up in the morning, raring to go, and will keep you going when it gets hard.

So, confess…you are a bit of a start up junkie. Why? What makes it an exciting space to either work with or market to?

Yes! Startups are a great place to work, and an even better place to start your career.

Peter Thiel (Paypal founder and big shot Silicon Valley investor) defines a startup as “the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future”.

How great is that? Find your passion, then find a startup with a mission that aligns with it. You’ll be motivated to do the best work of your life, alongside other smart people who share your excitement. Your co-workers become your new family.

Sure, you work really hard, but it’s so rewarding. In startups your career is there for the taking; work hard and there’s no reason not to grow your career as the company grows.

Fin tech is a pretty crowded space these days — in London this is definitely the case. How does a fin tech start up stand out in this space?

It’s tough. It’s true- the scene is now pretty crowded and there are a lot of similar sounding FinTech startups.

To stand out it’s simple; do something different. Approach a problem is a new way. At MarketInvoice we’re offering peer-to-peer business loans in a new way- against invoices. That means it’s a short term, cashflow finance product; something new and different.

What advice would you give a marketer trying to crack a career in the fin tech space. Or conversely someone from the finance world looking to take the leap into fin tech. (Maybe tell us from a marketer’s perspective if that is easier)

The best way to break into any space is to know everything about it. If you’re passionate about the sector, that’s easy; you’ll naturally read up about it, talk about it, go to events about it.

We’re lucky here in London that there are so many meetups you can go to, most of which are free. Go to events, talk to people about FinTech. You’ll quickly learn about the wide spectrum of startups out there (payment startups, finance management startups, lending products, foreign exchange, credit checking… there are more types than you think!).

Time for a plug: I’m starting a new *free* meetup here in London for FinTech folk. It’s called #YouHadOneFinTechJob, and the first event is at TransferWise HQ on Tuesday 9th June. The idea is to encourage community for people working in FinTech startups- come along and talk to people! There’ll be beer, too (always good).

Gotta ask. Do you have a geeky tech indulgance? Go on, what is it? : )

A geeky tech indulgence? Not sure what that might be… but I’m an almost religious user of Evernote and Trello in my constant pursuit of a perfect GTD (Getting Things Done) strategy.

Evernote allows me to make lists and notes across all my devices, saved in the cloud, plus with a premium plan you can take pictures of handwritten notes, print outs and business cards which — wait — are searchable! It’s my life, organised.

How’s that for a tech indulgence? No Candy Crush for me, I’m afraid ☺

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