How Fintech Startup Surance Found Out What People Wanted

“Investing should just be as easy as saving. Changing the world. That’s the only language we speak.”

Surance founder Alexander Brouwer thinks that people should be in full control of their own financial future and that investing for your future goals should be fun.

Ask yourself this question: How much money do you need in the future and what do you want to do with it? Have any idea? Don’t worry, turns out, most people don’t know either. This was the picture that emerged from interview after interview conducted by Surance en route to developing their product.

People have no clue about their own financial health. Financial products are complex, investing in yourself is hard, and financial advisors are a luxury available only for the 1%.

For Alexander, it was time for a change. According to his philosophy, the journey of planning, saving and changing your future is just as important as the amount of money you ultimately receive.

And so the goal was to create a product that could reflect that.

Surance is an app that enables people to be in control of growing their capital. Surance invests your money for you in a suitable, diversified investment portfolio, keeps track of how your investment plans are doing, and offers advice when needed. With Surance, you get access to the kind of advice that previously only a personal banker could provide.

As Surance discovered, the journey turning a grand entrepreneurial ambition into a product that people can use is one steep learning process.

Just because it works doesn’t mean people want it

Currently, Surance is a tool that wants to help you achieve your dreams. Whether it’s to travel around the world, buy that vintage motorcycle or just amass a sum of money to leave for your grandchildren.

Initially, Surance was just a pension solution. They started out by using their expertise to create complex models to predict people’s financial future. Which in itself is quite an endeavour.

“After realising we succeeded we thought: ‘Okay, but who would want to buy this?’”

Talk to me

They decided to try and find out what people really needed from a product like theirs.

“We learned that people start saving some money when they’re 25 or 30, but they don’t want to put it in their pension jar just yet, because they have other big expenses they want to do. It all sounds so obvious, but still, now there aren’t easy to use solutions out there that help you with these kinds of questions.”

Startups nowadays interview and experiment with potential customers to quickly build the right product. However, interviews can also have adverse outcomes when you ask people what they want. People asked Surance for help in planning their future and asked for a financial planner. But there are already so many financial planners and nobody is using them. Do they really want another financial planner? Turns out, people are better at sharing their problems than in proposing solutions.

“Our app is now not only easy but also fun to use. Nobody told us that this was important. Nobody said ‘The solution should be more holistic.’ We read this between the lines.”

Surance might have started out as a pension solution, but after the insights from the customer interviews they pivoted to a complete solution for wealth planning. This being a more holistic approach, and that is where things took off.

“One interviewee said it brilliantly ‘Alexander, perhaps I want to retire early or perhaps I want to retire later. Who knows? I’ll make that decision when I get there. Life’s beautiful.’ And that’s a good point. Why are we going through all this fuss about trying to focus on a specific end date for retirement for instance? Instead, why don’t we give you the opportunity and freedom to make choices along the way as you see fit.”

Test small, think big

So when can people start building their own unique future with Surance?

“We are currently running a private beta and we expect to go live early 2017.”

Surance’s journey teaches us that there should always be a balance between product development, testing and listening to potential customers — while at the same time keeping your world-changing goal in mind. Testing small and validating your assumptions is a methodology that is vital for building a successful product. How to avoid losing track of the bigger picture is up to each entrepreneur.

So don’t worry, you might not know what to do with your money in the future yet, but Surance is going to make sure you have a good time figuring it out your own way.


*Image credits: photo header image by pine watt. Icons from the Noun Project created by: Makarenko Andrey, Creative Stall, Delwar Hossain.