8 Tips on how to launch a FinTech business
An interview with NEF alumnus Quin Murray, Co-founder of Krzana
I met with Quin Murray, Co-founder of Krzana, a real-time search engine and a FinTech business. It provides a platform for building custom structured news streams, filtered for relevance, from almost any source.
A little bit of background on Quin:
Quin is passionately devoted to the field of news and information. When he talks and he tells me about his background, I can see that news & information are an intrinsic part of his life and I would even say his body. I think they are truly part of his DNA! Despite the hard work and long hours he is putting into this business, he adores meeting people from all walks of life. People he meets, such as CEOs, journalists, developers, sales people, traders and many more, as part of his day to day job to build & grow his business are also at the same time giving him a plug-in into the world of news & information.
Q: Quin how did you launch Krzana?
A: The idea behind Krzana came to me when I was cycling to work a few years ago. A helicopter crashed in front of me and exploded. Before the police even arrived, my boss was calling to see if I was okay because he’d seen the news online. And so was born the notion of creating a smart way to collate the mass of local information on a global platform.
- Tip 1: If you launch a business in a field you are passionate about, you will not find it hard to work hard and put in all the long hours.
I got together with a friend from my school days, Toby Abel, a Computer Science graduate from Oxford University, and we decided to build this new company. We had already built several tech focused companies and Toby also recently sold a fashion tech business, so we were not afraid to start a new one!
- Tip 2: If you launch a business with a friend, ensure you spend some “hard time” with them, so you can really get to know them under their skin!
- Tip 3: Your relationship with your friends today does not predict your future business relationship success. Just because you’re good friends doesn’t mean you’ll make good business partners.
Q: What were your initial challenges?
A: The key challenge was to find the right team, define the roles, and find the right person for the right position. Early on I found it hard to assess people at interviews, especially for technical skills, as this is not my background, thankfully Toby understands this space significantly better than I do. We actually started the business by first focusing on building the tech team. We also managed to recruit three directors through personal connections, including our CEO. Bringing on these experienced members of the team massively helped us accelerate both the product development as well as investment.
- Tip 4: Ensure you tell everyone about your idea, and with this approach you never know who can help you. You can even find your first employees or director, as a matter of fact, this way!
- Tip 5: When hiring our programmers we found some correlation between their best work and their passion for gaming & “speed running games”!
- Tip 6: If you can and you are launching a technology driven business, try to build the tech function in-house. It is best for the long term of your company: you can innovate quickly, control your innovation and your product development better, and you minimise your risks.
Q: How did you know it was the right time to launch?
A: First of all I had been thinking of this idea for a long time. I could see how we were starting to have massive amount of information being sent to us and how it was hard to keep track of the relevant news. The idea for fast moving information was already there in my mind, the helicopter incident just validated that it was a good idea. As any entrepreneurs, I had millions of other ideas I wanted to work on. But this event cemented it.
- Tip 7: My father always quoted Louis Pasteur “fortune favours the prepared mind”
Secondly, Toby and I decided to launch immediately. Within 2 weeks of creating a web page, we had a letter from Reuters asking us for more information on our product and how we were beating them!
- Tip 8: Launch significantly earlier than you think, and be embarrassed by your product, this is a good thing.
— End of interview —
Quin is referring to Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder who said: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late”. You can use web creation sites (like WIX) to launch your basic website, so you can start testing your idea, see if people care about it.
Interviewed by Véronique Rapetti, Business Mentor, President — Young Chamber of Commerce F-GB, Programme Director, Learning & Partnerships at New Entrepreneurs Foundation.
A shorter version of this blog was first published by Virgin Media Pioneers on 2nd December 2016.
Inspired by Quin? Apply to NEF and register your interest now: getstarted.newentrepreneursfoundation.com What’s stopping you?