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How I Created a Trusted Money Transfer Provider with 100,000 users and counting

We started off the back of wider ambitions that I had for the fintech industry back in early 2019. I had always felt that with my work I wasn’t fulfilled and that

I wanted to have purpose and a reason for working, something greater than myself, believing that I could help make the world a better place while still enjoying what I do.

Was it a lightbulb moment or gradual moment to start

I stumbled upon the world of money transfers in my travels when I struggled with funding my journey and dodging outrageously high fees.From this I had a realization that I’m not alone in this struggle, and migrants are going to be suffering much more than myself. Being quite entrepreneurial I decided to start a company, and having a product development background, set about investigating what I could fix.

My plans back then were very much idealistic and unrealistic but something that stuck was my research into money transfers and the information that I uncovered that I realised wasn’t common knowledge. For example that Paypal is a terrible payment method for international payments! This excites me and I decided to pursue this industry, and it was from this point my path was set!

How did you validate the idea?

With the idea in my mind I needed funding and support, and this came in the form of the start-up accelerator Kinetic Investments that I managed to get my initial investment from.

Money Transfers

Having a prior relationship with the founders and a pitch deck enabled me to secure the capital necessary to create

Since launching we’ve reviewed over 50 providers, provide information and rates on sending money to 150+ countries and have helped over 100,000 users send money abroad!

Did you have any experience/expertise in the area?

A major issue that has dogged us throughout our short existence is the fact that while we have experience with sending money abroad, we didn’t have the relevant industry experience to help guide our decisions. This has been a blessing and a curse, as it has meant that we’ve been constantly learning and using our experience to help users who likely will struggle with areas we also struggled with. Although the lack of starting experience has meant the learning curve is harsh and we’ve spent a lot of time working out the best direction to go in.

Who is your target demographic?

This question proved to be very tough to answer, because our customer base was so broad and I wanted to help everybody save when sending money abroad! However we realized that we could do this in stages and work to make the product the best for each customer persona we identified before moving to the next stage. To start with I believe migrants where those most in need as they often pay the highest fees when sending money, and they have the lowest incomes, which means any saving we make really matters. As such they became our target customer for

What is the funniest/most strange customer request you’ve had?

Dealing with our customers is the best part of my job, as you discover so much about what people want to achieve, as every money transfer has a story. However unfortunately we also deal with a number of complaints from customers who think we’re the operator because all they see is the money transfer in our name. Dealing with those customers is not as fun!

Where did you meet your co founder/founding team?

My founding team consisted of myself and a previous workplace colleague of mine, together with an experienced developer from our startup accelerator. This allowed us to move forward quickly and hit the ground running. However it did mean that costs were high from the very beginning and I struggled with the early stages keeping everything together!

Money Transfers Team

Alongside the founding team I had mentoring from my older brother who operates a successful company in another financial industry. His insight enabled me to get experienced insight and guidance that was invaluable.

Did you run any companies prior?

Prior to operating I had a small side business within the cryptocurrency sphere that I had planned on making into a business that could shed some light on the murky cryptocurrency world and fight back against the many scams that victimized people each year. However while the business was generating a low 5 figures in revenue per year, the passion wasn’t there for me as I had no real interest in cryptocurrency, so I decided to move onto something else.

What were your family and friends first thoughts on your company?

Very supportive, although not very surprised. I come from a big family, with 3 brothers and 3 sisters, and am fortunate that they’re all very supportive and can provide guidance or even just some time to distress.

What motivates you when things go wrong?

What is the end goal? Things go wrong all the time, and right now we’re dealing with the biggest challenge so far in our company's existence - corona virus, which has impacted the money transfer industry as it has the majority of other industries.

Keeping motivated is something that I struggle with, but I have the personal commitment in place for when my motivation falters. When this happens I remember my commitment and my vision to make the world a better place. Knowing that, I’ve come to terms with that some things are out of my control, all I can do is my best and that is good enough.

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?

There is a famous quote that Benjamin Franklin supposedly once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. I believe that while this is true, most startup founders do plan, and they plan and plan and plan. However the difficulty comes with sticking to the plan when facing difficulties, such as something going wrong or not according to the plan. Ensuring that your plan is flexible and enables you to change course based on new information, while still driving towards your vision, is what will allow you to succeed.

What is stopping you being 3x the size you are now?

This is something that I probably shouldn't be saying, considering that I operate the company, but I believe that we’re not currently good enough to be 3x the size. Achieving that growth is earned via meeting customer needs and providing the best product we can. We’re constantly improving and so that’s why I’d add the caveat, that while we’re not good enough right now - we will be soon.

What are the top 3-5 apps your business could not run without?

These apps were essentially Slack, Gmail, Trello. These 3 apps form the foundation of our working life and without them we’d be unable to function as a team.

  • Slack provides excellent team communication, and allows for the posting of funny pictures that keep the team chuckling
  • Gmail provides quick and easy email access as we use G Suite services
  • Trello is a new app we started using for project management. Previously we had used Asana, however trello seemed to be a smoother experience for us, so we decided to switch out, and now it’s essential!

What are your favourite books?

I’m a big reader, so my 3 favourite books right now are:

  • Why we sleep - With sleep deprivation being a common virtue amongst most people who wish to be successful, this book highlights how important sleep is, and why establishing proper sleeping patterns is essential for success.
  • The lean startup - This helped shape a lot of the methodology behind how I managed and operated my business, and opened my eyes to a lot of interesting concepts, such as one piece flow in manufacturing, which while it cannot be directly translated into my business, can be applied to other processes!
  • The Chimp Paradox- This book is more motivational and it’s all about managing your more animalistic side, the chimp within you. It provided me with useful insight on who I am, and how stress and mental health need to be actively managed, not pushed to the side.

What are the next products you’re working on?

We’re focusing hard on our customers right now, so we’re looking to improve the accuracy of the information we provide to our users, ensuring that the companies we have listed, contain real time exchange rates and fees. Past that we’re planning on flexing our fintech muscles so to speak, and launching a new tool to help users send money.

Where do you see the company in 5 years?

I see us having an established relationship with our customers which would range in the millions, and having launched additional supplementary products to help further aid our customers in their lives.

Would you ever sell?

Right now no, but I think if I met the right buyer who believed in the same vision and wanted to carry that on, then yes I would sell.

Company Name: Money Transfers
Founder: Jonathan Merry



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