From idea to market with some secret sauce in the middle

You have an idea, have trucks of experience so know where the big guys go wrong and the shackles are thrown off as you’re a start-up. So this journey is going to be quick and rewarding! Or not. Add to the mix it’s a regulated industry and you have lots to build before getting the first revenues in.

Our advice is after having an idea and before reaching the market get some secret sauce. Our secret sauce involved getting wise words, support to make us creditable and learning to ask direct questions to get direct support.

The idea: change the world of investments using co-ownership and direct access to an asset usually the preserve of the financial elite.

Good Company Wealth and our first product bondsmart is a seed startup. We had decades in financial services but needed to get our business to be robust and not spend months only focusing internally. We realised early on an intensive programme of focusing “on” the business and not “in” the business was imperative. We navigated our way onto Barclays Eagle Lab Flight programme with Creative England. Here are a few lessons on our journey in accelerating from March to May.

We hope these few lessons help you create your own secret sauce.

Wise words

When you have solved all the things in your control focus on the ones you don’t. Anyone can do legals, build technology, put a product together but you rely on forces beyond your control for routes to market and validation from customers. When you have a basic product work on proof of concept agreements, friendly pilots and wisemen (and women) to help control the things you don’t control. Your networks are always worth pulling on and we have developing concepts with clients in the UAE and abroad alongside the UK.

Search out endorsements and platforms to wax lyrical

In financial services getting your product amongst influencers and professionals is all about access, networking and standing on the soapbox being wax lyrical about the problem you are solving. We have spent time refining and fine tuning the language we use to explain the problem we solve and our solution. Our format to pitch of problem, solution, market opportunity, traction and ask is a well-trodden template in lean startups. The outcome of this secret sauce has been networking, interviews and pitching at events summarised in three great videos below. We are happy to be have been involved with Rise London, BNP Paribas International Hackathon in Brussels (TBC) and upstart 2017 in Belfast.

Sniper focus

It’s important in a lean startup to keep an eye on immediate goals and reasons why you’re doing something. We always focused on doing things smart and lean to move one step forward. We have benefited from creative mentoring from Creative England and UK DIT new exporter grant when we went to the UAE for proof of concept conversation with a master agent. We always look out for opportunities on F6S and grants news on Sussex News.

There is more on our journey in the rest of our blog but hopefully this is a short and sharp guide to help create your secret sauce.

Brexit and You

Everyday life has its small and unexpected challenges

Once in a lifetime a change comes along (welcomed or not) and though it may not feel like Brexit will impact you, anyone with a relationship with a financial institution may see things change. The next few years will be foggy in many aspects until the detail burns the mists away. Though this is a great opportunity to redouble efforts to go forward and have a win attitude. Take control of things you can in your life and work.

Renegotiating treaties involving thousands of laws between UK and the EU won’t be an easy task.

Financial services are a massive export from the UK. Changes to passporting of these services will impact how they are delivered. Regulation following the Financial Crisis and new technologies are transforming the market and Brexit is another factor to add the list of things influencing change.

What issues Brexit could present to users of financial services:

  • The uncertain economic journey is unlikely to mean higher interest rates and thus not optimal for savers wanting an income.
  • Even with the protection of savings in the UK given by the Financial Services Compensation Schemes (FSCS), it’s uncertain how European protection schemes shall cover UK investors with savings overseas.
  • Complicated legal issues to solve between UK and EU banks might lead to more complex legislation for a UK investor who wants to invest somewhere in Europe and surely more bureaucracy to handle for you and your adviser.

Helping to ease investment headaches is the core of our platform and we are focusing on using the power of the crowd to give you access to high income securities; moreover, by investing in known companies in the UK, you contribute to its economic health and transition.

In our world we think “be great and support everyone to build and prosper.” We continue under Brexit with no change in our mission and renewed energy to do good.

Challenge of being a future retiree

Governments are trying to find solutions to finance the future retirement of current workers with no real master plan. Raising the age of retirement seems to be the main policy response – they do not have other ideas yet – to one of the biggest challenges faced by the majority of developed countries.

How can we effectively support older generations as they reach retirement?

A much older society means that, independently of the system of retirement planning, future generations will have to work longer to finance life after their working years. Be that as it may, people need better products to ensure their savings help them to live comfortably. Governments are not leading the way anymore, it’s down to the individuals to take the proactive steps to secure their own financial future.

Living comfortably after state retirement age means for most people paid work after retirement and also maximizing income from savings.

So, anyone in the middle of their career has to do a financial health check to know how they can save more and get better returns on their existing assets to ease pressures later in life.

Here are some thoughts:

  • As a saver you know your life goals and tolerance for risks, but it’s a struggle to see through the financial maze or simply don’t know where to invest your savings. It is essential that any investment meets your needs; especially given the current unstable economic situation that makes the challenge no easier.
  • As an everyday investor you should be able to get access to the same financial products as the elite but the minimum requirements exclude you from buying those. Look at ways to be involved in innovative finance to open new doors.

Our ambition is to give you access to high income securities, in a simple and easy manner to help you secure your financial future.

A greying society and opportunity in shared ownership

A greying society and increasing life expectancy are creating new problems for retirement savings.

As you get older, the worry of not saving enough during your career increases drastically. Nowadays, from the mid-career professional through to the baby-boomer, we are all facing the reality of lower returns in an economic environment full of uncertainty.

How should we invest for our greying years?

You could go to your financial adviser, create a diversified portfolio, or instead place your money in a deposit account. The current problems with those solutions are the persistent lower interest rate, and the lack of access to high income products. Clients need a solution to match a move from wealth accumulation to income generation.

Also, most of the savings products are either too complex or high minimum amounts so unavailable to the majority of investors.

Savers need an intermediary between them and the product

Crowdfunding can be an innovative way to gain access collectively to products you may not afford individually; this concept is even more powerful when the asset concerned is not freely available.

We are building a platform that allows:

  • Direct ownership
  • Access to high income products
  • Lower investment costs
  • Secure investments
  • Simplicity

Helping investors earn a decent income or “salary” on your savings is one of the main outcomes we want to achieve with our platform.

Backers of distinction – Investment from the UK Government

Followers of Good Company Wealth probably already know that every day we strive to make investing for an income as easy and convenient as it can be. But what you may not always see is the heavy lifting and technical knowhow in the background to validate our vision. We are happy to report we now have a UK Investment Agency as a backer of our business.

To further our development of an innovative income focused savings platform, we submitted an application for an investment from the UK Government. Recently we heard we’d been granted a convertible loan to development our product and validate the service. The convertible loan comes from the UK government’s Regional Growth Fund, a strategic pool of capital launched by the government to develop innovative private sector initiatives to create jobs and finance high growth companies.

Regional Growth Fund (RGF) was launched in June 2010 to support businesses across all sectors and regions in England. RGF is a competitive fund with two primary objectives: to stimulate enterprise by leveraging private sector investment to support projects and programmes with significant potential for economic growth; and to support areas and communities dependent on the public sector to make the transition to private sector-led growth. In our case the Regional Growth Fund was delivered by Creative England.

We are really excited to have UK government support in a sector where ‘trust’ and credibility are imperative. We feel this is a positive endorsement for our clients, stakeholders and partners.

Start the countdown

In 2016 we spent a stack of time in the workshop, design studio and in the field – not building something new – but making something better with parts already available in the market.

In this era marked by unstable markets and low interest rates people need to get more income from their savings. They want predictable and steady income known at the outset. Equities cannot do this. Mutual funds hope to do this. Direct bonds can do it but the minimum investment is way too high for the everyday investor.

So, Good Company Wealth went to the workshop and worked out a smart way to unlock access to the corporate bond market for the smaller investor.

We intend to give joe public the same access as your big pension fund manager to earn attractive income on your pot of savings.

What we plan to offer is simple:

  • Put your money with a high street firm you are familiar with,
  • earn a set interest rate at the time you invest,
  • know when to expect your cashflows and
  • get your money back at a set maturity date

The main risk is the solvency of the high street firm you lend the money too.

We also want to do this in a consumer-friendly way avoiding financial jargon.

The journey is now underway. Come along with us.