27 September 2017
How did you get your idea/concept for your business?
I had this idea by having lots of ideas. Just like getting good at anything in life, you must constantly be generating lots of ideas to get a good one. This one stuck because of the timing; incumbent banks being criticised by governments for being bad at innovating, the rise of the fintech cluster in London, success of point of sale finance innovators abroad, and last but not least; two friends with relevant and complimentary execution and delivery skills ready to jump ship to do this with me.
The idea then is exactly the same as now: Divido is a platform for retailers, lenders, and intermediaries that want to offer installments as a payment option to their end-consumers; attracting more customers, increasing average order values, and increasing conversion rates by up to 20%.
What is unique about your business?
Divido is unique in three ways. Firstly, we operate a panel of multiple lenders so we can deliver higher accept rates and lower costs. Secondly, we are omni-channel so Divido works wherever customers shop (online, in-store, over the phone). Finally, we are multi-country so global brands can offer a slick customer experience with just one simple integration. Divido is backed by the people and investors behind Skype, WorldPay, Transferwise so we have big, global ambitions in our DNA.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
In addition to the above, we really do put our customers at the heart of what we do. This has yielded an industry-leading NPS and the highest rating on Trustpilot for all point of sale finance companies.
The company started financing consumers in 2015 and already has 450+ partners using our solution including some of the world’s most well-known brands like BMW, HTC and Lenovo. Next year Divido will expand to new markets across Europe and quadruple its revenue.
What is the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
To turn down investors willing to invest but that wouldn’t be right for the business in the long term. In total, we raised a £5m seed round which gave us the runway we needed to achieve the unit economics we strived for and the sustained organic revenue growth which will pave the way for our Series A later.
If you could time travel back to day one of your company and have 15minutes with your former self, what would you say?
After being turned down (or ignored) by many of the first 30 or so investors we met with, which was obviously disappointing, to remind myself that we only needed one investor to believe in us for us to get going.
Do you have any tips on how to manage work-life balance? Do you have any hobbies that help you switch off?
We offer all our employees flexible working (start early, finish early etc), working from home and soon also unlimited paid for holidays. As long as people meet their targets and continuously deliver I don’t really care how, where or when they do it. Personally, I get my best ideas when swimming or horse riding.
If you had one piece of great advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
1) Don’t write a business plan. 2) Stop talking about doing something, just start doing something. Bullet point the baby steps that would let you test your idea as quickly as possible with as little effort as possible, and this way find out if your idea has legs.
What business owner or entrepreneur do you admire most?
Jan Stenbeck, one of the most colorful and exciting business people Sweden has ever produced. Among many other things, he started the world’s largest daily newspaper outside China, Metro International.