Right now in an apartment lounge room come makeshift office, is the global headquarters for Australia’s newest startup in the financial industry Pocketbook. Founders and long time friends since high school, Bosco Tan and Alvin Singh have given up the regular pay dates from their jobs in marketing and development [Bosco was previously at Pollenizer] for the dream.
One thing was very clear when I had a chat with these guys, they ACTUALLY knew each other – It is obvious that the last 18 years of friendship is a major strength to this new business and will be a key to their success, you don’t often see that amongst cofounders – a clear agenda where both know their parts to play and allow each other to do so.
Pocketbook was born out of frustration from tax time, and wanting an easy way to auto categorise things – Alvin [the technology guy in this duo] whipped something up and then friends started wanting to use it for themselves. The goal than became to create an application which would be the easiest way to manage your money and spending, and have a clear picture of where you actually hold your money.
Currently in private beta, the guys have set some big goals, they are wanting to have 10,000 users by March, and they are tracking well [in fact a little bit above] to reach that goal. Although they are bootstrapping right now, there are meetings currently happening with investors, although the pair said they had no plans right at this point to raise money. The main priority right now is giving the customers what they want and building the best possible application. I do get the feeling though that once they have the product where they want it, a significant amount of data and analysis from 10,000 users and are ready to take it mainstream, these investors keeping close to the venture will be putting their hands in their pockets.
So … How do you guys make money? The question I love asking and a lot of startups seem to hate. The short answer was they are not at the moment, the longer answer is there is a strategy in place. One of the key components of the application is that it syncs with the users bank account, having a great relationship with the banks as they do now provides a great platform for the to look at selling and suggesting products to users based on their financial goals and budgets. There is a lot of money to be made in referring customers to financial products, it’s a strategy at this early stage makes sense and could be integrated without annoying the user.
When it comes to challenges the boys agreed that the two biggest things they have had to adjust to in this venture are, losing a monthly pay day and marketing with ZERO dollars. We hear you fellas, welcome to the club.