Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Planwise: We Give You the Tool, You Make the Best Financial Decision

Planwise: We Give You the Tool, You Make the Best Financial DecisionWhat is your product or service?

Planwise is a free tool to help users project how their current finances impact future decisions.

Why did you start your company?

After 10 years developing software for banks in Australia there was a desire to be directly solving the problem that the consumer was having. Once we started looking into this problem we found that the vast majority of consumers have little to no engagement with their finances and as a result make very poor decisions on a day to day basis. The problem is huge, it’s very real and people are motivated to get involved to help solve this problem so I’m working with some amazing & passionate people as a result. This is the other reason to start a company, to be able to work with inspiring, motivated and talented people.

How was it financed ?

Planwise: We Give You the Tool, You Make the Best Financial Decision

CEO: Vincent Turner

I (Vincent Turner) provided the first tranche of capital.. around $50k all up, to get the venture to a point where we could clearly illustrate there was a real problem and show some early proof that our proposed solution had merit. Using this I was able to attract small amounts of angel investment, typically $20k each time every few months, which funded further product development as we moved towards a live beta to properly demonstrate the technology and to work though some of the key challenges.

Once we broke the back of the technical & product challenges, and made progress on early business development, we were able to get seed funding of over $200,000, which is funding the next 12 months of growth.

Date officially launched?

Beta went live in Jan 2012, Live product went out in mid April 2012

What free online or offline tools do you use?

We use a number of social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube, and Vimeo.

We also use Google Analytics and Metricly to measure what we are doing effectively.

Do you use Social Media tools like Facebook, twitter?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Planwisecom/191866390841540

Twitter: http://twitter.com/getplanwise

Do you have a video URL that you can share with us, and allow us to publish with your story ?

Planwise Pre-Launch Video from planwise on Vimeo.

4 employees, 4 interns, 3 advisers, 2 consultants.

What is the best advice you never got?

Equity is precious; don’t ever give it away ahead of the value that should be added. Put vesting in place and clear milestones.

What almost killed your business in the start?

Not having my personal finances in order… you need to be able to pour yourself 100% into your startup, especially at the early stages. I left behind a large personal financial mess back in Australia in my hurry to get out here and underestimated how much I needed to do to right it. Ironic given Planwise is a tool to help people make financial decisions.. but valuable, I saw first hand what happens if you make poor financial decisions, I’ve used my own tool to fix my personal situation, so I know it works :)

What is the one thing that you did right?

Getting other people involved early, only taking money from people I really wanted as investors, being prepared to modify my idea from the original idea

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?

I had to learn a HUGE amount about software development and product design. I think I’ve learnt more in these 2 areas in the last 12 months than the previous 5 years.

Are you currently in the black or red?

Red, we just launched business development activities recently.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

We are present on a number of social media platforms and are also using traditional PR strategy by contacting journals we are interested in working with to share our story.

What would make your business more “Successful”?

Continuing to attract amazing and motivated people to Planwise and creating/retaining a culture that empowers them to do their best work

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?

We are focused on creating an amazing product that helps the hundreds of millions of people globally who make poor financial decisions. If we do this we create a ‘billion dollar company’ as a result, so I guess this is the focus. The industry has a track record of companies like ours, being acquired sooner than that but our aim is to create a large, valuable standalone internet company

What do you think your projected annual revenue will be?

Our projections show us generating tens of millions in revenue/profit (high margin business) by focusing on the US market alone

How long do you think it will take you to get to your projected annual revenue?

5 years to hit double digits in millions

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