We’re now 3 weeks into the Nordea Bank accelerator program organized by Nestholma. I met Neil more than 9 years ago in Wellington, New Zealand. Back then we had a little business idea that actually worked quite well. A bit too well in fact, and I wasn’t yet able to handle all the traffic that flooded the servers.
Fast forward 5 years, Neil moved to Europe and we briefly met again in 2013. This Summer Neil contacted me, he was excited about my work on Bitcoin related startups. We met up for lunch, which ended more than 6 hours later. We started working on developing the idea that Neil picked up while consulting for a pharmaceutical company in India:
Reduce B2B payment transfer fees, time and paperwork
We coined the name B2B Pay and started building a prototype while connecting to financial institutions. Bit by bit our ideas became more solid. We decided to apply with accelerators, but only with banking accelerators, because our biggest hurdle is regulation – which is similar to most fintech startups.
Our second attempt worked! It required a bit of planning and organizing to get the both of us to Helsinki and I was still a bit sceptical about the whole idea. Would bank employees be happy work with us? Would we get anything done?
Fortunately my scepticism disappeared quickly in a few days. We have an amazing mentor, the Nestholma team is doing an excellent job in challenging assumptions (“assume: making an ASS out of U and ME”) and communicating precisely what we needed for our business.
We have also spoken to a dozen Nordea executives. I was a bit afraid someone would tell us: “this is not going to work”. Fortunately that was not the case. We have received very positive feedback, including:
My hobby is to tear apart fintech startup ideas and your idea is really good, go for it!
So now we are confident with a solid yet lean business model that we can quickly scale up.
I reconnected with another friend I met in New Zealand, at the CouchSurfing Collective in Nelson to be precise. Leonardo has many years of experience in sales and marketing, which is exactly what we need to build out a big customer base in Brazil. On the other front we have Neil’s brother, who has an extensive business network near Mumbai.
Things are looking really good, I strongly believe that if we don’t make any big mistakes we can really build something beautiful here with many many happy customers.