‘Money will find good ideas’
Start-ups and entrepreneurs should be brave as money will find good ideas — especially in tough times. SMEs should strive to become disrupters and they shouldn’t need oodles of cash to succeed.
That’s the advice from Executive Director of Tyro Payments Jost Stollman, who at the age of 29 set up IT product seller and service provider CompuNet and made US$1 billion when he sold it 12 years later.
A serial entrepreneur, Stollman’s latest venture involved taking on Australia’s big four banks and shaking up the online banking world.
Tyro is a successful fintech and Stollman is a fintech pioneer. What, you say? A fintech is start-up technology that disrupts the banking sector via online banking. The Uber or Airbnb of the banking world, Tyro has disrupted the sector by offering an alternative way for SMEs to do their banking via eftpos solutions.
At the end of 2018 it had more than 20,000 customers had recorded more than $42.2 billion in transactions. Its success has been 14 years in the making and the company now offers full banking services.
If you’ve ever been to a doctor and had your Medicare rebate refunded into your bank account with a tap of the card within 11 seconds, you can thank Tyro. Tyro encourages fintechs and has even set up Australia’s first fintech hub in Sydney for start-ups to exchange ideas.
Its founders were once on that precipice of a brave or stupid leap into the unknown — why would you take on the big four banks? Luckily it paid off.
“The data says nobody else did it so everybody else must have thought that it was stupid. Now people think wow, that’s actually awesome. Somebody had the courage to compete with them so we get a lot of encouraging commentary,” Stollman says.
“We are always hoping the Tyro story inspires others to do the same, especially in Australia. We need far more aggressive entrepreneurs who go for the stars and, well, some will fail but they will have tried.”
Encouraging entrepreneurs and start-ups and having walked the road himself, Stollman says those with a lack of money can be better placed to tackle new ventures than cashed up competitors.
“It is often when you don’t have an abundance of money, when you have hardships, risks, threats and discomfort that you think ‘I have to take this step that is unnatural which is to question what made me successful and rethink’,” he says.
“That’s one of the reasons why reinvention is mostly done by entrepreneurs and start-up entrepreneurs because the big companies have all the money and resources but they don’t have this need to do unbelievable things on a shoestring.
“So money is often an enemy. You can observe when young companies get lots of money there is a tendency for them to fail.” He says the attitude of ‘I can’t rethink because I can’t get the money’ is a mistake because ‘money finds good ideas and good ideas find money’.
“It is easy talk but it is hard work,” he says.