CurrencyVue – Matthew Tyrrell
Matt’s strong background in financial services and business systems proved handy when he was faced with a growing problem that wasn’t going anywhere. He decided it was time to take on the challenge and help bring international payments further into the 21st century. Read on for more insight into where he’s come from and where he’s heading.
What’s the problem you decide to address with your startup?
Recently, a lot of energy in fintech circles has been focused on reducing the cost of international payments and reducing the time it takes to get from A to B. My gut feeling was that this was only solving a very small part of a much bigger problem – the process from when someone enters a purchase order into an accounting system to when it actually ends up at the bank as a payment or foreign exchange hedge. That is where 90% of workflow takes place for a financial controller and it takes place outside of all of the existing systems. My focus has been on understanding these processes and then how we could automate it.
What was the ‘ah ha’ moment that you realised you needed to do this?
I never really had an ‘Ah ha’ moment that prompted me to do this. I had cultivated the idea for about 4 years, had a few false starts, work got in the way, a death in the family sidelined it for a while. The big ‘moment’ I had was when my wife and I basically came to the conclusion that we had to give it a go, and if we were going to do it properly I would have to quit my job. I had done all the research on competition and other similar ideas or businesses in the area. I presented / sold it to her and she gave me the green light to go for it.
When did you realise you didn’t want to go it alone?
I never really wanted to do it alone as all the stats say that founding teams of 2 to 3 are more likely to be successful. I just couldn’t find a technical co-founder that was prepared to jump onboard. I had tried with a friend to get it up and running but he had a full time job and a couple of kids and just couldn’t devote the time to get serious about it. We just kept floundering around having meetings and not getting anywhere.
We had met BlueChilli a couple of years earlier and I understood the model. But the second time I approached them I had some capital and the green light from the family. It was time to pull the trigger. One of my biggest fears was what if I didn’t go for it and someone executed a similar idea and was successful. That would be soul destroying. As my father used to say to me: “You never want to die wondering!”
What’s your superpower as a founder?
I don’t think I have any super powers other than just making stuff happen. It’s a hard journey going from idea to actually launching something in the market. Especially if you are not copying another similar idea – if it is truly unique. It’s hard work and sometimes it is hard to stay focused.
I think I have been successful putting together a really senior advisory team. I have been told that I am good at taking bits of advice from a number of different people and then using those bits of information to form my own approach to solving a problem.
Other than that I think it is all just about ensuring that everyone you deal with understands the urgency. You have got to keep up the urgency at all times.
Time is not a startup’s friend.
What’s one way you see your startup influencing the future?
I believe that APIs are going to transform the way businesses operate forever and more and more, manual processes will be eliminated from the day to day of business management.
I also think that banking services will become more tightly integrated in to businesses systems though third party apps. I think the CurrencyVue platform is a good example of that move to a more integrated banking experience for customers. We have had a huge response from the industry since the launch of our MVP and I think that is because people see this as the future in business foreign exchange. – we haven’t nailed it yet but with the help of partners and a laser-like focus on understanding the customer’s problem, we will get there.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned so far as a startup founder?
It’s probably not that surprising to most startup founders but I have never enjoyed working more than I have right now. At the time of writing this, I am in the office and it is a Sunday afternoon. Yes, I have so much to do but I genuinely really like going to work each day which I don’t think I have ever felt before – building this business has by far being the highlight of my career. Even if it fails I would have learnt so many new skills and would have a lot of fun in the process.
The other thing I have found surprising is how much people are keen to understand about what I am doing and keen to help.
From industry people helping me build connections, to other startups founders and our early foundation customers and beta users providing feedback. People are interested in our business and happy to help out wherever they can.
You can learn more about CurrencyVue at www.currencyvue.com.
You can learn more about the BlueChilli 156 program at www.bluechilli.com/startups.