What are you waiting for? That’s the key message to come from our interview with Kevin Ludford, the Founder and CEO of fumopay.
Not that Kevin rushed into the world of entrepreneurship (we suspect he wishes he had!). The first two decades of his career saw him rise through the ranks at Oracle before joining a Boston-based e-commerce consultancy as European CEO.
This provided Kevin with valuable insights and experiences in the growing e-commerce market, and in 2011 he leapt into the world of entrepreneurship: founding his own e-commerce and payment development business, called Inventcommerce.
Within five years, Inventcommerce had been snapped up, with Kevin staying on as CEO. For most people, this would be enough, but he then turned his attention to the emerging concept of Open Banking. He saw that this 2018 initiative created an opportunity to revolutionise the payments space.
An opportunity that led Kevin to create fumopay, which leverages the principles of Open Banking to offer innovative payment solutions. Kevin’s innate desire to constantly look for new ways to make a positive impact on the industry and its consumers continues — read on to find out more.
What’s your elevator pitch?
fumopay is on a mission to help SMEs improve their cashflow. We provide a faster and cheaper alternative to accepting card payments by simply getting the customer to pay directly via their bank app.
What made you launch a startup?
I’ve always had a desire to bring a product to market that could add real value, whether that’s directly to an individual or to a business. Having started to research Open Banking from its inception in 2018, quite quickly I could see how this new initiative could allow people to improve the way they engage when it comes to paying or getting paid.
The ability to design a product that could challenge the banking and payment industry status quo was a real driving force to launch fumopay.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Cashflow! Business owners are conditioned on how they get paid today, either via card schemes or by raising invoices. Yet the number one reason businesses still fail today is bottlenecked cashflow.
Companies are either waiting too long to get paid and receive funds from card service providers or waiting to have invoices paid. I wanted to find a mechanism that could expedite the process, and get the money into the hands of SMEs much quicker but importantly remove the escalating costs of getting paid.
Ultimately, using this new innovation brings a direct benefit to our users.
Can you talk us through your journey so far? What’s a major milestone you’ve reached?
There are so many milestones in the journey of launching a new business. From the initial idea to getting live. Acquiring our FCA API licence was a major one as without it we had no business.
Getting our product live and into the hands of users and seeing the first live real-time transaction happen between two bank accounts was amazing. It validates all the hard work when you see all your hard work come to life, it’s a real sense of achievement for all involved, yet it’s quickly surpassed as you’re already working on achieving the next one.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time?
Start sooner; it’s too easy to delay getting started. Whether that’s testing the idea with prospects or developing the business plan, don’t delay or keep waiting for further validation.
If you truly believe in your business, get going. Time is of the essence as you’ll make mistakes — nothing ever goes according to the timeline you predict!
The sooner you start, the sooner you learn what the real challenges are and find mistakes, the quicker you can resolve, regroup and move forward.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs and anyone looking to launch their startup?
No matter your age and experience, every day is a school day. Speak to as many entrepreneurs and experienced founders as you can. You want to try to avoid the simplest of mistakes that can delay or cause your idea to fail.
Also, give yourself enough of a runway. If you think you need 12 months, double it, and make sure you can continue to drive the business for long enough to get the traction you need. I’ve come across many founders who were forced to stop as they ran out of runway.
More interviews with startup founders
Huge thanks to Kevin for taking the time to answer our questions. For more interviews in our TakeOff series, follow the links below:
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