Welcome to the latest in an ongoing series of entrepreneur interviews for The Small Business Blog. These short Q and A sessions are conducted by myself and feature some of the most exciting figures in the business world.
Our latest interviewee is Daniel Abrahams, the Co-Founder & Head of Partnerships at award winning comparison sites MyCurrencyTransfer.com & MyTravelMoney.co.uk. The sites help individuals and businesses find a fairer and cheaper deal on currency.
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
At school, my housemaster Mr Short told me that I had a huge problem in dealing with authority! I once unsuccessfully tried to overturn a detention by very foolishly explaining in detail how this method of punishment would serve no purpose in helping me become a better-behaved student. Suffice to say it didn’t work but I guess wanting to be an ‘entrepreneur’ and the responsibility it involves started at a young age.
Fast forward a few years and I got ripped off on my foreign exchange when living in Australia. I couldn’t believe the markups banks and airports were adding to the ‘real exchange rate.’ My business partner Stevan had the same experience travelling around Europe. We both got together and had a great desire to partner up to solve a multi billion dollar a year problem on a global scale. They say all entrepreneurs strive to solve a big problem. 3 months after our initial chat, MyCurrencyTransfer.com was born.
What have been the biggest obstacles in running your company?
We’ve never raised a penny in outside funding to date. This has definitely limited our ability to grow as quickly as we would have liked and roll out new products fast. On the other hand, we’re glad we didn’t raise money. By building the company organically, we’ve learnt so much from our users. We’re now profitable & in a position to grow the team.
Name one thing you have learnt from while in business, and from who?
I think Gary Vaynerchuk has been a hugely positive influence on our business. Gary is a world renowned entrepreneur, social media & digital marketing expert. Stevan and I totally buy into his marketing ethos of ‘‘building one on one relationships’’ with key influencers. We work hard on gaining buy in from key bloggers, journalists and partner brands. This is done not with a hard sales approach of trying to ‘‘marry before the first date’’ but by engaging and building human relationships.
What are your business and personal goals?
Stevan and I want to keep building our in-house team organically and hire the best talent that that we can find. We’ve just opened our first international office in Tel Aviv, a major tech hub. This is exciting as it should pave the way for bringing exciting talent into the business. The makeup of MyCurrencyTransfer & MyTravelMoney over the next 12 months will be split pretty much down the middle between development and commercial talent.
Our goal is to find every visitor worldwide a fairer and cheaper deal on currency. We want to keep refining our product and make searching for money transfers & travel money as easy as booking a plane ticket online. We’re not quite there yet, but we won’t give up until we reach this goal!
Personally, we want to keep having fun! Maintaining a healthy work life balance is important and by opening our first overseas office in Tel Aviv, we’re fulfilling a personal goal of travelling abroad with our startup.
Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?
If you are an internet entrepreneur, don’t delay the launch of your product for too long. Try to get a minimum viable product our there as quickly as possible, however ugly. You could spend far too much time building something that nobody wants. Be analytical and never stop learning from your users. When marketing your startup, try to build key relationships with influential sneezers very early on. These could be journalists, bloggers or partner companies in your niche.
For any entrepreneur, I think it’s incredibly important to have fun. If you can wake up in the morning and still have the same excitement for the business as you had on day one, your well on the way to being successful.
Big thanks to Daniel for participating!