Wednesday, February 28, 2024

What starting a financial solutions business has taught us about money

Brian Muriu and Alistair Gould are the founders of Tulix, a digital financial solutions app available in Kenya globally.Brian Muriu and Alistair Gould are the founders of Tulix, a digital financial solutions app available in Kenya globally. Brian is the chief executive officer while Alistair is the chief operations officer.

Brian & Alistair: We met at Antler Nairobi, a venture-building accelerator that funds tech-driven startups and started working on the problem together. The business idea began as a search for a solution we were facing. Through our different experiences, we found that we were helping people around the world manage money and make payments back home.

We wondered how we could make it easier for them to organize their finances, make it easier to share money with their beneficiaries and in addition make payments directly to businesses in Kenya from anywhere in the world even without a local phone number.

Brian & Alistair: Our business helps our clients manage finances, collaborate with their beneficiaries and make mobile money payments to businesses from anywhere around the world.

Antler provided support, mentorship and business capital to start the business. We are yet to break even as we have just got into the beta phase.

Brian & Alistair: Being selected as 1 of 6 start-ups globally to join the Catalyst Fund Inclusive Fintech program in January 2022 is one of our main milestones. We received help from a team of FinTech experts with several key projects that really helped leapfrog our business forward.

Brian & Alistair: We were not psychologically prepared that founding a business is far from glamorous in the early years. It is extremely demanding and quite different from being securely employed. Looking back, we should’ve spoken to and borrowed from the experiences of other founders more than we did.

Brian: I should have saved more money when I was younger. I’ve learned that even the smallest amount is work saving.  When we started Tulix, I had to make big lifestyle changes because my savings could not sustain my lifestyle as a business founder.

Alistair: I should have made the most of the power of compounding long-term savings. I would have done this by increasing my voluntary contributions to my pension with every salary increment. This would have helped me achieve my personal financial goal faster.

Brian: I previously used to leave money in the bank until I realized the impact of inflation and low interest that banks pay. I now channel my savings into investment vehicles like managed funds, stocks, and businesses to spread out my risk.

Alistair: Saving was an afterthought. What I’ve found to be more effective is ranking saving and investing as high as or higher than basic needs and paying myself first. I set goals and diversify through investments in different areas with different risk levels.

Brian: I’m pro entrepreneurship. It allows me to stay curious, focus on building solutions while enjoying the journey, the challenges and the wins.

Alistair: I believe that at the start of one’s career, there’s a lot of value in being employed. You learn how companies work. However, after you grasp this, making the jump into entrepreneurship is worthwhile as it opens a whole new phase of opportunities for personal and business growth that you wouldn’t otherwise experience.

Brian: Financial freedom is less about more money and instead more about time. This includes time to do things that bring real joy and fulfillment. By starting to build healthy money relationships for yourself and with other people, you allow yourself to spend less time worrying about money. The peace of mind this brings opens up a world of opportunities.

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Alistair: A lot of people put off savings and investments hoping to have a certain “larger” amount of income or available funds before they begin. You can lose a lot of time waiting for that magic number. Start and stay consistent. Financial stability requires a lot of discipline.

A lot of people find it difficult to save and invest because they make it an option instead of treating it like a requirement. Your financial future is dependent on the actions you take today.

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