When was GoSolo set up, and who was involved?
GoSolo was “dreamed up” in 2019 as a go-to toolkit for small business owners to plan, launch and operate their businesses. We spent a year doing research designing the Demo App and speaking to potential customers of GoSolo before we commenced the development of the Live App in the summer of 2020.
The fantastic team behind the creation of GoSolo has been operating together as a unit for many years now, delivering dozens of successful fintech products globally. I was fortunate enough to have them as part of GoSolo, which helped us complete the App development and launch it in just six months.
Who is your audience?
The long-term vision for GoSolo is to become the “Go-To” place for any aspiring or existing entrepreneur who wants to plan, launch and successfully operate their business. We think that the current journey from planning to launch to execution of a business is overly complicated. We want to simplify it so that more entrepreneurs can succeed in their ambition to build successful businesses.
Currently, we are focusing on UK-based freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to start a new company for their new or growing business. Our lightning-fast process of company registration and business bank account opening enables entrepreneurs to complete onboarding in minutes and start to fully operate their new company on the same day.
We also welcome existing company-owners who want to improve their entrepreneurial experience with our efficient business account and professional invoicing tool that automatically matches receipts.
Can you share any stumbling blocks that were experienced in the early days?
A small business owner faces many challenges in their journey. We wanted to be helpful in as many ways as possible and became overly ambitious in our plans. This was not realistic with our level of initial funding and timeframes. We had to leave set priorities and leave a lot of ambitious features out of the initial release. For example, our demo app had a fully functioning cash forecasting feature that I see as a killer-USP. Likewise, our technology platform supports multi-user access, enabling multiple directors to access an account or the owners granting restricted access to external accountants. These significant features did not make it to the MVP launched in April, but we achieved faster launch. We will be releasing those features later this year.
What are the things you are most proud of in your company’s journey?
Our efficiency and speed of delivery, operating fully remotely and on a limited budget — this is quite remarkable. It was also the first time we had to pass the compliance checks to meet the FCA and Railsbank’s requirements — this is a new experience for us and I am proud to complete it.
Looking outside of GoSolo now, how do you see your industry developing in the coming years?
I think that SME banking started its (r)evolution process, and it will only speed up. Statistically, 2/3 of adults in the UK want to start their own business, this is even higher for the Millenials where the proportion is 80%. The year of COVID and working from home only increased this interest, with more businesses started up, leading to the overall growth of the SME banking segment. I think this is a unique situation when new players like GoSolo dont need to fight for their share of the pie but the pie, in general, is getting larger. It will also create a lot of niche propositions like banking products for creators, influencers and communities of people.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has been going on for almost a year at the time of this interview. Can you share any survival tips for businesses?
For GoSolo, the most significant change was switching to 100% remote working. While it brought its challenges, it enabled us to be much more flexible with staffing, and we managed to find two of our crucial team members in Portugal and Brazil. So the advice is to try and see positives and opportunities even in the most challenging circumstances.
And finally, what do you see as the future of fintech?
Fintech has already democratised the entry to the market significantly, we at GoSolo are benefitting greatly from the platforms like Railsbank to build our offering. The trend will continue with the “fin” element becoming more and more of a commodity thanks to the intelligent “tech”. We already see many niche community apps emerging that have a strong banking element. The multitude of financial apps will inevitably lead to consolidation into “super apps” built around a range of use-cases. The banking element will finally become just a (crucially important) utility.