“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic, it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Colin Powell
This is something that every startup knows. Sometimes it feels like all the odds are stacked against your entrepreneurial dream, but sticking to it, even through the toughest of times will bear fruits in the long run. FinHound is a great example of that.
Three guys and a girl in normal suburban South Africa, started chatting over a braai and few beers one day, and the dream of FinHound started. Today we would like to share how the dream of FinHound was born and how far we have come along the way.
Meet Deon Nell, the MD and founder FinHound. Deon is your not so average CA, not so average, because he has a dream, a dream to manage his own business, a dream that is built on the belief that every day people like you and I, should have easy access to finance options. Deon is a family man, he is married to a creative tax practitioner, and together they have two boys with one on the way. As you can imagine this has not been an easy journey, being a full time dad and husband, working full time and building your side hustle comes with all the challenges. But more on this in another post. Today we are chatting to Deon about the big idea behind FinHound.
Before we get down to business, some quick fire questions to get to know the real Deon.
Q: Rugby or Cricket
Q: Winter or Summer
Q: Beer or Whiskey
Q: Camp or Chalet
Q: Mauritius or Italy
Q: Lasagna or Braai
Q: Red or Yellow
Q: Jeans or Suit
Q: What colour underpants do you wear for motivation?
A: A striped GT one, must be red and black.
Q: If you could change one of the many things wrong with the world, what would it be?
A: I would like to better manage the scarce water resource.
Q: Well that was fun. Thank you. On a more serious note, a few assumptions where made about you in the intro Deon, tell us more about yourself
A: Yes I am a CA, that is no lie. I love financial service and have in excess of 12 years experience in the financial services sector, working for some of the big banks in South Africa.
However, over the past 12 years, I have also come to the conclusion that banks, and financial institutions (like many other business sectors in South Africa) have business processes that are fragmented and do not serve the customer. For example, any financial services provider would request the same information from a customer, several times to apply for a different product, within the same institution. This leads to customer frustration which can be avoided by automating the process.
It’s this frustration that I have experienced myself and seen with so many customers that sparked the idea of FinHound.
Q: Give me the sales pitch on what FinHound does
A: Basically, it’s a one stop shop for all your financial services products. Be those personal loans, business loans or transactional products. Anything. It allows the customer to interact with a financial institution when it suits them and removes the need to go into a physical branch.
Q: What is the motivation behind Finhound
A: For me, FinHound creates more time for the customer, it’s a self-service financial services provider and it creates consistency in the application process.
In my opinion, platforms such as FinHound should, and will eventually lead to more transparency in the financial services sectors. This in turn assists customers in making more informed and financial savvy decisions.
Q: You say FinHound will save me time and make life easier – tell me how?
A: With FinHound, you are able to apply for a range of financial services online, you obtain various quotes and accept / decline them on one platform.
The true benefit in my opinion lies in the fact that the customer should see a more beneficial pricing rate as the cost to maintain the relationship with FinHound is far less than employment of a branch network.
Q: That sounds pretty dope, so tell me, where are you at now with regards to the development of the platform?
A: We are just about ready to go live with the platform, as the integration with our first product provider is almost complete. We are also currently in the final negotiations with other product providers, and our primary focus at this stage is personal loans.
Q: Take my crystal ball, and tell me where would you see FinHound in the next two years or so
A: In the next two years we would like to launch insurance and investment products, currently we are focusing on credit products. Following this, we want to partner with online and retail stores to market to their customers where the point of sale occurs.
Thanks for your time Deon, and the insight you have provided. This goes to show, that dreaming big but starting small is the way to go for any startup. Believe in yourself and believe in your dreams and you are half way there.
Q: In closing, and completely unrelated, what is your favourite brain teaser?
A: You have a round clock, with two pointers – the one arm on ten and the other on two. Calculate the number of degrees between the two arms.
This tests analytical and logical thinking.
Inbox me for the answer – email@example.com