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The start-up I should have started

I often feel bad for not having started a FinTech start-up myself. It’s not that I haven’t thought about it or had the ideas, it’s more to do with that I like to talk and write rather than do anything. Those who can’t, teach!

Nevertheless, it’s not like I haven’t started businesses – the Financial Services Club and Nordic Future Innovation being case in point – or been involved in start-ups – I was there at the start of Moven, Meniga and 11FS – but it’s more to do with the challenges of getting a start-up started. Those who have done it know what I mean. The constant funding rounds and seeking support, whilst trying to hire and grow talent whilst, throughout it all, developing your idea.

In other words, I’m just too lazy to deal with the challenges of starting a start-up. But then ask yourself: why haven’t you started one? Most people don’t start a start-up because it is not the easiest choice. Not all start-ups succeed. For every unicorn we talk about today, there are a few hundred dead mules behind it. 9 out of 10 start-ups fail and, in failing, probably take the life savings of the founder(s) with them. You only have to watch Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank to see what I mean.

Why am I talking about this today?

Well, there’s a new company with backing from Jay-Z that I spotted. The Jay-Z link was the bit that caught my attention but, when I looked deeper, it’s a start-up that has just closed a seed investment round of $2.5 million to build a company focused upon creating a fast track to credit scoring for teenagers.

Perch Credit CEO Michael Broughton and CTO Ayush Jain co-founded the company to help young adults quickly build good credit scores by tapping into non-traditional data points. Recurring payments like rent and Spotify, Netflix and Hulu subscriptions common among young adults are used as credit history to improve user scores.


September 2009.

Twelve years ago.

Here’s my SIBOS Innotribe losing pitch for a new start-up business:

People don’t trust each other. Banks don’t like risk. Could banks use crowds to analyse risks through social media and networks? If they could, then could the bank community create a ‘trust score’ that adds multi-dimensional analysis of corporates and individuals by aggregating all the financial and social data out there into something that makes sense?

Ah well, it was an idea.

But then, lots of people have good ideas. An idea that is not implemented is just that, an idea. It’s about as useful as shaving foam for a Wookie.

So, I never did start up my start-up. I’m not complaining however, as I’m involved with many start-ups around the world and admire their founders’ spirit, vision, ability and enthusiasm. Their dedication to making it happen is beyond reproach and, for all the critique we make of the Robinhood’s or Monzo’s of this world, the bottom-line is that any start-up that breaks through and become a thing should be applauded. Well, apart from Facebook that is …

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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