The Challenges and Successes of an Entrepreneur

Nov 20, 2014 Blog  Business Finance , News

In support of Global Entrepreneurship Week (17th-23rd November), our CEO Sean Emery was interviewed by Purely Local, a community online magazine.The interview follows:

We chatted to seasoned venture capitalist, Sean Emery, co-founder and CEO of South Africa’s first peer-to-peer online marketplace RainFin. He co-founded the pioneering FinTech Company in 2011 to provide South African consumers and businesses access to efficient and cost-effective online financial services and lending opportunities.

Q: When did you start the company?
A: In December 2010, whilst on holiday, I was listening to a conversation about the low rates a bank was paying my gran on her investment account and the high rates my sister was paying on her car. It made me think that there must be a better way. That is when the idea of RainFin was born. It was officially launched in early 2012. Recently RainFinhas attracted the interest of Barclays Africa, which in March 2014 acquired a 49% stake in its business. As of August 19th 2014, RainFin has a registrant rate of 350 customers per day representing an average of R7 500 000 in loan value.

Q: What prompted you to start it?
A: At the time, I had just sold a small business and was looking to do something with my money. I also needed a steady income to replace my salary. I noticed that banks were earning high rates from lending money to high creditworthy individuals and I wanted to change that by offering an alternative.

Q: What challenges have you been faced with so far?
A: When starting a new business, your biggest challenge is getting the initial funds. What made this an almost impossible challenge for us, was that we approached institutions who we were going to be in direct competition with. Fortunately, Barclays had the vision to invest in us.

Q: What has been most rewarding about starting your own company?
A: Starting your own company is difficult – there are times of euphoria and times of real depression. The most rewarding has been building a team of people who share the vision. As a collective, you can support each other through difficulties and share the joy of success.

Q: Do you have any tips for other budding entrepreneurs?
A: Building a business is like building a long, high wall. Yes, you need the vision to build the wall and a mission of why you need it, why others need it and how to build it. But you have to realise that to actually build it, you have to want to carry individual bricks to pigeon holes and do this again and again, over and over for a long time. If you don’t want to do the small stuff or you can’t do the small stuff, then don’t start a company only to be the CEO.

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