Tarek is a serial entrepreneur who previously worked as a management consultant, generating more than $1.5 billion for companies through his consulting. His current focus is Beforepay, an app that helps its members budget better, spend smarter, and get access to a portion of their pay when they need it.
Beforepay recently closed a $6 million funding round to accelerate their growth, and have won the Fintech Startup of the year award in Australia. Looking at this track record alone, it’s clear that Tarek knows a thing or two about scaling.
Tips on scaling your product
Choose your funding
Beforepay has raised different types of funding, including debt, private equity, and venture capital funding. How did they know what kind of money to go after?
For Tarek, he considered the needs of the business according to which stage it was in and looked from there. “In stage one we were mostly going after high net worth investors, angel investors, mostly seed capital VC money,” Tarek recalls. “Basically, the ones where you will be backed by a group of individuals who really understand startups and business, and understand that we will be moving at speeds that probably aren’t healthy for a normal company.”
Tarek looked for funders who specifically knew how to run a startup company. Having a funder on your side who understands your vision and knows how to run your type of business is a huge advantage.
Find your technical co-founder
Speaking of advantages, Mike asks Tarek how important it is to have a technical co-founder or lead.
“Look, to me, it’s extremely important,” says Tarek, “because most entrepreneurs out there who aren’t technical in nature are mostly business people, right? They have a business mind rather than a technical mind. And you need to have that [technical] individual, especially at an early stage where to be fair, it’s all experimental. So you need to have an individual that is as agile as you as a founder, and really understands that it’s an experiment.”
It helps when this individual is as invested in the vision as you are. You may have different skillsets, but you both have the same mission.
Build your MVP
People have very different views on what their MVP should look like. Some focus on the minimum aspect, and showcase a skeleton of a product while others attach all the bells and whistles. How should one approach their minimum viable product? The answer is actually in the acronym itself, and Mike phrases it so succinctly: “what is the minimum amount of things you can put into this product to make it viable?”
“Mate, if you think that you’re going to be able to get away with like an MVP that’s just bare-bones, great,” Tarek states. “If that’s your industry vertical and you believe that consumers are not sensitive to that, that’s fine. That’s okay. But when it comes to a financial product, like Beforepay, you need upfront credibility. People are linking their bank accounts with you.”
And so they put a lot of effort into Beforepay’s software and responsiveness, to show that they can cater to the needs of their consumers. “So in your case,” says Mike, “to make this viable it’s got to be beautiful. It’s got to be fast. It’s got to be scalable. It’s got to be responsive. It’s got to be trust-inducing. But it’s still an MVP.”
The connotation of a minimum viable product being cheap and nasty has disappeared altogether. It needs to have well-built, beautiful software that users will want to use.
Looking at Tarek’s journey with Beforepay, it’s clear to us that having the right people and beautiful, functional software on your side is an absolutely winning combination to get your product to scale.
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