Max Rofagha is the founder of Finimize, the UK startup making finance accessible for millennials – backed by London-based VC Passion Capital.
Before Finimize, Max co-founded an ecommerce startup with 200 employees (backed by Lakestar) and sold it in 2015. He also mentors at Techstars and Startup Bootcamp and was named one of Forbes “30 under 30” for 2016.
MiLLENNiAL caught up with Max to learn more about how Finimize is making it easier to learn about finance and prepare for the future.
What motivated you to start Finimize and what were you doing professionally before launching this service?
After leaving university, I started an e-commerce business in Switzerland, called DeinDeal, which grew to become the largest e-commerce player after Amazon. We sold it to Ringier in 2011.
While living in Switzerland in my late twenties, I encountered a problem that led me to start Finimize. I was building an ecommerce startup that was doing well and everything seemed to be moving in the right direction.
The media and my parents kept telling me to start building up savings. So each month I put money aside from my salary into a savings account. And one day I looked at my bank account and thought: “Amazing, I finally have some savings now!” And the natural followup question was: “What do I do with these savings now?” Even though I had studied economics, I admit that I was pretty clueless when it came to this question.
Describe your breakthrough moment when you knew Finimize was going to be a successful company.
I’m not sure there was one breakthrough moment. It was more of an evolving thing. We kept getting more users signed up and people were telling us how much they love our service. One day we hit 10,000 email subscribers and we thought that was amazing! That certainly was a great milestone for us. And then we started seeing that much of our growth was coming through our users telling their friends about it – that’s usually when you know you’re on to something.
Who is this app for and what has been the response within the financial industry?
Essentially it’s for people like myself: people in their late twenties / early thirties who have built up some savings and are now trying to figure out what they should be doing with them. But we see a lot of different users engage with our service, ranging from students all the way to senior Wall Street bankers.
What is the biggest mistake most millennials make when it comes to personal finance, and how does this app help solve the problem?
I’d say the biggest mistake millennials make is to simply ignore it altogether. Finance typically just isn’t that engaging, so people would rather spend their time doing more exciting things.
On top of that, it can be daunting to try and plan your financial life when you feel in the dark about how the industry works. We were never taught anything about personal finance in school – the media assumes a basic level of understanding which just doesn’t exist and the financial advice industry simply doesn’t cater to millennials.
That’s where Finimize MyLife comes in to help: we allow you to create your own financial plan within a few minutes and help you execute it and stay on top of it.
How does Finimize differ from other personal financial management apps like Mint?
There are a lot of personal finance apps out there, ranging from budgeting to investing to saving. And that’s really great because they have created the infrastructure that we can build up on. But what’s missing is a platform that helps you understand the bigger picture. There’s no app that provides you with a holistic picture of what you should be doing with your finances, e.g. how much you should be saving, how much and where you should be investing, etc. That’s what Finimize MyLife does.
What has been the biggest take away from starting this company?
There is a real appetite among millennials for finally really understanding finance. Who would’ve thought that more than 100,000 people would be so keen to find out what’s going on in the financial world – every day! All of a sudden we see millennials with no direct connection to finance, e.g. a DJ in Brooklyn or a fashion designer in London, telling us that they love Finimize! It’s these kind of moments that really motivate us and keep us going!
To learn more about Max Rofagha or start your Finimize account today, visit Finimize.com.