Runner Interview

Ben Waterman

Founder, Strabo

Strabo is a global portfolio tracking dashboard.

Can you give a brief introduction about yourself?
My name is Ben Waterman and I'm the founder of CEO of Strabo, which is a Investor management platform.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur/startup founder?
I actually used to be a professional athlete originally and I then I worked in banking for bit. I found that startups are probably the closest thing to professional sport that you can get in the business world.
What problem does your startup aim to solve?
It solves the problems and the difficulties that people have managing all of their different investments in a modern world, particularly across different countries. Simple as that.
Can you describe your startup in a single sentence?
It's a global portfolio tracking dashboard.
How did the idea for your startup come about?
I worked in the industry for a couple of years and found that even the people that were paying large fees to the big banks to manage their money didn't have a very digitised platform. As a new graduate there was very little I could do about it so I kind of waited a few years before starting work on Strabo.
What's the most unique aspect of your solution or business model?
It's customisable is the biggest one. Every single person gets a different dashboard and different way of managing their money.
What’s the most challenging aspect of building your startup?
Oh good question. The most challenging thing about B2C Fintech is customer acquisition costs, It's just expensive to acquire users, so companies often spend a lot of money on advertising. We do a lot of organic SEO to get users, but getting customers is the hardest part.
How have you overcome obstacles and challenges in your journey so far?
Just through perseverance I think, as cliched as that sounds. Very difficult things can't be figured out and advance,so you just have to get cracking and then figure it out as you go along.
What's the most valuable lesson you've learned as a founder?
That's a very good question and I think I'm still learning along a lot of them to be honest. The importance of network, I think. I work at a co-working space with startups at a similar stage or a little bit ahead of Strabo. It makes a massive difference both in terms of morale and being able to problem solve.
How do you manage work-life balance, especially with the demands of a startup?
I don’t really, but I quite like that. I find that it means that I have the flexibility to work in the best way for me and my team. Obviously that means that you're on your phone working in the evening respoonding to Slack messages, you do that, but that means you can do other stuff during the day. So work life kind of blends into one which isn't for everyone but I find it suits me.
What’s the next big milestone for your startup?
Well we are actually launching this week, so opening up to the public. So public launch and then hopefully raise another round of funding just after Christmas.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or startups?
Just get started, I think. There's never really going to be a right time. Once you've got an idea, there's really no excuse not to be able to validate and idea. You can build a website and a landing page in about 10 minutes nowadays. So there's really no reason why you can't go out and research an idea and find out if people want it without being technical. I'm not technical and my co-founder wasn’;t technical and we built a product and a website and validated everything without having anyone technical onboard.
Any ideas on how we could improve Seed Run?
I really like the format as it is, to be honest. I think more people maybe, but then it's going to be a bit difficult to manage. Once you have 100 or more people it gets quite difficult logistically. I think with Fred providing the office for us to have drinks i, that was the last thing that was missing. Not having to pay for them makes a massive difference. So, to be honest I dont think there is anything to change.
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