Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Mark MacLeod, founder and CEO of Roll-it Super.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea
For most Australians, superannuation is their biggest investment. Yet, 10 million of us simply take the default super fund provided by our employer without thought. Our employers are equally passive, with 75 per cent never checking performance or fees.
What happens when we leave super funds alone in the dark with our money? Unfortunately, the Banking Royal Commission revealed a scandal plagued market failure. Fees for no service, under-performance costing us over 50 per cent of our savings, and fees increasing by $11 billion in just three years.
Roll-it Super is not, yet another, Australian super fund, it is a super ‘life-hack’. Instead of bundling staff into one under-performing default super product, employers can provide employees a super fund investment comparison and switching tool, to empower them to join high performing funds. Combined with financial wellness and employee benefit programs, the Roll-it Super platform empowers workers to build wealth now and for the future.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your business?
Firstly, I didn’t quit my job until I had done extensive customer discovery and was confident there was product / market fit. After about a year I went full-time building Roll-it Super, boot-strapping the business through a year of product development.
Once software development was largely complete, I raised funds through private investors by way of a convertible note at the end of 2018. By this point, the business was close to market launch and the venture was significantly de-risked with customers and revenue only weeks away.
The Roll-it Super convertible note had strong investor support and was 2x over-subscribed. This has provided the business with enough capital to build a base of foundation employers and individual members. By mid-year, we plan to raise further capital and convert our note holders.
How do you differentiate your business from competitors?
We chose not to compete head-to-head with the big incumbent super funds. Ours was a ‘blue ocean’ strategy, that is, re-imagining the market with a disruptive business model and not competing to charge fees on employee super accounts, i.e. bloody competitive waters (red ocean).
Instead of launching another default super fund (which is the last thing Australia needs) and trying to ‘win’ employers to secure their employee’s super accounts, we provide unbiased, independent information on all super funds. Employees are empowered to select high performing investments, and our technology reduces the pain of switching super funds.
By combining super with smart personal financial tools and Australia’s largest employee rewards program in a single application, we turned super from a boring retirement product, into a workplace financial benefit – managed along-side your everyday money – your wage, spending and property.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?
Our biggest challenge is educating employers and individuals, helping them understand the problems of default super and the impact on long-term employee financial wellbeing. Under-performing default super products destroy employee wealth. Employers who recognise the problem can spear-head a super revolution, empowering employees to make their own super choices and helping them abandon the worst super products en masse.
Fortunately, off the back of the Banking Royal Commission, the media is educating the public on the challenges in the super industry. Helping businesses and individuals to think critically about super is one of our key goals, and an excellent tailwind for Roll-it Super.
What’s one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
Intercom! We manage our customers, communications, live chat, and financial education articles all out of intercom. It is a golden application and cost effectively solves a bunch of needs for any startup.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve been lucky enough to receive great advice from several exceptional mentors and advisers. I would synthesise it down to “don’t believe your own bullshit” – by getting your views challenged, you will think deeper and wider, which will lead to better decision-making.
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