This week we caught up with Alysia Wanczyk, Head of Marketing at Trezeo, the new fintech startup delivering financial stability to the self-employed. Alysia is also a former Seedrs employee; working as Marketing Director for 6 years. As part of the founding Seedrs team from back in 2012, Alysia knows crowdfunding inside out. Now on the other side of the table, we took the opportunity to pick her brains on her Seedrs experience, and what’s happening at Trezeo.
Can you tell us a bit about your career so far and your time at Seedrs?
I’m a startup gal through and through. I love the hustle, juggling a never-ending list of to-dos and the entrepreneurial autonomy that comes with turning a clever idea into a market-leading business. Helping build products in new categories, solving problems and really getting stuck into achieving a mission suit me well.
Most of my professional career has been spent in East London, launching and scaling new platforms. After various sales and freelance gigs, I joined event software platform Eventsforce to help drive their B2B brand recognition, inbound customer acquisition and content-driven engagement. I then joined Seedrs pre-launch to develop the brand, generate demand and, ultimately, to help it become the go-to platform to invest in startups (which I believe that it is). It was an amazing opportunity to be one of the first to join the team (when we each thought it was a crazy idea that could be huge) and help build the company culture, products and processes as we scaled. It was there that I started to understand the impact fintech could have on making people’s lives better.
Hungry to get back to the hustle of an early-stage startup, and make a difference to entrepreneurs through fintech, I joined Trezeo in the Spring to help launch the company in the UK, building a completely new financial services category. I love that we are a mission-driven business looking to make self-employment a little less stressful for the almost 5 million self-employed in the UK. There’s an incredible sense of fulfillment and accomplishment at the end of each day, despite the fact that we have so much further to go. There’s still so much to do, but the sense of purpose and contribution each day is addictive.
What was the best thing about working at Seedrs?
I really enjoyed the people. As we grew, we seemed to hire people who were as passionate as the rest of us. Really refreshing. I also adored our users. I had the pleasure of working with hundreds of clever entrepreneurs and their teams, and I felt privileged to be a part of their journey. I loved hearing their back stories, understanding where they wanted to go and helping co-create a campaign that’d help them get there. And the investors! How cool to get to work with so many people who believe in the power of entrepreneurship to change the world! Whether it was in person, over the phone or via email, it was inspiring to meet so many people, from so many places, who buy into their investments so much.
What is Trezeo?
Trezeo is an award-winning business account for the self-employed that solves the biggest concern of the self-employed – income volatility and instability. A Trezeo account smooths the ups and downs of self-employed income by paying customers their average income.
If they earn a bit more than their average on week they can set the extra to the side to automatically use when they earn less than their average one week. We also provide interest-free income top-ups if a customer doesn’t have money set aside (maybe they went on holiday or were sick for a few days) and income cash advances (if they have an unexpected expense).
Our mission is to provide a full suite of financial solutions designed for the self-employed and I genuinely believe that we can make the lives of self-employed professionals better.
Why has Trezeo decided to raise money on Seedrs?
Having helped hundreds of businesses with their own equity crowdfunding campaigns, I knew what to expect from raising investment online. For the stage Trezeo is at right now, it is a good way to build up a community of evangelists and an easy way to streamline multiple angel investments into a single platform and structure. It’s also a good way to take on board feedback. We may look to raise investment differently in the future, but for a business at our stage it makes sense to raise online right now.
And there’s no doubt that my background at Seedrs influenced the decision to choose Seedrs over other platforms. I know and trust the team, and genuinely believe that Seedrs has the best approach when it comes to structuring an investment to meet the needs of both entrepreneurs and their investors.
What advice would you those trying to get their business off the ground?
Don’t give up! Starting up is hard, but persevere. Don’t take no for an answer; there’s always a way to get to your next milestone. Also, hire people you believe in and like. If they don’t have a can-do attitude or you would find it difficult to get on well with them in an airport, they may not be a good fit for your business.
What top tips would you share with businesses trying to raise funding in this way?
There’s a misconception that raising investment via equity crowdfunding is easy. That’s just not the case. It’s just as difficult as it is to raise money offline, and it requires the same attention to detail and strategy planning. But, raising investment online in this way can be a more efficient way to raise investment if you approach it the right way.
I suggest that businesses have objectives in mind when planning out their campaign. Why are you doing it? Who do you want to invest in your business? Then focus your outreach activities on reaching them.
Where would you like to see Trezeo in a year’s time?
In a year, we’ll be out of our pilot and I’d like to be well on our way to quickly scaling up our customer base across the UK; and starting to look at other European markets. I’d like customers to trust us, evangelise us, and to have built up a strong community of self-employed professionals and partners. I’d also hope to have evolved our product beyond income smoothing, and perhaps add income protection insurance and savings products to the app.
We’re in pilot now, and everything is possible, so I look forward to seeing how we grow and evolve over the coming weeks and months as we onboard new customers and partners.
If you’d like to ask Alysia or the Trezeo team your own questions, you can do so via the discussion forum on the campaign page, where you can also find out more about how Trezeo will be bringing their exciting new income smoothing product to market.
Investing in startups involves risks, including loss of capital, illiquidity, lack of dividends and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. This blog post has been approved as a financial promotion by Seedrs Limited.