Read Triss Duncan's Q&A session with Jeff Paterson and Oliver Fourex as featured on www.justentrepreneurs.co.uk
1. To start things off, please introduce yourselves...
Jeff Paterson and Oliver du Toit, serial entrepreneurs who have tried their hand at more things than we care to admit to.
2. What is Fourex?
Fourex is currency exchange on steroids. Offering a complete world first to the global market, Fourex is set to revolutionise the way the UK exchanges money. Fourex kiosks are able to accept unsorted coins and notes (that are both in and out of circulation) from over 150 currencies, and convert their value into either British Pounds, Euros, or US Dollars. The software within the kiosks is able to process and evaluate each coin in a fraction of a second, distinguishing it from anything else found in the foreign exchange market, and offers undeniable value for money.
Unlike its competitors, Fourex is able to accept even the smallest denominations, and there are no hidden fees or commissions. The exchange rates are updated daily in line with market trends, and are clearly displayed on their kiosks, enabling complete transparency. Customers also have the choice to donate part or all of their exchange to one of Fourex’s six charity partners – UNICEF, The Railway Children, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, The London Transport Museum, EllenorLions Hospice and the UK Stroke Association.
3. You guys have made it through to the final ten of Virgin Business Media’s ‘Pitch to Rich 2015’ competition, fantastic news! How has the journey been so far?
It’s been amazing. So far we have already enjoyed a series of successes, securing contracts with Transport for London and Westfield shopping centres (launching with them in August this year), as well as receiving £671,450 worth of investments through crowdfunding (with an overfund of 244% in under two weeks!).
This is now such a fantastic incentive offered by Virgin, and exposes the calibre of entrepreneur in the UK at the moment. This competition gives small business unbelievable exposure, and Virgin need to be credited with supporting entrepreneurs.
4. Fourex have raised a huge amount of capital through crowdfunding. Talk us through your experience of crowdfunding.
Our business model “breaks the mould”, and there is absolutely nothing to compare us to. We pitched our idea to hundreds of businesses and Venture Capital firms over the past year, and while they all loved our technology and idea, most were only willing to invest once we had taken out all the risk and proven our concept. Either that, or they wanted a majority share of the company, and that wasn’t an option for us. Therefore we decided to crowdfund, and were just amazed at the response.
Our idea clearly resonated with the general public, and within six days we had reached our target, eventually overfunding by 244% in under two weeks. The exposure gained from the media coverage also helped open a lot of doors for us.
5. In your opinion, what are the negative aspects of crowdfunding?
A lot of people warned us against crowdfunding because they said we would have a lot of interference from all the investors trying to tell us how to run the company. In fact, we have found the complete opposite to be true. Our investors have been incredibly supportive, and we now have over 430 people shouting about our company, and advertising our product to all their friends and family.
6. What’s the best business decision you’ve made?
The best decision we ever made was to approach Transport for London to see if they would be willing to support us, and rent us some space. They saw the potential of the idea, and even though we were in the very early stages at that time, they were willing to work with us and support our small business. TFL’s mandate is to offer their passengers high tech products and services that will benefit their time poor customers, and our machine definitely ticks all those boxes.
7. And the worst?
Listening to advice from so-called experts, and not following our gut. Always follow your gut- it’s never wrong!!
8. What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
Don’t be afraid to fail. If and when you do succeed, you will look back on all the ideas that didn’t make it and realise your success is the accumulation of all the knowledge you gained from all those previous failures.
9. Smarties or M&M’s?
M & M’s
10. The general public can now vote Fourex into the final stage of the competition. This will mean that you guys will pitch your concept to Sir Richard Branson. What do you think are the most important qualities of a successful pitch?
It’s important to tell the audience as quickly as possible what the problem is that you are trying to solve. Be yourself, and even though you are pitching to possibly the world’s greatest entrepreneur, try and have some fun! To vote for Fourex in the Pitch to Rich competition, click here!