Featured Founders: Braulio and Paul of Pungle
The founders of Pungle, Braulio and Paul were interviewed (after completing the Start Now package with Now Creative Group) to discuss their fintech startup, and learn more about their experience as entrepreneurs so far. They share their story, and advice on how to succeed in the ever-evolving world of financial technology.
“At Pungle, our goal is to create solutions that benefit business, with lower fees, real-time payment, and great experiences.”
Tell us about how you started Pungle? Where did the idea come from?
We both came in with a background in the payment space. The issue was that many financial institutions weren’t offering the payment services that businesses and consumers wanted. There was a need for innovation in the payment space. Another huge barrier was the fact that payment services struggled with technology, and technology leaders didn’t know enough about payments. We wanted to bridge that gap with Pungle. We knew we wanted to build a company that not only understood technology, but understood the needs of the consumer and companies when it came to payments. Initially, we were looking at a whole range of services, and we eventually narrowed it to real-time payments. When you’re looking at companies like Uber or McDonald’s, they are paying their employees and contractors in real-time. We saw this concept was emerging in all industries, and was going to continue growing with time. We understood that this was the future of payments, but we knew that there was a lack of knowledge and access to this technology. This is where we wanted Pungle to come into play.
Can you give us some background about the name, and how its relevant to your service?
The word Pungle means “To make a payment” and can be paired with “Up” to say “Pungle-up”, or “Pay up”. We think this really resonated with the idea of quick, real-time payments. We also noticed that many payment companies used the word “payment” or something similar in their names. To us, “Pungle” was a great way to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, as well as it had a more “techy” feel. Because we place such an emphasis on technology, we felt it was necessary that our name embodied both the tech aspect of Pungle and the payment service aspect.
The team at Now Creative Group produced the video below, to introduce and explain Pungle’s offering.
What has your entrepreneurial experience been like so far? Can you speak to the challenges, as well as the most rewarding aspects of starting your own company?
We’re sure most entrepreneurs would agree that there is never enough time in the day to get everything done. As a founder, you are wearing all hats. From developing the platform, to the day-to-day admin duties, we’re all doing it all at some point. The lesson to take from this is the importance of prioritizing. Even though you think you know what you’re getting into – you really don’t. It has been a huge learning experience for all of us. Similarly, it has been an extremely rewarding experience – especially the opportunity to build a team of passionate, hard-working employees. It’s great to have a team of people who are just as excited about the service as we are. We have to also add that it’s a great time for entrepreneurs and startups in Canada, especially in the fintech space. There is truly an amazing network of startups, founders and entrepreneurs who are supporting each other, and creating a real community for all of us.
What do you acclaim your success to so far?
We are extremely fortunate to have experience in this field. We have built many important relationships throughout the years – and we are now able to introduce Pungle to these people and organizations. When you’re a Startup – it can be very hard to get your foot in the door. We have been able to create those very beneficial partnerships in our first 6 months, and not many startups can say this.
What advice would you give to anyone who is trying to succeed in the fintech space? Advice for those who are just starting off, and may feel overwhelmed by the competition.
This is a very complex industry, with many moving parts. You can’t assume you compete directly with the big banks. Everyone is going through a digital transformation, and the banks have the money. What you want to focus on is creating the partnerships that will benefit you. If you have a value proposition that could benefit another company, whether it is a startup or large company, see how you can work together. Always find ways that you can add value for your clients and customers. Everyone is looking to disrupt an industry. If you can work with the disruptors, and create an even more impactful product – you’re on your way to success. Most importantly, be very aware of the landscape. Understand what is happening in the industry, and how you are differentiating yourself, or how you are making these big tech changes even better. If you don’t understand the industry, most likely you will not succeed.
What are your goals for 2018?
Although we are proudly Canadian, we want next year to be focused on expanding into the international market. We boast our Canadian roots, but we’ve built a product that can penetrate any market. We also eventually want to be able to add a variety of financial services to our platform. Essentially, we want to continue growing – and see where we can bring this product.
Any final advice for entrepreneurs out there?
At the end of the day, it’s all about the hustle. You need to work hard, and never expect it to be easy. The entrepreneurial life is like having a kid, you cannot prepare for how mentally taxing it really is. You just roll with the punches, learn from your mistakes and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help.