Fred Schebesta, founder of Finder.com, is doing some incredible things at the moment, with the launch of a new broker service for big cryptocurrency trades, HiveEx.com, which has already processed about $15 million in trades since launching in February.
Schebesta started his entrepreneurial journey in his early twenties and learnt some valuable lessons along the way. Dynamic Business had a chat with Schebesta about his latest endevours and top tips for budding entrepreneurs.
Could you tell us about the new broker service for big cryptocurrency trades, HiveEx?
HiveEx is a global over-the-counter (OTC) brokerage service that helps people process big cryptocurrency trades of over $50,000, in a secure and simple way. Since we launched in February this year, we’ve already processed over $10 million in trades. There’s a demand for a service that helps people do big trades because it’s hard to do on typical exchanges. It’s all about helping people use cryptocurrency and make it more convenient and accessible. Cryptocurrency is something I follow closely, and I’m super passionate and excited to see the potential of blockchain technology on our lives.
Could you also tell us about the recently launched crypto bill payment service – HiveSpend, and plans to establish a crypto investment bank?
While HiveEx.com is for high net-worth traders, HiveSpend.com gives people the ability to use crypto in their daily lives. Anyone can use HiveSpend.com to pay their bills using their cryptocurrency if their bill has the BPAY logo, biller code and reference number. Our ultimate goal is to build the first crypto investment bank in Australia and roll it out all over the world. We want to bring safety, security and reliability to cryptocurrency. We’re also partnering with blockchain company Ivy to launch a banking platform called IvyPay which will allow people to transfer their crypto into Australian Dollars straight into their bank account, instantly. This is going to change the way we do banking.
How did finder.com.au come about?
Finder started as a credit card blog aimed at university students. My business partner Frank Restuccia and I bootstrapped it ourselves and lived off tinned food to save cash. Back then, we saw a real need for personal finance advice that was clear and easy to understand. People loved the idea and it was enough to create a business from it. We soon expanded into savings accounts, home loans, personal loans and now have more categories than any other comparison website in Australia and it’s also the biggest site by traffic.
What was the biggest hurdle you experienced in the beginning stages?
Our biggest hurdle was scaling this small, profitable idea into a global company. While we purchased the domain finder.com in 2014, it took us a year to get our global operations initially off the ground. There are a lot of intricacies about what we do, you need to find amazing people, document what we do and how we do it, adapt our processes for different countries, understand the local intricacies of markets, building tech and pull it apart to scale it. It takes a lot of time and there are so many things that came up that I didn’t realise.
What are the top three things you learnt from your journey to success?
- Great things take a long time. The plans I wrote in the beginning took 5 years to execute, which I thought would take 12 months.
- The people you hire determines the success of the company – much more than I realised. Personal growth and learning are the key determinants of that.
- A focused business tends to win in the long-term: Finder’s an inch wide and a mile deep – it’s very focused on what it does. At its core, that’s how it has succeeded. It does a few things and does them really, really well.
What advice do you have to those who want to turn their idea into a reality?
Start now. If you are sitting around waiting for advice on when to begin, you’re not going to make it.
What are your top three pitch tips?
- Know exactly how much money you want to ask for
- Know specifically where you will deploy the money
- Explain in one sentence what your product is going to do. If you can’t, improve your product
How does one get back up after getting knocked down?
Running a business is hard and running multiple businesses in many countries is even harder. I’m always testing and experimenting, which often leads to mistakes and knock backs. I focus on the positive and learnings from everything we do, hang out with inspirational people, watch inspirational movies, quotes, music, do something fun, and exercise.
How important is it to unwind? Did you have time for this in your beginning stages?
No. staying focused in the beginning of any company and being reliable and focused is the ultimate determination of whether it will succeed or die. Just because it’s hard at the start it doesn’t mean it’s time for a break. When it gets hard, that’s when winners win.
What advice do you have to prevent burnout while getting results?
I burn out regularly. It’s a sign for me to take a break. It’s amateur not to push yourself to the limit. If you want a participation award, don’t burn out. If you want to be a winner, burnout is part of the game. Sometimes, in many situations, the opportunity that you will lose when stopping is greater than the cost of burning out. It is a special move used strategically when there is huge gains to be made.