Exceptional entrepreneur: Brooke Roberts – CEO and co-founder, Sharesies
Sharesies has gone from strength to strength since its time in the first Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator last year. We talk to CEO and co-founder, Brooke Roberts, about the ride since early 2017.
What is Sharesies?
Sharesies offers an easy way to invest, so you can grow your wealth with amounts you can afford. It is all online and once you’ve signed up for $30 per year you choose from a range of investments available and start investing with as little as $5. We help you learn as you go.
Why did you enter the FinTech Accelerator programme in 2017? And what is one of the takeaways your team took from the programme?
One of the biggest reasons for us to join the accelerator was a start date. We were all working in corporate jobs at the time and doing Sharesies on the side. We knew that to give Sharesies a good go it would need some full-time focus.
There were also things about running a new business the accelerator provided great support on. For example, start-up businesses often need to take on capital at the start, to help them scale. A big part of the programme is helping you become ‘investment ready’.
What unexpected lessons have you learnt along your business journey?
How willing so many business leaders are to open their doors to start-ups. We’ve been blown away by the support and respect we got in from the finance industry so early on. I thought they may think we were a bit bonkers. But a lot of people that have worked in this industry for so long were thrilled to have investing made accessible for everyone. It’s been great to see!
It really taught us if you want to chat to someone, just ask (chances are they have been wanting to talk to you too).
What has been the hardest part about getting Sharesies into the market?
We spent a lot of time researching before we designed and then launched Sharesies. We didn’t invest much at all in marketing to start as we wanted to see if the product would sell itself.
Due to word of mouth and a few fortunate media opportunities, the word started to spread and we have seen sign ups outperform our expectations.
The next challenge for us will be to continue that momentum. We want all Kiwis to know they have access to investing.
What kind of customers do you attract? Are they investment savvy?
Sharesies currently is available for New Zealanders 18 years and over. For most of our customers, it’s the first time they’ve ever felt like an investor. We’re attracting experienced investors too. Eighty percent of our investors are under 40 years old, and our oldest investor is almost 90.
Sharesies is really for anyone who wants to create opportunities to grow their wealth regardless of how much money they have. So far our deposits range from $0.01 to over $100,000.
What piece of advice would you give business entrepreneurs in New Zealand?
Know what you’re good at and build an amazing team around you.
Sharesies started with seven founders who brought all the core skills we needed to get Sharesies off the ground. I honestly think it’s been our secret sauce.
Check us out at www.sharesies.com. We’d like to offer you a voucher for 50% off the first year subscription - use the code P7Q-CMK-HFG-97C in the payment step (valid to the end of May 2018).
27 April, 2018 by Alice Potter,
Alice Potter works in the Deloitte clients and marketing team and closely with Deloitte Private.