Helping The Small Walk Tall an interview with Founder Conrad Ford
Miron BykovLondon - 13/01/2020
Today we spoke to Conrad Ford Founder & CEO of Funding Options
Funding Options, founded by Conrad Ford in 2012, is an award-winning technology that searches the market to find the right funding options for small businesses. Now it is – by far– Europe’s leading fintech marketplace for small business finance.
Tell me about the day the idea was born. You see I was having a bit of a mid-life crisis, up until this point I have spent the whole of my career working in very large companies, I simply needed to start something of my own. In terms of the idea of the business itself, Funding Options is the child of the peak impact of the global financial crisis. Although the global financial crisis occurred in 2008, small businesses took the largest hit around 2012/13. Observing this I knew that it was my time to shine, there was a clear demand from small businesses, it was now or never…
What was the biggest turning point in the life of Funding Options? I made the same mistake as most founders make when they come out of a relatively successful career in a large company. Instead of getting our service out there early, I stupidly thought that I am somehow different as I had a background in strategy. Therefore, I ignored the principles of lean start-ups and learned the hard way. The turning point occurred when we had adopted the culture of really reaching out to our customers.
Three top tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:
Maintain an income. This is a mistake I made; I could have had a part-time job.
Find a way of starting up without actually building a lot of technology, products and overheads. You don’t need a cool tech to get going!
Don’t be too obsessed with raising equity, many of the best start-ups are self-funded.
What gets you out of bed every morning? I guess it depends on the day you ask me, businesses have their ups and downs, therefore sometimes it’s the excitement about everything that is going on. Sometimes it’s the 80+ people that rely on me for a salary!
What did you want to be when you were little? I was one of those that never had a plan. Not even when at University. In my experience, people that left University with no idea on what to do and ended up in places like big accountancy firms were often the most interesting.
Favourite Disney character: Baloo the bear (Jungle Book)
What is Funding Options planning for the world next? My ambition is to build a business across Europe, because the problems that we solve for small businesses are common anywhere, therefore there is great potential in Europe. Secondly, we are planning to do very exciting things with technology in our market. Thanks to the recent developments in technology, such as Open Banking, the perfect opportunity of using more technology has come.