The BizSpark startup of the day is FinanceAcar, based in the UK. Below you will find an interview with Nadim Saad and Mark Peatey, co-founders of FinanceAcar. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
We are co-founders and our working day covers everything from doing deals with leading media partners, through to speaking with customers and dealing with Windows Server and MS SQL (although we are not techies!).
What did you do before creating your company?
Before meeting, Mark launched itv.com and grew it across 4 years to become one of the biggest television websites in Europe and Nadim had been a serial entrepreneur having launched several start-ups and lived and worked on four continents.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
It is an honour. BizSpark is a fantastic initiative and so very helpful for thousands of companies thanks to the great team behind the scenes! To be selected amongst such an elite group makes us very proud.
What is your company’s mission?
FinanceAcar’s mission is to reinvent car shopping and change car ownership. We are planning to achieve this by creating the world’s first comparison site for all car finance products. FinanceAcar instantly advises the cheapest price for a specific car (across all dealers and funders) and matches this with the cheapest car finance available for that car.
How did you get the idea for your company?
We had been short listing business concepts for years and FinanceAcar was one that we identified when discussing opportunities in the finance industry. When the Global Credit Crisis hit we knew that a downturn would follow and so we decided on FinanceAcar because we thought it would be a business that would do well coming out of a recession. There are 1.5 million new cars that are ‘financed’ in the UK each year but there is nowhere for a car buyer to compare car finance across all of the confusing leasing, hire purchase and loan products and to obtain the best deal.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
FinanceAcar is self-funded and we are not particularly looking for additional funds, except if we can get “smart money”, ie investors who would truly add value to our business.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We have a team of developers that vary between 4 and 6 at various times.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
We are looking at different potential roles but are in the phase of prioritising this at the moment.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We have built using Microsoft ASP.Net and MS SQL for many reasons not least amongst it being the flexibility, scalability and security underpinning the technology.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
Everyone is talking about the cloud and the freedom that it grants to organizations. It is the biggest technological change of the last decade because it will change the way that most organisations will use their technology by 2015.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
It is a fantastic programme that has been a huge help to FinanceAcar in the early stages of the launch. Therefore, it is also a great incentive for start-ups to use Microsoft technology and get support from the Microsoft team.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
It is a well known piece of advice but we learnt lessons on this too – be very careful with your selection of technical staff outside your ‘sphere of control’. Do not use an individual unless you have at least three very positive, independent references.
Who’s your role model?
The hard working, enormously successful, but incredibly modest and now the most charitable benefactor in history, Warren Buffet.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
We read something recently that we think applies to all entrepreneurs and we have certainly taken on board – “Whatever you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Goethe