This week, we have a special #LaunchCrew alumni, Kevin Sandhu, returning to Launch Academy to host a Lunch ‘n’ Learn.
Grouplend is a Vancouver-based tech company that provides everyday Canadians with loans at personalized credit rates. Since the company was first introduced last October, it has been very well received by consumers and the financial sector in Canada. Grouplend recently closed a funding round of $10.2M.
We had the opportunity to ask Kevin a few questions about Grouplend and their entrepreneurial journey over the past year:
Why did you create Grouplend?
KS: I created Grouplend because I wanted Canadians to have an opportunity to benefit from modern technology within banking. We’re able to help our customers save thousands of dollars on their unsecured debt, while offering a faster, and more convenient borrowing process.
What kind of early market validation did you have that gave you the confidence to keep going?
KS: Customers were our early validation. We’re big believers in remaining as lean as possible through every stage of growth and ensure that we never raise more capital than we require to achieve key milestones. We launched our product as soon as it was commercially viable and intently watched the market’s reaction. Customers have always been our best source of feedback and continue to validate (or disprove) our theses at every step. Since launching last year, we’ve been encouraged to see additional validation from the emergence of new competitors, reactions from old competitors and by striking exciting strategic partnerships.
Why build your company in Vancouver?
KS: Vancouver is one of the best places to run a technology company in North America. The beauty of our city is a natural attraction for talent, and we have an incredibly strong support network from the tech leaders. Our access to Toronto & Silicon Valley allows for sufficient support from a financial and innovation perspective. Although we do not have as strong a base of financial executives or software developers with experience in finance as a city like Toronto, we have incredibly bright people here who pride themselves on innovation. In many ways, the fresh perspective on financial services afforded to us by being separated from traditional financial hubs like New York or London allow us to truly focus on best in class systems and meaningful innovation.
How did Launch Academy help Grouplend during its early days?
KS: Launch Academy provided us with a support system of likeminded individuals who were similarly taking on one of the greatest challenges for an entrepreneur, nurturing and growing an idea into an early stage company. We benefited from the seminars and mentors made available to us in order to grow our concept and further develop as entrepreneurs.
If you have one piece of advice to give to an aspiring entrepreneur, what would it be?
KS: Listen to “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey multiple times a day. And remember that time is your most precious commodity. Use it wisely because once spent, you can’t get it back. Spend it on things that truly affect your business and try to avoid people and processes that get in the way.