Personal finance application MoneyBrilliant was originally founded by Peter Lord; however, from the outset, he always had in his mind that his good friend Jemma Enright would run and build the company. At first a little nervous about the opportunity, Lord’s persistence paid off and eventually Enright came on board as CEO and cofounder.
Enright was key to seeing the business through two major events during its short-lived few years as a startup; a $1.5 million capital raise in 2014 from AMP and the rather quick (by Australian FinTech standards at least) acquisition of the company by AMP announced a few short months ago, after which Enright exited the company.
Given this success it is interesting to note that Enright’s background lies in more traditional corporate roles in the media and advertising spaces, where she spent over 15 years in strategic roles helping brands to understand their customers, build better propositions, and connect with potential customers via media and advertising.
Although Enright acknowledges that she had zero experience in the startup ecosystem, let alone the fintech space, when she started at MoneyBrilliant, she said that the skill set she developed through her corporate background set her up for a strong start.
“My media and advertising background gave me a really good sense of understanding customers, of being able to listen to what it is that people needed and how the technology actually helps people just live life better,” Enright explained.
That being said though, anybody building a tech platform from scratch who is genuinely creating a new industry or disrupting an existing one, can often be better served not having startup experience; Enright certainly utilised it as a strength during her tenure.
“When you’re creating something that doesn’t exist before it’s like starting with a blank page,” said Enright. “You just kind of learn on the fly, you start with the idea and the purpose and passion for the customer, but then of course around every single corner is a new challenge in how you build a business, everything from setting your company up to navigating all the legal requirements of having a company.”
“We initially worked with outsourced technology and development resources, which came with its own challenges; it’s very difficult when they’re not people sitting in your business and that’s kind of the core of what you’re trying to create. That was really challenging, actually. We also navigated a couple of challenges around trademark issues. I think people think an idea on its own sort of sustains you, but it really doesn’t, you get exposed quite quickly to every facet of business when leading a startup and I think that has been the biggest learning curve for me personally.”
When it comes to making one message be heard loud and clear by as many people as possible on the topic of women in technology, Enright has said that she wants people to realise that you don’t have to be a coder to be part of an exciting new startup.
“In a lot of ways the code or the technology is simply the means to be able to deliver something to people in better more efficient ways,” said Enright. “That’s why I feel there is a huge opportunity for me and my next steps now. I want to encourage women though, to get involved in companies where technology is the core.”
Basic encouragement, said Enright, is actually something we need to work harder at. While yes, it seems, well, basic, sometimes we forget the basics when we are trying to solve a massive problem.
“I addressed a Women in Fintech event down in Melbourne not too long ago and when I said to the women in the room, ‘you have the talent, you have the skills, you absolutely can do this’, you see a light go on in their eyes because they just needed someone to tell them that; that they can do it,” said Enright.
“You almost need to beat down that voice in your head that’s telling you ‘no’ instinctively, and I think that’s the kind of dialogue we have to keep having with women as they build their careers.”
Featured Image: Jemma Enright | Source: Supplied
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