StorkCard - Helping Families Baby-Proof Their Finances.
From experience, I can tell you that it's very easy to create a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. We've probably all been guilty of it (I know I have). If nobody needs your product then it won't matter how great your product is or how carefully you've planned your marketing; your not going to sell it.
Coming up with a solution to a problem that you've experienced first hand is one of the keys to creating a successful product.
Bruce Pannaman and Andres Korin have done exactly that with StorkCard. After having his first child, Andres realised what a daunting financial experience it can be and set about finding a way of making life easier for young families. Andres used the experience he'd gained from over 10 years in the finance industry to create the concept. The idea began to come to life after he met Bruce Pannaman at a networking event. Bruce has built his career working with London based startups to create Artificial Intelligence algorithms. He immediately fell in love with the StorkCard concept and has since created their product in-house.
There are lots of elements that we love about the StorkCard story; from their core goal of creating a product that fills a market need, to how the founders met and the way they've worked together to develop something amazing. But our favourite part about StorkCard is the care and dedication that the founders have for creating something that is genuinely going to help people. Their concern for their users is evident from the moment you speak to them and we think it's going to be the foundation of their sucess.
Can you describe StorkCard in a single sentence?
StorkCard is a new breed of joint account that unites artificial intelligence and the power of community to help parents baby-proof their finances.
Can you tell us about the founding of StorkCard?
Before having kids, Andres and his wife considered themselves financially savvy people, but that all changed when their first child was born. It was wonderful, but overwhelming. The different emotions they felt (joy, exhaustion, love, anxiety, etc) completely crowded out their ability to properly plan for the upcoming costs around the corner. Like other millennials, they thought, “surely there’s an app for that?”, but there wasn’t, and the idea for StorkCard was born.
Later, Andres went to a speed business pitching session and inadvertently found himself on stage. Bruce enthusiastically sought Andres out during the networking session. Even though he didn’t have children of his own, Bruce intuitively understood StorkCard’s socially impactful mission. He fell in love with the problem!
Since then, Bruce has overseen the majority of product development and having built our product in-house, now sees StorkCard as his first-born!
StorkCard is a great name, and we think your branding is awesome. Can you tell us about the process of coming up with your brand identity?
From the beginning, we really liked the concept of a stork. The bird is associated with bringing you something you love, and symbolises a new, exciting stage in life.
We always knew we were building a company with a strong social purpose - promoting the financial health of families and improving the economic empowerment of mothers. We had a good sense of what our brand values should be from the start but we took some iterations and thought before we landed on something we were both proud of.
We love the idea of StorkCard, having children can be so stressful, anything that makes the process easier has to be a winner. How are you raising awareness of StorkCard? Have you found any strategies that are particularly successful?
If you are a new parent yourself and attend shows, you may have spotted us at the Baby Show at Olympia in October. We also host focus groups with mothers all around London to ensure we are addressing the actual issues that mothers face. We, of course, also have a growing Instagram and Facebook presence, so feel free to join us there!
In 2020, we’re going to announce some major partnerships with some huge players in the parenting sector, so watch this space!
How has StorkCard grown since you launched it?
Since launching the baby planner part of our app in September, we have grown rapidly by thousands and thousands of users. We are so happy and honoured with this response from parents around the UK and we look forward to increasing the pace of our growth during 2020.
We are a small team of six currently, however, we are so lucky to have a network of friends and advisors that love our mission and lend a hand when things get busy.
What have been the biggest challenges you've encountered so far in growing StorkCard?
Regulation and compliance are crucial aspects of our business, but it tends to take more time than you expect to sort out. This impacted us in ways we didn’t anticipate. As much as these things are necessary to keep us all safe, it took time away from what we love; working out how to help parents financially.
Now that we have our FCA licence, we are concentrating 100% on our product and ensuring it helps as many parents with their family finances as possible, whether you have young children or are expecting.
We love the fact that you didn't settle for only creating an app, but also released your own dedicated debit card. Can you tell us more about this decision?
Our focus is to solve the unique financial challenges of parenthood, so we felt we needed StorkCard to be at the centre of a family’s child-related spending. This ultimately allows Storkcard to work faster and more effectively than if it was solely an app.
We spend most of our time looking at startups and growth businesses and we think you've come up with something genuinely innovative. Have you got any advice for entrepreneurs who are looking to innovate?
Start with a problem, and then create the solution.
It is surprising to see so many solutions-looking-for-a-problem out there. We spent a lot of time, and used many different techniques, to truly understand the problem we are targeting and StorkCard was by no means our first attempt at solving the problem of family finance. We see the problem as our “true north,” so if something is not working with our solution, we are not worried about having to pivot quickly.
We find the FinTech sector fascinating because it’s revolutionising a very traditional, and some would say untrusted, industry and dragging it into the future. What do you think has led to some many great new startups choosing FinTech?
In some ways, it is very challenging to disrupt financial services.
The livelihood of your customers are at stake, so trust is paramount. As a result, you need to satisfy a number of regulatory and compliance conditions. The current state of consumer finance is such that nobody wants the product, but they do want the output e.g. nobody wants a mortgage, they want the house.
We design our financial products in a way that our customers want our products in their own right. The world of finance and banking is also unnecessarily costly, slow and complex. With discipline and drive, startups can make a major difference.
What does the future hold for StorkCard? Where do you see the business in five years?
We want StorkCard to become the #1 trusted resource for families looking to improve their financial health. This means introducing lots of further products to help our users with all of their unexpected and expected financial needs over the long journey of parenthood, from having a baby to sending your children off to university.
Running your own business, and especially a startup is very rewarding but can be very tough. Is there another entrepreneur who you find particularly inspiring?
Rachel Carrell, CEO of Koru Kids, is very inspiring. It is incredibly hard to build a successful business and fundraise at the same time, but she did it while raising her first child and pregnant with her second! Rachel shows what is possible for other founders who have children.
If you could go back to the beginning of StorkCard and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Go out and build your network as if your business depends on it. Because it does.
Finally, can you tell us about a typical day at StorkCard HQ?
We like to ensure everyone enjoys what they are currently doing. If it’s not fun, you are not doing it right! Happy people create the best customer experiences, so tasks that don’t make this cut are either partially automated or adapted to better fit those carrying them out.
We regularly talk through projects together to find the best ways to achieve their goals and priorities, and we frequently re-assess how much of a difference they are making to the customer.
We are also super into superhero characters and therefore a lot of our technical documentation and infrastructure reads like a comic book to uninitiated eyes.