Nicolai is an internationally-experienced technology executive with a passion for creating new products and services within corporates, start ups and even government. Tosca Money is the result of winning an international competition with a large Australian bank that wanted to differentiate themselves in the millennial market, and Nicolai has been wanting social saving to exist for his own use!
Tosca, due to launch in late 2018 is currently raising its first round of funding so Nicolai can form their first development squad to better understand the impact that saving with others towards a common goal could have.
I get bored easily and when I don’t have a way to express my creative side I usually join or do a start up. Tosca Money is different though. I have never been a good saver, or even managed paying down debt particularly well so I have found myself wishing this service existed at my bank. This is why I have chosen to be a full time entrepreneur in Oxford.
Entrepreneurship is a loaded term, which will mean something different depending on where your business is at. I have a great idea, that other people think is great, yet I find many hours of the day hard and stressful. If it was easy to ‘start’ then we’d be a world full of products that didn’t solve problems.
Therefore, entrepreneurship is solving a problem as quickly as you can, to make someone else’s life better.
In April 2017 we were one of the winners of an international competition by Australian bank, Westpac. I realised it was good enough to develop it further when we pitched to another large Australian bank who also thought it was a good idea. We then backed this up with structured research and surveys with 175 people in the UK and Australia.
Resilience, creativity and compassion
Seeing people light up when they use your product
Elon Musk – any time you think you’re on to something big, he’s already gone bigger to make what he believes is a better world for humanity, not just shareholders.
What type of people he surrounds himself with to bounce ideas off, and download emotionally in private when the world sucks.
Timing is a very big thing to have right – do not be afraid of parking something unless you’ve got big money to lose trying to bring that forward – think Elon.
I have also learnt the importance of selecting the people you formally (as in equity) work with carefully. It’s better to slow that decision down than believe it will work itself out.
I’ve self-funded three so far, raised money for 1 of them and hope Tosca to be the second funded by other people who believe in what I’m cooking up.
The Westpac VOLT challenge in 2017 was an important competition for getting Tosca from idea to belief that this needs to exist.
The solution looks a little different now but addresses the same customer problem – it’s hard to form savings habits and stick to goals.
Proximity to London is good, inspiration from the University departments and cohort makes this city feel like a startup hub. Cost of housing, lack of decent office space for startups and traffic are all unfortunate challenges we’d rather do without!
The Wheelhouse for a hot desk and a Said Business School event to start meeting the current crop of MBAs.
You will find your resilience and self-belief will stay higher if you keep going out and telling people at events what your idea is – don’t hold back, spill all your IP to ensure you’re solving an actual problem.