Matthew Brown hosts the Entrepreneur on Campus Podcast. He invited the founder and CEO of Savology, Spencer Barclay, to the podcast to discuss his journey in entrepreneurship and the founding of Savology.
Several of the highlight quotes from our CEO are transcribed below with links to the full audio podcast at the end.
Background and recent experiences:
12:15 – “I grew up in a family that was conducive to entrepreneurship”.
14:45 – “One of the things that I learned through [the process of implementing the 401(k) division at HealthEquity] was that traditional, large organizations aren’t meant for me. I like having the freedom and flexibility, some of the control and decision-making power that comes with a startup or with entrepreneurship.”
15:17 – “The underlying theme [identified in my previous experience] is that millennials need help with their finances and there is a big opportunity to be able to help them. So, I left HealthEquity, not knowing the business that I was going to do, but the problem that I was going to solve.”
An introduction to Savology:
15:52 – “We came up with the idea through our market research over time that free financial plans were a way to help millennials get on the right track. So now, our software, currently a web application, is built for free financial plans for millennials. We give them a comprehensive financial plan, a report card, and personalized action items to improve.”
18:44 – “It might be easier to understand if we compare it to the traditional financial plan process. Traditionally, if you want a financial plan, you go find a financial planner, you call them up, you set a time, you bring in all your statements to meet with them, you pay somewhere between 500 and 2500 for him to analyze everything you have going for you to create what might be a 50 or 75 page plan for what you need to do. That process has been shown to help people but is primarily geared towards those who are high-income earners.” “What we did, is we said, well we want to make it cheaper, ended up being free, and faster, it takes about 5 minutes. So, you come to the site, you answer questions on your own personal financial situation in about 5 minutes. When we gather all that information, we personalize a financial plan for you that says here is where you are doing well, here is where you need to improve, and here are the specific things that you can do next to take your next step in the right direction towards financial security.”
21:53 – “We focused all the initial traction and direction on developing the financial planning software. We have some partners integrated into there already, but there are virtually endless opportunities to incorporate additional partners that cover all spectrums of financial services and financial technologies.”
22:50 – “We have only been live on the market for about a week, but we have already seen some good traction on new users and acquisition.”
23:40 – “Customer acquisition can be tough, especially in direct to consumer, so we have two other programs that we run this through to get users, an employer program and a partner program. So we give this to an employer who can roll it out to their employees. It is free for the employer, free for the employees. The employer then gets a dashboard on how their employees are doing so they know what changes they can make for their employees. That replaces some traditional financial wellness companies. We also do partners, like a local bank. They can bring it on and advertise it to their customers as free financial planning, a value that they are providing to their end-user. Then the bank gets a better understanding of their customer behavior in return for us amassing more users.”
Advice and life lessons for future, aspiring entrepreneurs:
29:38 – “I don’t disagree with going to college. I think that there are a lot of things to be learned in going to college. But, going to college doesn’t have to be a full-time gig. I worked full time while I was in college, while I went to school, and started companies on the side. So, yes, it is a lot of time that you have to do, but my advice on there is that if you know you want to go into entrepreneurship or you want to try it then you need to dabble there. College is the perfect time to do it. You might not have a family depending on you yet. Your risk tolerance is super high. You have all the flexibility and freedom in the world. That’s the perfect time to start up a t-shirt company to learn the basics of e-commerce or marketing. Or start-up a service-based business like a consulting group where you can learn more. I absolutely recommend someone at least try their own or join a small startup in any capacity for the experience… That first-hand experience will pay off better in entrepreneurship than probably anywhere else.”
31:46 – “There are too many life lessons. I think the biggest one would be “don’t be afraid to take risks”, but I would say “educated and mitigated risks”. I think a lot of people look at entrepreneurs as people who are willing to take risks, but in reality, the entrepreneurs that I have worked with take very decisive risks and do a lot to mitigate their risks in that process. So, if someone thinks that they want to go out and either succeed in entrepreneurship or in sports, or many other facets of life, taking a few risks to get there is the way to do it. You don’t see a lot of successful people that played it safe their whole life and that’s what put them there.”
34:02 – “My personal opinion is that no entrepreneur has it all. No one knows everything about business, so you need other people that can complement your weaknesses.”
34:45 – “I get my best work done at night. So, at night, is when I spend time on the business not in the business. I’m in the business during the day, but at night I can spend time on the business. That is when I strategize for the things that we really need to do. More than anything, it’s about thinking about what’s next for our business. I spend time every single night thinking about the business, writing notes about the business, and setting very specific goals for the business, and that’s what I do to clear my head before I go to bed.”
Full podcast audio and other links:
Listen to the full podcast using any of the links below for this episode of the Entrepreneur on Campus podcast.
Find Matthew Brown on Instagram at: @Matthew_brown96
Find Entrepreneur on Campus on Instagram at: @EntrepreneurOnCampus
Your financial future starts today
Savology has helped more than 40,000 households across the United States improve their financial well-being by providing comprehensive digital financial planning. Users can get started with our free financial planning or premium monthly planning memberships, allowing them to build a personalized financial plan, holistic report card, personalized action items, and more. In addition to our consumer-facing platform, we’re helping employers across the country provide their employees with effective financial wellness benefits.