Tom Eyre, a serial entrepreneur, launched LOQBOX in 2017 with business partner Gregor Mowat to help people improve their credit score by saving a set amount of money each month.
As part of a new series of interviews with fast-growing tech firms, I spoke to Tom for some insights into how he’s grown the business, which is based in both Bristol and London.
I had a ‘sat-bolt-upright-in-the-middle-of-night’ moment in December 2016. It was an idea for a product to help fix financial exclusion. In the morning I phoned my business partner Gregor – bearing in mind we’d just sank a load of money into our existing business – and said, sorry, but we need to pivot. We talked it through, expanded the idea and to his credit he agreed and we very quickly launched LOQBOX.
Being a good entrepreneur is nothing to do with work ethic or skills. It’s resilience. If you’ve got it in bucket loads, then you’ll be fine. Since starting LOQBOX, I’ve been told no a thousand times – by everybody from investors to industry. That’s because no one has ever done what we’re doing. If someone comes along and says ‘your way is wrong and this is how we’re going to do things’, then it’s an uphill battle. Most people find it far easier to maintain the status quo.
Get the right type of adviser when you raise funds. Not an investment adviser, but a solicitor you trust to cover off the legals, which can be quite complex. If we hadn’t had the right advice, our fundraising last year wouldn’t have gone as well. We needed to raise funds to grow our team, and we had to go out and pour our heart and souls into pitches with investors, while still doing all the jobs we’d normally do.
I used to think you had to go to London to get the best tech talent. I don’t think that’s true anymore – there are amazing pools of talent around the UK. We’ve doubled our workforce in Bristol in the last two or three months and expect to double in size in the city twice again in the next 12 months. We’re seeing far more businesses focusing their tech talent outside of London, but that’s also leading to more and more competition for that talent.
We’ve stopped celebrating the wins. When we first we started, we marked every success, even with just a beer in the evening. As you get busier and have 101 things to do, it gets easier to forget your wins and it’s something we have to keep reminding ourselves to do. If you’d said two years ago that we’d been doing the things we are now, we probably wouldn’t have thought it was possible.
A lack of opportunity, capability and resilience will lead to financial exclusion for many, many people and that will never change. And while there isn’t necessarily a wave of socially-conscious tech founders coming out of the woodwork, what has changed is that tech has enabled us to launch financial products to help us address those issues.
Tom was speaking to Chris Marshall, editor at BrandContent.Contact us