My mission in life is to help entrepreneurs grow. I have been doing this through mentorship, consulting, and investing for quite some time. I love it. I love helping builders build. As an entrepreneur myself, I know how challenging it can be to raise capital for your startup. Ironically, capital is the most necessary resource for any entrepreneur, yet often so difficult to obtain.
When we had the idea for the Chummy Fin Club we thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if we built a NFT community geared towards helping startups and entrepreneurs get funded and grow?!” That was just one of the ideas that ultimately led us to launching the Chummy Fin Club.
If you have been following our project or you have been active in the community (or both) then you know that we have been intent on delivering on our promises to help entrepreneurs and startups grow.
Spencer was an early community member in the Chummy Fin Club, and caught the vision immediately. We are super excited for the vision of Savology and for what Spencer and his team are building.
As we have shared before, this investment in Savology was made through the Fincubator, on behalf of the Chummy Fin Club project, and the returns are committed to go back to the community. So, if our investment yields a return, whenever the liquidity event may be, we are going to use the funds for benefit of the community. So, in essence, every Chummy holder is an angel investor in Savology. You made this possible!
To celebrate this monumental event, we wanted to take a moment to introduce Spencer and Savology to the Chummy community so you can learn more about this investment. Enjoy this brief interview with Spencer Barclay, founder & CEO of Savology.
How long have you been an entrepreneur? Is Savology your first startup?
I like to think that I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. I watched my dad build a company from the ground up while I was young. This sparked a desire within me to build, innovate, and make a meaningful difference in the world that I haven’t been able to satiate.
That drove me to start Savology, where we strive to improve the financial security of the people by making financial planning, literacy, and wellness more accessible and more actionable than ever before.
Savology is not my first formal venture, though. I have built and helped built a few other personal finance related ventures, each one getting bigger and better than the one before. The most recent was at BenefitGuard. I was the Chief Operating Officer at a startup, where we created a better 401(k) plan model for small businesses. We sold that company to publicly traded HealthEquity in 2017 to enable them to a 401(k) offering to their suite of HSA and HRA products.
When did you have the idea for Savology and why?
I had an 18-month acquisition buyout from the sell of BenefitGuard that gave me time to figure out what I wanted to do next while I was helping to integrate that company into HealthEquity.
I quickly identified a problem that I wanted to solve, but not necessarily how to solve it. Throughout my time at BenefitGuard, and in former ventures related to finance, I saw firsthand how people struggled with their personal finances. Too many people live paycheck to paycheck. They aren’t saving enough money. They are underinsured. They don’t understand personal finances. And the resulting financial stress impacts their quality of life.
Furthermore, it affects the macroeconomy. We could have a real retirement crisis on our hands over the next 20 years when the first generations of defined contribution savers must rely on more of their own savings to retire rather than their corporate pensions.
I knew something needed to be done because existing products and services just weren’t making a meaningful difference.
What were the first steps you took when turning your idea into a real business?
After finishing my 18-month period at HealthEquity in early 2019, I started working on the new venture full-time.
First, I had to validate the problem and potential solutions. I had a few ideas for how to solve the problem, but I wasn’t sure which would work best. So, I surveyed just over a thousand people, held close to a hundred 1-on-1 interviews, and did a couple of focus groups.
I was truly surprised by what I found. I found a significant correlation between goal setting and financial outcomes. I found that people who set financial goals and people who created financial plans, no matter how simple, were significantly more likely to start saving enough for retirement. They also correlated with lower levels of financial stress. Furthermore, people wanted to be told what to do with their money and how to do it.
This caused me to scrap by earliest plans to instead focus on modernizing and digitizing financial planning. Traditional financial planning was too expensive and too time consuming for the majority of Americans, so very few households sought it out.
I did another couple of months of research on the industry, talked to many more people, and started to create an offline mock-up and proof of concept. This was well enough received to dive in headfirst and start building a team and a product.
From there, we had to find the right monetization and distribution channels. That’s what led us to create our financial wellness benefit for employers and a digital planning software for financial advisors.
What’s next for Savology after you close your funding round?
We just completed our round of funding, providing us more growth capital to scale Savology. Fundraising is a time consuming, but important part of my role at Savology. Now that we are done with that, I look forward to focusing back on our product initiatives and growth plans.
We are just starting to build out our sales team and have our first real Head of Sales joining the team this month. So, we have a lot of work ahead of us to prove that we can take this to the next level as we nail our distribution through employers and advisors.
What attracted you to the Chummy Fin Club project and why did you decide to be a holder?
I am always on the lookout for disruption in the financial sector. Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and NFTs are all significant innovations. I jumped in the cryptocurrency market early on but had been holding out on the NFTs until I found a project that really resonated.
The Chummy Fin Club was the first NFT project that I personally believed in because of the vision, utility, and community beyond the token. Combine that with the opportunity within the seed fund and an affordable floor price, I felt that it was not only worthwhile but valuable.
How can the Chummy community support Savology’s growth?
There are a few specific things that the Chummy community can do to support our growth.
First, we love product feedback. Even though our direct-to-consumer market is not our emphasis, we do have an available technology subscription package for those who want to try Savology Plus. Signup with the code “CFCmonth2022” to get your first month free, or use “CFC2022” to get 20% off forever. Send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second, our most effective sales channel right now is through referrals. We sell our technology platform access plus full financial coaching through employers as a financial wellness benefit. Talk to your own employer about adding financial wellness as a benefit. If you refer an employer to us that becomes a customer, we will provide you with a referral commission and an ongoing, direct revenue share. You can email us at email@example.com with any introductions or to request more information that you can provide to a company.
Third, reviews go a long way with early products like Savology. If you like what we are doing, please leave us a review. Google will do the trick, but if you want to take it one step further, we love reviews on G2, Capterra, and TrustPilot. Those later ones may require more work and validation, but really help us land business to business customers. If you need any help on these, let us know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate any and all help that you can provider. Remember, we are all in this together!