‘Money will find good ideas’

11 April, 2017

SMEs should strive to become disrupters and they shouldn’t need oodles of cash to succeed.

That’s the advice from Executive Director of Tyro Payments Jost Stollman, a man who at the age of 29 set up IT product seller and service provider CompuNet and made US$1 billion when he sold it 12 years later.

A serial entrepreneur, Stollman’s latest venture involved taking on the big four banks and shaking up the online banking world. He will share his insights with the business community at a CCI event on 8 June.

Tyro is a successful fintech and Stollman is a fintech pioneer. What, you say? A fintech is start-up technology that disrupts the banking sector via online banking.

The Uber or Airbnb of the banking world, Tyro has disrupted the big four Australian banks by offering an alternative way of banking for SMEs via eftpos solutions. It now has 18,000 customers and records $8.6 billion in transactions, generating more than $95 million in revenue for FY15/16. Its success has been 14 years in the making and the company now offers full banking services. 

If you’ve ever been to a doctor and had had your Medicare rebate refunded into your bank account with a tap of the card within 11 seconds, you can thank Tyro.

Tyro encourages fintechs and has even set up Australia’s first fintech hub in Sydney for start-ups to exchange ideas.  Its founders were once on that precipice of a brave or stupid leap into the unknown – why would you take on the big four banks? Luckily it paid off.

“The data says nobody else did it so everybody else must have thought that it was stupid. Now people think wow, that’s actually awesome. Somebody had the courage to compete with them so we get a lot of encouraging commentary,” Stollman says.

“We are always hoping the Tyro story inspires others to do the same, especially in Australia. We need far more aggressive entrepreneurs who go for the stars and, well, some will fail but they will have tried.”

Encouraging entrepreneurs and start-ups and having walked the road himself, Stollman says those with a lack of money can be better placed to tackle new ventures than cashed up competitors.

“It is often when you don’t have an abundance of money, when you have hardships, risks, threats and discomfort that you think ‘I have to take this step that is unnatural which is to question what made me successful and rethink’,” he says.

“That’s one of the reasons why reinvention is mostly done by entrepreneurs and start-up entrepreneurs because the big companies have all the money and resources but they don’t have this need to do unbelievable things on a shoestring. 

“So money is often an enemy. You can observe when young companies get lots of money there is a tendency for them to fail.”

He says the attitude of ‘I can’t rethink because I can’t get the money’ is a mistake because ‘money finds good ideas and good ideas find money’.

“It is easy talk but it is hard work,” he says.

Join us for lunch at the next Lighthouse Leadership Series event to hear from Jost on how SMEs can become the real winners in the digital world.