Q&A- Startups

7 Questions with Stephanie Brennan, Evarvest

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.

Hi, I’m Steph, and I’m originally from Sydney, Australia and now I live in Vilnius, Lithuania, to bring commission free trading to Europe. I’m the founder and CEO of Evarvest, and I’m passionate about investing and changing the way the world invests. I love to travel; I think travel gives you great depth and insight into yourself but also where the world is going from a micro and macro perspective. I also think it gives you a greater understanding and appreciation for other cultures. Coming from multicultural Australia, I also love experiencing different foods and seeing the cultural influences, both past and present, in local architecture.


2. Which services do you sell and who are your competitors?

We’re uniting the world’s stock exchanges in one simple app and making them accessible to investors across the globe. At the same time, we’re also educating people, empowering them to make wise investment decisions and secure their financial future. Of course, there’s always competition, and we welcome it. Competition is the very thing that shifts an industry to put their customers first, and that’s a good thing. Our core focus is removing barriers to entry and making investing, easy, accessible and community driven.


3. How did you get your startup idea and how did you go about launching it?

I’ve lived in Australia, the UK and now Lithuania and what I’ve noticed is that the finance industry can’t keep up with the next generation of investors the way that tech companies like Facebook, Uber and Spotify can.

A lot of the brands we know, and love and more importantly believe in are listed in the USA, like Nike, the company behind our favourite running shoes or Apple, the visionaries behind the phone we use the latest tech apps on, but, there are also brands that we know and love in our home towns too, but accessing other markets is difficult and the cost to do this is high.

In an era of so much technology and technological advancements, it’s time to make investing as simple as having a smartphone and a good WiFi connection – the way it should be!

There’s a lot involved in launching a trading app like this, from product design and user experience, to designing the operational architecture that supports seamless cross boarder investing. Of course, there is also adhering to the regulatory frameworks in multiple jurisdictions. Being supported by an equally passionate and experienced team and equally passionate followers and subscribers is what is truly enabling us to effect real change in this space.


4. How did you finance your startup, and what learnings would you like to share from the fund-raising journey?

The majority of startups go through the same process of making their vision a reality, from bootstrapping to raising external capital, and we’re no different. We’ve secured our first two external investors and for us, it’s important that we work with and are supported by people that share our vision for changing the way the world invests. It’s also been a primary focus of ours to work with people that have the experience to complement our core team, so that collectively we can shape the future of cross border investing. I would definitely recommend that other startups are patient in finding the right people to work with and be supported by.


5. What areas within FinTech do you personally find most interesting and why?

Cross boarding investing is incredibly interesting to me and that’s why it’s my passion. Different markets operate in the same fashion primarily but they also have their own intricacies which I personally find interesting. I’m also interested in the macro economics of where the world is going, and you can see that consumers want to be able to use products like Netflix, Amazon, Apple etc that are globally accessible. The world is far more connected, thanks to technology and we can see that cross-border money flows are increasing. We now have the ability to search for the best products online and for the best prices. This increases competition which benefits the consumer, and that’s a good thing.

We’re really at a stage now, where consumers have the power to demand more trust and clarity, particularly in the finance industry, where trust can only be earned when an institution is transparent and takes their customers life savings and wealth creation seriously.

I’m also personally very interested in RegTech (Regulatory Technology). This industry is growing side by side the Fintech space and this will greatly benefit consumers. The RegTech space will help to unify regulatory frameworks internationally leading to an increase in Fintechs that can have global reach and in turn global impact.


6. What opportunities do you see for FinTech startups in Europe, and how can we  help?

I see an opportunity for Fintechs and RegTechs to work together on developing new solutions that make financial markets and products more accessible to everyone. Any organisation that can bring together modern companies operating in the Fintech and Regtech sectors with investors, financial institutions and regulators, will be able to help in supporting a unified international regulatory framework that will benefit consumers, markets and economic stability.


7. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?

Being part of the startup community, I meet a number of incredible Fintech entrepreneurs and my tip would be to ensure you are supported by the right people and are also fully aware of the regulations in any market you intend to expand into. The fintech movement is founded on being at the fore of consumer needs, trends and demands, so understanding and adhering to the regulatory frameworks is an important part of earning and maintaining the trust of consumers, the very people you set out to help by starting your company in the first place.