Fintech Stories: Coconut, simplifying taxes for freelancers

The big bang of 2018’s beginning on the financial & regulatory front is PSD2 coming into force in all EU states. Spelt simply, it’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs to build better fintech products, with the (usually) unexpected help of a regulatory framework. One painful area is taxes & compliance around them.

The startup we discussed with for our latest Fintech Stories blogpost is definitely looking at this space from the perspective of simplification. We’re talking about Coconut, the Techstars London ’17 alumni with a mission to simplify the financials of freelancers.

We managed to catch Sam and Adam, the founding team of Coconut, for a quick interview before their Beta Launch party happening on Jan 31 in London.

Sam O’Connor (CEO, left) and Adam Goodall (right, Chief of Product), the Coconut founding team. Source: thememo.com

Give us the 2-liner description of Coconut

Coconut is the UK’s first current account built for the specific needs of freelancers and self-employed people. It automatically sorts expenses, manages taxes and helps you get paid on time.

What’s the problem you are trying to solve?

When you work for yourself you end up spending a lot of time on the money problems like taxes, expenses and lumpy cash flow. It all takes you away from earning money and building your business. Coconut makes the process of expenses, taxes and client payments instant and effortless.

How many people on your team have prior experience in the financial/fintech scene?

Cofounders Sam and Adam met at PwC where they trained as accountants. They went on to build a FinTech bushiness called ProConfirm which they sold in 2014 to confirmation.com and built a network of over 50 UK banks. It’s this knowledge of accounting and banking that’s enabled them to build Coconut.

How large is the adressable market you’re targeting?

In the UK there are around 5.4m SMEs. Self-employed people and micro-businesses make up 90% of these and yet they are forgotten by banks. They are the engine room of the economy and spend £14bn a year in the UK alone trying to solve this money problem. When you look at the global market it’s a massive problem.

We hope one day tax returns will be a relic of a bygone era.

Give us one important metric you’re looking at while building the product & a tip/trick to improve it.

One thing that’s been incredibly powerful is our community. We’ve got 7k on our waiting list with 1,200 in our Facebook Group. It’s this group who have enabled us to create a really good product by sharing ideas and feeding back on features. To grow a community I think you need two things: a solution to a pressing problem and honesty in your communications.

If you weren’t based in London, where would you would start Coconut?

Barbados.

What’s the roadmap of Coconut in the coming year?

We’re launching our Beta for sole traders this month. Sole traders make up 60% of our sign ups. We’ll be rolling out for limited companies later in the year. We also have some awesome integrations lined up. We hope one day doing taxes via tax returns will be a relic of a bygone era. My wish is that my daughter will never have to do one.

 


What fintech startup would like to hear more about? Drop us an e-mail at [email protected] and we’ll make it happen!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *