A Quick Q&A with Pockit
Innovate Finance sat down with Virraj Jatania, CEO and Founder of Pockit for a quick Q&A session.
- Tell us what you do and what sets you apart from the competition.
Pockit are building the world’s most inclusive bank. We aim to serve the 6 million people in the UK who are either unable to open a traditional bank account or have a strained relationship with their current provider, to give them greater financial freedom. We believe that by providing a simple, elegant and technology-led solution, which includes a Mastercard and the Pockit app, we can restore a sense of dignity for our customers and empower them to fulfil their aspirations.
- How has your innovation transformed the lives of consumers? Give us an example!
Our product is changing the lives of thousands of people excluded by traditional banks. Take Callum, for instance. He’s a former soldier and, like so many, he hit difficulties when he left the army – he fell on tough times, was divorced and ended up homeless for a while. By then, his credit score was shot and his bank wouldn’t let him have a debit card.
Today, he uses Pockit to pay bills, shop online and has his wages deposited directly into his Pockit account. He feels Pockit has restored some normality to his financial life, far removed from the stigma he felt when dealing with his bank.
We hear stories like this every day – we’ve even decided to dedicate our entire Facebook page to them.
- Raising funding is always a major challenge for startups – what is the key to getting investors to back your company?
The two most important factors I’ve found when speaking to investors are the company’s vision and their belief in you as a leader.
It’s essential, firstly, that you take an investor on a journey so they fully understand the entirety of your vision. If you’re getting too bogged down in where the company is today, you need to move the narrative onto where you foresee it being in five or ten years time.
In addition to buying into your vision, investors need to believe that you, and the team that you have assembled, can pull it off. You must keep in mind that people invest in people, and in the end, the investors are taking a bet on your ability as a CEO to bring a team together to fulfil the vision.
- What is the biggest mistake you’ve made so far in your startup journey?
You only progress by making mistakes and learning from them, and I’ve made a few. If I was to start Pockit over again tomorrow, I’d ensure from day one that we had an in-house engineering team, and stronger investment in a Product Management function to help craft our roadmap. Both are things I’ve found have accrued a debt that eventually needs paying off in some form at a future date.
- What were you doing before you set up Pockit and how has this experience helped you as a founder of a new business?
I was previously working for my family’s company, The Lornamead Group, shadowing my father through the sale of the company’s personal care product business portfolio. The excitement and challenges I witnessed during that time enhanced my love of entrepreneurship which resulted in me founding Pockit in 2014.
- Running a start up is hard work – any tips on managing stress?
A few things help me. Firstly, I’d say, find something you can indulge in outside of work. I’m huge Manchester United fan and, no matter what is going on from a business perspective, I’ll watch every game and most of the time that makes me forget about work for 90 minutes.
Secondly, leverage your support network. In my case, I have a 19-month-old daughter who doesn’t care one jot about my work – all she wants is my attention. I also have a very supportive wife who backs my ambition and helps me no matter how stressful the day gets!