Talks with investors 'too much of a distraction'
The boss of a FinTech start-up revolutionising how people manage household bills said dealing with institutional investors was "too much of a distraction" after launching a £750,000 crowdfunding round.
David Sheridan is co-founder and chief executive of Onedox, a free web and app-based dashboard which provides consumers with centralised access to their household accounts and bills including gas, electric, internet and mobile.
The platform also generates automatic notifications when a bill or contract is coming to an end, and makes personalised recommendations for users to switch to better deals and save them money.
Onedox is now live on Crowdcube and is hoping to raise an investment of at least £750,000 to fuel its next stage of growth. It follows a hugely successful £550,000 round in September 2017.
"Since last year, we've grown the team from around four to 10 and we’ve been primarily developing the platform," Sheridan told BusinessCloud.
"We're now at a stage where we're looking to really grow customer acquisition and start focusing on making money."
The entrepreneur revealed that Onedox has recently agreed its first partnership with one of the UK’s leading digital-only banks, which will allow the bank's customers to integrate its dashboard within the app.
Since Onedox’s last crowdfunding round in September 2017, the start-up has grown its active user numbers from 5,000 to 16,000. Sheridan is hopeful that partnerships with banks and other financial institutions will see that figure rise significantly.
"Having access to a user’s household bills is a core part of our proposition, but if we also have access to people's bank information then we can reconcile line items with actual bills and be able to tell users where they are in a contract cycle or how they can go about getting a better deal," he said.
"In the next 12 months we're looking to get over 100,000 active customers."
Along with acquiring new users, the company is also focusing on generating revenue through its platform.
If a user decides to switch to a ‘better deal’ based on a recommendation from Onedox – which Sheridan insists is completely impartial – then the start-up receives a commission from the new supplier.
David Sheridan (pictured above, far right) speaking at BusinessCloud's 'Secrets of how to get tech funding' event last year
"It's important to know that we don't favour one supplier over another - it's just about giving consumers transparency over their bills," he said.
Sheridan has previously told BusinessCloud that he and co-founders Hugh Nimmo-Smith and Richard Lewis deliberately delayed taking on external investment and made a conscious decision to bootstrap the business for as long as possible.
The entrepreneur says they considered going down the traditional investment route, but felt that they were better suited to crowdfunding and angel investors.
"You need to be willing to commit months of your time to conversations with institutional investors," he said.
"Given the stage our business is at, it’s too much of a distraction to spend that amount of time on speculative conversations when we’re still nurturing the business and making sure we’re building the right product."
Sheridan says the founders are still in conversation with other potential investors including VCs, but they’ve decided to take "a more reactive approach" to them.
At the time of writing, Onedox had raised almost £220,000 from 112 investors.