Wellington based startup Banqer is an online platform that facilitates the teaching of financial education in the classroom in a fun engaging way, creating a virtual classroom currency. Children have their own bank accounts and get a rich understanding of what it means to be in charge of their own personal finances.
Kendall Flutey, Banqer co-founder and CEO, recently shared some insights into startup life and working with Simmonds Stewart.
After studying accounting and commerce, then working at KPMG in the Private Enterprise team in compliance, Kendall was well positioned to set up her own business.
However, her passion for software development led to her to work as a lead developer at Abletech where she turned business ideas into web and app products.
After a casual conversation with her brother about what he was learning about money at school, Kendall saw a need to develop online financial education and went for it. Banqer then came to life.
Kendall describes edutech in NZ as a new industry and greenfield, generally lacking the constraints of other established industries, with a marketplace that is relatively untapped.
However, it’s a big challenge being one of the first in the field and it can be overwhelming. Remaining focused is important and so is ensuring Banqer remains true to its purpose and the students they are serving.
Kendall says that the weird and long hours, and wrangling and hustling of startup life, are also a challenge and took some adjustment, but none have stopped Banqer from progressing.
Prior to Banqer, Kendall had no experience working with lawyers and figured that they were similar to accountants (in the nicest way possible, of course!).
She thought that lawyers would mainly play a compliance role, filling gaps where she didn’t have the expertise, and generally being formal and rigid on approach.
Kendall says that her preconception of lawyers was blown out of the water by Simmonds Stewart who she found through friend and former Simmonds Stewart lawyer, now investment analyst at tech VC Monks Hill, Lucy Luo.
Simmonds Stewart initially helped the Banqer team with advice on basic company set-up documents such as a constitution, IP assignments and founder vesting agreements. With some tips from Simmonds Stewart, Banqer was able to complete most of these documents itself using the firm’s free online templates.
Over the coming months, Kendall leaned on Simmonds Stewart for advice on some of the inevitable twists and turns of startup life. Most recently, Kendall worked with Averill Dickson on a key sponsorship agreement. As everything she is doing at Banqer is new, Kendall says she really appreciated Averill’s assistance, saying Averill knew what she was doing, what to ask and think about, and her breadth of experience and confidence led to a good outcome for both sides.
Kendall says that Simmonds Stewart is unique in offering a suite of free legal templates and guides, much of which has formed the core of Banqer’s legal documentation.
She also points out that this DIY mentality enables startups to reduce legal costs by doing some of the upfront work themselves, and at the same time helps founders to learn the legal basics in the process (all templates include helpful how to notes).
Kendall thinks that Simmonds Stewart provides the assurance and credibility of a large firm, but with the agility and pace of a startup.
While Kendall uses words like fortuitous, serendipitous and a bit of an accident to explain Banqer’s creation, here at Simmonds Stewart we think it’s clear that Kendall’s skills and drive are a big reason Banqer is growing fast.
We’re extremely happy to continue to support the Banqer team as they improve kids’ financial literacy and make their mark on edutech in NZ and beyond.
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