#0008 - Daniel Goldberg of Bridgement

Civitas Team

17 ideas from Daniel Goldberg on launching a platform, being a solo founder and raising funding 

Daniel Goldberg is the founder of Bridgement they offer simple finance to small businesses across South Africa. Founded in 2016 and launched in 2018 they offer short-term loans with a frictionless online experience. Enabling their customers to take on bigger projects and bridge cash flow gaps. A Civitas team member sat down with Daniel to discuss ideas on how to launch a financial services company, being a solo founder and raising funding. 

Summary of the best ideas from the discussion

  • Find a co-founder 
  • Choose investors that add value 
  • Learn structured thinking 
  • Learn cold calling 
  • Outsource rather than hire in the early-phase 
  • Get customer feedback

On Lessons Learned from Working at Bain 

  1. “It also helped build confidence in communication, which I probably didn't have before.”
  2. “Learning how to cold call is also a valuable skill.”

On Launching 

  1. “I started the business at the end of 2016. I spent close to a year and a half actually building out the platform.”
  2. “I wasn't developing it myself, I obviously architected it and designed it. But we had developers building that out and then took the business live at the beginning of 2018.”
  3. “I was looking for a developer to work with and sort of got too eager and hired an inexperienced contractor, and I very quickly realised he was wrong for the project.”

On Being a Solo Founder 

  1. “I didn't start the business with anyone. Having started it myself was probably one of the loneliest experiences of my life.”
  2. “It was difficult not being able to share that with someone, not having someone to bounce ideas off.”
  3. “[It] was definitely very lonely and was something I would never recommend.”
  4. “When you have a partner when you're going through the lows, they can carry you through. When they go through lows, you carry them. If you're going through a low yourself, you know, it's quite difficult.”

On Raising Funding

  1. “I spoke to a few of the traditional venture capitalists out there and I realised that because of the nature of my business, a traditional VC would not be appropriate.”

On Funders Adding Value

  1. “They have also been hugely instrumental in developing the product and developing distribution strategies because they know the market. They know the sector.”
  2. “They brought a whole lot more in terms of distribution, in terms of, you know, building up the business, building up the credit scoring algorithms, debt structuring, etc. That was hugely valuable.”

On Hiring 

  1. “We would outsource it as much we could until a point where it justified us actually hiring a full-time person. It just enabled us to operate much leaner, to only pay for the time when we needed it.”
  2. “We've been working with recruiting agencies and haven't seen massive success.”

On Growth 

  1. “I think focusing on expanding into another territory, another country comes with a lot of complexities in a financial services business.”

On Customer Feedback 

  1. “We get suggestions all the time and we love that. We take that feedback very seriously. We have it all sort of indexed in a database and on a road map to actually build that.”
  2. [On implementing customer feedback] Does this recommendation make sense to us and our customers? Are we seeing this across other customers? Sometimes we would want to test it, whether we actively go and test those new features, or changes that are suggested, we will also test them with other customers.”

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