GoSolo: Dima Pimakhov

GoSolo is a digital banking app designed to streamline the launch process for new startups, and help guide entrepreneurs through the many tasks of new business admin.

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Name of founder: Dima Pimakhov
Age: of the founder: 40
Location: London
Date launched: 10/05/2021
Number of employees: 15

 

What does your business do?

GoSolo is a digital banking app that makes it quick and easy for an entrepreneur to register a new company and open a business account/card in one single process. Our bank accounts are collaborative (you can allow someone else, like your accountant, to have read-only access). We also offer tons of value-added features to make the life of an entrepreneur easier.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

GoSolo is a banking app designed by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. Everyone on the team has some entrepreneurial background. For example, I have experience running businesses in ten countries, and folks on the team have done anything from software development to event production. We know first-hand that banks give you the utility tools, but are never genuinely passionate or helpful to small businesses. We wanted to build a banking toolkit that would understand our needs, and the needs of millions of people like us.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Over 20 million people in the UK want to have their own business but very little go on to open one. We want more entrepreneurs to succeed in their ambition. People need guidance, support, and an all-inclusive service that takes care not only of the payments/banking part but also sales, legal, accounting, reporting, and many other areas of small business admin. While working from home, many people gave their side hustles a try, and now entrepreneurship is on a new rise.

What were you doing before launching your business?

I used to be a partner at a tech consultancy company, working with global companies like Oracle and IBM to implement and deliver digital banking solutions in Central & Eastern Europe and the Middle East. I also have experience running my own software development company out of London, Dubai and Kyiv (Ukraine.) I have completed over 20 digital banking projects, gaining a unique experience in the field.

Have you always dreamed of starting a business?

When I started my career, I never thought of running a business. It was exciting on its own to meet all these great companies, understand their business models and try to improve them through technology. I was fortunate with my progress and eventually made it to a partner-level position that involved running part of the business in sales, delivery and finance. So, I guess it was gradual progress for me. Eventually, I arrived at managing my own business.

How did you finance your business?

The initial concept and prototype were built using my savings. We have now completed two early rounds of funding, first from a close circle of friends and family, and now from a well-known SEIS fund here in the UK.

Explain your business model and how you make money.

At the moment, all of our services are free. Soon, we will start charging a small fee per payment and will introduce a subscription model where users pay a simple fee per month for a service bundle. Many of our competitors charge a monthly fee based on your account balance or a number of payments. We think these models are wrong because a new business is often starting with money put in by the owner, who uses it to buy some initial tools or services. Rather than charging for a good account balance, we are looking at a model to earn money only when our customers make money from their businesses.

What are the main challenges you have faced? And how did you overcome them?

Getting funding is an obvious one. I find it easier when I can meet in person with a potential investor and explain the idea. This is especially important as I am an immigrant and don't have an extensive network in the UK. During Covid-19 lockdowns, it was perhaps easier to meet over Zoom, but harder to “connect”. Other than that, we are glad that our path so far has been relatively smooth. It took eight months to develop the product, obtain necessary licenses and launch the product. Soon, we will have our first 1,000 users.

What has your experience been of starting a business during a pandemic?

Despite all the hardships that the pandemic has brought, I can actually see a lot of positives coming out of the past year. Working from home has changed the perspective for many people incentivising them to take the entrepreneurship path. 2020 has been a record year for new businesses registered in the UK and I would expect that to continue in 2021. This is good news for GoSolo as we strive to support new business owners on their entrepreneurial journey.

Operationally, the most significant change for us was switching to 100% remote working. While it has brought its own challenges, it enabled us to be much more flexible with our staffing. Remote working has allowed us to find and hire two of our key resources in far-away locations: one in Portugal and one in Brazil. Searching for talent can be hard, but with remote working now so prevalent, businesses can take advantage of finding the right skills across the border with little to no impact on overall productivity. Albeit this can create a more competitive job market, more opportunities may arise for everyone involved.

Describe your first breakthrough.

Living in a digital world, something physical always counts. When our first-ever debit card arrived for one of our test accounts, it was the moment when we could show everyone that GoSolo is a real thing, a real product from the financial world. I remember my father saying “Oh, so you actually have built a bank!”

How has Brexit impacted your business? Do you think it will in the future?

Most of the suppliers and partners we work with have done a good job preparing themselves for any of the Brexit outcomes, so there’s been little to no disruption of service overall. It has also become a bit difficult to differentiate the impact of Brexit versus the impact of the pandemic since both happened within a few months’ timelines.

What advice would you give to other aspiring business owners?

Running a business, you are never 100% sure what's coming round the corner. Prepare to be imaginative, innovative and figure out things along the way. Make sure you have a lot of inner resilience and determination but also have someone to talk to for support. Leave out some space outside daily troubles for your mental and physical health.

What is one resolution you have for your business this year?

Our product development needs to be more market-driven and aligned with marketing.

How do you see your business developing in the next three years?

GoSolo will become the go-to place to launch a new business. We also want the community of our users to grow and thrive, supporting each other and using each other’s products and services.

If you're a business owner with a startup that's less than six months old, apply now to feature as one of our Just Started business profiles.

Helena is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has previously written for a popular fintech startup covering everything from money-saving tips to cultural reviews.

She is particularly interested in project management software and the films of Peter Jackson.

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