Plum: Victor Trokoudes and Alex Michael
With the aim of helping one in five millennials save money, co-founder Victor Trokoudes talks about his personal savings Facebook chatbot
Tell us what your business does:
In short, Plum takes the effort out of creating savings for yourself. Plum is the artificial intelligence (AI) powered Facebook Chatbot that allows consumers to start saving money without any effort.
The Chatbot connects to users’ current accounts and AI learns their spending habits, allowing Plum to automatically save small amounts for them every few days.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Plum stemmed from a personal challenge between myself and Plum’s co-founder, Alex, to see who could save faster and smarter. At the end of each month, I put aside the money that was left over in my current account.
Alex on the other hand, wrote a programme that calculated how much he could safely put aside during the month, downloaded his transactions and calculated how much he needed until the end of the month.
Every few days Alex’s algorithm would calculate how much he could safely put aside, which he then transferred into his savings account. After two months, he had saved £184 more than me! So we started building Plum.
How did you know there was a market for it?
There’s been lots of talk about the personal savings glut in the UK, confirmed by some troubling stats. Deloitte estimated the savings gap will reach £350bn by 2050. It’s a huge problem.
We also know that a lot of people, particularly millennials, feel either that they cannot commit to saving a specific amount, or are not motivated to do so, so we want to do it for them.
By using intelligent algorithms to take the onus out of saving money, we can start closing the savings gap.
What were you doing before starting up?
I was working at TransferWise, heading the international team. My co-founder, Alex, was at Tictail as the team-lead for payments. So we knew technology could solve problems!
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, I did. I wrote a book when I was in the army that helped other soldiers pass the army officer exams, and then sold it nationally. After business school I started Bluebird Global an iPad POS reseller. And now Plum, which we are super excited about!
How did you raise the money?
We just closed our Seed funding round, where we raised $500,000.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Plum aims to make money in two main ways. Once we start offering people a better way to manage and earn a return on their money we will charge a management fee for enabling that.
As we look to make sure people aren’t getting ripped off on bills, we will get an introductory fee when getting them a better deal. Think MoneySuperMarket!
We will also help them discover any financial product they might need at different points in their life.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Hiring is key. We are hiring now, and finding the right fit and skillset can be a real challenge.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Getting our first 100 users.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t over-think it. Start doing!
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
Plum should be helping one in five millennials save money!