Tide: George Bevis
Backed by a string of high profile investors, this small business account app aims to lead business banking "out of the dark ages"
Tell us what your business does:
Tide is an innovative new UK business account app designed to radically change how small businesses manage their finances, saving them time and money to help them thrive.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
For too long, the business services offered by high street banks have failed to meet the needs of the modern small business owner, we want to make Tide a true partner in their day to day lives.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Services offered by high street banks have failed to meet modern needs.
With slow sign-up processes, hidden charges and poor customer experience, business banking has been stuck in the dark ages.
What were you doing before starting up?
Previously I was the product director at Zopa and before that I was business strategy director at Barclaycard. I have also worked at WorldPay, RBS and Capital One and have created a number of commercial and not-for-profit ventures in the past.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes – most of my family have run their own companies at different times. It’s in the blood.
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How did you raise the money?
Tide’s growth and development to date has been funded by a $2m investment secured from Passion Capital.
Tide is backed by VCs LocalGlobe and Passion Capital, along with prominent entrepreneurs Alex Chesterman (founder of Zoopla and Lovefilm), William Reeve (co-founder of Lovefilm), Greg Marsh (founder of One Fine Stay), Songkick’s co-founder Ian Hogarth, serial fintech investor Errol Damelin and Albion founder Jason Goodman.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
With Tide there are no monthly fees, just a simple 20p per bank payment and £1 per cash withdrawal charge.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Tide is not a cheap business to build – fortunately I was already well known in the technology investor industry so was able to raise sufficient capital to overcome this challenge.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Finding a regulated banking partner who would work with us so that our customers could have the confidence that their money was being stored by a large, established company.
Eventually we convinced Prepaid Solutions, who usually work with large corporates like TUI, EE and Virgin, to support our customers too – a huge breakthrough.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
The glib advice is usually “never give up!” but I think that’s dishonest. If marketing to each new customer costs you more than a third of the margin you’ll make from that customer, then you should probably stop and create a different business instead.
I spent years building a retail business which broke this rule: it was phenomenally difficult and I’d have been much happier building a higher margin company.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Our ambition is to serve 50 million companies in 10 years’ time. So, in five years I hope we’ll be a long way down that path – and a large international business as a result – while still maintaining our focus on the needs of smaller businesses.