It’s okay not to know everything, that’s why you have a team to help you.
Elisaveta Terziman-Gutu, Co-Founder and CMO of Fentury
An automated personal assistant that helps you cut unnecessary expenses and plan ahead
It allows users to view exactly how much they spend on their family, travel, restaurants and on ‘hidden fees’, such as bank and transfer fees and subscriptions
Elisaveta Terziman-Gutu’s reason for creating her app ‘Fentury’ was personal: living on her own from a young age, she realised she needed a financial plan to help her understand where her money was going and how to cut unnecessary expenses. Early on, she learnt that starting your own business means responding to market needs and satisfying the clients’ wishes. Below, she explains how to take advantage of support organisations and events and the importance of teamwork.
WEgate: Tell us more about your company
Elisaveta Terziman-Gutu: Fentury is a personal finance adviser that helps users spend in a smarter way and save more as a result. It allows you to aggregate all your financial accounts and advises you according to the analysed data.
We are currently a team of 11 enthusiasts and we plan to grow globally. For the next two years, we plan to work more closely with a target audience from the EU and Latin America, then we will look at Australia, Asia and the Pacific.
What or who inspired you to set up your own business?
I always wanted to be independent. I started working when I was 16 and had a scholarship, so I didn’t really need to borrow from my family. However, I quickly noticed that living on my own required financial planning, so I tried a few apps but they ended up being too time-consuming and not very helpful. This made me feel that the world was lacking something important.
This is why we decided to create Fentury, a small personal ‘accountant’ which is always with you and ready to advise you on how you can do things better – in a blink of an eye.
What challenges did you face when you decided to launch your company? Did you have any sort of support from organisations?
Building your company is not an easy job. The first challenge is to recruit the right people, whom you can trust and who can help you build the dream/vision you’re aiming for. You usually start with your friends and personal network – in fact, sometimes you have to make hard decisions on breaking up with people who don’t share your vision and won’t help you build the company.
A second challenge is to understand that it’s not about being independent and doing what you want – it’s about your customers and their needs and wishes. It’s important to be in touch with your customers all the time, to understand who your target audience is, what their interests are and to build the product around them.
Thirdly, the start-up community is huge; there are lots of events and organisations which might support your work, but it’s important to understand your own needs and how each of these events might help you. Otherwise you’ll end up going to dozens of conferences instead of building the company.
Entrepreneurship is still often considered a man's territory; what advice would you give young women who want to become an entrepreneur?
Who said you can’t do it? I would advise every young woman to believe in her own power and to take more initiative. It’s okay not to know everything – that’s why you have a team to help you. It’s okay and even good sometimes to make mistakes, because through them you learn and get better.
And most importantly, never give up. There might be a lot of social pressure, a lot of problems you’ll have to deal with during the start-up rollercoaster, but the pay-off will be amazing. During the difficult times stay focused, remember why you wanted to do in the first place and carry on doing a great job!
What is your favourite part of your job?
I enjoy my work the most when we get very good and grateful feedback from our users. When you understand that what you are doing is really helpful, you are even more inspired to work harder because you know that you’re going in the right direction.
My personal motto is: never give up.
My favourite quotes are: “start-ups don't fail, founders quit” and “fake it till you make it”.