By Australian Fintech
1. Company Name: Parakeet
2. Website: www.helloparakeet.com
3. Key Staff & Titles:
Charles Wong – CEO
Rob Owens – CTO
Oliver Tams – All Rounder
4. Location(s): Melbourne, Australia
5. In one sentence, what does your fintech do?:
Parakeet makes it simple to automate early payment collection, broker returns and manage business debt, accountability made easy.
6. How / why did you start your fintech company?:
Started because 4 of us had worked together in a previous start-up (think procurement) and we enjoyed the experience, even though it was an unsatisfactory ending at the start-up.
Start-ups are all about trust and ideas and working with people 24/7, way beyond a normal working relationship.
We had all worked in SME and corporate environments before and had encountered the challenges of getting paid on time or ever. Without sounding too altruistic, we really did want to solve the late payment problem in Australia and as a consequence try and build good corporate citizenship for any companies we were involved with.
7. What is the best thing your company has achieved or learnt along the way (this can include awards, capital raising etc)?:
We were able to raise a small seed fund from friends and relatives who believed in us and the idea. That enabled us to get off the ground and convince the government we were onto a good idea, especially as COVID hit and money became in short supply.
The ensuing government grant gave us more runway to continue through COVID and develop our idea to final stages and start to garner interest from companies like Xero, Esker and smaller businesses handcuffed by enterprise companies using them as lines of credit.
8. What’s some advice you’d give to an aspiring start-up?:
Peanut butter sandwiches do not have to be required diet for start-ups. Look after your people, even if it’s only a few, they all deserve to share in the vision and be rewarded as early as possible.
Find mentors willing to give up their expertise and insights.
9. What’s next for your company? And are you looking to expand overseas or stay focussed on Australia?:
Integration into Xero and Esker for SME and enterprise companies wanting to take advantage of early payment solutions. Then onto a capital raise to expand in NZ and US.
At this stage the late payment challenge is massive within Australia, that we don’t see ourselves overseas for a couple of years, unless one of our partners drags us along.
10. What other Fintechs or companies do you admire?:
Xero, Canva and Atlassian for doing it all local in Australia/NZ. It’s so much harder to be seen and heard at the bottom of the world, so the local Fintechs get our admiration.
11. What’s the most interesting or funniest moment that’s happened in your company’s lifetime?:
We came up with our original name over a few beers at the pub and found out pretty quickly others had done the same in markets we wanted to play in.
So we had to take the plunge with real professional branding and trademarking experts to come up with our current name, after exhausting most of the flora and fauna names in Australia, along with acronyms that often involved gutter humour.