In a financial wellbeing survey conducted by OCBC in 2020: 53% of Singaporeans polled indicated that they would be unable to defray a sudden expense; 11% indicated that they have borrowed money from either family members or friends, and 27% admitted to only paying the minimum sum on their credit cards. GetPaid aims to provide a transparent and convenient alternative to conventional moneylending through earned wage access, affording employees greater financial freedom and security as a result.
A former practicing social worker and 10 year veteran in the employee benefits space; founder Mitchell Goh shares his entrepreneurial journey and vision for GetPaid, and offers some words of advice for aspiring founders.
Q1. What does your company do? and how are you different from competitors?
GetPaid is an earned wage access company providing employees the ability to access wages that they’ve earned but not yet received. GetPaid is here to provide lower and middle income earners a more sustainable financial solution. Competitors such as money lenders are often seen to be debt traps - offering high interest rates and late fees if borrowers were to miss payments. Earned wage access on the other hand, is not a loan. We merely provide access to wages already earned. This simple service provision can go a long way to reducing current and future need for predatory lending giving a sustainable financial solution to lower to middle income earners.
Q2. What are the difficulties of being a founder?
Being pushed out of your comfort zones. I remember needing to design marketing materials but not having the slightest clue where to start.
Q3. Tell me about the happiest moment in your entrepreneur journey? What made it so special?
There has been many happy moments in my time as a founder but I would say building a great team that 100% buys into the company’s mission and potential, makes this journey extra special. So take the time to build you team wisely.
Q4. How did you decide that your product is ready for the market? What did you do before launching it?
There were a lot of moving parts to get our product ready. We studied countries where EWA is prevalent in. Did market research in Singapore for both companies and employees. Once we were satisfied that it had legs, we built the tech at a MVP level and tested it out on proof-of-concept pilots. The next step was to build credibility. So we got accreditation from the Singapore Fintech Association and started forming an advisory board.
Q5. Tell me about your first and latest fundraising experience. How would you compare the experiences, and how did you go about it?
I approached an angel investor in the industry we are trying to disrupt. It was a scary and risky move but I pitched for him to think about diversifying his portfolio. He loved it so much he said yes 15 mins into the meeting!
Q6. In your opinion, how do you know when to let go and call it quits?
In my opinion the proof of concept stage is extremely important. Often times it sounds good in our heads but it’s only when you have validation from the market and traction then you know it’s safe to take it to the next stage. So if you are trying everything you can but you are still having trouble getting traction, then perhaps the proof is in the pudding.
Q7. What is next for your company? How do you see it in 3 to 5 years time?
We are currently preparing for seed funding. Our 3 year plan would be to introduce the EWA concept to Singaporean companies, make it widely acceptable and place GetPaid as the foremost brand for EWA in Singapore. Our 5 year plan would to have presence in every major city in south east Asia.
Q8. Which country outside of Singapore is most promising to you as a business leader?
There is a big push for founders to look beyond Singapore for scale. This of course is true. However, I firmly believe that EWA can help Singaporeans improve their financial well-being as much as our neighbouring countries. At face value, Singaporeans maintains a higher income and standard of living. However, cost of living (both basic expenses and social expenses) is increasing at a much faster rate than the increase in wages. This is giving rise to greater use of predatory lending even before the Economic slowdown brought by the pandemic. For that reason, we decided to launch GetPaid in Singapore first.
Q9. What's one mistake you made in your entrepreneurial journey that you would advise readers to beware of?
Don’t skip steps. I am often impatient and will want to accelerate the process for various reasons, but I have realised that the steps are there for a reason. What are the steps you ask? They are different for every start-up so get a mentor early. Tech start-ups have been around for a while and we have the luxury of being in Singapore where there are a lot of good mentors / accelerators / incubators available.
Q10. How can readers connect with you?