From The Founders

How to Build a Startup with a Cool Culture

Our founders, Greg and Sean, started out as two mates with an idea to create something cool and solve problems.

Nearly ten years later they’ve done just that.

This week we officially became a team of 200. That’s 200 people across two floors all focused on our mission to shake things up in how people borrow money using technology driven and customer centred products – like never seen before.

So, we were pretty chuffed that our co-founder Greg was invited to speak at Daze of Disruption – an event bringing together some of the most innovative and disruptive minds who are shaking up industries with better ways of doing things.

Alongside fellow Aussie entrepreneurs, Greg shared valuable lessons learnt from building Nimble into one of Australia’s most successful fintech startups.

He spoke about anchoring steadfastly to the problem you’re trying to solve at every stage and how surrounding your startup with good people who share the same cultural values will work wonders.


Here are some takeouts of Greg’s talk on how to build a disruptive company with a cool culture:

greg11

Hire people based on what they know. Not who they know.

We just want to hear about how people think and how they solve

problems.

Measure everything. Eliminate politics with Data based decisions.

We just want the best outcomes. We don’t really care whose idea it is.

We like guys who aren’t afraid to try things.

Hire people who love change.

Things are changing fast and if you don’t love learning and adapting, you’ll fall behind.

Hire people who get it done.

They’re effective. They’re not signalling getting it done and talking in sound bites. Execution is actually harder than coming up with ideas.

Good guys care a lot about the mission.

There’s no substitute for people caring and buying in. They can fall a little short technically, but we’ll take a good cultural fit over a genius dickhead any day.

Check out the top quotes from Daze of Disruption here

Sound like a great place to work? Head to our LinkedIn page for current employment opportunities.

Visiting New York and Building A Mobile App

A lot of our members use their mobile phones to get Nimble loans.

Our mobile site is good but we wanted to make the Nimble mobile experience even better.

To create the most simple and convenient way to borrow money – loans with just a few taps on a device.

So we decided to build the Nimble mobile app.

To build something truly amazing, we knew that we needed to collaborate with the best. So a year ago we started searching for the best app design team in the world. We spoke to the startup community, stalked winners of the most prestigious app awards and called agencies all over the world.

IMG_3197

The Nimble team at Fueled in NYC.

We even contacted the developers behind our favourite apps.

Eventually, our search took us to all the way to New York. We soon found ourselves sitting with a bagel in hand at the cozy SoHo offices of Fueled.

Why Fueled?

Fueled built apps for some of the most innovative companies in the world. Apps for The Discovery Channel, Porsche and Elevatr.

Stunning, beautiful, fun apps.

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Free snacks and popcorn!

After a week of chats, whiteboard sketches and getting no sleep because of constant sirens, we were ready. We decided we’d found the right partners to work with our talented internal team and build the Nimble app.

Over a year later, after a lot of designing, building, developing and testing, we started to see the first version of the Nimble app come to life.

The Nimble platform is complex. It looks at over 4,500 data points to lend money so quickly and efficiently. It’s not easy to then make an app that integrates seamlessly into the complex Nimble technology – and the fast moving lives of our members.

It has taken us months of testing and improving it to make sure there wasn’t a pixel out of place.

Now finally, it’s nearly ready for you to download it.

Keep an eye on your emails over the next few weeks for when we announce it’s live – on both IOS and Android.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come…

Nimble Screenshots 3inarow

We Are Now Nimble

Spray the silly string and pop the party poppers — we are Nimble!

Yes, as in ‘fast’, ‘agile’, ‘dextrous’, but also as in ‘the company’.

We’re still the same team with the helpful and supportive customer service and nerdy tech geeks. We’ve just got a brand new look.

So with the switch over from Cash Doctors to Nimble, here are 5 things you should keep in mind:

1. A Lot Remains The Same
Most importantly — there’s absolutely no need for worry. Apart from the visual stuff everything else is still the same.

2. Member Areas
For all our members — the member areas will work exactly the same.

There are some improvements in the pipeline, but we’ll be letting everyone know well in advance before any changes.

3. Cash Doctors Cards
Another one for the members. Even though we’re switching to Nimble, your old Cash Doctors card will still work fine.

4. URLs (Links To Our Site)
If you still use www.cashdoctors.com.au, that’s cool, you’ll simply be redirected. However, it’s probably a better idea to bookmark www.nimble.com.au now and you’re all set.

5. STP 1.5 — Our Super Smart Technology
Our team of brainy mathematicians and software developers have been pulling all-nighters for the past few years to make our new clever technology possible.

It’s a bit of a big deal. Groundbreaking stuff.

Find out more about it here.

Finally, if you have any questions or feedback please call our team on 133 156.

The number is still the same.

Finding Nemo… Oops, I mean, Nimble.

Do you know what makes a great logo?

You might be surprised at the number of things that have to be considered:
· Is it unique?
· Is it time-proof?
· Does it work well in black and white?
· Is it clever?
· Are the colours appropriate?
· Etc.

The list is long and logo creation is tricky — no matter how well you know your brand.

But we’re pumped to announce that our new logo is ready!

Just before we reveal it, however, let us tell you a bit about how (and where) we found our logo’s lively little mascot…

Calling Cuba

Perhaps you’ve heard of Facebook.

It’s the world’s largest online social network.

Of Facebook’s 800 million users, as many as 175 million people log into their profiles in one day. That’s a lot of people.

Whether you use Facebook daily or not, you’d surely be able to recognise their logo even if it was dressed in a gothic leather costume with a pink tutu.

Why?

Because it’s very memorable.

It’s simple, it’s timeless, it’s minimal, it’s relevant. It’s everything you want in a logo, really.

All that to say this: the people that created Facebook’s logo did an awesome job with our new logo too.

Last week the folks from Cuban Council were hanging out with us here in the office. They cruised through our departments, sat with the customer service guys, brainstormed with the marketing team, and immersed themselves in our culture.

All in order to work out what we’re really about. You know, at our core.

And that’s where they found Nimble — our logo’s mascot.

The Geometric Jackrabbit

Ok, ok, so we haven’t named him yet.

Some of the guys call him “Nimble”, some want to christen him “Jack”, and one person thinks “Einstein Adicus” is the most fitting name.

While he currently remains nameless, the geometric jackrabbit is the essence of Nimble as a company.

He is playful but sturdy, exuding movement, optimism, and action.

He is nimble.

He’s also transparent at his core, revealing his inner workings — we’re proud that he highlights our attitude towards openness.

Whatever we decide to call him, we’re excited that we’ve discovered him.

And the fonts beneath the rabbit? The ones that make the logo complete?

They’re big and bold, and in plain English. They emphasise who we are and what we do, straight up, without any confusion.

A Brand Is So Much More Than A Logo

Yes. A brand is so much more than a logo. But you have to start somewhere.

Now that we’ve got the little guy sorted, we’re moving onto our style and look.

We’re redesigning everything, so we’ll have a new website design and a better looking mobile site. We’re preparing a sneak peek of these for you right now.

It’s an inspiring journey we’re on and we’re glad you’re coming along for the ride.

So watch this space for more developments, coming within the next few weeks.

Why We’re Changing Our Name…

A name is so much more than a bunch of letters, strung together. A name gives meaning and influences how we recognise something.

It creates a connection between the owner and the world at large.

A company name is no different. It’s a blueprint of who we are and what we do. And how we do it. Which is why choosing the right company name is challenging, but also rewarding.

And we’re very excited to announce that we’ve chosen a new name.

But before we reveal what it is, let’s take a moment to recap how (and why) we decided to change our company name.

In The Beginning…

…there were Greg and Sean. Two regular guys who understood that life isn’t always smooth sailing when it comes to money — even if you have a decent job.

So Cash Doctors was born.

The company was conceived on the basis of answering a simple need — relieving a temporary cash deficit. Having experienced this shortfall themselves (many, many times), Greg and Sean set out to assist others facing a similar situation.

But one thing is hard to ignore: these days (almost) everything is done electronically.

And ‘cash’ — the tangible notes and coins kind — is becoming a thing of the past.

So we’ve realised we need to make some changes.

Embracing Change

While change seems scary, we find ourselves greeting it with open arms.

Stasis is boring.

Evolution is inspiring.

Our innovative thinking is steering us in a new direction. One focused on using smart technologies to help our current (and future) members with life’s little dollar drawbacks.

We’re heading in a direction where the name “Cash Doctors” just won’t encompass all the exciting things that we’ll be rolling out in the near future.

Therefore, we’re refining our branding, broadening our horizons, and revamping our look.

Oh, and we’re changing our name.

So, what will we be called then?

Nimble.

Yes, Nimble, as in ‘fast, agile, dexterous, smart’, but also as in ‘the company’.

The company with super quick, award-winning customer service. And high-quality, fast-performing products.

The guys and gals that use technology smarts to keep creating and improving our offerings.

And, although, we’ll have a new name, our essence remains unchanged.

We’re still the responsible lenders giving you a hassle-free money shortage solution. We’re still the techy geeks stirring things up by taking it to the next level.

A Nimble level — where the name says it all.

Nimble turns 6 this month…

On January 25th, 1981, I also turned 6. It was a particularly exciting day as it was also my first day of grade 1. Mum tucked my shirt into my new navy pants, put an apple in my cardboard port and walked me right up to the classroom door. The time had come to make the transition from pre-school to the big kids world of primary school.

2011 has been a similar time for Nimble.

We’ve transitioned into a stronger, more sophisticated organisation. Our team has grown in numbers and talent – and we’re finally getting recognised for it!

Placing 74th on the BRW ‘Fast 100’ list felt really good.

The highlight for me was launching the new mobile phone browser. It’s always the most fun releasing new product innovations and anything that makes things faster, easier and more convenient for our members. That’s what it’s all about, after all.

The other highlight has been moving into this big open modern office space. It’s ready for the fast growth we’re having and it’s shaping up really nicely. We’ve got new furniture, painted artwork on the walls, decorated with a bunch of pot plants – people are really starting to feel at home.
.

Much like I had a lot in front of me as I waddled off to grade 1 with my burgundy port – there’s still a lot in front of me as I write this.

2012 is going to be massive. More and more people are finding out about what we do and they seem to really like it. We’ll be launching a new mobile phone application in January. In the first quarter of 2012 we’re releasing something that will make applying and payment way faster for people getting their first advance from us. I’ll keep it top secret for now though. It’s got me pretty excited!

The new Nimble card will also happen in 2012, along with some rewards for members who use our product responsibly.

We’re also about to welcome a few new management recruits to Nimble in the coming months.

It’s all happening. Hopefully in a year’s time we can graduate into the high-school world – where we can make an even bigger difference.

Thanks for helping us getting to where we are today – and telling us where we need to improve and change. We’re always trying to improve our service to make it more convenient for you.

All the best for the holiday season.

Cheers,

Greg

We are getting bigger and better

We made it.

Blue skies and no rain, almost unheard of these days.

Now we just have to connect every computer together -no big deal.

The painters are still painting but carpets are in!

Here are some of the ‘before’ shots of the Nimble office.

Stay tuned for the ‘after’ shots.

Warning: There will be green and orange walls to look out for.

The new coffee shop we are trying out…

People don’t listen to Companies – They listen to people

Today we’re going to reveal one of the things we’ve been working on for the last few months.

We’ve been writing about it, designing it, developing the usability aspect of it and even videoing demos of it. It’s a lot of fun, easy to use and most importantly, it enables people to get cash 24/7 no matter where they are.

In a few weeks we’re also launching another new invention that will allow people to try their first Nimble loan at zero risk.

It’s understandable that getting small loans on the internet is pretty scary for people. So we thought it’d be great if you could dip your toes in and see what it’s all about without any risk. After all, a lot of people are still a bit jittery doing any type of transaction over the internet. My Mum isn’t really that old and is generally keen to learn new things , but there’s no way I can get her to buy books and DVDs on Amazon. She just won’t do it. The thing is it can save you so much time and really improve your life, just look at online banking vs queuing up at the bank a couple of times a month. Once you’ve tried it a few times it’s really not that scary at all.

Another thing we’re trying to work on at Nimble is deepening the relationships with our clients. That might sound funny from an online only company, but customer service has always been our number one thing. Now we want to take it a step further to reinforce the good client relationships we have and even start encouraging client to client interaction. Our site is more than just a source of fast cash. It’s a wealth of resources and information about money, stuff you don’t learn at school or from your parents. It’s important to start generating a dialogue about these things, whether it’s just living week to week or starting to actually get ahead and put down a foundation.

We also want to learn more from our clients to improve ourselves too. So in a few months we’ll allow clients to review our loans on our site. Whether it’s positive or negative feedback (most of what we get now is positive) people will be able to view other peoples, feedback, even if they haven’t had a loan with us before. It’ll be a bit like reviewing a book on Amazon, that’s the second mention they’ve had on one blog post.

At the end of the day it comes down to transparency and giving as much value as possible. Short term online loans are often viewed in a bad light due to how some providers have conducted themselves in the past as well as some misunderstanding about the industry. But as we have expressed throughout our site and many times before, we’re doing things totally differently from everyone else.

People are smart. They want to see that a company is willing to split itself wide open before they commit to doing business with it. They also need to see peer to peer reviews and get a feel for how the company treats its clients. I reckon it’s a great thing and it’s important for companies to provide pathways for this to happen. If a company is doing something wrong they won’t get repeat business or enjoy the benefits of word of mouth, so why not just be transparent right from the outset. It’s actually really simple – people don’t listen to companies, they listen to people.

I’m excited about the innovations set to roll out very soon and all of the ideas for the second half of 2009. I’m excited about how it will help people enjoy what we do at an even higher level than now, plus it’s always good to cement our position as the top guys in Australia.

I’ll talk to you later

My worst christmas ever.

Christmas 2005 sucked a lot for Sean and I.

It sucked because we had no money. We didn’t have much time either. But sometimes you have to make sacrifices.

In this case it was a place to live and a new girlfriend.

Let me explain…

We’re super organised now, but, we made some rookie errors at the start – and under-budgeted for the start up.

One of us had to mow lawns in Brisbane a couple of days a week to make ends meet. We were behind in rent and bills in our place in Brisbane.

We scraped but we believed in what we were doing and sometimes that’s all you need.

On top of it all we’d both just met new girls and we didn’t have a lot of time or money to sweep them off their feet – just like we do these days.

On Christmas Eve, it all came to a head.

That day, I mowed 14 lawns. People like their places looking good for Christmas.

One fussy client had made me get down on my knees and scoop blades of grass off her driveway with my bare hands.

What a day.

After having a cold outdoor shower and washing off the dust and dog crap, I went up stairs and turned on the light but nothing happened.

A blown fuse or an unpaid bill?

After checking the box, I realised that the real cause was the reminder letters from Energex – or rather the fact that we were struggling to pay them.

So it was Christmas and we had no power.

Moments later Sean rolled up the driveway after a stiff day in the office at the Gold Coast. I gave him the news. As always he took it in his stride.

The weather was hot. So cold showers were fine. There was zero food in the fridge so that wasn’t an issue either.

Ladies love the candles too.

All good – except we were due to meet these two new girlfriends for a double date and exchange Christmas gifts in 30 minutes.

We had no money and no presents – but it’s the thought that counts right?

So I went into the bathroom and took a tube of Colgate out of its box and quickly wrapped the empty box. It wasn’t really Myer gift wrapping standards either.

A box of kisses. How sweet.

But she didn’t think so, no matter how well I tried to sell it. She dumped me unceremoniously. Dang! No Christmas dinner with her family!

The next day we woke up in sweltering Aussie Christmas heat, without electricity to even turn on the $13.95 fan I bought at Aldi.

For Christmas dinner, we scraped coins off the floor of the car and walked down the road and discovered that Big Chief Burgers was open – what a score.

Sean’s family was in Ireland and mine was down in Adelaide, so we were roughing it solo.

What a suckful Christmas.

A week later we had to move to the Gold Coast – Nimble started to kick off just in the nick of time.

The moral of the story is that having no money at Christmas is not fun. We got a good taste of that and – as we’ve always said, it helped us shape Nimble exactly as it should be.

It’s not like some chump in a suit who has never had a hard day in his life started Nimble. We really know what people need. That sets us apart.

If you can top this story, leave a comment. Go on.

In my next blog post, you’ll see how truly happy we are today. Three of us will be expressing our Christmas cheer in the most artistic way. See you then.

 

The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

How we blew our launch…

I hate it when people talk it up and don’t deliver.

We were guilty of it recently.

Anyone who tried to get a cash advance during the week after our July launch would have noticed the wheels falling off our usually tight operation.

We rushed to get new technology released for you and it went wrong.

When you’re trying to do something cutting edge, there’s a slight risk that things can go wrong. Unfortunately for us things went wrong enough to warrant the decision to stop applications for a few days.

Still, there’s good news…

The dust has settled and we’re humming again.

You can find out more at Rush247

If you’re interested in the technical stuff, here’s what happened…

After our initial glitches and thousands of people contacting us, we gave everyone their own start times in waves of users.

That was fine but more people than we expected decided to try it straight away. We maxxed out the server. Our usually fast system became SSSSLLLOOOOOWWWW.

Due to these speed issues, our staff couldn’t use the system and clients couldn’t log in and apply, a nightmare for all concerned.

We figured that one out but found that the technical updates we’d done meant that some people throughout Australia were viewing the wrong web site. This is because some ISP’s take 24-48 hours to reflect updates nationwide.

So that created a lot of problems too.

Rather than give unacceptable service, we decided to call time out for a few days to nip it all in the bud.

Now it’s all humming again, and it’s cool to see RUSH247 working well.

In hindsight we should have stretched out the launch with fewer users each day, and delayed it a few more days.

We were super keen to get the $2 first time offer and RUSH247 released for clients. We also made some big changes to our internal system to help make things even faster and improve our service ore.

If you were one of the people trying to use our service and had difficulties, we’re really sorry.

We’re back in top form now so check out Rush247 and 2 Dollar and see what I’ve been going on about for the last few weeks.

I’m also on Twitter most days, so feel free to ask me anything you like. We’re also publishing some neat little Tight Arts Videos. You should follow me at http://www.twitter.com/cashdoctors

 

The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

What makes Nimble different?

In answering this I don’t want to talk about our customer service. Nimble is obsessed with customer service, we all know that.

Instead I want to talk about business philosophies. Thousands of books have been written on it. So surely the perfect business management model is out there, right?

Well if there was one perfect way, they wouldn’t have needed to write thousands of books on it would they?

Thing is, there is no one perfect way. The real world is too dynamic and variable.

After all, things change. The world changes. Your staff changes. Your customers change. Your product changes. Public perception of you changes. Your industry changes. Technology changes. Global financial crises change everything….

For us trying to grow a business this is scary. I mean it’s terrifying. You want to be able to produce perfectly accurate forecasts. Beautiful rising graphs….not rising too fast mind, just the right amount. You want a clear path. No surprises. No uncertainty.

Plus you’re a business founder so you can’t help being a perfectionist. You want to have all the information about what’s going to happen. You want to have the perfect solution.

So how do you deal with this? Here’s a few things I’ve learned:

1. ACCEPTANCE. The world is that way and there’s nothing you can do about it. In fact not only do you need to accept it you need to love it. It’s great. If things were always predictable nothing would ever change. There would be no room for creativity.

2. Stay NIMBLE. Be able to react quickly. That means no inertia. As soon as you sense things changing you need to recognise it. You need to move. Be a magician. Expect to have to pull things out of the hat at the last minute.

3. Have BALANCE. I’d almost call this wisdom. If you’re just reacting to everything, you’re out of control. So temper it with a calm, controlled awareness. I’m talking Zen-like. If this sounds exactly the opposite to step 2, then you’re probably right.

So you need some contrary qualities. But really what single person could have all these qualities? I don’t know many accepting, crazy, Zen Buddhists around.

Well you need to surround yourself with a team. A team with different personalities and skills. DON’T have clones of yourself and DON’T have to be the smartest one in your team.

Simple isn’t it?

 

The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

Change is in the air

Finally the rubber is hitting the road – after months of hard work and preparation.

The first small new change was released on Monday 1 June – the new website design went live. It’s just a taste test really. It’s nothing compared to what’s planned over the next few weeks.

We felt our home page was due for a refresh and that it was a bit cluttered, so we’ve streamlined it seriously.

Now members can log in from the home page which saves them some time. If they need cash it shaves a few seconds off, or if they have spare time they can get in there and check out some resources and learn about money or get to know us a little better by reading blogs or the random stuff on the video blogs.

For first time clients, the new homepage design also makes it a lot easier to get to the bottom of who we are and what we do. Cash advances online are still new in Australia so people need to get a quick grip on it and see why Nimble is so much different from everyone else. It’s all there to see in one or two minutes.

The key points are addressed right up the top, and for those who want to get granular, they can see exactly what they get when they join, how fast we pay, how transparent we are, member advantages of getting cash 24/7 in seconds, being helped by the Australian team etc.

Down the bottom we’ve included what we do that some of the other Australian providers aren’t doing yet. Hopefully they’ll catch up sometime because people really need “disposable” short term cash advances administered by professional providers in a responsible way.

No one else pays within 60 minutes or pays members 24/7 cash advances in seconds, not to mention the innovative changes we’re about to launch in a few weeks. They’re a world first, so it’s something special.

 

The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.