First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Fred Schebesta : “We are doing well but like most families, we’ve had our ups and downs. During lockdown, I’ve had more quality time with my partner and my daughters which has been incredible but it’s also been challenging with homeschooling and running a business.
“The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating for many people all around the world but here in Australia I feel like we’re starting to come out the other side of it now. I think this time has taught us to focus on what really matters and I feel grateful that my family is healthy and safe.”
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Finder
Fred Schebesta : “My business partner, Frank Restuccia, and I started Finder back in 2006 when we identified a gap in the market for credit card comparison.
“Finder was born out of a simple concept: to educate Australians and compare student credit cards. Over the years, we added new product verticals to our website and now we compare 100+ different categories on the site from energy plans to insurance to travel deals. We just launched the most comprehensive money app in Australia, the Finder app, and we’re about to roll this out to other global markets.
“Our mission at Finder is to help people all around the world make better decisions and today Finder is live in over 80 countries and attracts over 8 million unique visitors per month. It’s been quite the journey!”
How does Finder innovate?
Fred Schebesta : “One of our company values is to ‘go live’ which gives the crew the license to try new things so they can innovate. This mindset is part of our culture and our DNA – it’s what we do.
“In 2018, we created Finder Ventures which is the group’s venture capital arm. It allowed me to lead innovation in the business, by incubating and building new products.
“This is where we launched the Finder app, which is another great example of how Finder is innovating as the app will lean into Open Banking technology which will make it easier for people to switch accounts.”
How the coronavirus pandemic affects Finder’s business and how are you coping?
Fred Schebesta : “Like many businesses, Finder has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. As a result we had to strip back our spending and focus on key areas of growth. I took the opportunity to look at ways of pivoting the business, to re-evaluate what we’re doing and how we can do better to serve our customers. We noticed incredible demand for online shopping and started a listing service on the site as well as verifying sellers to check their legitimacy. From the success of this, we’re working on a new marketplace.”
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Fred Schebesta : “We did make difficult decisions across different parts of the business. One lesson I learned was that transparency is key and it’s critical to communicate now more than ever. At Finder, we set up biweekly ‘All Hands’ company-wide meetings where we give company updates and address any issues or concerns.”
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Finder in the future?
Fred Schebesta : “I make sure I do regular physical exercise, which is a 10km run most days. This helps me clear my mind and gives me energy. I’ve also started daily meditation.
“We have big goals and we’re super focused on building and growing the business into every market in the future. We want to be the most helpful money app you’ll ever need and every day we are a step closer to this goal.”
And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Fred Schebesta : “We stay ahead of the game by innovating and being super agile, so we can pivot quickly. We listen to our users more than anyone and build a product that answers their questions.”
Website : finder.com.au/app
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