Now, I know what you’re thinking – Christmas time and Indian fare, right? Well, my friend, that’s not the only thing Nutmeg is good for. It’s actually a new, incredibly awesome and super simple financial investment platform that is helping everyone – no matter the amount of funds – invest in a straightforward, relevant and personal way. I was fortunate to spend some time with Co-Founder Nick Hungerford to get his thoughts on product simplicity, choosing the right startup name and England’s lesser-known royal playboy, Henry V.
What was the inspiration behind Nutmeg, and what makes it so brilliant?
The inspiration(s) were my friends and acquaintances who constantly asked either why it was that their wealth was considered too insignificant to be relevant for a professional money manager or why it was so expensive for a professional to manage their money. We looked at the market, we saw massive demand and we started building Nutmeg.
The brilliance of Nutmeg is the simplicity throughout the product. Nutmeg is straight-forward to use, it is relevant and informative, but Nutmeg does not over-complicate or seek to be overly superior. Keeping the product simple is one of the hardest challenges that we face; we are constantly under pressure to conform to the industry norms and build new products, but frankly doing so would be a disaster. Nutmeg is customer-in, not product-out. In recent years banks and investment companies have built complicated and expensive products and shoveled them into customer portfolios.
At Nutmeg we listen to what customers want, and give it to them.
Biggest startup challenge you weren’t expecting?
We lost a key supplier as we were going live to market. We couldn’t operate without this supplier (who we had taken 7 months to find), so we had to quickly find another who could offer the same services, conclude commercial terms with them and integrate our technology. It was a huge learning experience for us.
Oh, and choosing the company name. Our lead designer, Jonathan Hey, is uncompromising when it comes to brand, look and feel (check out our website for proof), so we tested 529 names in focus groups and with potential customers. Eventually, we hit on Nutmeg.
Thanks for the jumper by the way. Sorry the headless pic is a bit creepy!
Right, so you were the Vice President of Stanford’s Entrepreneur Club. Not bad. How was your experience there?
Inspiring: full of opportunities to learn from people who had trodden the entrepreneurial path and were battle-scarred but still willing to share their stories. I was so impressed by how humble some of these amazing, successful individuals are.
Best startup advice you ever received?
Unless you feel that you can tell your co-founders and investors anything and share with them whatever is on your mind, don’t shake hands on that relationship.
If you could have lunch with one person, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Henry V: one of the greatest English kings despite only ruling for a short time and an early death at age 35. He dealt with a series of treacherous and difficult family members, turned a losing battle with France into a great success story, managed to fit in a few years of being a playboy, united England and set up a bit of a dynasty. Not bad given he died aged 35 – a brilliant leader.
What’s your five-year vision for Nutmeg?
Enable global access to expert saving and investment for people with all levels of saving and to inspire a new eco-system of financial companies who understand the value of leading by building what the customer wants, rather than what they think they can sell them. Very much looking forward to seeing the jumper!
As someone who cowers at words like IRA and portfolio, I can honestly say Nutmeg has got me convinced that even I can understand personal financial investment. And, as I started this article with Americanisms like “super” and “awesome,” I will now close with my best Brit idioms: If you’re keen on saving for all the bloody important things in life, (like shopping on the high street and holidays and such), Nutmeg is the brilliant platform that’s smartly investing your dosh and making you a well fit cheeky monkey. Bob’s your uncle! Cheerio.