Five questions for: Neil Kadagathur, co-founder of Creditspring

Neil Kadagathur, co-founder of Creditspring

What does your business do?

We provide small and convenient loans that offer better value and a much safer model than most overdrafts, credit cards and payday lending. You pay £6 a month to be a Creditspring member, which entitles you to draw down two interest-free loans of up to £250 per year if you need access to cash quickly. You could think of it as being like renting a financial safety net.

What’s been your greatest achievement?

The most innovative thing we’ve done has been to take interest rates out of the equation – after conducting lots of focus groups, we just realised that very few people understand them. People think in terms of pounds and pence, not about percentages, so if you want to give people control – to be really sure they understand what your product will cost and how it will work – you need to address that problem. That’s what our model does.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Coming up with a product in a credit market that is clearly broken. The financial-services industry is not very good at focusing on what customers need – it still thinks in terms of products to be sold, which invariably means they don’t actually work in the way people need them to.

What are your plans for hitting your targets?

We’ve already signed up 1,000 customers, but our ambition is to get that to 30,000 within a year. That will probably mean that we need to raise additional funding, so we’ve started to talk to people about the best way to do that.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give fellow entrepreneurs?

Keep talking to your customers and act on what they say; they will tell you want they want from you, as well as what they definitely don’t want.