Wealth & Pension Planning Made Easy with Surance
Surance, a participant of our 2016 Web & Mobile Accelerator, sat down with us to talk about their easy-to-use investment platform and giving individuals more freedom when it comes to investing.
Please introduce yourself and your startup:
I am Alexander Brouwer (R), CEO and founder at Surance and Rob Willems (L) is the CPO. We are an investor platform that makes investing available to everyone. We make it very simple and also give automated advice. Surance can track all your investment plans in real-time, give you a great overview of all your saving plans, and if you’re off track we’ll help you get back on track again.
What’s your background in?
I studied business administration and business economics in Amsterdam and went on to work at Towers Watson, a U.S. actuarial firm. They advise nearly all pension funds and insurance companies in The Netherlands and also worldwide. Afterwards I worked at ING Investment Management and now I’ve started my own company!
What was your inspiration behind starting Surance?
While I was at Towers Watson, we built lifecycle models for different contribution pension plans and at that time we thought that if we can change the parameters of these plans, why can’t the customers? Nobody’s life is linear, so wouldn’t it be more appropriate for customers to have control over their own investment destiny? That’s basically how it all started.
What sort of people are targeting with your app? Recent graduates? Prospective retirees?
We target a new generation of people who want to make different choices regarding their future. They want to have the freedom to choose their own path and have control over the finances at the same time. They don’t accept the paternal old school products that are complex, inflexible and not transparent.
Have you encountered any challenges along the way?
Loads of them! The biggest problem with these kinds of schemes or startups is that people in The Netherlands are kind of indifferent towards them now. So to get people excited again about planning for their future or investment products in general is a bit of a task.
How does the technology work?
You can connect your bank accounts to the Surance app and move money back and forth according to your investment plans as you see fit, within the app. One of our biggest skills is UX so we build a financial program that is constantly in your domain allowing you to make all the choices and do whatever you want. If you want to change your program because you need to pay for a wedding or you want to save for a house, you can do so immediately – it’s that easy.
Is it a paid-for app?
The app itself is free but we charge a small fee annually for our consultancy and asset management.
How has your experience been so far at Rockstart?
It’s been great. I think Rockstart truly does accelerate you – you have this feeling of moving really fast. When you’re building a company there are always small obstacles which slow you down, but I think Rockstart is really good at helping you around those obstacles fast. The facilitation, network, mentors; they all give you insight. Rockstart gives you a network where you can find all the answers you need really quickly, but you have to do it yourself.
What are you looking forward to at Demo Day?
We’d love to showcase our fully working app. Giving people the full view and scope of what our vision is, that would be exciting to show off at Demo Day.
You’ve had experience both working for large corporates and being your own boss at your startup. What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
Your learning curve is spectacular in a startup and a startup offers perfect alignment of interest between you and your work. How many times in your life do you get the opportunity to build exactly what you have you in your mind? It’s rare that you get direct feedback from your customers, and that you have the opportunity to really offer value in people’s lives. I get to experience these things through Surance and I love every minute of it.
Do you have any advice for startups who want to join an accelerator?
Building a startup is like a journey. There are so many aspects to building a company and it takes a really long time to acquire all the skills necessary to successfully launch your business. I think an accelerator speeds up the process of acquiring those skills. If you think you’re not moving fast enough, join an accelerator.
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