How $50 Built One Of NZ’s Most Successful Start-Ups Ft. Sharesies Co-Founder Sonya Williams | Lighthouse Financial

How $50 Built One Of NZ’s Most Successful Start-Ups Ft. Sharesies Co-Founder Sonya Williams Episode 163

We sat down with Sonya Williams, Co-Founder of Sharesies, to take a look into the process of building one of New Zealand's most successful start-ups and explore the company's vision for the future.

Building A Vision

  1. Inception of an Idea: Sonya Williams and her co-founders embarked on a mission to democratise investing, recognising the barriers preventing everyday New Zealanders from participating in financial markets.
  2. Challenging Stereotypes: A key hurdle for Sharesies in its early days was dispelling the stereotype that Kiwis were bad at saving and investing. Williams and her team aimed to change this narrative by providing a platform that catered to individuals with varying levels of financial literacy.
  3. Environmental Influences: The socio-economic landscape of 2017, filled with headlines about millennials struggling to buy houses, served as a backdrop for Sharesies’ inception. Williams recognised the need for a new approach to wealth accumulation, one that wasn’t solely reliant on property investment.

Challenges & Insights

  1. Navigating Financial Institutions: Williams shared her personal experience of feeling excluded and frustrated when attempting to invest in her 20s. This setback fuelled her determination to create a platform where individuals could invest small amounts and build their portfolios with ease.
  2. Understanding Customer Sentiment: Before launching Sharesies, extensive research was conducted to understand people’s attitudes towards money and investing. Williams highlighted the importance of providing a positive and welcoming experience for users, recognising that many people have a fraught relationship with money.
  3. Hospitality as a Theme: Williams emphasised the importance of hospitality in Sharesies’ approach to customer service. Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment was paramount to ensuring users felt comfortable and empowered to engage with the platform.

Moving Forward With Purpose

  1. Long-Term Vision: Despite Sharesies’ seven-year journey, Williams still views the company as being in its infancy. The team remains committed to their vision of creating multi-generational impact and financial empowerment for all New Zealanders.
  2. Practical Steps Towards Impact: Williams acknowledged the daunting nature of pursuing lofty goals but emphasised the importance of taking practical steps every day. Sharesies’ journey serves as a testament to the power of persistence and execution in bringing visionary ideas to fruition.
  3. Looking Ahead: As Sharesies continues to evolve, Williams envisions the platform playing a central role in reshaping New Zealand’s financial landscape. By democratising access to investing and fostering financial literacy, Sharesies aims to empower individuals to take control of their financial futures.

Conclusion & Key Takeaways

Sonya Williams and Sharesies have redefined investing in New Zealand by breaking down barriers and providing accessible financial opportunities. Through persistence, a customer-centric approach, and visionary leadership, they have not only built a successful startup but also paved the way for financial empowerment and inclusivity for all.

  1. Persistence and Practicality: Sharesies’ journey underscores the importance of persistence and taking practical steps towards achieving long-term goals.
  2. Customer-Centric Approach: Understanding customer sentiment and providing a positive experience are essential for fostering engagement and trust.
  3. Visionary Leadership: Williams’ vision of financial empowerment and commitment to creating impact exemplify the qualities of visionary leadership in entrepreneurship.

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