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[Interview] Playing with Moolah

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Playmoolah makes fussy financial planning fun for you.

Started by NOC alumnus Min and Audrey, PlayMoolah offers up WhyMoolah, an app that targets young adults. The app aims to help youth deal with the various financial decisions they have to make in the future.

WhyMoolah features various simulations to take us through every stage in life –from graduation to retirement– and shows us the impact made by every financial decision.

Read on for an interview by The Ridge with Min from PlayMoolah to find out more about their successes and entrepreneurship journey.

 

How did you guys meet and what prompted you guys to start a business together?

We met through the NOC programme. We were roommates, project-mates at Stanford University and colleagues at Qik –a Silicon Valley startup that later got acquired by Skype for $150M.

Both of started our own businesses before, shared a love for kids, and an interest to align business with a larger purpose and need in society!

 

How did you guys arrive at the idea of teaching financial literacy through PlayMoolah?

The idea for PlayMoolah came about in 2008, in the wake of the global financial crisis. We were studying and working in the US at that time, and witnessed firsthand the repercussions of poor financial literacy and the impact of a financial crisis on everyday life.

We were curious about the reasons for widespread poor financial literacy and looked up the problem. So we finally found an opportunity to use technology to influence the attitudes towards money!

Being passionate about children and youth, we built our first prototype for MoolahVerse – an online product that teaches children as young as six to manage their money through games and play.

Our company has since grown in size and reach since. Our second product, WhyMoolah, targets young people and seeks to empower young Singaporeans to take control of their finances early.

When we talked to our peers, we realised that our generation faces an unprecedented level of financial uncertainty –stagnant wages, diminishing job opportunities, vast amounts of debt.

Few are prepared to support themselves and a new kind of financial capability is needed; one that acknowledges community wealth, offers meaningful alternatives, builds resilience and responsibility in the way that we use our money.

Our dream is to enable people to live meaningful lives by developing a positive relationship with money!

 

What are some of the difficulties that you faced in the beginning?

Hiring! While we worked at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley, none of the founders had any background in programming. It was a difficult to hire a technical team that shared the same passion and vision. Our advisors from the Bay Area also helped us greatly with technical hiring.

We have learnt to focus on taking small steps while keeping the larger vision in mind. We are grateful to have a wonderful team now –made up of people with diverse talents united by the same passion to help young people live fulfilling lives.

 

Did you guys have any mentors/friends that guided you guys through the start-up process?

Our professors at Standford were our first mentors and they had introduced us to many entrepreneurs and investors; they provided great help in refining our ideas. We would not be able to come this far without our mentors and friends.

Currently, we have an advisory board, a wisdom council, and a community of young people who share the same journey as us.

 

 How is it like juggling schoolwork and a side-business?

It was very challenging but we had enjoyed it. Working on the business while schooling gave us a practical perspective of the theories we had learnt in class. Audrey even wrote a thesis based on our product.

After NOC, Audrey and I took turns to take a gap year to continue the momentum of the business, and we raised our seed round when we were in our final year.

 

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring student-entrepreneurs?

Ask yourself: What is the NEED you are solving? The money will come as a consequence!

 

WhyMoolah Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for free.