As Dosh founders Shane Marsh & James McEniery spend their first Matariki in NZ since returning home from corporate careers in Singapore, we thought it fitting to hear reflections on their entrepreneurial journey so far, and aspirations for the year ahead.
This year has brought significant changes to the way you both work. How have you adapted to the start-up life?
Shane: The transition from corporate to entrepreneur life has been a huge change, and I still have much learning ahead to fully adapt to the entrepreneur mindset. I have really enjoyed the ability to move fast and execute, without the corporate structures that often hold back innovation in large companies. I also love the ability to define our own path, and to bring people on the journey with us.
James: I was lucky in those the last 4 years in Singapore, I was running a start-up within a large corporate so a few of the fundamentals remain. Like clear strategy but the ability to change quickly, test and learn, and work within a framework of freedom (so know your guiderails for decision making and risk taking). For me the outcome is the same, a great customer experience, and the money you are spending – you are responsible and accountable for that spend. I have enjoyed working from home, not travelling 3 months a year away from my family but also ensuring I change my working environment every week to keep my mind active and on task. It’s also great to be home!
Name a couple of your highlights in this Dosh journey.
Shane: The positive response to Dosh has been an overwhelming highlight. We started with a vision and belief that Dosh could make a difference in the lives of Kiwis – and are blown away by the number of people who have the same view. Now the challenge is to bring the solution to market and enable as many people to benefit as possible. Another highlight is the degree to which the good old Kiwi network has helped us to progress. With New Zealand’s relatively low population, people are connected by only a few degrees of separation. Connectivity, together with a genuine willingness to help, has enabled us to make progress more seamlessly than we had anticipated.
James: Highlights include the support and passion our friends and family have shown to our project. The network back here is very open, and I have been lucky to have a lot of kind people give their time to share their experiences with me and give me feedback or advice. I will always be thankful for those early conversations. Also, the wonderful investors that approached us and have trusted us has really been a highlight.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Shane: While there is a significant desire from Kiwis to bring new, innovative solutions to our shores, this is not necessarily the case for the large companies that currently dominate the market. The larger providers struggle to innovate and new entrants are seen as a competitive risk. While this is natural in any market where disruptors are taking market share, the degree to which barriers to entry have successfully limited new players into the market is quite shocking. New Zealand is falling behind the world, but Dosh will look to change this by bringing digital financial solutions to the market.
James: For me, working through the financial regulations and requirements to deliver our product in NZ was a big learning curve. Unlike Shane I have limited experience in financial markets so understanding the challenges and working through a Plan A, B, C to overcome them was a big piece of work.
The Dosh digital wallet app will come with a raft of features, including the ability to instantly pay or receive money 24/7, and rewards & vouchers sent direct to your smartphone. When Dosh launches in Q3, what do you think will have the biggest impact on the way Kiwis make everyday financial transactions?
Shane: The ability to pay each other instantly, at anytime and anywhere via their mobile will be a game changer. Kiwis are very used to using internet banking to pay people and probably don’t realise this multi-step process with its delays is not how people around the world pay each other today. We hope people will really enjoy the ease of paying via Dosh.
James: To be able to pay your mates instantly via SMS will be great. I loved using this in Singapore, it just made my life simpler. I hate owing people money, so I am looking forward to this. I’m also looking forward to helping NZ businesses. SMEs will benefit from Dosh by not having to pay large merchant fees and also by being able to drive their business through the marketing features within Dosh.
What are your aspirations for the year ahead?
Shane: We aspire to make really make a big difference to people’s lives through using the Dosh app. To achieve this, we need as many people on the app as possible to create a ‘network effect’ in which the growth is driven by the users themselves. To achieve this in the coming year would be fantastic.
James: I’m looking forward to launching Dosh and seeing it being used in so many situations. I am also looking forward to seeing the next phase of developments we have planned to unlock all the benefits of digital wallets and see them in everyday use in NZ.
The countdown to launch is on, so make sure you’re on the waitlist to be amongst the very first to be able to download and use Dosh in New Zealand! Contact the team to find out more.