In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and change-makers working on innovative startups, social enterprises and SME’s around Aotearoa New Zealand.
At a glance
Founders: Sasha Lockley and Meurig Chapman
Business: Money Sweetspot
Can you tell us a bit about your business?
We are a sustainable finance business focused on helping people find a way out of spiraling debt. We’re on a mission to show there’s a better way to do lending that can be sustainable, impactful, scalable, and human.
We have some fundamental beliefs that drive our mission.
- People are good.
- Bad things can happen to any of us.
- The financial system judges people for what life inherently is – unpredictable.
- There must be a better way.
This judgement means that people are trapped in higher cost debt, defined by an unpredictable life event that impacted their situation, and are stuck in a cycle of juggling and struggling with their finances with no real options that can help them.
We celebrate when we lose customers.
Our financial reset debt consolidation loan is only a small part of what we do, we link debt and wellbeing, unheard of right?
We reward our customers commitment to their financial reset and engagement in financial education through additional amounts of their loan, into their savings account, and in donations to causes that our customers care about (that they choose!).
Kiwis who commit to doing the mahi deserve support and rewards, not unfair interest rates and the threat of harsh penalties.
Life can be unpredictable and fragile, but with the right financial options every New Zealander can still find their sweetspot: a place where people, families and communities can move through debt, rather than be defined by it. A place where they’re in charge.
What’s the backstory for your business idea?
Late 2019 CEO, Sasha Lockley experienced her ‘matrix’ moment where she realised that the reason that she was so upset and affected by the stories of her customers (she was COO of a large finance company) was that the things affecting her customers were events that had affected her own family.
Sasha’s family experienced unexpected deaths, bankruptcy (hiding from debt collectors), alcoholism and addiction, and mental health challenges. They were good people who had a bad thing happen to them. Unfortunately, those bad things became defining moments in her family’s life. Something they couldn’t work through.
Sasha is driven to create a place for people to move through their debt, rather than being defined by it. This mission is shared with her cofounder Rig Chapman. They know this problem well, they’re from the industry and they’re now trying hard to disrupt and call it their legacy mission.
What programmes, learning or mentoring, or resources have been of assistance so far?
- Focus on the people ahead of the programme or process: Kiwis are generous with their time and expertise. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You don’t have to listen to everything people say as you know your idea/problem but having conversations and perspectives is important.
- Find your tribe: Sasha is part of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship that has brought together over 500 impact driven entrepreneurs and investors from around the world. The thing I like is that when I say we can change the system the people here don’t roll their eyes at me or think I’m crazy!
- Diversity of relationship: In saying that, Sasha is also part of Collective Intelligence where teams are brought together deliberately from different backgrounds and approaches. This helps her to navigate blindspots, get called out on her bullshit, and have a safe space to chat when the reality of being an entrepreneur gets overwhelming (as it often does!)
- I prefer Podcasts to books – you can listen to them in double time during spare moments of space. The Seeds Podcast is great if you’re a mission driven entrepreneur. For downtime I listen to Feel Better Live More with Dr Chatterjee to give me a jolt back into my wellness away from my mission. The only book I re-read is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. If you haven’t read it… trust me!