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: Neil Edmond, Alex Lam, Paul Davis, Paul Marsh

Business: MoneyTime

Founded: 2018

HQ: Canterbury

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Most teachers and parents weren’t taught financial literacy, so they find it hard to teach to children. This means youth are growing up without personal finance skills, resulting in adults with high levels of personal debt, an inability to fund emergencies, difficulty entering the housing market and low saving for retirement.

So we created MoneyTime, a gamified, online financial literacy program for 10-14 year olds. It teaches kids personal finance at the time they are starting to manage their own money. A key feature is that it doesn’t rely on teachers and parents to do the teaching, instead children learn through interactive lessons and gamification.

The 30 self-taught modules cover the full spectrum of personal finance; from earning, saving and budgeting to borrowing, investing and business. Children have to solve problems regularly throughout the modules and are rewarded with money for each correct answer to spend on avatars and investments within the program. This builds confidence in making their own financial decisions. They have to choose between spending, saving, donating and investing – just like they will have to do in real life.

The approach is highly effective; regular pre-tests and post-tests throughout the program show MoneyTime has produced an average 44% increase in knowledge across 60,000 users. It’s been used successfully in 730 NZ schools (44% of TAM) and by 2,500 home subscribers since our launch in 2018.

What’s the backstory for your business idea?

I (Neil Edmond) have always wanted to make a difference. I didn’t know how I was going to do this until I discovered my teen aged son didn’t know the difference between wages and a salary. I had assumed my kids were being taught this sort of thing at school but they weren’t. After 20 years running my own marketing consultancy I decided it was time for a change. I wrote the MoneyTime program, contracted a designer for the gamification and Alex Lam, a cofounder, had his development team put it into software. We now have an internationally awarded program that is helping kids in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the US start their financial journeys on the right foot.

What programmes, learning or mentoring, or resources have been of assistance so far?

  • I’ve been mentored by my cofounders, Business Mentors New Zealand and Te Ōhaka Centre for Growth & Innovation.
  • I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons from other Edtech founders.
  • I would recommend all entrepreneurs do the wellbeing program for avoiding burnout and unlocking your potential.


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