Severe uncertainty and lockdowns in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in savings escalating worldwide. Plum is a savings and investment application that has flourished in this environment already reaching 2 million registered users primarily based in the United Kingdom, but also in France, Spain, and Ireland. Its aim is to expand all over Europe and offer consumers a product that helps them grow their money.
Victor Trokoudes, Plum’s co-founder, talked on Outliers, Endeavor Greece’s podcast series with media partner MoneyReview, about how his fintech company was born, its expansion, and future goals.
From Cyprus to the United States and London
Victor was born and raised in Cyprus by his Canadian mother and Cypriot father. He studied Economics at Harvard, and in 2008, at the peak of the world financial crisis, he was working as a trader at Morgan Stanley in New York. “There I saw the system crash, and I left,” he says.
He obtained his MBA in 2012, having focused mainly on fintech (a term that did not yet exist), and then he returned to England. The idea for Plum was born there, only after another very important milestone in his career – TransferWise.
Growing “up with” TransferWise
Victor joined TransferWise when the company still had just 6 employees. He was head of International and during his tenure, the company expanded into 25 countries, including the USA, Canada, China, India, Japan and Australia.
“My tenure there played a major role. When you start from scratch, you have no idea how much the company can grow. When you start having an impact on society and the regulatory authority takes serious notice of you, then you learn a lot about how a company grows and operates. This gives you the basis for creating something of your own,” he points out.
After TransferWise had considerably grown, he felt that he was mature enough to take the next step. “I managed to build a company that runs itself, and I felt that I was no longer needed there,” he adds.
The Birth of Plum
At that time, he met Alex Michael, Plum’s Co-founder. They were in their 30s and they both wanted to make better use of their money, instead of keeping it in the bank. As a result, an idea for an app was born which would provide the user with an automated saving and investment process. “Alex was a very good developer and he knew how to write code, whereas I had very good knowledge of the sector,” he says. As for the name, it was Alex’s choice as he was inspired by his beloved grandfather, who used to sell plums in Cyprus.
In 2016, the first product the company developed was a messenger bot. It started to save money and it sent the data to the user. Afterward, the user had the potential to invest in funds. The new possibility that will soon be offered by the application is stock trading, investing in individual shares.
“People want to save money. Every month, we have 50,000-60,000 new users and we have seen a tremendous rise in the amount of money saved since the beginning of the year. Savings have doubled. A percentage of the users as high as 65% wants to keep these savings, they do not wish to spend them,” Victor points out.
Plum has raised more than $23 million with the latest funding round led by EBRD & Global Brain Corporation, one of the largest VCs in Tokyo. Its goal is to expand all over Europe, to operate in a market of more than 300 million people, and offer everyone the potential to increase the money they save. They also have a card in the making, which will enable users to purchase products or services.
The article was published on moneyreview.gr