When challenges arise, fall back to the ”why”

September 19, 2022. Stefan Willebrand.

You don’t need to be an avid news reader to know that the world has thrown up some pretty big challenges of late. A global pandemic, rising interest rates, and tough market conditions in areas like tech, to name just a few. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to feel discouraged and start to believe the naysayers. In times like these it is important to have a lot of support from your closest family, friends, and team members so that you can find the energy to pull through.

At the heart of any company there should be a clear why, and I use that reason many times when I get asked what Bricknode is. If the why is strong enough it will give you the energy you need to continue that journey to make change in the world.

We have been building Bricknode for 13 years now and I have been an entrepreneur for 25 years since I started my first company within FinTech at age 20. In all my endeavors, if the why had not been strong enough I would not have had the stamina to stay the course.

Early in my career I was driven by the quest for money but this quickly changed into a deeper drive to make a change. I wanted to be able to help as many people as possible to get closer, or all the way, to financial freedom and a more rewarding financial life.

I have always liked building, finding, and using new financial services where I could take care of my finances in better ways. The path for taking new services to market was way too long and was blocked by bureaucracy and challenges.

At that rate I calculated that during my lifetime I would only be able to launch a small number of financial services and that impact would not be big enough to make a real difference.

Understanding the bigger picture

By creating a B2B company that could provide a plug and play back-end solution for FinTech entrepreneurs, I saw that we would be able to impact many more lives than if we focused on a direct-to-consumer business model.

Trying to make a dynamic and efficient back-end solution forces you to make some tough decisions along the way. You cannot think short term and you cannot build a lot of specialized customization directly in the core because then you quickly bump into a wall.

Customization is definitely possible, but it should be separated from the core as stand-alone applications or through easy configurations.

This is a worthy cause to make a long-term impact on the lives of many and it deserves huge amounts of resources and investments. Basing our headquarters in a small town in Sweden has been both good and bad. The bad part is that it is hard to gain the type of exposure or trust that a company based in a larger city would get. Who would have thought that a tight team of FinTech experts in Skövde could persevere into running a company listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange! 😀

The good part is the loyalty and commitment that you build in your team.

We are still too small to make everything perfect, but we make up for that by showing heart in everything that we do. Helping entrepreneurs bring their products to market in a highly regulated industry with a lot of monopolies around is what keeps us working way too many hours per day.

Delivering superior investment infrastructure

Over these 13 years we have invented a very impressive and granular core investment system based on transactions and accounts that goes deeper than any other system that I have seen. Thanks to all the engineering skills that has gone into this and all the early adopters that stuck with us, we now have an enormous base where we can handle most types of financial activities.

As we announced in May, we are now going full force into setting up our own regulated brokerage firm. This is the missing piece for us to truly become a real plug and play provider to FinTechs, financial advisors and asset managers. We will not have a consumer facing brand of our own but strictly focus on being a great B2B broker with awesome technology.

We want to be seen as a partner to our customers and an enabler for them. We have invested everything that we’ve managed to raise ourselves, including customer revenue and external investment in order to build the company and the products that we have today. We want nothing more than to be able to continue to invest in our solution and our relationships. We want to participate in the risk of our customers and share in the upside of their successes.

To do this though, we need to get the word out about Bricknode and to gain a lot more users of our systems globally. Only then can we make meaningful change around the world and impact lives for the better. We need evangelists, both in the shape of customers, investors and team members who believe in this same cause.

A helping hand for fellow entrepreneurs

The market is now ready for us and Bricknode is ready to really go global. I will personally make myself available to help and advice entrepreneurs within finance that put the needs of consumers first.

To pull my straw to the stack, I have just launched a new website called Put the fun in finance together with a public code repository in GitHub where I will share code examples to help users along the way.

Only one thing is for certain, we are going to have ups and downs, but I can promise that every Bricknoder will always do their best and invest as much effort as possible into promoting positive change. No matter how great your product is the world is full of challenges and there is no certainty that your product will break through the noise.

The more you practice the luckier you get, and we have certainly practiced a lot!