I like to think I have a decent track record for spotting super UK Startups early on. I pointed at and shouted about DueDil and GoCardless long before they were as well known as they are now.
OK, so I missed Buffer, but everyone missed Buffer! (seriously? scheduled tweets??)
I think we can all agree that the makings of a good business include the following:
- A huge market opportunity
- An obvious and accessible revenue stream
- An easy to understand concept
- A real sense of mission and passion in the founding team
- Making good use of technology
- Easy to scale
- Lots of tangential business development opportunities
- Bonus Points: A socially worthwhile cause
This week saw the launch of Osper, a company that has all of the above and more.
Osper helps 8 to 18 year-olds learn financial and money management. They’re provided with their own pre-paid debit cards and a mobile app. Parents have their own login to the app and can load money ad-hoc or set up regular deposits – pocket money.
My daughter has been using her Osper card over the last year so I’ve seen first hand the impact it has. The most obvious has been with iTunes purchases. All of a sudden that 69p app isn’t such a must-have purchase when it comes from her own card rather than from sweet-talking daddy. When she was getting cash, she’d often ask us to look after it for her. But with her own card with her name on it, she proudly wields it in Claires Accessories.
As money becomes increasingly digital it becomes increasingly more important for our kids to be comfortable using abstract representations of cash. And learning the value of money is something everyone wants to drum in to their kids, regardless of where you are on the income scale.
One thing I’d love to see added is the ability to charge interest. Sure I’ll lend you £10 so you can buy that Simpsons doll today instead of next week – but I’ll want £11 back.
I met Alick Varma, Osper Founder & CEO, when he was in the inaugural class of Techstars London last year. So I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that the company has managed to raised over $10m already – Alicks passion for the mission he is on is obvious as soon as he starts talking about it. It’s also quickly apparent that he’s as sharp as single atom tip formed by chemically assisted spatially controlled field evaporation.
This business ticks all of the boxes.