Hustle + Hack: 3 Key Drivers to Wealthsimple’s Success

By now you’ve heard of Wealthsimple. Whether you’re a current user of the investment tool, you’ve read articles about how it’s disrupting financial services or you’ve heard about its young CEO and his bold and ambitious aspirations. Or as Globe and Mail wrote, The 28 Year Old CEO Terrorizing Bay Street. And most recently, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named the company an influential Canadian tech company.

Wealthsimple is an online investment management tool that is easy, accessible and convenient to use. Its brand is fresh and approachable.

“We’re on a mission to bring smarter financial services to everybody, regardless of age or net worth.” – Michael Katchen, CEO

Founded in 2014 with a team of 3 – 4 people, today it has over 100 employees with three offices in Toronto, New York, and London and it manages $1B in assets[i]. Their success is no accident. In fact, their current results are all part of the plan. In a recent event hosted by Techvibes, Michael Katchen explains it takes a little hacking and a lot of hustle to be successful. Here are three drivers behind Wealthsimple’s success:

  1. Think big. Pre-Wealthsimple, Michael worked in Silicon Valley. He said everyone there had the belief they could do anything. People had crazy, audacious business ideas. And audacious is good. Michael recommends everyone to think big. Think REALLY big. When you think that’s all you’re capable of achieving, force yourself to push further. We put too many limits on ourselves and our abilities that restrict our progress.
  2. Your team matters. Recognizing his own strengths and weaknesses, Michael made sure he collaborated and worked with the best in the industry including software engineers, data scientists and designers that previously worked at Amazon, Google and Apple[ii]. Having the right team in place is critical. Not only will they help conceptualize your ideas and bring them to fruition, their knowledge and passion will generate excitement and momentum throughout the team. Work with people that excite you.
  3. Commit to your dream. Lastly, you don’t have to have all the answers when starting your business. But ensure that you commit to your dream and figure it out as you go along. When Wealthsimple first launched Michael wanted to ensure the company was fully digital – from end to end – the entire client experience needed to be digital. At that point though, regulators still required paper application submissions. To ensure clients were not burdened by this, for a short time his small team of three filled out and submitted paper copies.

Michael’s commitment to his clients was apparent at the event. He talked about doing whatever it takes to make them happy. In fact, one of the company’s metric is how many happy clients they sign up daily.

It’ll be interesting to see the growth trajectory of this company. With an ambitious and charismatic CEO who has lofty goals, this company is sure to make waves as it continues to expand into new markets[iii].


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