SugarWallet is a New Zealand fintech founded by Devrat (Dave) Soni and Sophia Ritchie with a mission to make investing ‘ridiculously easy’ for everyone.
“There are 143 million people in APAC alone who can invest but continue to save mainly through banks,” Soni said.
“One reason for this is that the platforms are too complicated and time-consuming for someone with little financial knowledge.”
The pair brainstormed with hundreds of people, including tradies, doctors and even the unemployed, and concluded that helping people make investing a ‘habit’ was how Sugar Wallet could help them improve their financial security.
Fast forward just six months, and the team of four has built a platform that helps new investors invest a percentage of their salary directly into three simple mutual funds in under five minutes.
It’s a familiar, safe and easy-to-use platform for beginner investors to finally get started.
The team works with established fund managers to ensure their users have access to industry-leading asset classes – but without words like ETFs; Stop loss and API
“Our users tell us that before Sugar Wallet they were just procrastinating on building good financial habits, and signing up solved that,” Sonny said.
Already, Sugar Wallet has experienced ‘viral’ growth in just a few months on the market, with its early traction and metrics matching and in some cases surpassing similar metrics for platforms like Sharesies and Spaceship.
Now selected to join Sugar Wallet GD1 Funded Level one incubator In the year It aims to produce 10 Kiwi technology ‘unicorns’ (aka ‘kiwicorn’) by 2026.
‘Not good enough to record.’
Dave is no stranger to small businesses – he previously ran his custom clothing store, Devonche, to sell the most common clothing in New Zealand from one store in just three years. Serving news outlets, All Blacks, Black Caps, BMW and more.
It helped the florist generate $100,000 in revenue in its first six months digitally.
Founder Sophia Ritchie worked as a software engineer at Cero and Billi (a bill distribution platform) and is also a serial entrepreneur.
Growing a tech startup, however, was a new challenge that required an unrelenting focus on what Sony called ‘problem discovery’.
“What problem are you solving?” He asked me, “I’ll never forget our last-minute conversation with an experienced Unicorn operator. he said.
“We were going to go full steam ahead with what looked like an overseas application, but in the afternoon, after hearing myself express my high-level thinking, it all seemed shallow. That discussion was key to returning our approach to ‘problem discovery’.
Copying something that works well overseas isn’t enough, Sony realized.
“If you’re in a regulated market, build market by market, like fintech – you have to understand the local market – the local sensitivity and the specific target audience you’re facing locally. before You can think about expanding your global business and seeing if the global audience has the same problem.
“Time spent thinking hard questions is critical.”
Since then, the two have sought out mentors who frequently ask tough questions; And can give advice from life experience.
“There’s a lot of wisdom online, but founders need advice on how to apply that wisdom to their specific startups. There is great value in drawing on the experience of someone who has already walked that path,” Soni said.
“What Mahesh Muralidhar, CEO and founder of Phase One Ventures, has created more than just a formulaic ‘know-how’ out there for early-stage startups. Incubator advisors all have great credibility and can offer real-world experience and advice that challenges our naive assumptions. Many of them have been involved in taking companies from $0 to a billion dollars in revenue – this knowledge is rare in New Zealand.
Sugar Wallet’s angel investors include CEOs and ex-operators from global fintech and B2C giants: Robinhood, Transferwise, Public.com, Canva and NZ Rich-Lister William Smale, who has team experience at Xero; Wallet, Thero, NetWealth, Pushpay and EzyVet/VetRadar
“Every day, we’re solving a very real problem for the financially inexperienced. And we’re excited to partner with us to build habits that will literally change their future. This is what we live for – to make investing sweeter,” said Soni.