Startup spotlight: Jason Leong, Pocketsmith

Like most enterprising types, Pocketsmith's Jason Leong lives and breathes the business.

Jason LeongMy first job was … writing feature articles as a wide-eyed, curly-haired teen cub reporter for The Star in Malaysia

And now I'm Pocketsmith's …. cofounder, and one half of a team that does everything to keep our startup ticking over!

In a nutshell, we do … a neat web app that lets you organise your money in a calendar, and predicts your future bank balances

And we do it because … we believe money management is about planning ahead for life's opportunities. Our focus on projection lets our users be aspirational, and work back from there.

We started out ... in June 2008 as a team of three. We had just left a web development firm where we'd worked together, and – after years of being inspired by other startups – decided to give it a shot

And now … we know how much work it takes to do it right! Our 'retail' app has users worldwide, but the majority is from the US. We also white-label the underlying software for a range of uses, from standalone PFM to a banking front-end for debit cards.

Our philosophy is … to not give up. If something doesn't work, figure out why, fix it and try again

To work here, you've got to be … able to execute well, hold your own, and have a fierce dedication to our customers

Our customers are … smart. And as such, we pay attention to them

We wish they'd understand that … we spend nearly every waking minute thinking about how to make PocketSmith better! We think they do, actually

Right now, the industry is … learning more about itself. Most of our competitors hit the market with a bang between 2007 and 2009, but a lot of them are now in the deadpool. Establishing a company in the financial industry is a long game, and money won't be going out of fashion anytime soon. Payment methods will change though, and this will be a catalyst for some pretty neat innovation in this space

At the moment, we're focusing on … tightening up our live bank feeds and mobile interfaces.

And next, we will ... be exploring ways to let our users better integrate PocketSmith with the key aspects of their day-to-day lives. This will involve connecting with 3rd-party APIs, which will be fun.

The biggest business lesson we've learned … is to track and measure the outcomes of our efforts. As they say, if it's not worth measuring, it's not worth doing!

The highlight of our journey so far is … having the opportunity to make a difference in our users' lives. A lot of people don't enjoy managing their money, and as such find themselves in difficult situations. It's our hope that our contribution to personal finance helps improve a good number of future outcomes!

If I wasn't doing this, I'd … be spending more time with my friends and loved ones.

I'm inspired by … my co-founder James, fellow entrepreneurs, and the NZ startup community as a whole

Jason Leong is cofounder of Pocketsmith, a finalist in the BNZ Startup Alley competition at Webstock.

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