28 Jul Comparing Financial Services and Products with iMoney – Interview with Founder Lee Ching Wei
iMoney is a financial portal offering free service that helps regular people make comparisons between banks for loans credit cards savings and other banking services. It has data for over 200 credit cards, 500 loan packages and thousands of investment products. It was launched in Malaysia in April 2012 by founder Lee Ching Wei, and has grown tremendously since the early days. We got him to tell us more about iMoney.
1. Do tell us about iMoney.
Founded in April 2012, it started out with a team of three, sharing a collective vision to simplify financial matters for consumers. Today the site provides free financial services comparison to consumers, as well as application services for home, personal and car loans, credit cards and other banking products. iMoney has also created a large library of financial related content, aimed at educating the general public. Consumers then use these services to choose and apply for financial products.
2. How long did you take to get the idea off the ground?
We went from nothing to a fully functioning website in under 14 days. Since then, our website has constantly improved (and we haven’t stopped improving!).
3. Given the short gestation period, did you have time to really survey the market properly? What makes you so sure the idea would work? Was there a plan B?
Absolutely. Even though the execution of the site was very quick, we did a very thorough research prior to even embarking on this idea. iMoney’s business model is a well-proven one, and similar successful businesses can be seen in many developed countries (some of these companies are billion dollar businesses).
We’re sure this idea is going to work because the problem is so REAL and HUGE. Every 3 seconds, 2 people are searching for financial products on the internet. And internet penetration is still relatively low in this region – I can only imagine what will happen in years to come!
4. Who is your target market?
Mass Audience – all consumers who need information on financial products.
5. In what ways does iMoney add value to people’s lives?
- The main idea was to create a ‘one stop shop’ / ‘convenient store’ concept to offer a sort of financial product comparison to make one’s life easier
- Creating a personal finance platform where people who could do their financial comparison
- Helping people to make best use of their money
6. What do you see iMoney in time to come? What are your plans for the company?
We are already Malaysia’s biggest financial portal, and our ambition is to become the top financial comparison site in the whole of South East Asia! We are on track to generate more than US$1 billion in business to banks and insurance companies this year.
7. What are some of the difficulties you faced during the initial stages?
At one point, I was wearing multiple hats, and taking on too many responsibilities as I was not willing to invest in resources (people & infrastructure).
The business ended up suffering due to the lack of good & fast execution in multiple areas — not surprisingly, since there is only so much a person can do.
With guidance & mentorship, I started building a team, delegating and trusting more, and a lot of what we have achieved to date is largely due to this — the amazing people around me who are much better at what they do than I would ever be.
8. Our readers are mostly retail investors and traders. Are you planning to compare brokers?
It is in our plans for the future!
9. Personally, do you invest or trade? What is your best/worst investment?
Not really. Everything I have is invested in the business!
10. What was the best advice you received in setting up iMoney? Any advice you would like to give to people just starting to take an interest in their finances?
1) Constant learning & personal growth — I encourage self-improvement and becoming a better person today than you are yesterday. I’ve seen how much value an investment in yourself can bring — it’s why at iMoney we make available a personal growth benefit to all staff, irrespective of position & job role.
2) Have a greater purpose in life than money — yes, if iMoney turns into a big success, we’d all make a lot of money. But that was never the primary reason I started iMoney. I believe if money is your primary motivation, you’d always build a business that optimizes for money only, and few businesses like that succeed over the long term.
3) Enjoy what you do, always — life is really short. If you aren’t doing something you enjoy or love every day, you’re really not doing yourself justice.
PS: iMoney is now up and running in Singapore. Do visit www.iMoney.sg for all your financial comparison needs.