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In the latest in our Gamechangers series profiling start-ups that have graduated from the Barclays Accelerator programme, we talk to Tyler McIntyre and Michael Rangel, founders of small business banking fintech Novo, about how they are providing business owners with easy-to-use banking tools – while competing against some of the biggest organisations in the world.

(Tyler) Novo is… a banking platform that provides better business deposit accounts to companies. Essentially, Novo is bringing small business banking into the modern age with easy-to-use tools for founders on-the-go – within our app you can link accounts, pay bills, transfer money and lots more.

(Tyler) We joined the Accelerator… to access different resources in the banking community, the financial community and the start-up community as a whole, allowing our business to grow at a quicker pace.

(Tyler) The main thing that sets us apart from our competitors is… our work with small businesses. A lot of the banks out there offer tailored technology for mass market consumers or corporates, which doesn’t work well for smaller businesses – especially start-ups.

(Michael) We got the idea… when we realised that you could automate and integrate every single part of a business pretty well, except banking. People are forced to use tools they don’t understand to try and get a better financial understanding of their business. We couldn’t grasp how technology has advanced so much and yet banking for small businesses was living in the past.

Joining the Accelerator is the single best decision we’ve made in our business to date

(Tyler) I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur… from a very young age when I used to trade my Pokémon cards in the playground. I’ve always liked building things, and was always able to envision what I wanted to build and use specific pieces to create something with it. I’m doing the same today with programming by finding a problem in society, or in this case simply one that I was facing, and envisioning a solution for that problem.

(Michael) To become a successful entrepreneur… you have to be ready to fail – a lot. It isn’t an easy road. In fact, there is no road at all – you’ve got to be the one who builds the road.

The best way to do it is to surround yourself with people that will push you out of your comfort zone. One doesn’t acquire the title of ‘entrepreneur’ by being in a comfortable state. The second you get comfortable, you know you are doing something wrong… very wrong.

I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur from a very young age, when I used to trade my Pokémon cards in the playground

(Tyler) One of our biggest challenges… stemmed from getting the vendor compliance in place and ready to go before the launch of the product. It was a huge undertaking because we did not come from the banking industry and had to read thousands of pages on law, compliance, regulations and get up to speed with everything. We’ve always been underdogs and we will always be underdogs.

(Tyler) The advice we would give to somebody entering the programme… is don’t be shy to engage with Barclays: engage with them as much as you can because they are there to help and support you in any way possible. Barclays has all the resources to answer the questions you can’t find online, but can only share it if you take the first step!

(Michael) We were initially sceptical… about participating in an accelerator programme put on by a large financial institution, but we quickly changed our tune as we witnessed how much value Barclays created for Novo – it is the single best decision we’ve made in our business to-date.

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