What is Cake and why should we know about it?
K: Cake is a simple and fast way for innovative companies to manage their equity – and stay compliant. Cake unlocks the value of your equity, so you can easily grow your business.
J: It’s a game-changer in issuing and managing private equity. Cake takes what is currently a very complicated and painful process and makes it simple and fast, helping you to use your equity much more powerfully.
How did you get the idea?
K: I have always believed that equity will become more transparent, valuable and liquid in the future, so more companies will be empowered to build great businesses. Once I understood that incorporating solid legal structures really benefits advancements in finance, Cake was born.
J: We’re passionate about innovation, and the innovation community in Australia, so we look for ways to help and add value. We’ve seen first hand how much administration is required when issuing shares and doing a seed round – the steps seem never-ending, and it goes on for months. When issuing equity for something like advisory services, it’s incredibly confusing time consuming – that’s where Cake comes in and simplifies the whole process.
What has your experience been funding Cake?
K: Challenging. It’s hard to know which route to take – crowdfunding, private investment, doing a bridge round, or going straight for a bigger seed round. I believe that if you continuously improve your business, you eventually won’t need the funding or at least, funding will be very easy to get. So, for me it comes down to being able to bootstrap long enough, until one of those two things happen.
What’s your biggest win?
J: Securing a Heads of Agreement with Equitise is our biggest win. With Equitise we get customers, a strong credible partner, and access to significant further opportunities.
What’s your biggest mistake?
K: Not enough focus. Doing too many things at once makes you lose focus on what’s important, and that’s solving a problem.
J: Navigating the legal space has been hard. After learning what we could do in relation to ASIC compliance and API, we now have some redundant code that cost quite a lot. Personally, my biggest mistake is not being prepared enough for our pre-seed raise, which is now taking too long.
“My biggest mistake is not being prepared enough for our pre-seed raise.”
Do you have any tips for scaling or growing your business?
K: It really depends on the business. We’re a B2B, so we work closely with our beta group of customers to make sure Cake is solving a real problem for them. Once that group is created, and the problem and solution has been validated, it’s much easier to grow your customer base.
What needs to improve/change for Australia to become a global leader in innovation and tech?
K:I think we need more success stories. Not only so investors can help fund startups and growing innovative businesses, but also so more people join startups instead of looking for a job overseas.
J: A more supportive policy around freedom of the internet, and less focus on scare tactics. More imported knowledge jobs with a greater focus on bringing in foreign investment.
Have you had any challenges sourcing and growing your team?
K: Not really. We have a few friends with great networks who help us find great talent. We also try to help the community as much as possible through knowledge sharing, which helps us reach great people.
If you could go back, what’s two things you would do differently?
K: I’d be more focused and even more bootstrapped.J: I’d have a tighter financial control on the development spend, and better knowledge of the industry.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
K: Another startup. It’s a really great feeling to see your customers loving your product!
J: Something similar. Or working as a remote CFO.
“It’s a really great feeling to see your customers loving your product!”
If you were given $1M on the proviso that you spent it all in one day, how would you spend it?
K: I would put it in an investment fund that provides grants for innovation companies.
J: I would spend a quarter to build sales for my business, another quarter on something safe like property that would help my family, then a quarter on fun stuff like holidays and toys, and the last quarter on helping the planet, probably investing in a startup that helps clean up the oceans.
Tell us something that most people don’t know…
K: I sometimes cry while watching romantic comedies alone on long haul flights.
J: I have been to over 50 countries across six continents.
What’s the best advice you could give to someone starting out?
K: Find someone positive, with lots of energy and good experiences who complements your skillset, and is aligned with your values. It’s really hard to do it alone. The most valuable thing you can do every day is invest in yourself and your community.
J: Focus on a big problem, where there is a big market with money to spend. Find one that matches your skills and passion.
“The most valuable thing you can do every day is invest in yourself and your community.”