Doron Cohen, co-founder of Covercy, talks about eliminating the hidden costs facing SMEs who make international money transfers.

Covercy eliminates the hidden costs facing SMEs who make international money transfers and is licensed by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Authorised Payment Institution. The FinTech startup closed a $1.5 million (£1.1 million) funding round led by venture capital firm SGVC earlier this year.

Doron Cohen, CEO of Covercy, founded the company in 2015 to break the stranglehold the traditional banks have on the international business money transfer market (with 95% of payments around the world handled by them in this sector). During his days as a co-founder and co-CEO of Leverate, a leading forex technology provide, he experienced how expensive the SWIFT international payments network was. Unlike others, coming from the FX world, he knew that it could be done differently - and Covercy was born.

I/we came up with the idea when... During my days at Leverate, a leading foreign exchange (FX) technology provider, I saw how expensive the SWIFT international payments network was and felt things had to change. Unlike other competitors within the cross-border transaction space, I came from the FX world and knew that it could be done differently, so I decided to set up Covercy as a beneficial option for businesses, especially SMEs and startups, where every penny saved counts!

The biggest challenge is... Delivering a customer centric user interface that enables our customers to make payments seamlessly, despite the regulatory hurdles we face.

The average day is spent... Devising the internal and external strategy, which breaks into three branches:

Strategy: Analysing our results, researching our market and evaluating ideas on how to win.

Internal: Supporting VPs on executing our strategy with 1-on-1 meetings and project-dedicated forums.

External: Meeting third parties to evaluate opportunities and promote partnerships.

The team consists of... Our higher management consists of very talented individuals.

Gonen Tiberg is a co-founder and CTO; he’s an entrepreneur at heart and was previously co-founder and CTO of Tryout.net - the first kid-safe talent network.

Boaz Zaionce is also a co-founder and acts as our CMO. He has experience in consulting and online marketing from his time at Wix.com, one of the leading global website building platforms.

Errol Rudnick is the Management Director of the UK branch and our first investor. He brings over thirty years of experience from multiple CEO and CIO positions at regulated hedge funds and asset management firms in both the UK and the USA.

Shai Raifman is the VP of finance, holding experience as both an auditor, and financial strategy consultant, at Ernst & Young.

Eldad Perry is our VP of customer relations, boasting over fifteen years of experience in sales and customer relations.

My favourite quote... A journey of a thousand miles starts with one single step. I think this characterises entrepreneurship. You have a great idea with great potential, but to go from the idea, state of mind to the more practical side of things you need to take a brave step forward.

I am where I am today because of... SWIFT is dead. Forty plus years of an outdated, one size fits all, protocol has caused shouting for change. With the knowledge I gained at Leverate on financial technology and regulations, I decided to build Covercy. We're now ready to scale up and take over cross border payments.

I am who I am because of... At the beginning of my career I started as a software developer and could have ended up in any given tech company. However, I was always encouraged to try new things and to think bigger. Both my family, who set an example of independence by running their own business, and living in the second largest startup hub in the world, made me the entrepreneur I am today.

The best advice I've been given... Create the right team that can lead you to success. As talented as one individual can be, without colleagues challenging their ideas, without stimulating thought processes and adding ideas into the mix, it’s impossible to innovate the concept beyond its basic origin.

In five years I’d like to be... developing Covercy to become the world's small and medium businesses preferred way of making cross border payments.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online... In one line - you will simply have to work harder than you ever worked before.

It’s clear that you care about your business as you are the one running it, but only when you get started do you realise how invested you really are, how much you have to give it, and how much it takes from you. The hours, the successes, the frustrations, the employees and yes the stress are all there, constantly. It is not an easy job but it is a great learning experience with potentially greater rewards.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us... Not keeping track of time has probably been our biggest mistake. There are times I look back and wonder why we didn’t do things faster. It’s true that doing things faster does not guarantee they will be done better and my main take from this is to simply assess all tasks needed to be done in order to take the business from A to B. Take into consideration time and the impact on the business and be decisive - go for quick wins, low hanging fruits that have great potential to help your decision making in light of the bigger picture. Go for these first as they might save you a lot of development time down the line.

The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date... I believe the answer to this is simply our clients. Covercy was created in order to help SMEs save money on their cross-border payments, and make their experience as easy as possible. It’s amazing when clients tell us that our product has helped them and that they’ve recommended it to others.

August 2016