Ennie Lim has already raised several million dollars in equity, plus a $100M credit facility to help improve financial wellness in the workforce.
During her appearance on the Dealmakers Show, Ennie Lim talked about turning a crisis into an opportunity, the ugly side of payday lending, pitching investors, and financial therapy.
Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Embracing Exploration & Uncertainty
If there are two things that you must have to be an entrepreneur it is a willingness to just step out and explore and to be able to act in the face of uncertainty. Ennie Lim certainly showed that she developed a knack for this from a relatively young age.
Originally born in Malaysia, Lim’s family moved virtually as far around the world as they could go, to land in Montreal, Canada. Although very young at the time, she still remembers it being a very different environment, which required adjusting to pretty quickly.
Her father really loved the snow in Canada, but also wanted better opportunities for his family. She certainly hasn’t let that go to waste.
When it came time for university, Ennie says that she still wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do. So, she picked a combination of finance and marketing for her studies. In the hope that she’d find a use for them one day.
While finance has certainly proven to be very applicable to what she is doing today, she says that what she was taught in marketing then has become irrelevant due to the fast-changing landscape out there.
To become an entrepreneur you have to be able to drag yourself out of your comfort zone. After graduating, Ennie started work in the corporate world. Yet, found herself getting too comfortable.
She decided that it was time for a change. Packing up and taking off to move to Hong Kong seemed pretty different. So she did. Even though she didn’t know anyone there, or what she would do when she arrived.
It may have freaked her parents out a little at the time, but she still counts it as one of the best decisions she has ever made.
It certainly fueled her passion for even more travel, discovery, and exploring new cultures.
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Turning Distress Into Success
After meeting her now ex-husband in Hong Kong, they decided a move to San Francisco just made sense with his work in the tech industry.
In the Bay Area, Ennie found herself surrounded by entrepreneurs. Everyone wanted to build something, do something impactful, or change the world in some way. It also reminded her of her parents’ efforts to start their own businesses earlier on.
After six years her marriage ended. Unfortunately, she quickly found out how impactful that can be on your finances, and especially your credit.
She found little access to affordable credit and wasn’t even able to rent an apartment.
All of the volumes of information online didn’t seem to be helping. She just wished she could find someone to talk to. Like you can get with a mental health therapist.
She put all of her things in storage. Living out of her car seemed like one of her few options. Instead, her parents welcomed her home, to live in their basement. She describes it as a humbling experience. Though hitting rock bottom, it seemed like the only way to go from there was up.
She couldn’t believe that she was the only one in the world going through this situation.
Then she connected with a friend from college, who has since become her cofounder. He had been working in the fintech space. His father owned restaurants, and he saw how he often had to hand out advances to his workers. As well as offering them advice on their finances.
Ennie recalled how she had also seen her mom having to borrow from her employer at times. Especially when payday loan companies out there may often end up charging the equivalent of 200% interest.
Obviously, employer advances can be awkward for both sides. Employees don’t want to have to ask. Employers know that collecting is problematic. It certainly strains the relationship and often snowballs for the worse.
However, together with her co-founder, Ennie saw a path to a solution by working through the employer, as a benefit product.
Today, Lim’s startup Honeybee works with employers to offer financial wellness services to their workers as a benefit. Kind of like a 401k.
Employers pay a small monthly fee per employee. Employees get access to cash advances, with zero interest.
Beyond this, Honeybee provides financial education for workers. Including enabling them to bring in their kids to learn about financial topics, like student loans.
This may be especially important today. With around 70% of the country living paycheck to paycheck, and with so many having less than $1,000 in the bank for emergencies. Then adding hyperinflation and a new recession on top of that.
Ennie has taken the business from her parent’s basement in Montreal to San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Even though it took close to 130 investor pitches to land her first investor, Honeybee has already raised $6M in equity funding and a $100M credit line. They are already generating revenue, with an 82% profit margin, and are self-sustaining.
Storytelling is everything which is something that Ennie Lim was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- Pitching investors
- Relocating your startup out of the Bay Area
- Hiring a purpose-built team
- The future of financial wellness in the workplace
- Ennie Lim’s top tips for entrepreneurs