Nigel Verdon has built and sold several fintech companies. He has started them, bootstrapped them, raised venture capital, grown them, and sold them.
During our interview on the DealMakers podcast, Nigel shared his journey of going full cycle through several startups. We talked about raising tens of millions of dollars from high profile funds, the keys to building a great business that scales, and learning from challenging times.
Many highly successful entrepreneurs find their greatest idea from traveling. It certainly helps to understand new cultures and makes scaling easier. Nigel Verdon was fortunate enough to have grown up with an incredibly broad global perspective.
His parents were from Dublin, Ireland. Under the rules of the day they had to move to another country to get married. His dad ended up in the British military service, and Nigel wound up growing up all around the world. They lived in the US, UK, Germany, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Nepal, Malaysia, and more.
He found it fascinating. It taught him not to make assumptions about people. Yet, we also learned many fundamental differences between countries you might think were similar. They have different languages and cultures, and different philosophies and ways of thinking.
These experiences also gave him great insight into how to localize products and business, but still, build a company with global capacity.
Nigel ended up studying in the UK. Not getting the best grades the first time around he ended up joining the Navy and seeing even more of the world via the water. Later he had the chance to advance his education at Warwick University, where he ended up meeting his current company cofounder.
Falling In Love With Engineering
Verdon seems to have benefited from already having some entrepreneurial and banking DNA in his family. His great great grandfather was a cofounder of ANZ Bank, which has its head offices in Australia.
Yet, his first dive into engineering wasn’t what you’d typically expect of one of today’s tech entrepreneurs. He did enjoy studying math and theory, but even more so creating and fixing things. Like how you can make ice cream from raw ingredients, and troubleshoot fixing jeeps and Land Rovers.
That rolled into engineering companies in the banking and technology sectors. His first job at Swiss bank EDS gave him first-hand insight into how they used tech to transform trading. That was back on Next Computers before it became the Mac OS.
From there, he and three friends ended up founding and bootstrapping their own first startup, Evolution.
Learning From Challenging Times
Nigel Verdon has already been through several business cycles. Even before the COVID-19 crisis.
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