Dreaming of a sunny holiday in the south of France, cruising the Bahamas or slicing up the slopes at a Swiss ski resort? Or maybe you just want to upgrade the car or get a home reno under way? Whatever the goal, big or small, Brisbane startup Squirrel is on a mission to help you get there.
Watching people struggle to save for their dream holidays, cars, houses and more was the driving force for banking professionals Amanda Andrews and Andrew Kiel to build Squirrel.
They wanted to use their skills in finance to help people achieve their goals without having to take out personal loans. That’s when they landed on their idea - a bucket list app where users can allocate savings and track their progress.
Amanda says their mission is to help people get more out of life, one bucket list item at a time.
"When asked, everyone says they have a bucket list - things they want to do, experience, achieve in life," she says.
"Just the thought of one day getting to tick off some or all of their life bucket list makes people light up with enthusiasm, but most people leave it at that.
"In most cases, it's because there’s no actual list. There’s no plan, no tangible goal or date to go for. Nothing to track and save towards."
Amanda says that while there are existing bucket list apps there’s none that merge the budgeting and finance with goal setting.
"We knew this was a problem, so we wanted to use our experience to fix it - by creating an app that makes it easy and fun to create and track your life bucket list."
The founders say Squirrel is the first app to bring bucket lists and budgeting together. In addition to having one place to capture all of your bucket list goals, you can also plan and visualise savings to track your progress and stay motivated.
Facing challenges and solving problems happens every day in a startup, and Amanda says that was no exception for Squirrel App.
"Squirrel App is quite visionary, and so was difficult to articulate as a concept. After a dedicated few months, we decided to put pitching to the side and channel our efforts into bringing an MVP to market.
"Essentially, we went the bootstrapping path which we found to be very difficult. You're always needing and wanting to do more than you can afford, but it forces you to be incredibly commercial about investment decisions, of any resource.
"Ultimately, it teaches you to look beyond obvious or easier answers to business challenges and show discipline and restraint - a habit that bodes exceptionally well when you do have funds."
Looking back now, Amanda says they're glad they went down that path. "We wouldn't have grown and learned as much as we have. This is putting us in excellent stead right now, as we accelerate product and market expansion," she says.
"It's cliché but the successes are also so much sweeter when they happen."
Since its launch in September 2016, Squirrel App has reached the number one spot in the Apple Store for finance in Australia and featured in the 'New apps we love' in Taiwan and Canada Apple Stores. The team is currently working to bring the app to Google Play.
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