The weekend is finally here. Every Friday we introduce you to people who are currently on the waitlist to try Spiff. Today? Meet our founder Steve! Get to know more about why he started Spiff along with Calle, what startup-life is like, his best personal saving-tip and the promising future of Spiff 🐿 !
Name: Steve Mellbye-Stølen
Occupation: Co-Founder of Spiff, work as CFO / COO
Work experience: System Developer at Visendi, Innovator at DNB and Investment Manager at DNB Group Investments
Education: BBA from BI Norwegian Business School
Current city and place you grew up: So far; Risør -> Porsgrunn -> Birmingham -> Oslo -> Bærum -> Sande
Fun fact about yourself: I am a rap aficionado, particularly fond of the mid-nineties.
Hi Steve! How are you today?
I’m great, thanks! Today I have worked on our app with Svein. Making sure it both looks and feels awesome, and that everything works as it should. I am so happy to have him and the rest of the guys at Fink onboard!
Can you tell our readers a little bit about why you started Spiff?
I wanted to create something that could help people. I spent many evenings together with my co-founder Calle, going through different problems that we felt needed fixing. Everything from health issues to home administration, to personal finance and outdated views on gender roles. We ended up discussing increasing inequality a lot. Why it is happening, who gets most affected and how we could try to correct it a bit.
Most of the financial industry is stuck in the past, neither making services for young people nor women in general. We saw that women 25-35 are underrepresented as savers and investors. Mainly because the products and services does not appeal to them at all. Many feel as if banks and financial institutions are a “necessary evil”, looking out for themselves, but not really being on the their side. We wanted to change that. We had to start anew and rethink everything. It is very important to us to be transparent, fair and affordable, as well as always being on the users side.
Your parents, close friends and loved ones influence your saving and spending habits. That means the social aspect is important. There is also pressure to “keep up” and it is quite easy to start using credit cards and defer payments. Then you risk starting to fall behind each month. But if we could help people set something aside on a regular basis, that could open up a lot of possibilities for them in the longer run.
What is the best part about working on Spiff?
"I get to build a groundbreaking service from scratch. With great and talented people. Going to work every day, smiling."
What are you curious to find out when we launch Spiff?
It will be interesting to see how people use the social functions. What they will save up to together, how they will join in on gifts, and how they will communicate with each other. What will they want to convey to others and what do they want to hear from others? I am sure the social aspect will be in constant evolution.
Any challenges while working on a startup?
Pretty much everything. Too few people, too little time, always a bit short on money. Time management is the worst. We all have to be careful not letting Spiff fill up every waking hour. Family first! Luckily I have full support from my wonderful wife, Helene.
How do you feel about the future of Spiff after the recent changes and additions to the team?
The future is brighter than ever before! We have been through many phases; different milestones that we had to meet and shifting focus areas in the development of Spiff. The most recent change is that Linn Kristin is leaving us and that Svein has joined us. I am sad to see Linnk go. She has handled everything we threw at her brilliantly, and has really lifted the team. Massive cred to her for coding the iOS app, figuring out back-end and payments, doing project management, and a bunch of other stuff. I am sure she will continue creating exiting stuff and wish her all the best with her master thesis.
As mentioned earlier, I am so happy to have Svein with us. He is very experienced and is already digging into the code, pushing us further and coming up with new ideas. I want to say a massive thank you to all the skilled and wonderful people that have helped us so far; Oda on UX/UI, Alexey on design, Mark on back-end, Pavel on the app, Kristin with Finovate, PR and SoMe, Mira on marketing and brand building, Matt on design vision, Nico on tech, Hans Erik and Preben on strategy, as well as everyone else that has been involved in getting us where we are today.
Last but not least.... Best personal saving tip?
Ideally, you should first pay yourself by setting aside your savings before anything else, then spend. Many, me included, spend first and then save whats left. But then it is usually not much left at the end of the month…
One way to fix this is to distribute your salary into separate accounts at each payout, one for recurring bills, one for food and so on. And of course then use the Spiff app to organize your savings and reach all your short-time and long-term goals :)