Today we present to you Carlos, 27 years old one of the founders of Beyond Saving together with Martin Klatt. He was born in Portugal and still go surfing there regularly.
He studied economics and physics at Goethe University in Frankfurt and after a few positions in the financial sector, the time has come for him to devote himself to the topic that has long been close to his heart: promoting financial education in Germany.
Carlos, tell us a bit about yourself, your story, why are you in Frankfurt? What do you do?
Born in Portugal, my twin brother and I grew up in an orphanage in the center of Lisbon. After the adoption, we moved to Frankfurt where we went to school and university. There are two role-models that change the way I think — one of them is Stephen Hawking and the other one Steve Jobs. Hawking’s way of dealing with his illness inspired me on many levels. Steve Jobs is my guy when it comes to product development. This led me to study both — business administration and physics in Frankfurt. After a few years in Investment Banking and various start-ups, I decided to follow my dream of becoming a founder myself. Coming from a home, where personal finances have always been a rather troubling topic, I am especially motivated to give financial literacy a digital upgrade. Our mission at Beyond Saving is to provide people with relevant knowledge and tools they need to reach financial health. We strive to provide a multimedia mix — ranging from interactive online-courses, virtual coaching to a modern learning app that will launch in early 2021. People — no matter from what background and gender — deserve to be financially educated in order to live a better life.
What is the big issue that you and your company are addressing and what value do you bring to your clients as Beyond Saving?
Financial education is too complicated, too much focussed on how to invest money, and rarely considers the real problems. It’s not the answer to which ETF or stock is the best for me, that will provide financial health. It’s how you manage your money, how you keep track of your expenses, how you deal with debt, and how your mindset towards money is set that determines financial health. This is where we want to help people. We start right at the beginning of each pain point and provide a step-by-step (multi-channel) support to get them back on the right track. Financial issues are the main cause of stress which can lead to severe illness and depression. We think that people simply need the right content and instruments to stay healthy and keep their money under control.
Out of curiosity, why the hedgehog on your logo?
The hedgehog is a smart but also very relaxed animal. This is the philosophy we follow. Reaching financial health is more than getting 20x back on your investments fast. It’s about making smart decisions and staying relaxed all the time.
How would you describe the less than a year’s journey as a Founder under 30?
It’s an adventure and I feel like I don’t stop learning which is simply great. Beyond Saving is my first (but definitely not last) venture and the freedom you feel, when you get up in the morning and realize that you’re building your own company with a great team is a privilege I never want to miss again. At first, it was weird leaving my comfort zone but this is what defines entrepreneurship. You dive into an ocean of uncertainty and are forced to learn how to swim all over again. People often consider building your own company risky and many people (especially my family) have criticized my decision but at the end of the day, this is what drives innovation — people who show courage in building solutions that make this world a better place.
Can you highlight some top mistakes or funny situations you come across?
I think my co-founder will agree that setting up our GmbH at the notary was kind of funny. I’ve never seen anyone reading a paper consisting of complicated legal taxonomy that fast. That was an exciting experience. When it comes to mistakes I feel like we waited too long at the beginning before going public. Another common mistake is that we focus too much on how to make our product seem “innovative”. At the end of the day, it’s not about looking innovative, it’s about providing the best solutions. This is an issue that many founders encounter. We love collecting feedback from our users, family, and friends in order to reflect on our work and improve our marketing strategy and product development.
You were born in Portugal and still go there regularly, are you connected to the local ecosystem there? Do you see potential ways to scale there or synergies with other ecosystems?
I would love to go international with Beyond Saving at some point in the next years. Portugal is the place that I love most, as I connect many childhood memories with the country. And people there are in need of financial literacy — even if many of them don’t know it yet. At the moment we are focussing on scaling our brand throughout Germany and getting in front of the screens of as many households as possible. But sure, this is the beauty of entrepreneurship — anything is possible.
Finally, what are the next steps or goals for the rest of 2020 and 2021?
We are currently producing our online-courses and started developing our first App which will make financial literacy more fun than ever. Besides, we want to develop deep partnerships with schools, politics, and companies to spread the word and get our message to as many people as possible. So it’s going to be all about building brand awareness and feeding our product development with data from customer feedback to keep improving our products and services. We would like to start a few pilot projects with schools to help young minds develop a health money mindset in their early years. I am also finishing our first book, which will launch in December 2020 — so be ready, there is a lot in the pipeline.
Find more about the startup itself here: