Monish Mahalingam (he/him) on building, learning and pivoting

Despite StartupLeap running completely online, I had the fortune of meeting Monish Mahalingam in person during the previous edition of Techstars’ Startup Weekend, in Utrecht. Even during the program, Monish showed himself to be a skilled and humble tech co-founder. His start-up, CoffeeCraft, is all about educating people on the importance of investing and making it easy for them to do it. When we spoke, Monish was still looking for a commercial co-founder with financial experience. If you know anyone who meets the bill, or if you yourself want to hop on a next challenge, be sure to reach out to him.

 

What brought you to Amsterdam?

I moved to Amsterdam for my Current role in a Dutch company. I weighed different cities of Europe before I moved and Amsterdam ticked most of the boxes for me except weather.

 

How did you become interested in investing?

COVID! Just kidding! During university my roommate used to invest in stocks and caught my eye as well. From then I started investing in the stock markets.

 

When is the right time to start investing?

As soon as you are making money. Seriously, time is your best friend in investing(compound interest). So I recommend it as soon as you can. I will give you a pointer. S&P 500 for starters.

 

There are a couple of other initiatives out there that aim to do the same. How does CoffeeCraft stand out among the rest?

In one word simplicity. I looked into the current tools that offer two things.
Bake in the best practices of long-term investing in the product offering.
Inform the users in simple language without throwing loads of financial terms.
So without success I decided to build it myself.

 

How does CoffeeCraft mitigate investing-related risks for users?

Well, Coffee Craft doesn’t allow investing actual funds for now. Users always play with simulated amounts to learn about investment best practices.
We enable users to invest only in ETF funds. These funds are already diversified to track a particular industry or market. Users are informed about risk and reward in a simple manner, so they can make informed decisions.

 

What is the biggest challenge you’re facing currently and how are you tackling it?

After I completed StartupLeap I found out that obtaining a license for an investing app is a long and expensive process. So we are pivoting towards creating a playground for users to simulate how they can invest their money.

 

What is something you learnt during StartupLeap that you didn’t know before?

Pitching your idea… Always pitch your idea in a non-technical manner. As a founder you are so caught up in the details and tech behind it. But when you pitch to customers or investors or even team members you must always pitch your idea without diving into technical topics or terms. If not asked to, at least.

Scroll to top