Daniel Eberhard – Co-founder and CEO of Koho Financial

Hire sooner, work with more consultants who have industry experience, and delegate more to them.

Daniel Eberhard is the co-founder and CEO of Koho Financial, which offers Millennials a no-fee, modern mobile account and Visa card to manage their financial lives. Daniel and his team built Koho for two reasons: because bank fees are too high, and because technology can empower people to live better lives. Prior to Koho, Daniel was a co-founder and vice president of Kineticor Renewables, a wind energy company acquired by Algonquin Power.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I spent a lot of my life abroad; I would always come back to Canada and would be super-frustrated by the financial experience. We talked to enough people that we knew the pain was pretty universal and reverse-engineered the model from there.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

I don’t do meetings Tuesday or Thursday. It gives me peace of mind knowing I have a clear day scheduled coming up soon, and it allows me to be more present in meetings. It also means my Mondays are generally back-to-back with meetings, which lets me prioritize tasks and plan my week.

I also make sure I find time to work with my coach and go the gym so I don’t get lost to the routine.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Nothing magical. I start with the point of highest risk and reverse-engineer the ways to figure that out. I solve for not wasting time, which means the riskiest, most unknown factors should be solved for first. I also ask other people smarter than me really negative questions like, “Can you tell me why this wouldn’t work?”

What’s one trend that really excites you?

It’s a boring one, but I’m super-excited for autonomous driving. Vancouver has a massive real estate problem, and I think by making the commute productive, we’ll be able to democratize the price of living downtown and be closer to nature.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I work on self-awareness a lot, which informs which tasks I delegate and which I do. It’s key and means I can exercise discipline more effectively.

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

One of my first jobs was at Dairy Queen. I wanted to be a cook in the back with my friends, but they said I had good people skills, so I was on the cash machine. I guess it kind of stuck because I’m still out front today.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Hire sooner, work with more consultants who have industry experience, and delegate more to them.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

It always shocks me when entrepreneurs go right into their pitches when raising. Spend 15 minutes asking the investor questions, and then, reverse-engineer your pitch accordingly. That doesn’t mean make things up, but it does mean you can be more informed on what you emphasize.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Being honest about the hard parts about the business. Early investment is predicated on our ability to solve a problem, not real KPIs. So by being honest with investors, they understand we’re thinking about the problem the same way.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’m not sure it’s a business idea, but there seems to be a huge gap in mental training information. For example, there are probably 1 million articles explaining how to deadlift, but almost none explaining the different things a beginner, intermediate, or advanced lifter should be thinking about. I feel like people would have more success learning new skills if they knew how to think about them.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

UBrew wine and Chef’s Plate.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Personally, Mixmax and Rapportive handle my life. Intercom and Mixpanel are a slick combo for Koho.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?

Fiction: “A Fine Balance

Nonfiction: “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unforeseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration


Daniel Eberhard on Twitter: @DanEbs
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