Finder, the “endless shelf of comparisons”. Whether you are comparing financial products like credit cards, savings accounts, loans, insurance, even energy, phones and internet providers; Finder has over 106 different categories.
Women Love Tech recently attended a dinner where the Founders and CEOs of Finder, Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia, explained how their business went from ‘spamming’ their original ‘Credit Card Finder’ website on Google to now running the most visited personal finance comparison website in Australia, now known as ‘Finder’.
Since launching Finder, Fred and Frank have grown Finder into a $250 million business across 83 countries and their mission is to ‘help the world make better decisions’.
This year the pair made their debut on the AFR’s YoungRich List, with Fred debuting at number 22 with an estimated net worth of $193 million and Frank joining him at number 60 with $53 million.
Not bad for two friends kicking their heels as search marketers. In fact, Fred famously once worked at the now defunct Black Stump Steakhouse and Frank originally planned on a career as a teacher.
But success didn’t come without its trials, with Frank saying it took a huge amount of perseverance. In the beginning their company was penalised by Google for the spamming tactics they used in an attempt to get their website higher up on the results page. Overnight, the site’s traffic dropped by 60 per cent, and it took three months for them to rebuild. While this came as an almighty shock, it strengthened their resolve to build a ‘real business’ and one that would make Australia proud.
What helped them was continuously reinventing themselves and sticking to their values. Fred said when he first suggested launching Finder in New York, he didn’t think he’d get Franks’ support but Frank thought it was a brilliant idea. Now, Finder is operating not just in New York but also London, Toronto, Manila, Wroclaw and other places far and wide; and the company is now 400 people strong and growing.
“We have always tried to create a real company that pays taxes and employs people and makes profit,” adds Fred.
The pair, who went to school together at Sydney Grammar School, started the business in 2006. Being such good friends and having each other’s interest at hearts is why they work so well together.
“We lived like brothers together for several years, we lived in each others’ pockets and we have that unlimited, ultimate trust between money,” says Fred.
Frank also believes their different styles and personalities helps make them a strong team.
I think we tend to come at it from different angles, so we’ve just been able to work closely together, know when I’m really strong at something and when Fred’s really strong at something and just refer to each other. It’s definitely been up and down, as we said; like a business marriage.” says Frank Restuccia, Co-Founder and CEO of Finder
They also managed to scale their business without requiring external funding.
“To survive and endure, I think is an honourable thing for a company to do, and it doesn’t have to be a unicorn. I think funding has its place, and there are businesses that do really well from funding, but we’ve tried to take a different approach to that in I guess what people call “bootstrapping”; but we’ve always tried to create a real company that pays taxes and employs people and makes profit; run a real company.
What we’re trying to do is master this “phoenix” idea. We’re continuously reinventing ourselves” added Fred Schebesta, Co-Founder and CEO of Finder
And they’re not talking about the Ancient Greek bird that cyclically regenerates when it dies, although the concept remains the same for their business. Once funding comes into play, you are no longer relying on yourself, in the phoenix’s case, the bird can no longer regenerate itself; it is no longer self-regenerative. Instead, it relies on external sources.
Finder is, in other words, on a path of continuous reinvention, essentially rising from the ashes, as a phoenix would, by focusing on their economies of scale and their brand values; two things that are essential for both the founders.
What’s next for Finder?
Fred and Frank revealed that Finder is about to release a new comparison app which will launch in February 2020, and they are inviting people to join the waitlist via this link.
Joining the waitlist will give people exclusive access to the app and help them reduce their bills with personalised insights so get in first and join the Finder family.
Check out finder.com.au for more information.