We speak to Doron Cohen, founder and CEO of Covercy. Founded in 2015 Doron aims to break the stranglehold the traditional banks have on the international business money transfer market, with 95% of payments around the world handled by big banks in this sector Covercy is looking to provide the platform that SMEs need for overseas transfers.
What exactly is your business and how does it help people?
SMEs are paying well over the odds for cross-border payments, due to unnecessary and hidden fees as banks have the market completely sewn up currently.
Covercy is here to provide certainty to the UK’s importers by offering its services, which are up to 80% cheaper than traditional banks. Unlike other competitors within this space, it also offers guaranteed rates, in real time to businesses, meaning they know exactly how much a transaction will cost, at first glance.
It is also a secure and reputable service which is licensed by the UK’s FCA as an Authorised Payment Institution, meaning all transactions it handles for businesses are completely protected and safeguarded. Also, cross border transactions can be tracked and traced in real time by a business owner, meaning complete peace of mind.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
During my days as a co-founder and co-CEO of Leverate, a leading forex technology provider, I experienced how expensive the SWIFT international payments network was. Unlike others, coming from the FX world, I felt that it could be done differently and that’s why I started Covercy.
Where did you start your business? How long have you been trying to make it a success?
Similar to many other startups in the beginning, we started working from our homes. It was only when our MVP showed great promise that we decided for a more professional setting. I can say that from the moment I thought of creating Covercy, which was in the beginning of 2014, I tried to make this business a success, however, it is probably more accurate to say that it took place towards the end of 2014.
What has the Microsoft Accelerator done to help you and your business?
The Microsoft Accelerator program had quite a significant impact on our business in its early stages, and we are grateful for being part of the program. First, every startup worked closely with a mentor, which is a great help, and among the various advantages of having an expert working with you, it helped us focus and prioritize our development. Second, The innovative environment of working with 11 other startups under one roof and sharing information was priceless. Last, the overall support, tools, connections, and drive for success, really motivated us to be market ready as soon as possible. Being part of this program helped Covercy get into the market well prepared and quicker .
Is there anyone you look up to as a business? Who inspires you?
In 1958 Bank of America invented what would become the modern credit card, later branded as Visa. That changed the way small payments are made. Unfortunately, grown too big and inefficient, banks have lost this ability to innovate. Payments are no longer “one size fits all”, and like Bank of America did nearly 60 years ago, we will change how commercial cross border payments are made.
How did your friends and family react to you starting a business?
Covercy is my second startup, so this is not quite a surprise to my family and friends. Even my first startup was not quite a surprise, my family has quite an entrepreneurial background that I think rubbed off on me and my technological background together with living in the second largest startup hub after Silicon Valley, made it easy for my friends and family to support me.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
Delivering a customer centric user interface, despite the regulatory hurdles and outdated bank infrastructure, that enables our customers to make payments seamlessly.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
Create the right team that can lead you to success. As talented as one individual can be, without colleagues challenging your ideas, without them stimulating your thinking process further and add ideas and possible new ways to further innovate the basic concept, you will not be as successful as you can be with the right team.
What is the best advice you have been given or have read?
Validate everything. The only good assumption is that any assumption must be validated before serious time and money are spent on it.
Where do you expect to be in a year?
I want to develop Covercy into one of the world’s preferred ways of making cross border business payments in the next year. I hope within the year we’ll make inroads into the stranglehold that the bank’s have over the international business payments industry.