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Being an entrepreneur is as tough as it is rewarding. Your career is filled with risks, but also an incredible amount of opportunities. For the second edition of our A Day in the Life of… series, we’re following Trevor Gosling, the co-founder and CEO of South African fintech outfit LulaLend.
After a good few years in the investment banking space, working for the likes of Rand Merchant Bank and Goldman Sachs, Gosling built his own premium wine and gourmet food venture. The company, 5ounces, as it was called, then got acquired by South Africa’s media and internet giant Naspers the following year.
In 2014, the entrepreneur decided to merge what he knew best: finances and tech. And so, LulaLend was born. The online platform today helps small businesses across South Africa with the funds they need to grow. It does this by helping clients apply for short-term business loans online.
A Day in the Life of LulaLend’s Trevor Gosling
Gosling arrives at the office around 7:30am, a neat co-working space in Greenpoint, Cape Town. After catching up on some of the latest news, from local to global sectors and all things fintech, he meets up with the ops and business development team to paint a roadmap for the day.
An action plan is quickly put in place and he dials into a daily Skype call with his business partner Neil Welman, who’s currently in the UK. The pair chat about business strategy, product development and the technical project plan for about an hour.
It’s now 10am, and the UX guy takes Gosling through the “next-level” updates he is making to their site, in particular, the flow in the LulaLend application and customer account management process.
Gosling then reads through his emails and replies to all. He then releases LulaLend payouts of approved funding applications made after 4pm the previous day. It’s now 11pm which means it’s time to meetup for a chat with a potential partner for LulaLend, who is interested in using the platform to refer his database of SME’s for funding.
After a quick table tennis session with one of the resident devs, it’s time for the weekly lunch with LulaLend’s investors. They meet up at the regular spot, a seafood joint called Active Sushi.
It’s now just before 2pm and Gosling puts his head down to work on the startup’s next fund raise. He spends time updating business projections and investor reports.
“Our European investors requested more detail on the economic climate in South Africa as well as where the exchange rate is headed,” says Gosling. “I really hope the Rand stabilises soon!”
At 4pm the entrepreneur has a Skype call with a potential VC based in Washington DC. They talk through the due diligence process and once that’s outlined, it’s time to head back to LulaLend’s operations. Gosling releases more payouts on approved funding applications made between 11am and 4pm. The service currently has a 60% to 70% approval rating for applicants.
He then scans through his contact list to connect with potential business partners and funders he wants to engage with. He also puts together a to-do list for the next day.
It’s now 6pm and he browses through his emails once again to make sure he didn’t miss anything before heading back home. An hour later he heads out of the office and goes for a quick run.
“I’m not a fan of running but I now it’s important for body, mind and soul. The views between Sea Point and Camps Bay make it worthwhile as well,” he says.
In the evening he spends time with his wife, preparing dinner and watching series to unwind. It’s been quite a busy day!