Ivo & Dan are the founders of London-based mobile fintech startup Albert. Albert is a mobile app that helps freelancers do their invoices on-the-go, in an incredibly simple way. Ivo and Dan are building the first fintech startup in the UK, co-founded by an engineer and a designer, a hugely popular trend amongst Silicon Valley startups such as AirBnB and Pinterest.
Tell us about your background.
Love mobile! We have both worked in the mobile tech industry for many years. Dan has led engineering for mobile apps for companies such as the BBC and RBS. Ivo has led mobile design teams for companies such as Ubuntu, Vodafone and RBS. And…. and for the most part we were freelancers, which fed into the decision to start Albert :).
Ivo, you headed up design at Ubuntu, where people work together from across the globe. How did this inspire you for helping freelancers with Albert?
The amazing people that work on Ubuntu show how great work can be achieved by people with different backgrounds, from different cultures, and at different locations, but all with one purpose. We totally believe that with mobile technologies, borderless virtual spaces and individual freedom, people can live the lives they want. That’s one of the main reasons why freelancers love being freelancers.
Do you see corporations adopting ‘on-demand’ resource in the future, bringing people in as and when they need them?
Totally. Many industries are adopting what we call the “movie credit” model: At the end of a movie, you see a long list of all the amazing people that came together to make the movie. Many industries and corporations are adopting this project-based approach to stay lean, adopt to sudden market changes, and accommodate the needs of people. Freelancers are the crucial gel to make this work.
Have you noticed a shift in people’s confidence in going freelanced? What would you say is broken in the freelance world?
Yes. By seeing more and more people around us go freelancing, finding good work and making a decent living, people are being encouraged. One of the biggest problems though – unfortunately still – is managing their finances. People love what they’re good at, such as building mobile tech, creating stunning photoshoots, or making a beautiful garden. They are often dreading getting their finances sorted (or even started): It’s dull, complicated and uncomfortable. That’s the problem that Albert addresses.
Why do you think people are attracted to freelance work despite its downside?
Freedom, independence, and decent pay whilst living the life you want to live.
You founded a startup last year to take some of the pain away from managing finances. What were some of the guiding principles behind it?
We believe in independence. Every freelancer should be able to do his or her finances from anywhere. It should be super easy, fun and well-built :). So, we set out to build a mobile experience that is designed around the simple concept we all know: email. This makes finances more human and accessible to everyone.
We’ve always believed in the marriage of design and engineering. That’s why we work very closely together to make the best experience for our users.
Why did you choose to make an app, and not a website or desktop program?
The world is mobile. People live on their mobile, and it’s the one thing that’s always with you. So, to help people with their financial awareness and managing their money, they should be able to do everything from their phone.
What kind of businesses have been using the app?
A huge variety of people. Super happy with that! We’ve seen musicians, designers, carpenters, taxi drivers, film makers, photographers, make-up artists, marketing managers, and many many more. It’s great to see so many different people using Albert!
What features can we expect in the near future?
Our first goal is to make the best invoicing experience on the mobile. This week we just launched our latest feature which lets people create detailed itemised invoices from a mobile with as few steps as possible. We completely re-imagined how this can be done in the easiest way. Keep an eye on Techmog for which features come next ;).
If you’d like to give the app a try and share your thoughts with Dan & Ivo, get it here and get in touch via @getalbert.