Steve Tigar - Money Dashboard

Steve Tigar is CEO at Money Dashboard, a mobile phone app that has been designed to help people from every walk of life, be happier and more successful by mastering their money.

Money Dashboard was founded with the support of a small team in Edinburgh and the financial backing in the form of a funding injection from Calculus Capital and a successful crowdfund. The business has since evolved into an app that was named the UK’s Best Personal Finance App 2017, 2018 and 2020 at The British Bank Awards.

Steve is driven by a passion to make finance more open, transparent and accessible for everyone. He undertook the Saltire Fellowship in 2010 after learning about it from an advert and following completion of this programme he took up a Managing Director position at a Proptech business. He then joined Money Dashboard in 2014, initially in their executive team. However a year into his tenure, the Board asked him to step up to CEO. Steve has remained in close contact with the Entrepreneurial Scotland network over the past 11 years.

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THE OPPORTUNITY:

“You must want to be a butterfly so badly you are willing to give up being at caterpillar” – Steve uses this quote from Sekou Andrews to capture his mindset when he left his job at a creative ad agency to join the Fellowship programme in 2010. He had a couple of ‘side hustles’ at the time but was hungry to learn what it meant to be an entrepreneur that could build a business of scale. He recalls that it was “a little scary giving up a full-time job and moving to the States to study, but it was too good an opportunity not to pursue.”

Following on from the completion of the Fellowship programme in 2010, Steve was then afforded the opportunity to lead an exciting and ambitious PropTech business, which was coincidentally, owned by an Entrepreneurial Scotland member.

Before the Fellowship programme, I had only ever managed small teams. Immediately after the Fellowship, I found myself thrust into the role of Managing Director at a technology business. My training at the Saltire Foundation stood me in good stead, and thankfully we had a couple of successful years. The team doubled in size. We rapidly grew top-line revenues and spun out several new products (and a new company).

IMPACT:

Steve believes without question that being part of the ES Fellowship Programme was the key driving force in his growth and development as an entrepreneur. He comments, “If I hadn’t given up my job to undertake the Fellowship programme, I suspect that I would still be happy in my advertising career but held back by a deep regret that I hadn’t been bold enough to go for it!”

He feels that the fluidity of the programme and constant changing of context - one-day studying financial modelling, the next visiting an innovation agency - taught him to embrace life outside of his comfort zone. Added to that, the frenetic pace of the Fellowship programme taught him the power of grit and perseverance and, without that experiential learning, he’s convinced that he would have quit the start-up world, many times over.

Steve comments, “At Money Dashboard one of our core values is to continuously improve by learning from our mistakes and being honest about our weaknesses. I take inspiration, and a sense of urgency, from the quote, ‘if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse’. We all operate in a global market with huge opportunity and fierce competition. There is so much to learn and, the Fellowship has really instilled this in me. Recently, I’ve found it very helpful to invest in training from some of Silicon Valley’s tech leaders to learn their ‘playbook’.”

Steve believes passionately that entrepreneurs create wealth because their prevalent mindset is to start with opportunity, not with big teams or lots of resources. He also believes that entrepreneurs are also very good at calculating risk – and balancing this with potential reward - and reorienting plans accordingly. He attributes these learnings to the knowledge and confidence instilled in him at Babson College in Boston.

“As we are facing yet another seismic economic challenge (yes, even greater than the last Depression!), people with an entrepreneurial mindset and spirit will be crucial to the recovery of every organisation - big and small, private and public,” comments Steve.

Interestingly, a study published in the Harvard Business Review in 2012 highlighted that not acting on a career hunch (a “now-or-never moment”) was one of the top 5 careers regrets people had. The decision I made has given me the confidence to continue pursuing opportunities. Since taking the helm at Money Dashboard, we have raised over £6m in equity financing and have created several high-quality jobs (the staff base now stands at 40-strong).

Perhaps one of the most powerful elements of the Fellowship programme which continues to support Steve daily in his current role as CEO of Money Dashboard is the powerful network that his ES Fellowship cohort has created. Reflecting on this he says, “It’s a well-known truism that you become like the people you hang around. Entrepreneurial Scotland is THE network to join if you want to learn from the best entrepreneurs in the country and be inspired by the nation’s future leaders.

“One of the truly great things about the Fellowship for me was that is provided so many “sparring partners” and, I absolutely love meeting up with Fellows from my cohort, and other year groups, as they always provide a fresh and interesting perspective to business challenges. I always come away from gatherings with other Fellows feeling hugely inspired and motivated!

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If you would like to talk to Entrepreneurial Scotland about our leadership programmes and how they can benefit your business please email andy.macnicol@entrepreneurialscotland.com