'Our aim is to increase generosity worldwide', Guillaume Dehan
Guillaume Dehan joins Purposely Podcast to share his founder story with fintech for good company, 'Fund A Future'.
Guillaume is a French man who lives in New Zealand, from an early age he wanted to explore the world and was not afraid to try new things and exciting places. This led to a time working in China as well the UK where he worked for almost a decade in asset management.
In 2017 he emigrated to New Zealand to be with his children, in this episode he talks about the importance of his culture, ensuring that his children understand their French heritage as well as speaking the language.
‘I refer to my children as friwi’s, they are mixture of French and Kiwi and I make sure we speak French in the home’.
In New Zealand he bridged a gap between his asset management career and social entrepreneurship. Guillaume founded 'Fund a Future' in 2019 to help boost generosity globally, he stumbled across the idea while completing an M.A. in Tech (with Tech Futures Lab).
‘Our aim is to increase generosity worldwide. That is the inspiration… we all have in our minds. How far can we go to support organisations and create this long lasting, positive impact’
Utilising tech, 'Fund a Future' is keeping track of individual donations, claiming back any eligable tax rebates. They either provide personal refunds or funnel back the rebate to the individual's chosen charity. Their aim to make this as simple as possible.
‘We could see millions of dollars going unclaimed (from IRD) and in New Zealand we can claim back rebates for the past four years. So quickly we realised the size of the opportunity in front of us… up to a billion dollars of donation tax rebates that have never been claimed.’
‘So we want to make it as efficient as possible to give an option for these donation tax rebates to go back to the charities in the first place.’
Tell us about building your fintech start-up?
‘We had the opportunity to join the kiwi FinTech accelerator in June 2019. A chance to take this idea and validate it through a very rigorous process. To build an MVP, a minimum viable product, and then go and test it out in the market… to see whether we were able to drive engagement conversions and ultimately connecting all the dots and provide the service to customers… which eventually we did'.
'We received lead funding from Westpac Bank through their innovation fund. It provided us a chance to apply our thinking and scaling up to a larger scale MVP which we launched in May 2020, right in the middle of a pandemic, which was quite an interesting challenge'.
'I am excited to report that we have just received further funding from investors who believe in the positive difference we are making, a combination of business and philanthropic investment’
You had a successful career in Asset Management in the UK and China, were you interested in automation and tech solutions back then?
'Yes, I worked for both asset management and hedge funds. The core of what I was doing was systematic trading, where decisions were not made by human beings. So, you know, we talk about artificial Intelligence today… but the back in 2000 we were already building AI models to trade on the financial markets.’
Have you always been entrepreneurial?
‘I have alternated between smaller and larger businesses. However, I have a preference for working in smaller teams… small teams focused on building something. So yes… there is part of me that has always been an entrepreneur. I was reminded by my mother recently that when I was a kid I would collect free newspapers, classifieds, and I apparently I would go around and try to sell those’
So how do you see the future of 'Fund A Future'?
‘We've identified a number of other countries where the donation tax is a bit of an issue. In fact, we've identified as much as $450 billion worth of donation tax rebates worldwide in the top 25 most generous country. So needless to say, there's a lot of work ahead of us to extend what we do here and use it into other countries’
I think we can all look forward to seeing what Guillaume does next in this exciting space.