2023 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: AVX, Cambridge Judge Business School

AVX

Cambridge Judge Business School

Website Link: N/A

Industry: FinTech

Founding Student Name: Virut Hemnilrat

Brief Description of Solution: AVX facilitates credit access for migrants in their new home country by enabling them to leverage their credit information from their previous country of residence to support loan applications in their host country.

Funding Dollars: N/A (Ongoing pre-seed fundraising)

What led you to launch this venture? Through my own experience immigrating to the UK and conversations with friends in similar situations, I came to realize the scale of problems faced by migrants due to the absence of UK credit history. This lack of data can have far-reaching consequences on people, affecting the cost of rental deposits, eligibility for phone contracts, and access to credit in the country. Yet, many of these people possess a strong credit history back home, which is not recognized by companies providing these services in the UK. These difficulties make no sense in an increasingly digital and interconnected world. Hence, I decided to launch this venture aiming to address some of these issues.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? Being accepted into the prestigious Antler UK venture builder programme to further develop this business idea has been one of my biggest achievements so far. This milestone has also enabled me to find a co-founder, who I am currently working with to develop this exceptional opportunity. In the meantime, I am interviewing companies in the space to gain a comprehensive understanding of their pain points, which will inform the creation of a solution that both solves consumer problems and addresses the concerns of service providers.

What has been the most significant challenge you’ve faced in creating your company and how did you solve it? The most substantial challenge so far has been empathizing with the companies using credit data and formulating a solution that appeals to them as much as it does to their customers. To address this issue, we have engaged in rigorous market research and cultivated relationships with these firms. This approach should help us develop a solution that not only bridges the gap for consumers but also enhances the operational efficiency and profitability of our partner organizations.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? One particularly great advantage of the Cambridge MBA programme is its diverse cohort and the networking opportunities that offers, which proved to be invaluable to me once I started working on my startup venture. I benefited from numerous sessions discussing my areas of interest with other MBA colleagues, learning from their financial services industry insights and personal experience accessing services in the UK. The MBA programme’s faculty and staff have also been instrumental in expanding my network, connecting me with relevant alumni, and providing insights into the UK’s unique fintech ecosystem. Lastly, the entrepreneurial reputation of Cambridge Judge Business School has attracted many high-calibre current and aspiring entrepreneurs into its MBA programme. The significant presence of founders in my MBA cohort has provided me with an amazing support network to discuss startup-related issues, whether they are professional or more personal matters.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? My entrepreneurial idol is Anne Boden. Her remarkable story as the sole founder of Starling Bank, one of Britain’s top challenger banks, is truly inspiring. Anne’s ability to establish a digital-only bank in a heavily regulated industry during a time when such banks were just emerging is a testament to her unwavering determination and innovation that I aspire to emulate.

Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? “Management Praxis” has been the most valuable Cambridge MBA class in building my startup. This class taught me a huge amount about best practices for working with people, particularly the tools to help you understand yourself and others better to then optimize team performance. These specific MBA lessons are indispensable in my journey working now side-by-side with my co-founder in a high-pressure environment, helping me navigate our personal and professional relationships effectively, maximizing the prospects of our venture and our team’s success.

What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Some Cambridge Judge Professors and Fellows, whose advice has helped me through my startup journey, include Stewart McTavish and Hamza Mudassir. They directed me to valuable contacts and helped me think through the processes of founding a company. Additionally, classes taught by professors Chris Coleridge, Thomas Roulet, and Jeremy Hutchison-Krupat have all been instrumental in shaping my business plan and structuring my organization.

How has your local startup ecosystem contributed to your venture’s development and success?

Situated in the heart of ‘Silicon Fen’, the Cambridge MBA programme has provided me with ample opportunities to engage with entrepreneurial programmes and activities. I had the privilege of facilitating the IGNITE Venture Creation programme, run by Cambridge Judge Business School, where I had the opportunity to learn from entrepreneurship experts and other founders who took part in the event. Attending events hosted by the King’s Entrepreneurship Lab and Lucy Enterprise, part of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, further demystified the startup journey and offered invaluable insights into the venture creation process. In some cases, these experiences also helped me develop insights into innovation in financial services.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? Our long-term vision for this new venture is to empower individuals to carry their financial history seamlessly from their home countries to new destinations globally. We aspire to enable people to leverage their financial data from their previous locations to access essential services worldwide. In essence, our aim is to create a global ecosystem that transcends borders, ensuring financial inclusion and accessibility for all.

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