“Whatever point you are at, you kind of have to go back and say ‘what is the thing that you're building?’ And ‘do people really want it?’” — Immad Akhund This week Sachit () chats with Immad Akhund (), CEO of Mercury — The company...
“Whatever point you are at, you kind of have to go back and say ‘what is the thing that you're building?’ And ‘do people really want it?’”
— Immad Akhund
This week Sachit (@sachitgupta) chats with Immad Akhund (@immad), CEO of Mercury — The company trusted by more than 100,000 startups for banking*. Mercury gives founders free checking and savings accounts, debit and credit cards*, domestic and USD international wire transfers, Treasury*, venture debt, and more. He co-founded the company in 2017 after his own frustrations as an entrepreneur with the traditional banking hurdles founders face as they set up and run their businesses. He started Mercury to remove that friction by building an intuitive product experience for necessary financial products in order to help founders manage their business with confidence. Launched in 2019, Mercury has raised $163M from a16z, Coatue, CRV and others.
Immad is a serial founder who cuts through a problem and catalyzes change for the industry around it. Born in Pakistan and raised in the U.K., Immad immigrated to the U.S. to join Y Combinator with his previous startup Heyzap (acquired by Fyber). He is a former part-time partner at Y Combinator and is an active angel investor, with more than 250 investments in startups including Airtable, Rappi and Substack.
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(02:27) - Dichotomy of being a business person and a creative person
(04:42) - The impact and rise of no-code tools to build stuff
(07:15) - What trends to look for to determine what to build and whether you should raise funds or not
(10:00) - YC for creators
(14:36) - The process they followed to build Mercury
(17:44) - Product-led growth — What is it?
(19:26) - 10x improvements they made during the building phase of mercury
(21:46) - How they structured the production function
(27:07) - Times when Immad wanted to give up
(31:11) - How they were iterating to build, without having feedback from customers
(33:39) - Things they did in the early stages that have been giving them massive results
(38:07) - What he looks for in people when building a start-up team
(40:24) - The difference between great investors and people with money
(43:18) - The transition from the building phase to the growth phase
(45:50) - Best practices — Product first growth mindset
(49:14) - How he enables the culture in order to make sure people support each other
(53:45) - What are the first hires to make
(55:09) - Has he ever hired 10x engineers
(59:02) - Building a remote company with a strong culture and doing rapid innovation
(01:03:28) - Mercury as a bank account and platform
(01:06:49) - How has his love for SciFi influenced the product building
(01:12:28) - How he propagated his ethics in the team
(01:14:58) - Politics — His thoughts on banning people
(01:17:15) - Scifi books that have impacted him
(01:18:45) - One piece of wisdom that changed the game for him
(01:20:30) - One person he is grateful to
(01:21:31) - How he has evolved as an entrepreneur
(01:22:54) - What it means to be a conscious creator