Sam O'Connor
CEO
Posted 10 months ago

Coconut’s Beta Launch: what next?

Coconut Beta is live!

At our launch party on the 31st January 2018 I gave a presentation about where we’ve been and where we’re going. This blog contains the highlights from the script.

And here’s a little video edit of the event.

Why launch Coconut now?

We started Coconut when we became freelancers because we were wasting our free time worrying about expenses, tax and getting paid by clients.

We found it really frustrating that the tools sold to us to solve this problem are mainly built for bigger businesses or accountants, making them pricey and hard work to use.

And we also found banks were throwing up hurdles for us to open very basic current accounts that do little more than hold money.

We’ve come a really long way since we started. And the 31st January is a big day for our community because it’s the dreaded tax return deadline.

Making Tax Digital

HMRC is moving towards digital tax in an initiative called Making Tax Digital, the biggest shake up of the tax system in 20 years.

Going digital has the potential to increase the workload for our community as there’s a move towards quarterly tax submissions rather than annual.

But this digital drive also creates an exciting opportunity: it means Coconut can integrate with HMRC making the tax return process seamless for our customers.

As our community makes up 90% of small businesses in the UK we figured that it’s time for a product that meets our needs.

Community

We’ve been totally overwhelmed by your support and we couldn’t have got here without it.

We’ve got a vibrant Facebook group, Coconut Bite, and our incredible members have provided input on everything from product features to card design.

And we had people fly in from Manchester and Europe tonight for the launch, so thank you for coming to spend time with us.

Self-employment survey

Everyone I’ve spoken to over the last year is so passionate about the freelance way of life.

It really shone through in our recent survey showing how people start on their freelance journey part-time and then fall in love with the freedom and flexibility that working for yourself brings. You can find our infographic here.

Over half of us have aspirations to grow our businesses in the future.

But the results also showed that sometimes it’s tough.

Most of us are spending between half a day and 3 days a month managing money – time that should be spent having fun with our loved ones or earning more.

Just under half of us feel less financially secure now we’re self-employed.

And on top of that a quarter of us find budgeting for tax the biggest headache, with expenses and tax returns following closely.

This problem is clearly something that we all care about deeply. The 7,000 signed up to our waiting list all just want the same thing. Freedom from the worry and grind of managing money.

Product Roadmap

Our first version is for sole-traders with iPhone for a few reasons. We want to build something awesome from the start so it’s important to focus on doing a few things well rather than a lot badly. We’ve chosen sole traders because they make up the majority of our sign ups so far at 60%.

But our roadmap has lots of exciting things on it. And we would love your input on what’s most important for you. So we’re asking you to vote in Trello. We’ll be sharing our roadmap and looking for your votes over the coming weeks.

Pricing

We were really keen to create a simple pricing model rather than charging for every day transactions. We’re starting with two tiers, the Start tier and the Grow tier. You can see full pricing details on the Pricing page.

The Start tier is free. With it you get a full current account, Mastercard, expenses tracking, tax estimate and lots more. Card transactions are included. Whilst in Beta all bank transfers are unlimited and after Beta up to 10 bank transfers per month will be included. There are some small fees for cash transactions, but take a look at our full pricing here for full details: Pricing Page

The Start tier is everything you need when you start out.

The Grow Tier is for when things start to take off. You’ll get everything on the Start tier including 20 bank transfers in or out. It’ll also include things like VAT management, and sharing with your accountant, all for £4.95 per month.

How do you get a Coconut account?

We’ve got over 7k people on our waiting list. Soon we will email details of how to jump the queue by referring friends.

On Thursday 1st February 2018 we started rolling out our Beta accounts to everyone who came to our launch event (attendees got an automatic queue jump). Then we started inviting people from the waiting list over and will continue over the next few months.

And as this is our Beta we want as much feedback as you can provide. You can do this in the in-app chat or via email to [email protected]

Thanks again for all the support

I’m really excited to get you all using the product and telling us what you need so we can keep building incredible features for you.

We want our community to feel more financially secure with the freedom to do more of what we love doing.

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