Getting To Know You: Ricky Lee, CEO & founder, Find.Exchange

During his 18 year career Ricky Lee has been responsible for designing and architecting apps for major banks in the UK from concept to completion, to being an instrumental player within the founding team at Revolut.

Here he tells Business Matters about what defines his way of working.

What do you currently do?

The past three years have been spent perfecting the core features of Find.Exchange, which is the comparison of money transfer companies, prepaid currency cards and currency exchange bureaus, as well as the location of these exchange bureaus. Basically, if you’re sending, spending or exchanging money abroad, we save you time and money. 

Currently, I’m looking at using blockchain technology to take my three-year-old FinTech startup to the next level. We’ll be using the technology to make international money transfers faster, cheaper and more secure.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

I was leaning against a taxi in Thailand waiting for an exchange bureau to open. An Australian who was living in the area approached me and offered me his Thai Baht in exchange for my GBP. He actually offered me a better rate than the currency rate at the time.

This gesture made me realise that companies are charging so much for people to transfer and exchange money. It was only when I was booking my flight home through Skyscanner, a flight comparison service, that I realised the same concept could be applied to the money exchange and transfer market. 

What defines your way of doing business?

Detail. With a background in design, detail has always been such an important factor for me. I’ve seen good products fail because of the user experience and I’ve seen bad products succeed for the same reason. My team and I always put the extra time into our work to make sure we get every detail perfect, no compromise. Another important part of the way I do business is the way I treat my team. I know how important it is to have a team that feels comfortable and confident. This enables them to put their ideas and suggestions forward. I feel it’s very important for any employee to know that their ideas will be considered just as anybody else’s would.

Who do you admire?

My family, my Mom and Dad especially. They have always been there for me. Thanks to their support and education, they have made me what I am today. My work ethic has been driven to be able to help them. In tough times, they picked me up and guided me.

It taught me that as long as you can learn from your mistakes and understand that failures are the path to success, then you can truly pursue something special.

Fear of failure is so damaging to motivation and ambition. Understanding that failure is not only inevitable, but necessary to learn and progress, is the greatest gift my parents could have ever given me.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

Yes, many things of course. However, ultimately, I wouldn’t change anything, because I’m very happy to be where I am today. I feel incredibly lucky to be leading such a strong project.

Professionally within Find.Exchange I would have done many things differently. Market adoption has been a long process for us. Getting established companies such as Transferwise and Western Union to sign on with a FinTech startup was a long process.

I feel if I could go back, and have had as clear a vision for the product then as I have today, it wouldn’t have taken so long. Thanks to the motivation of myself and my team, we’ve managed to get a great selection of established partners. I don’t spend too much time thinking about it though. I’m keeping my eyes on the future for now.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

You will make mistakes. Failures are the path to success. If you can use every failure as an opportunity to learn and to better yourself, then you will be far more likely to succeed.

I’ve had failures in the past which have not only taught me valuable lessons but also set me on a different path, for which I am very grateful. Most importantly, find a project you really believe in.

If you pursue something that you don’t have interest in, you will likely not find your work fulfilling. By choosing a project you believe in your work will quickly become something you enjoy. This is especially important when you’re starting out.

In interviews, I can always tell when a candidate is genuinely excited by the Find.Exchange product; it’s the best feature a candidate can have.