The Mint Recap: Fireside Chat with Immad Akhund of Mercury

The Mint Recap: Fireside Chat with Immad Akhund of Mercury
Originally published on Lauren's LinkedIn page here and Twitter page here.

We loved having Immad Akhund, Founder and CEO of Mercury, as our special guest at The Mint a few weeks ago!

It was a great conversation reflecting on the journey of building Mercury. Here are some of the insights and learnings:

1. Get creative with customer acquisition.

Generally, there are two main ways to do this: sales and advertising. However, if you look at the companies that find success, many of them don’t rely exclusively on those channels because both of those strategies become super-expensive as soon as you have a competitor. Word of mouth has worked and continues to work best for Mercury.

2. Nothing matters more than getting to market and getting customers.

Everything else you can figure out over time. If nobody is using your product, nothing matters. So, get to market as soon as possible!

3. Launch with a minimum lovable product.

Immad knew from the start that Mercury couldn’t have all of SVB’s features but he felt as though the other business banks that came before didn’t succeed because they did not have the minimum set of features. His focus was launching with a minimum lovable product, and he struck the balance between being feature complete and minimum.

4. Allocate product resources intentionally and empower product teams.

Immad discussed always “wanting to do everything,” but shared that he tries to force himself to allocate a % of their resources to new vs. existing initiatives. Generally, he leaves it to teams to decide incremental roadmap initiatives. The teams are structured autonomously to ensure they don’t need to talk to each other to accomplish their targets. Every now and then, Immad steps in to push to get things done and influence decisions, but he tries to let the teams make the decisions.

5. Seek input from those who are one step ahead.

Immad values advice from people who are a step ahead of him, which has gotten trickier as Mercury has gotten bigger and there are fewer people one step ahead. This is why he’s always tried to have entrepreneurs on his cap table.

6. Enjoy your work.

It’s easy to think that as you scale you HAVE to do “the next thing” because it’s required of you. But you can't do things that take away energy all of the time. As you scale, know what gives you energy. Even if they aren’t the most sensible things, still do those things!

Lauren is an investor at BTV, where she also co-leads The Mint, the pre-seed program for fintech founders. They accept applications and introductions on a rolling basis.

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