Featured Founder: Farrukh Siddiqui of Defynance
Welcome to our Featured Founder series, where you’ll meet startup founders from Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Farrukh Siddiqui, Founder, President & CEO of Defynance, disruptive student loan refinancing utilizing innovative Income Share Agreements (ISA).
What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?
My experience spans across insurance, mortgages, and web application development. Over the past 15 plus years, I have focused on socially responsible finance mostly as an entrepreneur. During this time, I weathered the financial crisis with millions of Americans. My personal and business life suffered as a result and I was able to analyze the self-inflicted wounds that caused it as a financial services insider. I resolved that there has to be a better way and have dedicated the rest of my professional career to fostering social impact within financial services.
What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?
We are tackling the $1.5 plus Trillion student loan crisis that is impacting more than 45 Million Americans. Solving a major problem through a solution that is responsible and saleable is what drives me to work hard every day.
Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?
Raising capital has always been the biggest challenge because our product is new and untested. I am still overcoming this challenge by building strategic relationships, bootstrapping, and always remaining confident and committed to the mission.
Where do you see your company headed next?
Our next milestone is revenue generation followed by establishing product-market fit and developing repeatable and scalable processes.
Give us a tactical piece of advice that you'd share with another founder just starting out.
Bootstrap for as long as possible! It’ll be difficult and frustrating but it fuels innovation, creativity, and aids in recruiting a core team that believes in the values and mission of the company. As a founder, you really find out who you are and acquire much self-confidence along the way.