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SmartyPig Tips and Lessons Learned

The goal of Greater Des Moines (DSM)-based SmartyPig was to help customers save money for financial goals from vacation to gifts to retirement. Founder Michael Ferrari shares insight on creating a new platform with innovative technology.

Tips for Startups

Know Your Greatest Asset

SmartyPig is known for goal-based savings. The company owns that niche, Michael says.

Get Validation

In the beginning, SmartyPig saw interest from more than 150+ banks and they were fielding several calls a week about the company. Michael talks about taking the SmartyPig technology and creating a SaaS model for financial institutions. In 2011, after visiting with both international and domestic companies, they discovered there was a market for the technology after getting four contracts without even having a product. The four contracts came from an array of industries: insurance, banking, payroll processor and global retailer.

Be Able to Pivot

Michael talks about how this doesn’t mean to change your vision, but to expand or change in ways you may not have originally thought. SmartyPig went from a B2C to a B2B business.

Lessons Learned

Be Open to Change

As a founder, you have a vision and when the vision changes, it can be uncomfortable. Michael discusses these moments as times that can transform the company. Founders have to become comfortable with change and evolution of the company.

Focus on Distribution

Scale is difficult. Look for ways to leverage distribution points and partnerships.

Know Your Strengths

Michael says to know your company’s strengths. SmartyPig’s strength is the technology.

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