The Way Forward: Building a Sustainable Community Platform

The Way Forward: Building a Sustainable Community Platform

profileKenneth Lou

Hey Seedly Community!

For the past 4 years that many of you have been with us, one particular question always comes up in discussions:

“How does Seedly make money?”

Well, in this article, I will share with you in full transparency how we worked towards creating a personal finance platform — with sustainability at its heart — and our monetisation plans to keep the platform running.

But first, let’s revisit our mission and vision of a startup founded in a stuffy NUS student dormitory by an unlikely duo back in 2016.

“We aspire to help people living in Singapore make smarter financial decisions.”

Everything we have done in the past 4 years is grounded by this belief.

And we will still keep this at heart moving forward.

Personal Finance Festival 2019
We’ll be back for Seedly Fest 2021!

To us, we may be naive to believe this, we are adamant that the way forward for personal finance should AND must be discussed openly in a community where people are willing to share and learn from one another with no judgement and prejudice.

Growing up With the Community

Through our early endeavours in 2016 with the Expense Tracking app, we saw the need to help people consolidate and manage their finances in order to make better money decisions in life.

Seedly App Expense Tracker

We struggled to get initial traction but soon found our footing with the help of some early supporters — while also facing some strong headwinds from regulators and banks.

In the years that followed, we’ve gone beyond that to offer timely and relevant content and also crowd-sourced user-generated content like Questions, Answers and Reviews which ultimately help our users make better personal finance decisions.

Our Mission: Helping People in Singapore Make Smarter Financial Decisions

Seedly Team
The Seedly Team in 2020

I am super proud of what our hardworking and amazing team has accomplished so far, with over 2 million sessions each month and impacting over a million lives in Singapore.

I am eternally grateful for the countless hours and late nights the team, both past and present, have dedicated to helping Seedly realise this mission.

However, our journey is far from over.

Entering the Next Phase: Sustainability

We want to build a platform that will outlast us and a community that will continue to thrive because of its close-knit members.

In other words, we want to build a sustainable and enduring company.

Seedly Main Site
Our recently revamped Seedly Site

For me, sustainability has two parts:

  1. Sustain and grow as a Knowledge and Sharing platform
  2. Sustain and grow as a Business

Part 1: How Do We Plan To Sustain As A Community Knowledge and Sharing Platform?

We ultimately aim to have a platform that could one day outlive its founding members.

With community members who organically and generously share their personal finance knowledge in Singapore.

And, one day, even beyond our sunny shores.

Seedly QnA platform
The SeedlyCommunity

The only way for this to work is to harness the power of community to scale and grow.

Today, we have Guest Contributors, Community Answerers, and Reviewers.

And there will soon be more of such tools and features coming to our platform.

We look forward to having you on board to co-create meaningful content alongside thousands of like-minded individuals.

However, we are less than 1% of the journey there.

Part 2: How Do We Plan to Sustain as a Business?

Businesses need cash to survive.

At Seedly, we have a hardworking and talented team who build product features and create content, we pay for servers to host this content, and we pay office rent so that the team can work together.

For the past 4 years, we have been extremely fortunate to have had investors who believed in us, and gave us resources to scale up while we explored avenues to monetise the platform.

In full transparency, here are some ways we plan to sustain the business moving forward:

  • Media: Branded SeedlyReads content with government organisations and SeedlyTV content with Seedly Festival 2020 Sponsors
  • Events: Seedly Festival Sponsors and Ticketing
  • Advertising: On-site Banner Ads
  • Business Accounts: Community Engagement Tools and Verified Profiles

We will continue to clearly identify branded content so you will know when we are paid to create them.

This way, you can make your own objective assessment of the content we share.

But more importantly, we are still committed to maintaining our journalistic independence and will never share views contrary to our own.

You can read more about our Code of Ethics here.

Our Promise to You: Maintaining Neutrality

Seedly will continue to provide complete and unbiased information, reviews, and community opinions across all product categories we cover to all of our users.

Regardless of any commercial agreements we may have with our partners.

Seedly Savings Account Comparison
Seedly Savings Account Calculator

To present a balanced perspective and allow YOU to make the final decision, we have created comparison tools and products listings including:

and more.

As of the time of writing, we currently have a total of 370 personal finance-related products and growing.

We will also update our Code of Ethics with regard to our community guidelines from time to time so that you are fully aware and are kept abreast of Seedly’s position on these matters.

Conclusion: What Lies Ahead

The post-COVID-19 future is an interesting one with new norms in the way we live, work, and play.

The personal finance space will be ever more complex to navigate as we emerge from the crisis, battle-scarred and all.

Those who are new to the workforce will have to navigate difficult trade-offs in their personal finance decisions.

And we want to be here to help.

We want to be a community to serve individuals who are looking to get out of debt, to recover from unemployment, to insure and protect their loved ones or to invest for their retirement years.

Seedly Community Cashflow Meetup
Seedly Community Cashflow Meetup in 2018

Thus, we would like to ask YOU to join us on this journey in building a sustainable business and community.

And help us create a healthy, supportive, and close-knit platform to aid you on your own personal finance journey.

In the wise words of Hellen Keller: 

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much”

With much care,

Kenneth & Tee Ming

Co-founders of Seedly

Full Seedly Logo

More about Seedly

If you’re curious, here’s Seedly’s backstory:

  • Started in 2016
  • Secured early pre-seed funding from NUS Enterprise, DBS HotSpot, East Ventures
  • Acquired by ShopBack group for an undisclosed sum in 2018
  • Ran as a wholly-owned subsidiary since 2019 (and beyond)

If you are keen to work with us in one way or another, we’re always happy to have a chat with you on all things personal finance-related (or even about running your own start-up).

We’re only an email away!

Lastly, if Seedly has touched your lives in some way, please do give us a shoutout by sharing your story or leaving a comment below.

About Kenneth Lou
Co-founder of Seedly. Passionate about helping people make smarter financial decisions.
You can contribute your thoughts like Kenneth Lou here.

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