Meet Max from FounderPass

Hey Max, great to chat to you today! Can you tell us about FounderPass?

FounderPass is a unique membership and community for founders and business owners giving them access to huge discounts on business software, tools and services. Aimed at founders across the world it has over £1.5 million worth of discounts available on over 250 companies. 

We negotiate all of the deals directly with the companies involved and these include the biggest software companies in the world such as Google, AWS, Hubspot and many more.

You started multiple businesses over the past 18 years including your marketing agency. Can you tell us more about your entrepreneurship journey?

I started making websites back in 2004 when I was 15 and stumbled across a way to monetise them via affiliate marketing, I continued running websites through school all the way into university. After graduating I decided instead of trying to get a job to go full time at making a living online.

In the years that followed I ran multiple businesses including an online e-commerce site selling personalised gifts, a website comparing mobile phone contracts all the way to a Gin & Tonic subscription business. I exited these businesses and then co-founded a marketing agency in London that focused on the hospitality sector and we grew that to 25 staff.

I took a step back from this agency business in 2019 and started looking into new businesses and noted how much I spent on different software, how it was often tricky to find the right business tools and services and believed that founders should get better incentives and discounts when starting out. This is when the idea for FounderPass was born. 

Throughout these many experiences, what has been the most tricky and the most rewarding?

One of the trickiest times during my business life was when covid hit the agency that I’d built. Although I’d taken a step back from the day to day running, the business focused on the hospitality sector and as it was hit the hardest, the majority of clients paused contracts with us whilst we still had salaries and our office rent to pay.

One of the most rewarding times was in my twenties when I had the ability to work remotely. I did this all over south east asia, running my businesses from my laptop whilst exploring various countries, meeting new people and having a fantastic time.

You built FounderPass for founders, why was it important for you to create a platform dedicated for entrepreneurs?

Starting a business is never easy and I truly believe that all businesses should try and help fellow entrepreneurs when they start out, I’m a firm believer in the giving back philosophy.

Although many of the big software companies give big discounts, free annual software licences and a huge amount of credits to startups already, these were nearly always solely for startups that had either raised millions, were part of an incubator/accelerator or were venture funded.

I felt there was a big gap to give these same benefits to those founders not meeting these criteria.

Can you tell us more about the community aspect of FounderPass?

This is a side of the businesses we’re looking to put more focus on in the next year. We actively try to help our community by connecting founders together where there is potential synergy. We also put founders in touch with our contacts from the large companies and suggest handpicked webinars and events they can attend to connect with fellow entrepreneurs.

This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week, a topic which is very important in the small business and entrepreneur community. Can you tell us about your own experience throughout your entrepreneurship journey?

From my own personal experience, entrepreneurship and being a founder in general can at times be quite isolating and lonely, especially in the early days when working long hours, on your own and mostly from home. This was very relevant when I graduated and went from an extremely active social life at university into running my business full time on my own, having moved back to my parents and reduced social interaction. This did take a toll on my mental health and was something that for me didn’t suddenly happen overnight but gradually over time. 

Is there any advice or practice that has helped you look after your Mental Health that you can share?

I found that the solution was to move into a co-working office and to ensure I purposely got off my laptop and out for a run or walk to clear my mind and switch off, even if it was only for 15 minutes. 

I now have my own office space within a close friend’s thriving accountancy firm as well as switching up working from home and different coffee shops a day or two a week for a change of scenery.

Is Mental Health a big topic in the FounderPass community?

We’ve seen an increasing demand as well as requests for more partners and discounts on software and business services surrounding mental health and it’s an area that we’re focusing on quite heavily this year and next.

I believe more and more companies are realising the importance of mental health and actively investing time and money into not only their teams but their own personal mental health.

FounderPass is all about efficiency and ease for founders, that’s also true for Tide. What’s your favourite feature?

My favourite feature is the speed of opening up an account, as I have multiple different businesses, the ability to open a Tide account in minutes is a game changer.

How did Tide help grow your business?

The Tide app is intuitive and is designed for businesses. I love the ability to upload receipts on expenses, so when I purchase something on my Tide card within seconds I get a notification in the app, open it, take a photo of the receipt and it’s saved!

I’m not the most organised so this is a game changer for me. 

You’re also offering Tide as part of your suite of products and services with FounderPass. Can you tell us more about your Tide partner experience?

Dealing with the partnership team at Tide has been great, they always go above and beyond to make sure we’ve got the things we need to get the most out of the partnership and it’s great for our members to get a perk when opening an account.

What’s next for FounderPass?

We’re aiming to expand the perks and discounts we offer from purely focusing on software and business services to go into other areas such as hospitality, travel and much more so founders can enjoy a wide range of perks across a whole range of categories!

Valentine Hutchings

Valentine Hutchings

Head of Community and small business enthusiast

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