The end of the year is always a great time for reflection and goal setting. And as we get ready to say goodbye to what has been an eventful year, we wanted to share with you some of the things that made us excited, the situations that kept us on our toes, and what we are really looking forward to for the upcoming year.
Keeping our customers happy and engaged with our product is what drives all our business and product decisions. Our first customers signed up with us in early 2017. As 2018 comes to an end, we’re thrilled to say that this year saw our Neat Personal customer base triple and our Neat Business customer base increase by 2000%.
We are very proud of this growth and for the upcoming year, we will continue to add new features and increase the value that our product adds for all our personal and business customers.
This was one of the most popular requests we received and we were very excited to launch this feature in 2018. In Phase 1 of our launch, transfer services were made available to Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, The Netherlands, UK, and USA. In Phase 2, we added India, Indonesia, The Philippines and Switzerland to the growing list of countries.
International payments are now almost surpassing domestic payments made on Neat Business, demonstrating the value of this feature to our customers. As you may know, we are continuously asking our customers for feedback and you’re always welcome to propose new ideas/features on our Wishlist.
Our mission is to provide services and tools that make your life as an entrepreneur easier. In November, we officially launched our company incorporation service, allowing entrepreneurs to open a Hong Kong company with speed and ease, completely online.
We have already seen great interest from global companies looking to scale globally via Hong Kong.
In late October, we announced a US$3M investment round, bringing our total funding to US$5M for this year. This last investment round was led by Linear Capital, a cutting edge venture capital fund from China focusing on data-driven startups. They've joined our family of investors, amongst the likes of Dymon Asia Ventures, Portag3 Ventures, and Sagamore Investments.
This capital will be used to further grow our team as well as expanding our product features and market reach.
Team & Office
And last but certainly not least, our team grew from 11 to 31 this year. To accommodate our growing team, we moved into a bigger office in Wan Chai.
The people who make up Neat are our most valued asset and it's truly what defines and drives our company.
All of our hires go through a thorough interview process because as we continue to grow even bigger, we want to make sure that every team member embodies the Neat culture.
What we've learned so far
During our weekly standup meetings, in addition to providing each other with updates of what's going on with each team, we also take the time to encourage each other to share our mistakes. The person with the biggest weekly “screw-up” becomes the proud owner of our beloved Screw-Up Trophy, which is put on display on their desk until he/she is dethroned the following week.
The point of this exercise is that we all learn from each other's mistakes and it provides the perfect opportunity to grow our knowledge.
That being said, one of the biggest mistakes we made this year was when we ran out of stock for our Neat cards.
As we were rolling out new designs, we stopped producing the the old designs, thinking we still had a good amount of stock. At the same time, demand for our cards spiked! We quickly ran out and our new users had to wait longer to receive them.
For the upcoming year, we are really excited to offer our services to Mainland Chinese entrepreneurs. We believe that our product is an invaluable tool for companies and startups from Mainland China that are looking to go global.
In line with expanding, our customer base as well as our plan to become a truly data-driven business, we are growing our team with a special focus on our engineering, data analytics and China business development teams.
Our Neat Business product is also going to see more updates including the addition of many more countries available for international payments.
Other major features we plan to launch next year are multi-currency accounts (currently the most popular customer request), so you will be able to hold different currencies and won't need to do unnecessary foreign exchange conversions . Moreover, we have recently announced our partnership with Xero which will enable us to provide fully automated and reconciled accounting soon!
As you can see, we've had quite a year here at Neat, and are even more excited for what's to come. We'd like to thank all our Neat family of customers, investors and supporters who have been part of this incredible journey so far.