Confessions of a serial entrepreneur: Nicky Senyard

Learn from the founder of Fintel Connect — who’s already on her third venture — about how to build strong teams, scale ventures, and put your passions first.

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Nicky Senyard describes Fintel Connect, the local fintech firm she founded, as a phoenix. It rose from the ashes of Share Results. But the Senyard story doesn’t start there. The sale of Income Access, a martech company that was the serial entrepreneur’s first venture, to PaySafe in the 2010s eventually led to her second company, KewPac Group. Despite good intentions, it eventually didn’t suit Senyard: “not my cup of tea,” as she put it. So, what exactly is the elixir of choice for the third-time founder? Read our conversation with her as part of our Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur story series.

This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

Vancouver Tech Journal: Can you describe your journey as an entrepreneur so far?

Nicky Senyard: My journey has been an interesting one, and I've broken it down into three distinct chunks. The first phase was in my twenties when I was an employee for a variety of companies. During this time, I had the opportunity to hold some fantastic roles, and what I came to realize was that these positions were invaluable in preparing me for my eventual entrepreneurial journey. They were a glimpse into what I truly enjoyed about working in companies, highlighted my strengths, and also revealed my weaknesses. Those years as a nine-to-five employee played a pivotal role in helping me understand my preferences.

When I eventually took the plunge and started my first company, I was able to integrate the lessons I had learned from those jobs into the way I structured my business. However, transitioning from being an employee to being solely responsible for a company brought a whole new set of challenges. There were aspects of entrepreneurship that I had never been exposed to, and it turned into a learn-on-the-job type of process.

Fast forward to today, after successfully building and exiting my first company, the second time around has been quite different. It's easy to forget what it's like to build something from the ground up. This time, the journey has presented me with unexpected challenges — not necessarily in a negative way, but certainly in ways I hadn't anticipated.

VTJ: What perspective do you bring to your ventures?

NS: I noticed that I have significantly more energy and enthusiasm when I'm engaged in activities that I am passionate about, and I can consistently bring my A-game to those pursuits. It's a simple, yet profound, realization for me: when I'm doing what I enjoy, my energy levels soar.

This has had a significant impact on my personal life and also on how I approach creating and growing my businesses. I've learned to prioritize tasks and activities that energize me and avoid getting bogged down in things that demoralize me or drain my energy. It's all about focusing on the things that truly resonate with me.

I carry this perspective into my companies as well. I believe that a motivated and energized team is key to success. So, I encourage and support my team members in doing what they love within the context of our business. I want them to experience that same surge of energy and passion that I do when I'm working on things I'm genuinely passionate about. It's a philosophy that not only benefits individuals but also contributes to the overall success and vibrancy of our teams and businesses.

VTJ: How do you approach the challenge of scaling a company?

NS: I believe it's crucial to balance delicacy with a certain level of forcefulness. Scaling a company isn't just about growing for the sake of growth. It's about having a clear vision of where you want your company to go. This vision serves as your guiding light, helping you make strategic decisions about where to invest your time, resources, and energy to ensure long-term success. So, having a well-defined vision is the delicate part of the equation.

However, the forceful aspect comes into play when you start taking practical steps to make that vision a reality. I often liken scaling a company to the slow, deliberate progress of an inchworm. It's a step-by-step process, and each incremental move forward is critical. You can't rush it, but you also can't afford to be complacent.

The delicate part, the vision, sets the direction for the forceful, practical steps you take to grow. Without a clear vision, you may find it challenging to make decisions that will have a positive impact on your business three to five years down the road. So, it's this delicate balance between having a vision and taking strategic actions that ultimately drives successful company scaling.

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What can you tell us about your first company, Income Access?

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