Insights #1: Meet our founder, Bethany Staff

 
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Bethany Staff, Co-Founder

 
 

Tell me about your background.

I grew up in Cornwall before studying economics and Spanish at the University of Leeds. After graduating, I moved to London where I now work as a management accountant in the Civil Service. I’m also studying towards my final chartered accountancy exams.

Why did you start Nebula?

At university, I noticed that most people really had no idea how to manage their cash. After all, most had never had a job or learned about personal finance before. Some quick research showed me that UK teenagers are some of the most financially illiterate in the world. I then decided to leverage my background in finance and come up with an affordable and effective solution to the problem.

How do you balance your job with Nebula?

At Nebula, we’re a small, close-knit team and we’re all willing to get stuck in. I can count on the team to support me when I’m particularly busy with my day job. At the end of the day, it’s exciting to be building something so I look forward to working on Nebula during weekends and after work.

Talk me through the content in your Money Matters course.

Sure. The course is largely made up of bite-sized video content covering three main areas: essential economics, personal finance, and low-risk investing. We focus on what we feel young people need to know and ensure that they consolidate this information through regular multiple choice quizzes.

Each video has also comes with a transcript for teenagers who prefer more traditional learning methods. The entire course has about three hours of content, but we’ve designed it so that teenagers complete it over a week or two.

Tell me more about Nebula’s trajectory so far and how the course came about.

I’ve always been really interested in education, and during my degree I had the opportunity to teach in Spain for a year. Last summer, my co-founder Prema and I were brainstorming ideas for an online course that British teenagers would find useful.

Then, during Christmas 2017, we started making a few courses based on our initial ideas. In the first few months of 2018 we tested those ideas with a group of local teenagers. They fed back to us that the personal finance demo course we’d made had the best traction among themselves and their parents. Since then, we’ve doubled down on the personal finance idea to produce Money Matters.

What’s been the toughest part of starting Nebula?

Without a doubt, it’s the marketing side of things. I work in finance and studied economics, so making the course hasn’t been too troublesome. But marketing is entirely new to me. That’s not to say it isn’t fun - I enjoy measuring what works and what doesn’t but it’s a lot harder than just making a product, setting up on social media and having customers automatically flock to you. I think people perhaps tend to underestimate marketing.

What are your priorities for Nebula over the next few months?

The plan is definitely to continue building on the sales that we’ve made so far and start developing relationships with more stakeholders in education. We’re looking to iterate on feedback provided to us by our pre-sale customers ahead of our general launch in a few weeks time. Growing our online presence across social media and our blog is also a big priority.

Where do you see Nebula going in the future?

We're still a young company so it's hard to say with any degree of certainty. That’s not to say we don’t have some big plans though. In the next few years I would like Nebula to become a cost-effective one-stop shop for parents who want their teenagers to learn practical things they don’t or can’t easily learn elsewhere.

Personal finance seemed like a good place to start, so the next chapter involves figuring out where to go next. Our customers will certainly help us with that.

 
Prema Doraisamy