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A 34-year-old coder quit his $300,000 job at Stripe to build up his after-work project. Here's why he's convinced it was the right thing to do.

Sumit Kumar
Sumit Kumar.
  • Sumit Kumar, a 34-year-old coder from Hamburg, Germany, quit his $300,000-a-year job at Stripe.
  • He left in May 2022 to build his startup Parqet, a financial platform he started as a side project.
  • He told Insider why walking away from his job to pursue his own business was the right choice.

This is an edited, translated version of an article that originally appeared on August 29, 2022.

Sumit Kumar, 34, quit his 300,000 euro, which is around $300,000, job as a solutions architect at the fintech Stripe to build his own financial platform.

In January 2020, Kumar was investing several thousands of euros from his salary into the stock market each month with assets spread across 31 shares, 15 funds, and three bank deposits, he said. 

"That became a problem," Kumar told Insider, as he constantly had to log into different accounts to get an overview of his portfolios. 

"I wanted something digital, highly automated, and that I could access online and on my mobile," Kumar said. 

That's when he decided to build a platform himself.

Kumar started building his asset management platform, which he called Parqet, as an after-work project. Parqet offers stock market investors an "all-in-one" tool to manage their asset portfolio.

According to Kumar, the platform allows users to merge their portfolios and compare them to benchmark indices, helping users to identify cluster risks or see when the next dividend payout would land in their account.

He said the program also provides information about market movements, for example, which stocks are currently in high demand among other users.

Parqet users upload order receipts from their bank's mailbox to have their securities account analyzed by the platform's algorithm, which then reads the documents and creates a portfolio overview with different charts and tables offering clear visualizations.

Kumar quit his job as a solutions architect at the billion-dollar fintech Stripe in May 2022 to devote himself entirely to his startup, giving up an annual salary of 300,000 euros and stock options.

"At the beginning, I worked on the tool alone every evening until about 1 a.m., but now I have ten people working on it full- or part-time," he said. 

He said giving up his salary and stock options was a big thing to lose when you have a family. "We're stopping vacations, for the time being, cooking at home more often, and generally paying better attention to our spending," he added. 

He said he's also significantly cut back on his stock investments.

Nevertheless, he's convinced that his resignation was the right thing to do. He has big plans for the startup: "In five years, Parqet will be an internationally active software provider in the field of asset management," Kumar said.

Kumar said that Parqet is now receiving 3.5 million page views per month, has 145,000 users, and its monthly recurring revenue is around 38,000 euros.

He also pointed to the high level of competition between neobrokers such as Trade Republic or Scalable Capital, which he said had led to many investors opening portfolios with several providers.

He added the conversion rate of users who take out a paid subscription after using the free version is 15%, which is considered high for this business model.

The platform has some tough competition, however.

Getquin is a "social network for investors" that allows users to track their assets in one place.

The company has already received $16.2 million in funding, including investment from N26 founder Maximilian Tayenthal and the financial services provider Sino, which was vital in helping grow Trade Republic.

Parqet, on the other hand, finances itself exclusively from its funds. "We are cash flow positive and bootstrapped up to now," Kumar said. 

He said that he's repeatedly turned down investors, but he doesn't see this as a disadvantage.

"The company grows more slowly this way, as we can't run big marketing campaigns, for example. But it also makes it easier for us to survive times of economic crisis," Kumar said.

He added that while heavily financed fintechs like Trade Republic have laid off employees as pressure mounted from investors to cut costs, Parqet could continue to grow.

"We don't have to worry about running out of money," Kumar said.

Social media and word of mouth have been essential to Parqet's growth so far, Kumar said, but he added that he's now planning to invest some of the company's profits into a marketing campaign.

Kumar said he's planning to focus on Google Ads, which he hopes will arouse new interest among investors as he's no longer completely ruling out funding rounds.

"I am constantly in talks; there would be enough options," Kumar said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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