Practical Founders Podcast

#69: Bootstrapped a Fintech Payments Platform to $10M ARR in 3 Years – Miles Schwartz

Miles Schwartz a cofounder of Zūm Rails, a fast-growing fintech based in Canada with a growing worldwide presence. In just 3.5 years and without any outside funding, Zūm Rails has grown from a focused startup to a credible open banking and instant payment gateway with $10M in ARR. Zum Rails also integrated KYC (Know Your Customer) technology which reduces fraud across all payment types. 

Miles and his cofounder had experience with fintech payments before they started Zum Rails to improve EFT payment processing in Canada. As they worked with more partners and grew  revenues, they expanding the Zum Rails solution and built relationships with larger partners.

Fast-growth, larger partner opportunities, and traction with a US expansion are causing Miles and his cofounders to think differently about the potential for the company and potentially raising growth capital from the right VC investment partner. 

Bootstrapped Fintech Topics Discussed on This Podcast 

  • How he grew his fintech startup success as the first salesperson
  • Why potential investors and technical talent didn’t believe they could do what they did
  • Why they have not raised a large VC funding round yet
  • How they overcame their biggest obstacles as a bootstrapped fintech startup
  • How their vision and capabilities have expanded as they gain credibility with large financial institutions
  • Why large US financial institutions are lining up to work with them now

Quote from Miles Schwartz of Zum Rails 

“When you first start, it’s like, we have a runway of seven weeks. Every big deal you close moves the needle and you celebrate it. But as we scale, we still have the same pressure, but with larger numbers. If sales doesn’t hit these targets by this day, we’re out of money.

“I think the exhaustion of being year four into that same pressure week after week, month after month. I can’t take a vacation because if I take three weeks off, that may mean we don’t hit our runway. I don’t ever overwork myself but I never disconnect. 

“It takes a toll. People glamorize it. Especially being bootstrapped, it’s a slog. It’s grinding teeth. I don’t recommend it for most people. We’re very successful at it, fortunately, and knock on wood we continue to be, but even despite the success, it’s grueling. It’s tough.”



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Greg Head recorded this on episode on November 10, 2023 for the Practical Founders Podcast see all of the episodes.

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