Steven A. McKean is an entrepreneur whose passion is to build technologies that prioritize the needs of consumers. His goal is to level the playing field between big businesses and their customers, and it is the primary driving force behind Steven’s previous and current ventures. As the CEO of BILLSHARK, Steven has merged his affinity for creating easy-to-use, technological platforms and his enthusiasm for helping consumers.
How did you get into the industry?
My business partner and I have been in the industry for 15 years. I founded Acceller 15 years ago to do customer acquisition in the Cable TV/Internet and Wireless space. We observed how our clients priced and our customers’ frustration and decided to solve this pain point for consumers by offering a service to negotiate bills.
Any emerging industry trends?
There are several themes that provide the opportunity for us to help consumers save on monthly bills:
First in the home services space (Cable TV, Internet, Wireless, Home Security), the industry is growing slowly or staying stagnant. Companies are fighting for market share and every customer counts.
Second, mobile, mobile and mobile. Mobile enables a new level of engagement with customers.
Third, cloud computing has reduced the barriers to build out this platform. We are deploying technology today that didn’t exist 10 years ago or would have cost millions (now thousands).
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
We think the large opportunity here is to create a new breed of financial services. We coined the term personal finance as a service. There are many apps emerging to change how consumers interact with their finances. Negotiating bills is just the first step.
Inspiration for BILLSHARK, and your vision for it?
Our passion for this business comes from wanting to make a difference, an impact. We believe that serving consumers and empowering them to live “Smart Money” values is a purpose to fight for and inspire among others. Our vision for the business and drive to get involved comes from years of related experience and a desire to solve a problem.
What's next for BILLSHARK in the near future?
At BILLSHARK we are quite excited. We are working on messaging bots so customers can interact with us via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and text message. We are expanding into Canada and offering the BILLSHARK service to small businesses prior to the end of this year.
Your key initiatives for the success of BILLSHARK?
Our key initiative is to constantly improve the user experience. We are introducing a guarantee to our customers where if the provider does not honor the savings, we guarantee to escalate and recapture the savings. We are also focused on speed. Ideally, a customer could submit a bill in the morning and have their savings that afternoon.
Your most difficult moment at BILLSHARK? (and what did you learn?)
The most difficult moments so far were attracting the first team members. When you are starting at zero employees, those first ones to jump are the hardest. Today we’re happy to have a healthy and growing team.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Simple: an ideal experience for a customer would be that they enroll in less than two minutes in the morning and are notified of their savings when they are at lunch that same day. They save hundreds of dollars with less than a 2 minute investment of time.
How do you motivate others?
We motivate others by articulating our purpose and passion. We build the motivation into our company culture by bringing in team members who share our core values of (a) growth mindset (b) camaraderie and (c) tenacity.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Follow your passion. Find great mentors. Pay it forward. Add value and build relationships.