Maria and Stephen Weyman are co-founders of WeyMedia and its software platform creditcardGenius, which compares and ranks Canadian credit cards.
Maria’s Alma mater: University of New Brunswick—Saint John (Bachelor of Science, Data Analysis)
Stephen’s Hometown: Moncton, N.B.
Stephen’s Alma mater: University of New Brunswick—Saint John (Bachelor of Science, Computer Science)
It’s a free platform that matches consumers with the best credit card options based on their preferred benefits. It makes money through affiliate partnerships with some financial institutions that pay a referral fee for every credit card customer they get through creditcardGenius.
The little spreadsheet that grew
Stephen started tracking credit card rewards nine years ago while working on his personal finance website How to Save Money. The spreadsheet he created became the basis of the ranking algorithm that powers creditcardGenius.
What’s helped you get to the next level?
Maria: “Persistence. Stephen really has that and I’ve learned a lot from Stephen’s persistence over the years of just doing How to Save Money on the side for four years in the evenings and on the weekends with a full-time job and minimal hours to devote to building and growing a site. The kind of persistence that he has really is was what kept us going.”
A steady growth curve
When it launched in 2017, creditcardGenius grew from 0 to 70,000 users in the first six months. That’s when Stephen and Maria knew they were on to something big. Maria: “We like to dream and we like to think big but that’s the easy part. The harder part is the building part, building things one brick at a time and that’s what we’re doing. We’re taking things one brick at a time, and we’re seeing where we end up. Right now, we’re reaching a combined total of about 250,000 Canadians a month with our site, software and content.”
Biggest obstacle you had to overcome
Maria: “Overcoming self-doubt when things aren’t going well because it’s easy to question everything when the chips are down. But it’s a matter of accepting that things will not always go according to plan. You have to have the mindset of, ‘What can I learn from this or what can I do better next time? How can I use this to set me up to where I want to be next time?’”
Doing it on their own dime, for now
Maria: “We have no funding. We’re bootstrapping, so everything we’re spending we’ve earned. We’ve shied away from funding because we’ve had no need for the extra funds so far. Although down the road we’re not completely opposed to it—especially if we want to move faster and execute some of the bigger ideas that we have in the back of our minds.”
Biggest risk you took with this venture
Stephen: “The biggest risk was leaving our full-time jobs to pursue this business when we weren’t earning nearly enough to replace our full-time incomes and at the same time, having two young kids at home. So that’s by far the biggest risk we’ve taken so far and fortunately, it’s paid off.”
What does success look like?
Maria: “Our dream is to become a household name where anyone who needs help with money or making the right financial choices, like choosing a credit card, will think of How to Save Money or creditcardGenius.”
As a couple, how has it been launching a startup and raising a family together?
Maria: “It’s not easy to be honest. Running a business isn’t a piece of cake; maintaining a healthy, happy marriage isn’t a piece of cake either. Combining those two is a recipe for disaster for some. But I think we make it work because we were partners first and best friends first. We had a long foundation before we started running a business. Because we know each other well, I think that’s why we’ve been able to make it work.”
Stephen: “Nothing can fully prepare you for it, just like having children. But you shouldn’t go in blind either, and I think we have that strong foundation. Like Maria said, that’s helped carry us through the bumpy road and helped make us stronger because of it.”
Something interesting or quirky about your office culture
Stephen: “I’m not sure we’re the quirkiest out there, but we do have a book club. One of the core parts of our culture is evolution and self-evolution, so we pick a business-focused book as a team every few months, and we read it all together, and then we have a book-club meeting to discuss it.” •