People Spotlight

Eva Wong & Andrew Graham

CO-FOUNDERS, BORROWELL

We founded Borrowell in 2014 because we both wanted to make a positive impact in the consumer credit space, while also building a great place to work.

Prior, Andrew was working in banking and Eva had amassed a variety of experiences working as a management consultant and in the nonprofit space. We had worked together previously when we founded a non-profit, called Toronto Homecoming, an organization that connects talented Canadians working abroad with top employers in the Toronto Region. We knew we worked well together and we shared a lot of the same values. We had been looking for an opportunity to work together on a new project. Andrew left his corporate job and joined the DMZ in early 2014, with the goal of founding a company to help consumers improve their finances. Eva joined that summer and we closed a funding round soon after. During the year at the DMZ, we worked hard to develop the foundation for Borrowell and absorbed tons of knowledge from other founders and our mentors. And it paid off. During that time, we recruited some amazing team members, found investors, got legal support, structured our business and options, and generally fast tracked our company’s growth. When it comes to starting a company, you don’t know what you don’t know, and the DMZ helped us see things a new way.

“When it comes to starting a company, you don’t know what you don’t know, and the DMZ helped us see things a new way.”

People often ask us what it’s like to work as co founders. We’ve been lucky that we work well together, have the same values and hold a shared commitment to humility, honesty and good communication. It’s been great to have someone by our sides to celebrate the wins and help pick ourselves off the ground when we fall. We bring together different, yet complementary viewpoints, and we’ve been able to accomplish more together than we could have individually.

“We’ve been lucky that we work well together, have the same values and hold a shared commitment to humility, honesty and good communication.”

We agree that one of the most important qualities for a startup founder to have is grit. Grit is what gets you through setback after setback, and it’s what keeps you working hard and fast. Another critical quality is passion. Without passion, it’s hard to sustain the pace and demands of running a startup. At Borrowell, we’ve been successful because we both believe deeply in what we’re doing and we know that we’re making a real difference in the lives of Canadians. To us, that’s more important than anything else. Sure, we can find others to fill our knowledge gaps, but we can’t rely on others to fuel our passion – that needs to come from within.

“Grit is what gets you through setback after setback, and it’s what keeps you working hard and fast. Another critical quality is passion. Without passion, it’s hard to sustain the pace and demands of running a startup.”

Although we don’t consider ourselves traditional entrepreneurs, we know the problem we want to solve, we’re driven deeply by that problem, and we can see the impact we’re making on real people’s lives. That’s why we do what we do. That’s what’s made our company work.