Aleksandar Svetski knows that there are no shortcuts to success, but through Amber, you can build on what he’s already learned.
We all want to be millionaires, so what exactly are the three simple steps to becoming a millionaire? Aleksandar Svetski says there are none.
Aleks is co-founder and CEO at Amber, Australia’s first app to combine a digital currency exchange, wallet and round ups, allowing anyone to swap the spare change from their everyday transactions into Bitcoin – on auto-pilot.
Aleks told himself that he would be a millionaire by the age of 20. Was he a millionaire by this age? Not quite.
With HSC results in the top 1% of the state, Aleks was granted early entry and a scholarship to the University of Wollongong. Once discovering university was not enough of a challenge, he taught himself to trade derivatives (stock market) and managed to turn his $3,000 scholarship into over $50,000. The drive to be an entrepreneur far outweighed the university dream for Aleks.
“Everybody makes out like being an entrepreneur is a nice, easy thing to do. They think there are three steps to becoming a millionaire. It’s really hard and there’s a really difficult side to it,” he said.
“I invested my money right before the global financial crisis. My aim was to become a millionaire by the time I was 20 and, a week before I turned 20 I was massively levered up and lost everything. About six months later, I was almost $250,000 in debt.”
This initial setback led him down the entrepreneurial path. Desperate to pay off his debts, Aleks found himself door knocking.
“I sold anything I could, and at one stage was the third-best pay TV salesperson in the country, although I didn’t have a TV at the time and I lived on someone’s lounge floor on a mattress. It’s amazing what necessity does,” he said.
“I’d knock on doors all day and study markets, psychology and money by night.”
A number of years later, after having successfully rebuilt himself financially, Aleks took a sabbatical.
“I travelled to some weird places, hung out in Venice Beach, became a bit of a hippy, studied yoga, Yuza meditation, stunt driving and was on a crusade to prove a healthy lifestyle was the way forward.”
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“I spent some time in the Silicon Valley and a place called Singularity University, an institution put together by Peter Diamonds, Google, NASA etc. It was built around eight exponential technologies that are going to change the world, including Ai, robotics, nanotech, biotech, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and a few more. This was my real catalyst into tech.”
Throughout his career, Aleks has successfully built and run companies in industries as diverse as sales, renewable energy, tech and now more specifically, Fintech.
Aleksandar was first introduced to Bitcoin in 2012, but wasn’t interested and did not get involved until later on in 2015.
He said: “Although I’ve been involved with financial markets since 2007 (and still am) and was right there buying gold and silver in the post-GFC bull run, I didn’t properly look into Bitcoin until much later. I got busy with other things.”
That all changed, and in 2016, after stepping down as CEO from a prior tech company, Aleks went down the proverbial Bitcoin “rabbit hole”.
“Around mid 2017, it hit me. I wanted my mum, my sister, my friends to all buy some Bitcoin. I’d been telling them for almost a year at that point, but it was always “too hard”. They didn’t know how to buy it, where to buy it, how much to buy or what to even do with it – and it was this feedback that gave me the idea for Amber.”
So what exactly is Amber? In the words of his friend, who so aptly put it: “Amber is like crypto for dummies”.
It’s like a digital piggy-bank, on auto-pilot.
Aleks said: “Bitcoin is just a new asset class and instead of scaring and confusing people with all this technical mumbo jumbo, I just said, let’s just make it simple: download an app, link your account and let’s put the money you don’t even notice (your spare change) into Bitcoin.”
How does it work?
“So you go out and you buy a coffee. Amber sees that transaction on your bank statement, works out the difference to the nearest dollar and the “spare change” amount is automatically swapped for Bitcoin and placed in your Amber wallet. If you want to do more than just the spare change, you’ll be able to just set up recurring deposits, say like $20 per week, or whatever.”
Why is this so important?
“Investing is hard and everyone gets it wrong,” Aleks said. “Humans buy high when they’re euphoric and sell low when they’re scared. Dollar Cost Averaging, especially with something like Amber, takes the emotion out of investing, and is proven to be the best strategy for participating in a long-term uptrend. If you’d been putting your spare change into something like Bitcoin for the last three years, even after this major ‘crash’, you’d be up roughly 1,000%. That’s an unprecedented return.”
Will Amber offer more than just Bitcoin?
“We’ll open it up to other digital asset classes, currencies, collectables etc, as we go,” Aleks said. “But it’s a step by step process. We don’t want to confuse the users.”
The team closed a $280,000 pre-seed in January 2018 to prove that they could build it, and as of this writing they’re $900k of the way through a $1 million seed round to commercialise the product and get it into the hands of the first 10,000 users in Australia.
“Everyone’s heard of Bitcoin and crypto, but it’s still hard, scary and confusing,” Aleks said. “With Amber you download the app, link your bank account and you forget about it.”
“After a year of doing that, you’ve saved up $700-800 worth of Bitcoin. Fast forward five to ten years from now and worst case, everything’s worth zero and you’ll have barely noticed, but if things pan out and it’s worth 50 to 100 times what it originally was worth, it would change a person’s life – dramatically.”
Amber is Australia’s first fully integrated digital currency exchange, wallet and micro-investment app, so not only can you buy with your spare change, but you’ll be able to store, swap, send and sell.
Features of Amber:
- Spare change – rounds up transactions to the nearest dollar.
- Boost function – allows you to add an extra 50c or extra dollars to every transaction.
- Recurring – allows you to set a certain amount of money to go in every week.
- One off – allows you to put “one-off” large transactions into the wallet.
The biggest achievement with Amber so far Aleks says is raising $1 million dollars without an ICO, right during the peak period.
“It took alot of self control not to go down that path, and I’m glad we didn’t,” Aleks said.
When companies are raising capital via an ICO, the investor is not buying any of the company, they are buying a token that will “one day” pay for work on the network, and thus functions like a currency upon that network.
“Instead of selling tokens, I sold equity in the business – which was the right thing to do – and everyone thought I was crazy,” Aleks said. “The story of my life is this: I’m a contrarian. I take the opposite bet, so I’m usually on wrong side for a while, but when I’m right, I’m very, very right.”
Two years on from the initial idea and Amber will be going live with a soft launch for Christmas. Click here to download the app, or sign up to their mailing list and know when it goes live.
In five years’ time where will Amber be?
Aleks: “The go-to digital wallet for anyone who wants to participate in a new financial world.”