David Salkinder is the co-founder of Fundabl, a company offering software and subscription-based businesses an ability to convert their monthly subscription payments into a lump sum cash advance.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I was fortunate to do my undergraduate degree at the Wharton School, UPenn. I was surrounded by an amazing group of business peers and there was a strong leaning amongst the cohort towards finance. After trying consulting at BCG, I ended up starting my career on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. It was great to be at the epicentre of finance.
After that, I ventured out to Australia for the first time to join my family in Sydney, where they had decided to relocate from my native South Africa. I immediately joined a startup called Monash Private Capital and this sent my career away from large corporates into early stage and growth.
Monash taught me about investing in the Australian market and helped to build my network in my new home. I moved on from Monash into one of our portfolio companies to help start a non-bank lender called Credabl, which exclusively (and expertly) services medical professionals. After going from no loans in 2018 to over $2bn in originations late last year I was ready to go after another challenge in finance.
Having experienced firsthand how challenging it can be to raise capital for a growing business without dilution, I decided to try and tackle this problem and launched Fundabl with my co-founders late last year. We’ve recently completed a round of funding and are very excited to help other founders grow and scale their businesses.
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My day starts early sometime before 06:00am and I go straight to do some exercise, otherwise it’s impossible to get it done later in the day.
After that, it’s coffee fortified with pea protein and cacao along with my breakfast and some reading on the state of the world and the markets. I then take my Jack Russell, Sherbet for a morning walk or play tug with him for about 20-30 minutes to try and tire him out before getting into the work day.
Work is intense, we are in launch and growth mode so I try to break up the day into chunks. The first chunk is about making sure we are on track and our planning and deliverables are clear to everyone. After that, it’s execution and getting the most pressing items done or progressed. The last chunk is spent on strategy, team meetings/sharing and feedback as well as staying on top of our funding origination progress.
No two days are the same, and there are often urgent challenges that crop up or intro meeting opportunities that I will always try and make since we are perpetually raising funding and meeting clients who need funding.
If I have a break in the late afternoon, I try to have a quick walk with Sherbet and then get onto thinking about preparing dinner if it’s my turn.
My wife, Amanda, is a partner at Clayton Utz, so it depends how her work day is shaping up in the evening. If it’s busy for her, I’ll eat and then go and do some more work before heading to bed. If she’s available, we have dinner together and talk to each other a bit about our wins and challenges for the day/week. Then it’s bed time between 10pm and 11pm, though I wish it was earlier!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I think Covid-19 has taught us all how to work from home and I am a big proponent of some aspect of remote working in the work week for those that prefer it. We all lead such busy lives that it makes sense to me to optimise work alongside the challenges of family, commuting and life.
At Fundabl, we are doing a combination of remote and in person, roughly 50/50 split. We have set days where we are all in the office together, which fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing and then the other days each member of the team manages their own schedule.
We lean heavily on the myriad digital tools to stay connected and productive while we are remote and we are finding that it works really well.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, work-life balance is about having the space and time for the important things. Amanda and family are paramount to me, so I try and make sure that work doesn’t overwhelm me and crowd out my relationships.
I’m fortunate that I have a lot of autonomy about how I allocate my time, so that helps optimise for things outside of work. My wife’s work is equally demanding, so we get together each weekend and talk about our upcoming week with a view to carve out some time together in whatever form it needs to take.
We find that our walks with Sherbet and a bit of time together over dinner really helps keep us connected and motivated.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Yes absolutely. Two major things happened in my household over the last year. We decided to get a puppy and Amanda took up golf. Suffice to say that I do a lot of walking now, either with Amanda at the golf course or with our dog on trails and at dog parks.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’ve really been enjoying Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell. Many people would recognise him from his books like Blink and The Outliers. His podcast about things often overlooked or unexplained is awesome.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
I’m a heavy gadget and app user. I love finding new productivity apps and tools for work and for golf. For work, I think Hugo is pretty cool. It’s for optimising meetings and was started by Josh Lowy, who I met a few years ago. Outside of work, Blast Golf is awesome to improve putting!
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I think it’s a tough one to answer because I don’t think work-life balance is just about the individual. I can’t achieve work life balance in isolation if Amanda isn’t able to as well. I think I’d want to read an interview about the work-life balance of couples who both go 110% in their career or passion and have to find ways to support each other and connect in that fluid lifestyle. In that vein, maybe an interview by Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I think that balance is a personal idea and for me it’s about finding contentment and happiness in the small things. I’m not always good at taking time to appreciate how fortunate I am and to slow down and be present. I think it’s an evolving journey and sometimes it takes more focus and a taking stock of what’s important.
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