Money & Me: Risk enabled Beehive founder to set up in UAE

The founder of Beehive, Craig Moore, says his entrepreneurial ventures have given him a degree of financial independence.

Craig Moore enjoys spending on travel and experiencing new cultures. Victor Besa for The National
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Craig Moore is the founder and chief executive of Beehive, a peer-to-peer lending platform he launched last year. This is the second venture for the 42-year-old Briton, who previously founded Butterfly Software, a data analytics and migration software company, before selling it to IBM in September 2012.

Describe your financial journey so far.

I started delivering papers at 13 and have been working ever since. I worked part-time while in school and university and have been working full-time since the age of 21. I believe that working teaches you certain values regarding money because you learn the lessons of earning and losing through your formative years. Losing a small amount of money or suffering a financial setback when you’re young doesn’t have as many ramifications. Instead, the knowledge you gain from those experiences can be advantageous in later life and helps shape your view of money. My journey has involved a fair amount of risk, but I believe in the calculated kind, and always try to have a plan B.

Are you a spender or saver?

I would say that I’m a bit of both. In my 20s I didn’t save anything because I was paying off student debt from university. I only started to save in my 30s. This provided me with the opportunity to travel for a year, across northern India, Nepal, South East Asia and Australasia. I enjoyed some fantastic experiences including shark diving, bungee jumping, sky diving and extreme sports – you never know when you may get the opportunity again and so I’m very fortunate to have done it. Later on my savings allowed me to support myself for my first business. These days I have the occasional blow-out, but I am mostly a cautious spender.

What is your philosophy towards money?

Money itself doesn’t provide happiness, but it clearly provides opportunities and choices. There’s a quote by the novelist Ayn Rand which I think is very insightful: “Money is only a tool, it will take you wherever you wish but it will not replace you as the driver.” Money helps you to achieve your goals, but you still need to be the driving force behind their ultimate realisation.

Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?

Yes and I think most people have. I bought a house in London at the height of the property boom and after spending a fair bit on renovation, I had to sell it at the same price I bought it for three years later – that was an expensive mistake. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes, diversify your investments and never invest in ventures unless you’re able to afford losing your money.

If you won Dh1 million, what would you do with it?

Take my family and friends on holiday, probably back to Positano on the Amalfi coast in southern Italy. The remainder of the money would be invested into the business to help accelerate its growth.

What has been your best investment?

The time and money I put into my first entrepreneurial venture, Butterfly. Setting it up was a big risk. It was 2009 and the global crash had just happened, but the risk paid off and as a result it gave me a degree of financial independence. The lessons I learnt at Butterfly enabled me to set up Beehive in the UAE.

Do you plan for the future?

Yes. I don’t really have a pension; I prefer to have long-term investments in UK property, mainly in London. I mostly put my efforts into building businesses and that forms the basis of long-term investing.

What do you enjoy spending money on?

I love eating out and regularly spend money on great new dining experiences either in the UAE or in London. I’ve always spent money on travelling, seeing new places and experiencing new cultures. Admittedly in the last 12 months I haven’t had much time to focus on this, but I definitely intend to rectify that situation in the future.

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