Julien Brault | CEO and
Co-Founder of Hardbacon

Introduction

Success leaves clues.

Finance Strategists sat down with Julien Brault, CEO and co-founder of Hardbacon. He shared his thoughts on the past, present, and future of the company, as well as the insights he has gained from running the business.

Who is Julien Brault?

Q:  Who are you and what’s your background?

My name is Julien Brault, and I am the CEO and co-founder of Hardbacon. I have always been an entrepreneur because I think being one has more to do with behavior than anything else. I have always been interested in creating something that informs and helps others. 

There have been other businesses in the past, beginning with my first venture way back when I was 17. Until I started Hardbacon in 2017, most people knew me as a business journalist. I loved journalism because it allowed me to learn about a variety of economics, financial, and business issues. Also, I felt like I was doing something important: educating people about business, and providing them with as much information as possible that would normally not be readily available to the everyday consumer. 

Since Hardbacon does the same thing, although, in a different way, this part of my career was instrumental in shaping my worldview and giving me the toolbox I needed to build Hardbacon. 

Q:  Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you? 

This is a tricky question because so many people had an influence on me or did things that I was inspired by. But one of the business people I admire the most is Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP, whose terminals are the bread and butter of Wall Street. 

While I never wanted to build a company for the elites, which is exactly what Bloomberg did, I always was impressed by the fact he managed to build a multi-billion dollar financial information business with very little outside capital. I also love his philosophy of maintaining high-profit margins in order to pay his people above-average salaries, and as a result, retain talent and expertise.

Q:  Knowing what you know now, what advice would you have given your younger self? 

I’m not sure if I would listen to my older self, but there are a lot of things I would like to tell my younger self. One of the mistakes I made many times in business was wanting too much to be original: while being unique and innovating can be powerful, there are often reasons why people do things a certain way. 

I would love to tell myself to be original where it counts and to align with what everybody else does in less strategic areas. I would also like to tell myself to never assume competition is too high in some areas or that some project is too difficult. You can’t know until you try and not try something because it looks intimidating is the reason why nobody did it before you. 

Business

Q:  What is Hardbacon? 

Hardbacon is a personal finance mobile app that allows its users to plan, budget, and track their investments. We also help our users shop for financial products and even make them personalized recommendations based on their financial behavior. Finally, we also help people make better financial decisions through well-written guides and articles about any personal finance issues they might face. 

Q:  What makes Hardbacon different from its competitors?

The personal finance space, or fintech B2C space, is very crowded. There are dozens of budgeting apps that compete with our budgeting feature, a few investment tracking apps that compete with our investment features, and also some financial planning software that competes with our financial planning features. 

Furthermore, a lot of affiliate websites publish content about personal finances like we do. However, what we do that no competitor does is put all those tools in the same toolbox in such a way that every aspect of their financial life is taken into account when it comes the time to make a financial decision. 

As mentioned, Hardbacon offers users the opportunity to plan their finances, budget appropriately manages their investments and find personal finance resources all from one place, our easy-to-use mobile app. Being this one-stop-shop for personal finance is where we’re different from all our competitors. 

Q:  What led you to start Hardbacon? 

It started with a very specific problem. Like many millennials, I was a self-directed investor and had trouble calculating my returns by position and overall using the information provided by my online broker. 

As a result, the first iteration of Hardbacon was all about investment analytics; however, we soon realized we could help every individual so much more by empowering them to make any financial decisions, rather than by helping only self-directed investors make better investments decisions. 

So, originally we started it as an app for retail inventors and soon after transformed it into an app for all Canadians to take control of their personal finances.

Q:  What has the experience of building the business taught you? 

I learned so many things while building Hardbacon. One of the things that I did not understand at the beginning is the capital importance of a strong recruitment process and the difference a strong team can make. I made many hiring mistakes at the beginning until I realized that the most important part of my job, as an entrepreneur, was to find extraordinary people and provide them with a challenge(s) to keep them motivated and growing. 

Q:  Where do you see things headed for you and the company in the next five years?

We have so many projects on the go! We want to become number one in terms of lead generation for financial products in Canada. We also want to become a publicly-traded company and consolidate the Canadian market through mergers and acquisitions. 

Finally, we want to expand in foreign markets in order to turn Hardbacon into a global personal finance brand. Along with doing all of that, we want to be regularly introducing new products and technologies. 

I could talk about this aspect for hours, but some of the things on our roadmap might disappear based on market feedback, while some others might be added. For that reason, I prefer not to disclose our product plans for the next five years. 

To learn more about Hardbacon:

Website: Hardbacon.ca

Email: info@hardbacon.Ca

Facebook:  Hardbacon

Twitter: Hardbaconca

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hardbaconca/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/hardbacon/