A Slice on Tony Conte, Founder of Chromabill
Let’s talk about money, honey! Or at least that’s what Tony Conte, the founder of Chromabill wants you to do. Conte, a 25-year-old entrepreneur, has a dream, and it’s to help his customers live their dreams. As with most entrepreneurs, his idea for Chromabill started off with a painful experience, realizing what they don’t, but should, teach in college: personal financial management. Been there, done that, felt the pain, right? Conte experienced this when he was a student himself, where he did not have a system to manage money, nor did he have the requisite knowledge…thus became a launchpad for Chromabill.
If there is one word that describes Conte’s journey so far, it is a word that he likes to use, pivot. Starting off in film production, he later changed his trajectory to something he always wanted to do, fly. A sci-fi and AI fan, he wanted to be ready to pilot a spaceship if he ever got the chance, so he thought learning to fly planes was a good place to start. As it turned out, it was the right choice for him but at the wrong time. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world just around the time he graduated. With the airline and travel industry almost at a standstill, he started working with a company that provided private jet and helicopter services to its customers. Though not his dream job, this did give him the taste of startup culture. This is when he fell in love with the idea of being an entrepreneur. So, maybe destiny was serendipitous, and it was the right choice at the right time! Chromabill, his dream project, in yet another moment of pivot, took off.
With the full impact of the pandemic hitting, Conte was “forced”, as he puts it, to focus on building up Chromabill full-time. Of course, being a young founder, entering the hallowed fintech space was a bit daunting, especially since he faced rejection pretty much most of the time. But his vision being all about helping people achieve their goals, financial and otherwise, kept him inspired and strengthened his resolve. Chromabill helps its customers organize their finances, track subscriptions and bills plus a lot more, via an easy-to-use financial app. Simultaneously, it is also a platform that educates and empowers users, helping them develop financial know-how and savviness. While sharing his vision for Chromabill, he said, “The education system is a funnel for colleges. Students aren’t taught any other alternatives besides going to college. Especially now, with such a booming creator economy, there are so many ways to build wealth, besides just going to college and getting yourself into so many student loans. We want to build a platform that educates users on all the different ways that you can make money, instead of just relying on a degree.”
The path, however, hasn’t always been easy. One of the key challenges Conte faced was starting up in the fintech space at a relatively younger age. For Conte and his team, going David versus Goliath against the big, established names out there has been a continual effort. Working around seemingly unrelenting entry barriers has been another area that has tested him. Thankfully, it has been an area he has worked through successfully. Reaching out to VCs and angel investors has been quite a task for team Chromabill; they have faced quite a few hiccups in getting more funding for their project. The fact that Chromabill has been designed keeping the younger audience (primarily Gen Z and the Millennials) in mind resulted in yet another challenge for Conte in terms of reaching out to this particular target audience, capturing their interest, and retaining them as active users. There is a very high churn rate in this industry where customers fall off the grid very quickly.
Conte says that he has only scratched the surface with respect to Chromabill’s features and user interface in phase one. Conte wants to now increase his base of active users while retaining a large number of those already signed on. He wants his customers to use the app consistently, something he is working towards in phases two and three. He is building an increasingly larger role of AI to humanize the app to ultimately become the go-to person for all things related to personal finances, like having a 24/7 financial advisor on speed dial.
His advice to all entrepreneurs trying to make their ideas work? Keep the communication with customers ongoing. He says, “We’re always trying to get our users involved in every aspect from the user interface design to the features that we launch. And I think that’s gonna really help us reach that product-market fit much quicker.” He wants entrepreneurs to just start and learn along the way. Conte feels that going through hurdles and facing challenges builds strength and efficiency, both very crucial for entrepreneurs.
Openness to learning from all his experiences, building something solid that brings value to his customers, making a difference and creating an enriched community are what keep Conte inspired to reach for the stars.
Tony Conte received his B.S. in Aeronautical Science from Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology. Prior to founding Chromabill, Conte has held multiple positions at companies including Amazon, Aer Lingus, Global Facility Management & Construction, BLADE Urban Air Mobility and Tesla Owners Club. In addition to leading Chromabill, Conte is also a Senior Analyst at Mastercard. Connect with Conte on LinkedIn.