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Meet the founder on a mission to liberate Aussies from debt

The key lesson in this is don’t invest in digital for the sake of it, be purposeful about the business problems it is solving. When those two things align, the benefits can be enormous.

Will Kiln, CEO & Co-Founder, Salt&Lime

Meet Will Kiln, the visionary architect steering the revolutionary venture Salt & Lime—a vibrant embodiment of societal accountability and financial liberation.

Drawing upon a decade of profound insights within the retail banking arena, Kiln found himself at a crossroads, a pivotal juncture that ignited an illuminating quest to emancipate everyday Australians from the shackles of debt.

“It was actually towards the end of my tenure in the retail banking space that I had a conversation with a friend that compelled me to start Salt&Lime,” Kiln recalls. “I remember him asking me to look over a car loan contract for him, and I was astounded by some of the rates, fees, and charges, Kiln reflects.”

This eye-opening discussion revealed a startling reality—people needed a guiding light through the labyrinthine lending world. Additionally, Kiln recognized the widespread plight of Australians entrapped in bad debt, impacting their credit scores and thwarting their borrowing potential.

Bolstered by an unwavering commitment to confront these pressing challenges head-on, Kiln breathed life into Salt & Lime—an embodiment of principled lending, seamlessly interwoven with transparency and fee-free offerings. His fervour kindled a distinct vision, converging ethical lending practices, financial enlightenment, and individual empowerment into a harmonious tapestry.

Laying the foundation for success

I had this idea that you could build and deliver a socially responsible product that respects the customer with no hidden fees, whilst also helping everyday people get back on track with their finances – and that’s when Salt&Lime was born. 

Guiding Salt & Lime toward triumphant summits necessitated wise choices and unyielding dedication. Recognizing the transformative potential of automation, Kiln, alongside his steadfast partner Huw Grenfell, embarked on a journey to forge a business infused with cutting-edge technology. Their innate grasp of scalability’s paramount significance underscored their tireless quest to magnify their impact on a grand scale.

“Building a company with automation embedded in its DNA was certainly an important choice for us as a business. From the beginning, my business partner Huw Grenfell and I were passionate about creating an entirely automated business. We knew that it would be very difficult to scale a business without it. If we couldn’t scale up quickly and efficiently, then we couldn’t help people,” Kiln elucidates, underscoring their strategic devotion to automation. However, their resolve transcended mere technology, encompassing the cultivation of a fervent team united by a shared ardor for financial education and unflinching transparency.

“We’re both forward-looking individuals, so naturally, we wanted to leverage the right technology that would allow us to deliver our products to as many people as possible sustainably. Aligning ourselves with partners that can seamlessly deliver automation was foundational to our business model,” Kiln emphasizes. This commitment to automation extended beyond the realm of technology—it encompassed the assembly of a dedicated ensemble-driven by an unwavering zeal for financial education and transparent practices.

The essence of Salt & Lime radiates from its financial education and wellness platform—an ingenious departure from traditional lending paradigms. Every patron is granted unrestricted access to a trove of financial education modules, empowering them to not only curtail interest rates but also elevate their financial literacy. Kiln’s steadfast dedication to customer-centric empowerment emanates from a profound aspiration to alleviate the emotional burdens of financial strain.

Navigating Challenges

We knew that our business model would heavily rely on operational efficiency, so a key challenge for us was finding a digital solution that could support our growth and the amount of contracts and emails we’d need to facilitate.

Salt & Lime’s voyage was not without its trials. At its core lay the crucible of operational efficiency—an indispensable facet that propelled the quest for digital solutions to accommodate the company’s expansion while streamlining mission-critical processes. The integration of automated digital contracts, facilitated by the esteemed DocuSign eSignature, emerged as a transformative catalyst. This symbiotic integration not only yielded substantial cost savings but also reclaimed thousands of hours in productivity, markedly reducing loan processing durations and amplifying staff efficacy.

“As an organisation, we’re deeply committed to helping our customers end the cycle of debt, arming them with relevant education and transparent products. Financial stress and the impact it has on people’s mental health is significant—and we wanted to help alleviate that. So, it was a conscious, responsible business decision to allow customers to take control of their finances and feel incentivised to do so.

“At the same time, we’re big on elevating the customer experience—and that really comes back to making sure we provide a seamless experience via automation to customers. Finance can be complex, and we don’t want to add any unnecessary complexity to an individual’s journey to becoming debt free.”

Kiln’s counsel for aspiring entrepreneurs resonates with the wisdom drawn from a mosaic of lived experiences. He champions a customer-centric ethos fortified by audacious decision-making and an unwavering mantle of self-belief.

The key lesson in this is don’t invest in digital for the sake of it, be purposeful about the business problems it is solving. When those two things align, the benefits can be enormous,” Kiln asserts reaffirming the profound dividends that stem from a purpose-driven convergence of innovation and customer exigencies.

A call to aspiring entrepreneurs

Kiln’s journey reverberates as a stirring testament to the might of innovation and unwavering dedication. His clarion call to budding entrepreneurs resounds with eloquence: Embrace uncharted terrain, confront scepticism with unwavering determination, and stride forth with unwavering boldness. He concludes with a symphony of encouragement, “Have fun with it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes and decisions quickly, however hard they may be.”

“Centring your proposition around the customer and building for the customer means you’ll always be delivering an attractive product to the market. Be bold in your decisions and back yourself in what you believe in, this makes taking the first steps easier and more motivating.” 

Kiln’s tireless pursuit of financial liberation continues to illumine the path—a testament that innovation, empathy, and unyielding resilience form the bedrock of impactful entrepreneurship.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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