Being a travel enthusiast herself, Alejandra Fernandez, a final-year medical student, was finding it difficult to save enough money for her travels. She would often misuse her credit card and put herself into difficult financial situations in order to make a trip happen.

Through her experiences and the problems she’s faced, Alejandra had the breakthrough idea to come up with a gamified savings account that’s specifically designed to help you travel more. Flywallet was born as a fintech solution to help people save, plan and budget for their trips abroad.

“It’s going through those mistakes that make you grow and make you learn and make you into the CEO that you’re destined to become.”

She taught herself to code and created the first prototype using no-code tools. Despite facing regulatory issues at the very beginning, she managed to successfully build a globally accessible financial tool that makes travel easier. It is no longer only a personal solution but is also helping many others accomplish their travel goals at the lowest possible price.

Listen to the full podcast to learn all about Alejandra Fernandez and her building journey with Flywallet.

Alejandra’s Book Recommendations:

How to Win Friend and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Exponential by James Hewitt 

The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holding

Where to Find Alejandra:

Follow her on Twitter: @asferna2810

Find her on LinkedIn: Alejandra Fernanadez

Where to Find Flywallet:

Twitter: @Fly_Wallet

LinkedIn: @flywallet


Episode Transcript:

Intro [00:00:00] 

In today’s episode, we have Alejandra the woman behind Flywallet. Alejandra welcome to the show.

Alejandra [00:00:24]

Hi Desiree. Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.

Desiree [00:00:24]

It’s great to have you. So the first question I’m going to fire at you is can you briefly introduce yourself and what are you building?

Alejandra [00:00:35]

Of course. My name is Alejandra and I’m originally from the Dominican Republic and in my last year at medical school actually, I’m a medical doctor as well, I came up with the idea for Flywallet, which is basically like a gamified savings account designed to help you travel more. There were a lot of people around me who were wishing to leave their country for the very first time or make a specific trip happen due to, they wanted to see family or take advantage of a specific opportunity and money was really that obstacle for them so we created Flywallet to help you budget different trips, save up and build positive financial habits and channel those finances into positive experience and you know memories that will last a lifetime. We like to say that travel is the only expense that makes you richer.


And where did the idea of Flywallet came from and what’s its backstory?

Alejandra [00:01:32]

Um Flywallet idea, it came from yeah, really solving a personal problem for myself. I love to travel and when I was in university, I kind of would misuse the credit card or kind of put myself into difficult financial spots in order to make a trip happen. So you know I created this. I taught myself a little bit of code to create kind of like this prototype that would allow me to save automatically every month towards my travel goals. And yeah I just started offering that service to the people around me and realise that there is a really a big demand for something like this.

Desiree [00:02:13] 

Expand on travel cause is there literally a place that you wanna travel or was that literally you planning everything like I’m going to save ‘x’ amount of money. I’m going to this place at a certain time.

Alejandra  [00:02:23] 

I mean with Flywallet, you have to just put your dreams and Flywallet takes care of the rest. So for example me I’m like okay my best friend’s getting married in Italy in August. I want to go see my family in the Dominican Republic in December. I want to take this other trip in February. So I just put all the plans that I want in my Flywallet and Flywallet will tell me exactly how much I should save every month then I can just set and forget and since it tracks you know the fluctuations of flight prices, it will make sure i’m always on track. Hey you need to save five dollars more or you could save a little less and just keep you on track with our goals, and it will also help you afford them when they’re at their lowest price you know.

Desiree [00:02:13] 

Very nice. So that’s what it sounds like it’s now. Let’s rewind a little bit to how it was initially so and on top of that question where did you get the resources to build it?

Alejandra [00:03:11] 

Um yeah so. Very very early stage, it was me that taught myself a little bit of code to do this prototype using free kind of no code tools on the internet so I would combine wordpress and like Paypal widgets to you know to create some sort of tool like this um and then I started

getting involved in pitch competition so you’d win a couple of cash prizes here and there. Um so that was really how it was at its earliest earliest stage you know just me and a co founder and like excel spreadsheet and doing everything manually, but we’ve been able to to automate a lot since then.

Desiree [00:03:52] 

Sounds like a lot of maturing over the time and what I was saying was would say is we found out that you had some regularity issues with your initial version. Can you tell us a bit more on that.

Alejandra [00:04:07] 

Um so as I was saying we are doing a lot of pitch competitions in the early days and it was actually during one of those pitch competitions um that you know we were confident we’re going to win first place again um and one of the judges said you know what you’re doing is completely illegal right and we were like well what do you mean. I was like oh well with  Flywallet you are acting as a bank. You can’t do that and I’m going to report you to the financial conduct authorities. So we were like wow okay let’s refund all of our users and you know this is really the point where a lot of people would maybe give up or pivot into doing something else but we were really um. We really wanted to create a globally accessible financial tool and we believe just like travel is borderless, money should be borderless um so we actually doubled down you know. We learned a lot more about the financial technology space. We didn’t really know that fintech was something that was trending back then but now I would consider ourselves kind of experts in the space. We’ve gotten to know so much about the regulatory landscape um that you know we’ve built off of that and built something really solid now.  

Desiree [00:05:18] 

So it was a big challenge for you to be like okay. We have the business settled and now we have to kind of start all over. So would you say um that was kind of the hardest challenge or do you say there’s something that even tops that position? 

00:06:41,440 –> 00:06:41,460


I mean I knew this from the beginning after graduating medical school and having to decide okay do I pursue entrepreneurship or do I continue with medicine um I always have known that behind mountains are more mountains so I never expect that after an obstacle things will just be smooth sailing and easy so I’m a big believer in enjoying the process enjoying the journey and not expecting once we once we raise or once we do this everything is going to be simple and easy like no so I think in podcasts and interviews when people askes me you know what’s a big obstacle that you faced and how have you overcome it that’s really the go-to one is in the early days getting shut down and having to start over but really every day is a battle but I would say now that I’ve been able to build out a team of soldiers and people that can get you through it and support you in the process it’s a different type of battle it’s more support so it’s easier in that way

00:07:50,717 –> 00:07:55,705

[desiree]: I think that’s the beauty of it always that as the journey is going on it’s like your fighting but then you don’t realize that you’re growing so it’s kind of that sense of build fight build fight but the thing is with all of this at the time you be like I don’t even realize that I’m just trying to move forward but then you don’t realize the level of growth as this is all going but anyway so moving forward into the next question how do crypto and USDC come in?

00:08:23,532 –> 00:08:23,853


As I said, in the beginning we didn’t know much about fintech we didn’t know much about block chain we just knew the vision, we knew we wanted to be a globally accessible financial tool as well as a global accessible savings account and it was only through building iterating learning growing as you say that we’re able to realize that there’s all these you know rules around money and so many people so many investors told us you can’t be globally accessible you can’t do it you have to go country by country you have to start in the EU you have to start in the us and we were just stubborn about that we were like no there’s got to be another way. And it through that that we discovered the rabbit hole that is web3 and crypto um but you know there’s always been kind of a reputation around web three that it’s very scammy and get rich quick, but we discovered a community called Celo that really resonated with our values it was all about prosperity for everyone it was all about you know it viewed technology is as a marathon not a sprint long term real-world use cases empowering people and emerging markets. So we got involved with them and we were able to participate in their accelerated program and launch a web3 version of our products which accepts USDC and C Euro which are the Celo stable coins and USDC will be accepted probably by the end of this month actually. So we’re expanding cross-chain soon but Celo is the blockchain that we started with because like I said a community of similar values.

00:10:21,549 –> 00:10:22,711

[desiree]: Nice different kind of question that popped into my mind from the previous question is what is the greatest lesson greatest lesson that you’ve learned so far in the journey with Flywallet

00:10:33,670 –> 00:10:38,345


That’s a that’s a deep question but I think ultimately it comes down to you can’t do things alone you can’t micro manage like, visions as big as Flywallet take collaboration they take team work they take asking for help so I think really it’s been for me as a natural introvert you know being outside my comfort zone always be networking always be asking how I can learn from other people and always be you know putting myself in the position to give first because you don’t want to be also always taking always wanting to know pick people’s brains how can I give you know so that i can build certain types of relationships um and learn you know from other people that have walked this path before me And it’s also that even though people can teach you things or give their advice or their opinions, it’s very important to know how to take the good and leave the bad um because if I would have taken advice in the early days I would have quit Because people kept telling me that what I wanted to do was impossible so really yeah having that confidence in yourself and also knowing that you have to be humble enough to seek guidance and knowledge outside of yourself and knowing where that line is.

00:12:03,897 –> 00:12:08,082

[desiree]: okay and as a female founder would you say that you faced any obstacles that affected your building journey

00:12:10,640 –> 00:12:13,988


You know you’re a woman so you will get it as well but, It’s just its subtle things it’s subtle things. I could say the same thing and then my co-founder that’s male could say the same thing and we get a completely different reaction. The first time that we tried to fund

raise I took it upon myself to do that and it didn’t go as well as we would have hoped. My co-founder, male, you know goes ahead and tries to do it, he faces his own challenges because he’s a minority, but still it’s a different it’s a completely different success rate I would say, and I think it comes down to yeah I’d subtle things that I can’t put into words but I think yeah there are the inequalities that exist that needs to be handled, but I would say internally when it comes to building when it comes to growing the business when it comes to managing a team it’s been an advantage more more than anything I think it’s more of you know the external things that you have to deal with. 


This question maybe similar to the question I asked before if you had to go back to your younger self what piece of advice would you give

00:13:47,544 –> 00:13:48,446


I feel like I would just warn myself of you know of all the all mistakes we made that could have saved us time and money, but at the same time it’s going through those mistakes that make you grow and make you learn and make you into the CEO that you’re destined to become. So that, that is a tricky question. I would just say, I would just tell myself to be confident and trust  trust the process trust the timing of everything which I think I do naturally but that reinforcement from my future self would always be good to think don’t worry things are going to work out!


What is your goal for this year with Flywallet?

00:15:02,079 –> 00:15:02,680

[alejandra]: Our goals are like I was saying to expand cross chain so grow our userbase by accepting more stable coins. Also we have a lot of very cool partnerships that we want to just wrap up and start announcing um and we have a new version of our product coming out the next two weeks which will basically merge the web2 and web3 experiences into one and I’m just really excited for all of those things to really be solidified because it’s just going to give us great momentum to focus on growth. 

00:15:44,987 –> 00:15:49,472

[desiree]: all the best on that and the last question I ask you is the name three books non-fiction that changed the way that you think

00:15:51,065 –> 00:15:51,528

[alejandra]: so many I’m big on non-fiction let me think okay m let me look at my bookshelf

behind me okay I hate that I’m being caught off guard with this question yeah because I feel  like I could recommend some really good books

00:16:19,796 –> 00:16:27,043

[desiree]: uh m if you want to list more than three that’s absolutely fine because you  do seem to be the reader type to be fair

00:16:28,604 –> 00:16:36,846

[alejandra]: I am okay well I’m just gonna okay it’s like like There’s like such obvious

Ones that I don’t want to say there’s like How to win friends and influence people. People always say that and so that made me read it, but it actually it actually did change my mindset because when it comes to you know getting convincing people to do what you want or building a relationship, you have to put yourself in their shoes I think it really taught me to seek to understand before being understood you know I was always like oh I want i want to be understood but really more likely to be understood if you understand the other person first if you’re the last one in the room to speak you know.

what else what else what else there’s one called sapiens behind me that I really enjoyed reading but it’s like the question was what were the best non-fiction books that taught me what taught  me lessons that changes the way you think

00:17:50,500 –> 00:17:51,591

[desiree]: change the way that you think so the mind moments were like oh that that made an impact if that breaks it down

00:18:03,632 –> 00:18:07,605

[alejandra]: oh I hate that like nothing is coming to my head right now there’s so many then there’s a bunch there’s a bunch that are fiction but it has to Okay there’s one here called Exponential hold on ill grab it.

00:18:19,516 –> 00:18:20,035

[desiree]: m go for it

00:18:24,721 –> 00:18:29,717

[alejandra]: This one I really liked this was written by like a sports medicine doctor on kind of all about like the science behind reaching your full potential and now I think now with like founder burnout and everyone working from home and everybody spending the majority of their time sedentary working on their computer these things are important to read because it’s important to have that balance between your you know sympathetic and par sympathetic

nervous states you know your fight flight rest and digest like people don’t realize that when you’re working and you’re accomplishing tasks you’re actually getting like spikes of dopamine that keep you in this like adrenalin state but if you don’t take care of that if you don’t sleep well if you don’t eat right and you know get the correct type of rest which

sitting on your couch scowling though your phone isn’t that type of rest if you’re not getting that then you can be susceptible to like chronic illnesses in the future and you know optimizing your health comes first so i would always recommend types of reads like this and let’s see third book

um oh feel bad because these definitely aren’t my favorites but they’re what I can think of now there’s one behind me called The obstacle is the way by Ryan Holiday which kind of just goes through history and shows how different figures throughout history have overcome the obstacles to reach success and that they couldn’t have reached that point that they needed to be at if it wasn’t for those obstacles so it’s like when you were asking me what would I tell my past self and I was like well kind of nothing because otherwise I wouldn’t have grown into being the person I am so I recommend that too and now I’m going to write my favorite books and lessons down so I never forget for  the next time someone asked me that

00:20:44,368 –> 00:20:47,393

[desiree]: well the good news about us is that we can always invite well I say always we look to ver you invite you to our show in the next six months so maybe that list may even change so on that point thank you for your sharing us your journey and that’s a wrap

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