Melbourne knowledge week
Melbourne Knowledge Week

Meet Juan of Passporr

Juan Passporr

By using their experiences to help others, the team behind Passporr hope to support International students in Australia.  Passporr assists students with interest-free study loans, provides information on a range of topics such as visas and employment options and strives to connect students to others with similar backgrounds, to create better communities and a better overall quality of life for international students.  

Passporr was one of four finalist startups chosen to present at October Pitch Night: Migrant and First Generation Founders, an event presented in partnership with StartupVIC and Victoria University, 29 October 2019. 

  1. What’s your startup story?

International students bring all their passion and eagerness to Australia in order to fulfill their dreams, however, at times it can be challenging due to not having enough resources. I don’t mean only financial resources but other resources to help them strive and feel comfortable. Due to this, our co-founders and myself, all international students, have always thought that there is something we could do to be able to tackle this challenge. About a year ago, we began thinking about our experience and thought about the different ways that would have made our time here better.

That’s how we came up with Passporr, we thought that by enabling students to budget and plan themselves they would be able to improve their quality of life in a different country; we enable students to rearrange their schedule to have more time to study, to connect with like-minded people, to do a lot of the stuff they can’t right now. By offering our services, we help them with the high upfront costs which are a detrimental in the well-being of students. 

  1. Paint us a picture of your vision for Passporr in five years:

At Passporr, we want to improve the well-being of international students all over the world. We want to lead the way when it comes to giving students access to funds, financial literacy, proper budgeting information, jobs, and a network of support during their studies overseas. International students are risk-takers and we want to help them achieve their full potential and take advantage of the once in a lifetime experience that is living overseas.

  1. What are the main barriers you’ve experienced on this journey?

At times lack of information or clarity on the next steps are the main barriers. I guess this is the value of mentors. With their experience they are able to guide you through different aspects of building a company such as legal, accounting, financing, etc. Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture always works.

  1. If you could choose five dream resources to have for your startup, what would they be?

I think I would choose the same any other founder would, my 5 dream resources would be 5 mentors from different backgrounds:

  • Financial Services
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Data Science
  • Ops
  • Development
  1. Imagine you’re running a workshop; what knowledge would you share based on your education and life experience up until now?

Take (informed) risks. Leaving my home country was one of the biggest decisions in my life. Of course, coming to Australia was a decision that had an unknown outcome, but with proper planning and understanding of the different variables, I now think it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. In the workshop, I would share a view on “holistic thinking” and understanding the big picture of things.

  1. Who would be your dream mentor and why?

Katrina Lake – I have great admiration for her and Stitch Fix. She has revolutionized the way shopping works and has managed to create an integral business where humans and algorithms live together. 

  1. What are your most used apps/tools on a daily basis?

I use Todoist constantly – it’s very useful for planning. I also use Stitcher, I’m currently listening to Serial which has been just amazing! 

  1. Has there been a time when something hasn’t worked out and you’ve been able to turn your experience into a positive one?

Multiple times, failure is part of life. The important thing is to learn as you fail to understand the reasons behind it and make better or different decisions moving forward. I think every failure has turned into a positive experience since I like to think that I am a better person each time.

  1. Can you recount for us you favourite ‘win’ moment to date – it could be big or really small, but a time where you felt really hopeful and proud.

Looking back, I think my favorite win moment was when I met all my co-founders. We all share the same passion and I’m happy to have brought them all together. Without us working as a team, we wouldn’t have been able to even start.

Find out more about Passporr:

Website –

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