🎧 Podcast : Hey Fintech Friends #16 ft Sophie Schulman(Visa) & Justin Smith (SamCart)
"It's easier than ever to build an audience online. And it's easier than ever to monetize that audience online. And this is sort of my opinion, but I think that we've shifted from in the future thinking of jobs as a singular revenue stream."
"When you think of the creator today, you typically think of influencers or entrepreneurs or founders. I think that's going to shift to a world in which there are more small businesses, and where the ecosystem of what we buy online is going to shift to become more and more from these micro SMEs and creators than from your traditional brand." - Justin Smith
- ‘Fin-techionary’ of the Week: Fintech (0.51)
- News (1.49)
- Interview with Sophie (Visa) and Justin (Samcart)
- 🔥 Quick Fire Questions
- Signals: Signals: ESG is broken– how to fix it (42.58)
- Justin Smith, CEO of Samcart
- Sophie Schulman Global Fintech Partnerships & Business Development at Visa
Hey FinTech friends.
Hey FinTech friends. My name is Helen Femi Williams and I'm your host of Hey FinTech friends. I hope you're doing well. I know I am.
So let's talk about the structure of this podcast. We're gonna go through the FinTechionary, the news. And if you subscribe to The this week in FinTech newsletter, you're in luck because this is the audio version. Then we're going to have chat with this week's friends Justin and Sophie, and then we'll go through signals and events. So hope you enjoy this episode.
According to Amazon, The buying, selling or trading of products and services over the internet is called ecommerce (the ‘e’ stands for ‘electronic’). Generally, the term also encompasses the transfer of money – funds – to complete such buying, selling, or trading transactions. In an ecommerce context, both sellers as well as buyers can be individuals, small to medium-sized businesses, or even large businesses and governments or governmental organisations.Some sellers might opt to sell only online exclusively, whereas others could have both physical stores – also called ‘brick-and-mortar’ stores – in combination with an online presence, either on their own website or through Amazon or other such websites.
The field of ecommerce looks set for continued growth. By 2025, online sales are expected to make up nearly a quarter of total global retail sales. More than 2 billion people bought products online in 2021, resulting in nearly $5 trillion in retail ecommerce sales. This number is expected to hitting $7.4 trillion by 2025.
🚀 Product Launches
Wells Fargo launched a digital platform for wealth management customers.
📰 Other News
Singapore and India became the first two countries to link their real-time payments systems cross-border, bringing together over a billion consumers and two distinct business geographies. It’s been exciting to see the drive towards payment and QR ubiquity in Southeast Asia - hopefully more to come soon.
The Japanese and Russian central banks are both kicking off pilots of their own digital currencies.
The US nominated the ex-president of Mastercard for World Bank president. Separately, the World Bank says its new ESG bond is ‘immune to greenwashing.’
Mastercard partnered with web3 firm Immersve on enabling crypto wallet payments.
The European Central Bank is stepping up its monitoring of banks’ digital transformation efforts, after finding shortcomings at many banks’ strategies.
Meanwhile, JP Morgan is clamping down on its staff usage of ChatGPT.
Vanguard pulled itself out of an industry alliance to tackle climate change, saying that its voice was being drowned out.
The CFPB is looking into pay-to-play mortgage loan comparison sites.
Mastercard and Visa are both facing another class-action lawsuit over their interchange fees.
🚀 Product Launches
Monzo launched its new instant access consumer savings product with 3.00% APY.
Column Tax partnered with MoneyLion to launch free tax services to customers.
Stripe launched an ‘enhanced issuer network’ with US card issuers to help fight fraud.
📰 Other News
LatAm open banking platform Belvo launched its product in Colombia. Revolut brought its credit cards to Ireland. Plaid rolled out its identity and KYC suite in Canada.
Plaid and Mission Lane meanwhile partnered to provide open-banking services to underbanked consumers
Zillow partnered with OpenDoor to give its users a real-time cash offer (after shutting down its own ibuying service).
Astra’s real-time money movement solution, built on Visa and Cross River, passed $100 million in annualized gross payment volume, Dutch neobank Bunq bucked the trend by reporting its first quarterly profit, and Klarna reported a 71% year-over-year increase in US volume.
The UK’s FCA granted an e-money license to Payoneer. Israeli trading and crypto platform eToro secured a New York money transmitter license. Madkhol a Saudi roboadvisor, received its Sharia compliance certification.
India gave Amazon and Google online payment aggregator licenses, while requiring both banks and non-banking financial companies to cut their ties with fintech lending companies.
Quietly in the background, defi adoption is growing: Siemens issued a €60 million digital bond on the Polygon blockchain and MakerDAO is voting on a $100 million loan participation with a Florida commercial bank.
Meanwhile, the SEC charged Terra’s on-the-run founder Do Kwon with fraud.
Ant Group partnered with the NBA to promote basketball in China.
Swiss neobank Radicant Bank fired its CEO and co-founder after an internal email blasting critics and local politicians was leaked online. 😬
The founder of Ghana’s Dash, was placed on indefinite administrative leave following findings of financial impropriety.
Pan-African payments firm Chipper Cash went through its second wave of layoffs.
Interview with Sophie and Justin
Sophie Schulman is on the Fintech team at Visa leading business development efforts to source and collaborate with Fintech at all stages. Creator platforms like Samcart are one of several categories that her team focuses on. She is a California transplant originally from Atlanta. Prior to payments, she worked in strategy & business operations in the music industry at Beats By Dre and Pandora. Sophie spends much of her free time likely online shopping or on an airplane traveling to a new destination to explore.
Justin Smith is the Chief Executive Office for SamCart, an e-commerce platform for online creators. Justin comes to SamCart with a unique background working in both startups and larger, high-growth SaaS companies. His experience in growth, product, and leadership drives his passion for creating products that help make enterprise-level tools accessible and easy to use. He is originally from the Washington DC area but now lives in Austin. Justin enjoys traveling, movies, and trying any microbrews he can get his hands on.
I'm really excited to have you both here. I think the best way to start is to find out a little bit about you guys. So tell me about yourselves what you do. And I guess you wanna start the relationship between you guys, Sophie?
Sure. So my name is Sophie Schulman I work at visa, I'm on the FinTech business development team. So what my team does is we go hunt and source and try to create partnerships with companies that are operating in Fintech. So my team really focuses on a couple of segments, which is how I got to know Samcart. And Justin, one of those segments is a social and creator focused segment, which includes gaming. So Sam \cart is one of these partners. We recently announced a creator commerce programme of which Samcart is included. So I'm not going to steal Justin's thunder, but I'll let him give his intro and explain a little bit about what Samcart does.
All right. So yeah, my name is Justin Smith. I'm the CEO of Samcart. Samcart is a e-commerce platform for creators, and digital sellers. If you think about the average e commerce platform today, and most of them are creating stores. And what Samcart does is we actually create checkout experiences. And so if you think about the world that we live in today, and the way we discover products, we discover them through social media, and through ads, and through recommendations and community. And so what SamCart does is actually brings the commerce experience to that point of discovery. And so our customers who are largely creators are creating all different types of products, whether they're, it's swag, or subscriptions, or podcasts or get a content. And then they're bringing that to throughout the buyer journey.
And so, yeah, that's what that's what I do a little bit of background about myself, I was born outside Washington, DC, I went to UBC. So UMBC, for the longest time was known for its chess programme. But more recently, we were the first 16 seats to win in the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament. So that's a kind of interesting, cool claim to fame, I left college and went to work as a contractor for the federal government.I quickly learned that it's not where I belong, I do not belong in the government. I left there and joined my first startup. And I fell in love. And I've sort of been doing that ever since I've worked for small companies, big publicly traded SAAS companies and everything in between. And I've been at SamCart for about six years now, almost. And it's been a wild ride.
that's amazing. And thank you for that backstory and like understanding your claim to fame. If we were to circle on SamCart. So this seems like a really basic questions. But for instance, if you were like explaining it to your mom, or your friend, your non FinTech friend, how would you explain the use of Samcart? Or like what Samcart does?
Yeah, I typically, whenever I'm explaining to, you know, a friend or a parent who's sort of not living and breathing this space, every day, I typically turn around to their own user behaviour. So I sort of asked them, hey, what's the last product you discover?
And what's the last thing you've bought online? And a lot of times, they'll say, Well, where did you find that thing? And they'll say, Oh, I was scrolling Instagram, I saw an ad, or my friend and this Facebook community, and my mom's group recommended this really cool, you know, new thing for my child. And I see okay, cool.
Like what, like, when you saw those things? Did you go and then go to a store and start shopping around? And did you then add that product to a cart? And did you then go through the four step process to actually like, make the purchase habit?
Like we we enable that like really quick purchase experience, right, when you're discovering that product. And I think you know, that that resonates with folks, right, when they think about how they're using the internet today or how they're discovering products. '
And then I think on the flip side, I think the second piece of it is really like this idea that digital products, I think, especially with a pandemic, have really come to the forefront of people's minds when you think about elearning and thought leadership and this idea that like, okay, you know, I have this wealth of knowledge and I can go online and I can put didn't sell it. And whether it's through a membership or a course or an ebook, I think that I've done a lot less explaining post pandemic of what I do that before the pandemic. So I think that's been sort of much easier for me.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Obviously, we spent two, two years online constantly buying things doing stuff.
Sophie, what have you found that when you're sort of in this space, that things have changed quite a lot since the pandemic? And how do you find that kind of end to end experience of getting a product with SamCart?
Yeah. So I think, you know, where Visa sort of sits in this model is largely abstracted away from the end consumer. But given I mean, I'm a little biased, in terms of where we spend our time as a team, we're really thinking about delivering, easy experiences to buy things.
So exactly where Samcart sits, so we're sort of thinking b2b To see what does that delivery look like that experience delivery look like? So from a couple of perspectives, one I think for, you know, sellers, small businesses, you just saw this inflation of businesses that were created and that were digitised during the pandemic that didn't exist before the economy benefited from that consumers benefited from that choice. And and the reason why we we are very proud to work with companies like SamCart, is because they're sort of increasing the overall pie of, you know, the ability to buy something, you know, from a consumer perspective, though, contrarily, I don't think that that experience has generally changed, that experience of buying something online has changed that much since, or at least for the last couple of years, right?
That same transformation that you felt on the seller side, did it feel matched on the consumer side, right? Think about how many times you enter your card number into a static for to checkout online. And then depending on where in the world you live, you might have to go through a step up authentication flow, right. So in Europe, every time you're entering, entering a one time passcode, sometimes you're doing that in the US, sometimes you're not.
And so I think we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to matching that experience for what it means to consumer to buy something seamlessly. And I think that that's really the opportunity that exists when it comes to supporting creators and businesses and helping with conversion rates, and, and attribution and consumers knowing you know, what they want to buy when they want to buy it and helping them get through that process as quickly as possible, but also helping them do so in a way where it's not riddled with fraud. And so it just creates these really, really interesting problems that I think, you know, still have yet to be solved.
I think what you said that was really, really interesting. And and, Justin, I'm quite curious what you think the kind of future I guess of like, I want to say buying things on the internet, because I think it's way more than consuming on the internet. How do you see that kind of relationship going?
Because I feel like there's so much that you could put in there with web3, or even how we now buy things through social media, or just, even if I think of myself, I'm constantly on my phone on these apps, I don't really think about it. I didn't really think about the back end thing or like, if I'm on Amazon. So I guess Yeah, if I was to have a magic ball, and we look at 10 years into this kind of like, well, what does it look like? And especially with the relationship with like influencers and stuff
I think the first one is consolidation, right. So consumers are demanding a level of experience that they're used to when they're using their apps on their phone.
And as we're becoming more mobile focused, and they're using their social media, to a curate a sort of tailored experience. And I think we're going to start seeing a lot of that moving forward.
I think one of the really interesting things that we're gonna start seeing or the next couple of years, we think about the Creator space, specifically, we're really, really early on, right, it takes about four years for creator to make like 10s of 1000s of dollars, like side hustle money, it takes them nine months to make their first sale, right. And so and most of these folks don't even have their own sort of websites and blogs or anything like that they're using their sort of primary channel online.
And so if we marry that with this idea that there's sort of two trends that we're seeing, the first one is that we're seeing the pandemic brought a whole bunch of these folks into, you know, the existence right, we have a whole spike of people that are becoming creators and thinking about their content, how they can sell it online. And then on the flip side, we also are going to see folks that have been around for a while hitting that maturity curve where they're starting to actually process site out the 10s of 1000s of dollars online.
And what this means and going back to your original question is I think what we're gonna start seeing over the next couple of years is that when you know, when you think of the word creator today, you typically think of influencer or sort of like entrepreneur or founder. I think that's going to shift to a world in which there are more small businesses, and where the ecosystem of what we buy online is going to shift to becoming more and more from these micro SMEs and creators than you would from your traditional brand.
So I think not only are we going to see consolidation of where commerce is happening, because there's just so many places online, this is occurring. And you can see already today, you know, Facebook, Instagram, just got rid of their live stream shopping, you know, solution. And we're going to start seeing that consolidate on places like our solution and linktree and other places that are happening sort of in one centralised place. s. Yeah, so I think it's gonna be exciting.
Yeah, I think that's really interesting. Because there's this middle ground between I guess you what you're saying where there's like these huge companies, and then you've got like, influence of, or micro influences.
And now you've got this middle ground that's being created, where it kind of mixes both into each other. So I think that's a really interesting thing. And I think you you already kind of see it.
If I think of my own shopping habits, or what I buy online, it's like, if I if it's a brand that I don't know, I might try it once see what happens, like why not kind of thing. So I think there's definitely that space, whether it's just buying like items, or like you said, like actual pieces of content or information or what someone is selling.
So I think one of the other trends and I completely agree with everything Justin said. The other thing that I actually I looked at this chart the other day, and it's a shame that I actually can't project it on my screen, but I'll have to share it around after I saw this graph. And it shows internet users versus crypto adoption. So number of crypto users globally over two different timelines. So they're is basically superset on top of each other. And we are now in 20. It's looking at 2022. So now, I think we've surpassed depending on what you believe about the economy, I don't know if we can look the setup in real time.
But we have nearly surpassed total number of Internet users from 1998 with the total number of crypto users globally this year. So that's around somewhere between 100 million and a billion, don't quote me on the number. I'm not going to put that out there. But I think what that means is a couple of things. And to add on to the trends that Justin was mentioning, this isn't necessarily just pertaining to sort of creators, although I think creators have been a beachhead as well into the crypto economy.
If you think about NFTs, and Metaverse and web3 adoption, right? These are all creators that are pioneering that space. And so I think of crypto as sort of a sub sub sub segment of creator and Creator as a sub segment of crypto, depending on how you look at things. But I think that means for financial literacy, you know, you're seeing it at a younger age, you're seeing people have to manage their wealth and think about how their money is moving, and where they want to spend and how they want to spend and on what, at much younger ages. And so, you know, there's now been this whole sort of what we've seen, just even within the Creator economy is a whole new set of new banks that are verticalized, just to younger users to help them manage their money.
So there's just so many use cases and ways that we could think about supporting this segment. And I think that that that trend around crypto, it was, in some ways, not surprising, in some ways scary. I didn't really know how to think about it when I first saw it, but I think it's a really, really interesting stat.
I think, from my perspective, I'll shift from crypto to the other contractually buzz term I have to use, which is AI. And I think we actually we ran a recent experiment with our customers.
So if we think about a seller online, right, or creator, right, there's sort of three common traits that we've seen in our successful sellers. The first two are obvious one, you've got to have a good product and an interesting niche.
The second one is they've got to be able to build an audience and reach out to that audience. That's kind of the table stakes stuff. But the third thing that most people don't think about is they have to create high quality sales copy and have to be, you know, essentially, you know, conversion experts on how they're going to translate someone That's interested in that product actually making that purchase.
And so that's a very different skill than someone who is creating content for Instagram or creating content for you to like, that's not an easy thing to pick up naturally. And so what I'm really excited about, and an interesting stat that we found is that, so when you look at something like generative AI, see all the rage right now, like chat, GTP, we actually took a segment of our group of our audience, and we took about 1400 of them.
So this audience was basically folks that we would call this sort of entrepreneurs, these aren't real businesses, yet, these aren't even people that have big audiences that are trying to monetize them. These are, you know, Joe Schmo, who's working and says, I hate my job. And I want to start a side hustle.
So we took about 1400 of those folks, we brought them in, and we asked them to, before they even started creating pages and content in our platform, to go leverage one of these generate AI solutions, we said, don't think about sales, copy, create your content, and then put it into these generic solutions and put it on a sales page. And the results were astounding.
So when we take that sort of mass market, and we bring them in, and we say just start making money, only less than 3%. And we'll actually go on and make it their first sale. It's really, really low when we took this segment of 1400 people, which is relatively small, but also I think, interesting enough, that 15% and went on to make their first sale.
And so I think that that study, although is exciting for us internally as a software company to get like incorporate into like our platform to make our creators even more successful, I think is really one of the breakthrough use cases, maybe I'd say for like a generative AI I think we all sort of are reading about in the news. And we're seeing all the cool ways in which you can leverage search. But we're starting to now see, it kind of creep into like real ecommerce in sales, which I think is super, super interesting
how many people like went on to create a business post that study
about 600 of them went on to actually like create some sort of like product, and about 150 That went on to actually create like a real product that could be served in market that's really, really well done. Those numbers are actually really high compared to sort of the average, you know, person coming in the door, trying to sort of start making money online selling and creating digital products.
And so we found it to be super interesting, I think, you know, about 20% of what we see, if you start making $1 online, about 20% of those will go on to make real businesses, you know, making, you know, 10s of $1,000 a month, if you can cut that beginning part down from 3% to 15%, or from increased from 3% to 15%. The likelihood of a business succeeding is I mean, that's a huge jump in terms of what we see in the mass market. And that's also why I think we're gonna start seeing a whole wealth of these SMEs that are successfully selling online.
got thoughts on both of the both of your points. And feel free to like interject and stuff.
I was just wondering, do you feel like there's going to be this increase of people basically, who, I guess their side hustle becomes their job or, do you think that having these kinds of platforms, there will be like more entrepreneurs? Or is it that instead of being entrepreneurs, it's more that people have more side hustles?
And I guess I was just wondering, Sophie and Justin is that the trend, more people becoming entrepreneurs, or more people getting side hustles, like what is happening?
it's easier than ever to build an audience online. And it's easier than ever to monetize that audience online. And this is sort of my opinion, but I think that we've shifted from in the future thinking of jobs as like a singular revenue stream, like as a consumer like, or as a person,
I don't go to work and have a single, you know, paycheck, especially with the gig economy taking off and with, you know, quote, unquote, side hustles. And all these things happening, I think that what we're gonna see is a lot more diversification in revenue that comes into the average household and so that the average person is doing more with side hustles.
And, again, I'm not so sure that like, it's sort of completely be your own boss, this is your singular job. And it's all coming from a singular side hustle. But I do think that more and more people will, quote unquote, be their own bosses.
The ironic part is, as the creators get bigger and bigger, they're essentially creating a company themselves. And so folks that are in the creator economy are actually working for other craters.
It'd be interesting to see because the more successful creators rise, the more folks have to support them and they're, you know, obviously, you know, not working for themselves anymore, and they're pulling from the best talent which is coming from the creator pool. So,
yeah, I mean, sample size of one over here, and I was just thinking as Justin was responding how I was going to ask This in an authentic way, because I have been at visa for my entire career.
Probably not the best person to ask this question to however, I then thought back and realised that a couple months ago, I opened a Poshmark account, and I started selling on Poshmark.
And for those of the users that don't know, because I think it's only a US based app Poshmark is essentially a secondhand marketplace for pretty much anything. It's almost too easy to sell on this platform. And so I actually am an example of exactly what you're talking about, which is just the accessibility to these types of platforms is the easiest it's ever been. And, you know, I think that COVID definitely was a tailwind to that trend.
But I think, you know, also just the way that sort of the, you know, I keep referring back to the economy, because we see it a lot in our macro data, the way that things are going is that that is going to be a necessity for many households, and many individuals. And so you know, platforms like these really support that
to go back to what you were saying, Sophie, about crypto and young people. Even if I look think of my own household, my niece, she's got like a goHenry card, which is like a debit card for children. And then it has all this like money management stuff.
But I was wondering what you think is driving that because for me, I think it's like, like, now if I think of living in London, I can't tell you the last time I used cash, especially like in a massive city like this, it's just not really, no one else is asking for cash.
And I think when someone asks you for cash, actually, you're sort of looking at them, like, why would you need cash.
And so I was, so to me, when I think about that kind of like money management stuff, I feel like that's what's driving it that kind of cashless society we're living in. And then secondly, I think it's important because someone like me, for instance, like when I was growing up, no one was talking to me about investments, where to put money and stuff.
And to a large extent, I learned that as an adult, or like, from asking friends or friends' parents and stuff like that. And but then if you look at other people's families, there will be families where that is the common conversation around the dinner table.
So I was wondering what you guys think and what where you think that's being driven from,
I think I look back on how I became financially literate, and I grew up in a very privileged lifestyle in the US, you know, went to schooling through college.
And I never had formal training about how to manage my money. And I didn't even have a credit card, admittedly, until a year after I joined visa. And so I didn't really understand the concept of building credit. And you know, it's becoming a necessity because of how people are making their money because of accessibility to these applications.
So all sort of funnelling back to some of the trends we discussed before. And there is a space for these sorts of experiences to exist now, right. And I think Europe in the US are also slightly different behaviorally, because the concept of a digital-only bank had sort of already skyrocketed in Europe.
And in the US, I remember, a lot of people were saying there's that trend will happen here, bank branches are where business is done. And I think that that's still very much true, more so than in Europe in the UK, but it's catching on. Absolutely.
And I think you know, with the with the shift to Apple Pay, for example, where you're tapping your phone, and the concept of adding your card in your wallet into your digital wallet, you know, also sort of anecdotally as well, my mother didn't really know what I do at visa, until she started using Apple pay about a year ago, because she felt uncomfortable using her card during COVID.
And so we taught her what it means to add your card and authenticate yourself. And you know, that magic moment when you tap and pay what happens behind the scenes.
And so it was an interactive experience for her to be able to learn. And I think that the learning models have also just changed, right? The screens and the time that kids get pushing buttons. I don't have kids of my own, but I see my cousin's growing up and how they're taking in their environment through these devices.
So and ways that devices can be negative, you know, everything is sort of a balance. But I do think that this is one of the positives that has come out with this sort of digitization trend and this multi device trend in every household that we're experiencing.
side note just before Justin answers on the Apple Pay thing, the last time I was in America, like May last year, I was genuinely quite surprised that people didn't use tap and like just their phone the way that we do here.
And I remember being in a coffee shop overhearing someone talking about like, oh, did you know you could do this with your card and I was like, we've honestly been doing that for like the last 10 years, ,
it always I always makes you laugh how far behind we are, you know, I will never forget. So I a couple of companies ago, we had some offices in Europe and different parts of the world. And I remember going and checking getting the end of the restaurant meal, and they would come walk over and process the card right there. I was like, What is this magic, like, you know, and so we're just used to handing our cards off, and someone going in the back and swiping it and it's just a whole new world.
another extreme, though I so I did spend six months with Visa in living in India in the first couple of years of being at the company.
And I can say, So India might be the third world and the US might be the first world but coming back, I think the US is the third world of payments, infrastructure. And India. And countries like the UK were so far advanced decades, in many cases where you've sort of passed the point of sale and the physical environment.
And you and these sort of economies have just moved to the phone is really the first world of payments infrastructure.
Yeah, I think that That transitions well, to sort of my original answer to the question, which was, I think sometimes we live in like a FinTech bubble or a tech bubble.
And we sort of, you know, all of our friends and people we interact with, do a certain thing we forget about like, change really only comes when the mass market demands it right.
So I was thinking the other day, I went to a stadium, I made a purchase to get a beer, and it just, it's a cashless stadium or the other day, I was interacting with a plumber. And the plumber was like, oh, no, no, just just Venmo. Me. And I was like, you know, that's new. Right.
And so I think that like, when going back to the point in India, or I know, in the past, when I was looking at work partnering, some companies in Africa, like things like fraud or things like things that are happening within the mass market of those different countries, or economies, or whatever it is, really drive that change. It doesn't matter how much we as companies, or, you know, the FinTech community evolves, from a tech perspective, it's really about when like, the average consumer or the average, you know, person within that ecosystem needs that change. And that will force it and follow along. So I think, I think that's another reason why the US has sort of always been behind is like, although risk is I truly do want to minimise it but like, you know, I don't think giving your credit card to someone historically has been like a huge risky endeavour, whereas in some countries, it is like, you don't want to give away that information.
So as we've seen that shift over the last few years where we do see, you know, credit card readers that just walked by persons that can scan immediately pull out that information off as that technology has evolved. It's really brought us to a point where Okay, now we sort of demand having chips and we demand having swipes and we demand bringing, you know, having a counter instead of or the table to bring it back. I think that's what what drives change.
Yeah, I've been reading about pig butchering. It's this crypto scam. It's like romance scam. So, you know, sometimes you get like these messages, or these texts where it's like, hey, I'll pick up your dog or something.
And it's like, you know, this, you don't know this number. It targets people who respond. And then there'll be like this beautiful woman and basically make you open a wallet. They call it pig butchering. It's coming from Asia, mainly China,\
And there's been this massive uncovering in the UK because it's quite easy to set up businesses here. To your point about fraud. And it's basically meant that there have been a lot of pig butchering scams in the UK because people can set up companies quite quickly.
a lot of people lost money. And I think as well, with fraud, it's really, it's such an embarrassing thing, like being scammed, that a lot of people just never really come forward because they're like, I lost all this money. How can I be so stupid? So I'm never going to like really talk about it. But yeah, so guys, I think we should move on to a little bit about you guys.
So I'm gonna ask you one question. And then after that, we'll go to the quickfire. Because I think that's what we'll have time for. So actually, so this, this question will be for Justin. And then I'll ask a question for Sophie after. So this was a question from a previous guest.
What's the hardest or most bizarre question you've had from an investor?
Oh, that's a good one. Well, I won't name any names. But I remember. I remember very clearly sitting in a top, top firm, and having a conversation with them around. Well, let me take a step back. I'm a bootstrapper at heart. So before we had raised capital, we were 5000 customers and $5 million in revenue and like, the thought of raising capital, I was one of those people that's like, Oh, we don't we're never gonna raise capital. I think we just sort of got swept up in the market.
But so when we first started pitching, we very much came in like bootstrappers. We weren't pitching a vision or crazy future, we're just like, hey, here's our logical plan on how we're going to get to $100 million in revenue.
And so I remember sitting down with a big VC in Silicon Valley, and they said, you know, what, I really do believe that you guys are gonna get to, by the way, this was for a $3 million seed round, I really do believe that you guys will get $200 million.
But you know, I need you to talk to you abouthow you guys are really going to get to be a billion dollar company.
And I remember sitting there thinking, we were trying to raise $3 million in our seed round, like, we're bootstrappers. Like, we don't even have a good story to tell for the billion dollar; our goal is the 100 million dollars.
And I think that was my first kind of like, Aha moment of like, oh, yeah, like, the world isn't, you know, this is not like, this is a game that we've got to play, we've got to go in and paint the bigger picture along with just saying, Hey, here's, here's logical bottoms up approach and how we're gonna make money. So that would be my answer.
Honestly, that must be so tough, not tough, but like, I think I think I have a lot of impostor syndrome. So the idea that someone's like, I went in a room and I had a business and someone was like, how are you going to make a billion? Like, I'm just like, I'm not.
Raising money is the worst is the best worst part of my job. I remember, I'll never forget the very first pitch meeting we ever did. We walked out of that room. We all high fived who said this is gonna be easy. We've got it. It's gonna be amazing. The very next pitch meeting we did, oh, terrible company. He's got no future
.It's such a roller coaster of emotion. And it really is like a just a wild journey. And I think, you know, comes with lots of interesting stories for sure. Yeah, that
makes a lot of sense. All the little pieces coming together Let's see the quickfire session. Are you guys ready? Yes.
Sophie, would you rather have hulks powers or Beyonce is talent.
Justin, would you rather be on a game show or start in a soap opera?
Oh, game show. I'm a huge I love game shows.
Sophie, would you rather be physically stronger than most people will be able to fly?
Fly. I can't stand to air travel for very long periods of time.
Okay, and Justin, would you rather have a face tattoo of something you're choosing or a tattoo That's in a discreet area, but someone else chooses it?
Discreet area for sure. I have no shame that I would. I would. I would appreciate someone else's crazy idea.
Sophie, if you're a superhero, what would you what would be the first thing you do?
solve world hunger. Like everyone should have the right to eat when they want
Justin. What time of the day? Are you most inspired? Oh,
I'm a morning person for sure. ,
Sophie would you rather have to hunt for your own food or sew your own clothes?
Sew my own clothes
Justin, would you rather wear a Halloween costume to your wedding? or sweatpants? On every date you go in the next two years?
Well, I don't know how to answer this because I am married and my wife would probably kill me if I wore a costume for our wedding. But I think it was gonna sweat pants. I think sweatpants are the the new cool thing right? People are wearing sweatpants around town for everything.
Sophie, sleep on the right side or the left side of the bed
Always the left side.
Justin, would you rather have a driver take you everywhere or a private chef make all your meals,
Sophie would you rather have the best house in a bad neighbourhood or the worst house in the fancy neighbourhood?
Best house in a bad neighbourhood? I'm a homebody through and through.
Justin, would you rather win month $1 million today? Or $10 million in 10 years?
one million today
Sophie? Would you rather have one wish granted today? Or three wishes granted? 10 years from now?
One was granted today
And lastly, Justin, would you rather be brought back as a dog or as a cat in your next life?
Oh dog for sure. I'm a huge dog person.
Thank you guys so much for joining me. I've honestly really enjoyed this conversation. This has been great. I feel like I've learned a lot. So thank you so much for joining me. Thank you
We'll need to do part two sometime soon.
Well, let's do part two in Iceland. We'll meet there it's halfway
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ESG is turning out to be kind of a womp womp: Why do investors pay a 40% premium on fees for ESG funds versus traditional funds when these portfolios don't necessarily outperform the market? How come there's even evidence that these companies have worse track records for labor and environmental compliance than companies in non-ESG portfolios?
On that note, why is ExxonMobil one of the top 10 holdings in the S&P 500 ESG Index if it runs the highest-polluting oil refineries in the US? How come cigarette giant Phillip Morris has an S&P ESG score of 83, when Tesla's is only 37? What does an ESG score of "37" even mean?
We need to have a talk about ESG investing. ESG has been touted as a way for investors to promote corporate responsibility, in a world where companies are driven to action by movements in their stock price. It stands to reason that responsible corporate behavior drives better business performance, so shareholders– who in principle govern the companies they've invested in– should be pushing for this anyway.
In reality, the vehicles that most investors use to gain exposure to ESG are still principally designed to drive short-term returns, not to push companies to do more recycling (or whatever). There's even a credible argument to be made that ESG investment worsens a stock's financial performance by driving up volatility.
It doesn't have to be this way! Investing can very well let investors to champion the causes they care about– without jeopardizing gains. Getting there requires a sea change in how investment products are structured to give shareholders an active say in portfolio companies' decisions.
Let's dive into what's going wrong with the current ESG model, and what the journey to achieving ESG's true aims looks like.