Georgia Fintech Academy

S2 - Episode 19: ParkMobile -- the journey towards powering smart mobility for every driver, everywhere - John Brown, COO of ParkMobile and Daniel Hadgu, Georgia State

July 02, 2021 Georgia Fintech Academy Season 2 Episode 19
Georgia Fintech Academy
S2 - Episode 19: ParkMobile -- the journey towards powering smart mobility for every driver, everywhere - John Brown, COO of ParkMobile and Daniel Hadgu, Georgia State
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Georgia Fintech Academy
S2 - Episode 19: ParkMobile -- the journey towards powering smart mobility for every driver, everywhere - John Brown, COO of ParkMobile and Daniel Hadgu, Georgia State
Jul 02, 2021 Season 2 Episode 19
Georgia Fintech Academy

ParkMobile is a national success story and headquartered in Atlanta, GA. In this discussion John Brown, the Chief Operating Officer of ParkMobile joins Daniel Hadgu from Georgia State University to discuss the ParkMobile journey towards powering smart mobility for every driver, everywhere. 

Show Notes Transcript

ParkMobile is a national success story and headquartered in Atlanta, GA. In this discussion John Brown, the Chief Operating Officer of ParkMobile joins Daniel Hadgu from Georgia State University to discuss the ParkMobile journey towards powering smart mobility for every driver, everywhere. 

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Georgia FinTech academy podcast. The Georgia Vintech academy is a collaboration between Georgia's FinTech industry and the university system of Georgia. This talent development initiative addresses a massive demand for FinTech professionals and give learners the specialized education experiences needed to enter the FinTech sector .

Speaker 2:

So the executive director of the Georgia FinTech academy, and welcome to season two episode 19 of the GA FinTech academy podcast. Today, we're going to talk about a range of exciting topics and Tyntec, and we have with us John Brown, the COO of the phenomenal company park mobile and Daniel had do recent graduate of Georgia state Robinson school and FinTech founder, entrepreneur. A welcome to you both. It's great to have you. Thank you. Great to be here.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Thanks Tommy for having us,

Speaker 2:

John, I want to give you a chance to just tell our listeners about your career. Uh , which is, I mean, is, is remarkable. Um, you've been involved in this area. We now call FinTech , uh, for quite some time in a variety of different, really important roles. Uh, you've been a key part of our ecosystem here around FinTech in Georgia. Um, so , uh, maybe let me just start there and , and tell us about that career journey for you.

Speaker 3:

Sure. Happy to, and , uh, again, Tommy , thanks for having me on , um, appreciate the opportunity and to get to spend some time with Daniel. My , uh, kind of FinTech career started back in 2001. I moved to Atlanta from , uh, graduating from business school and , um, I spent two years actually , uh, in Atlanta working for McKinsey, which is , um, obviously a big , uh, strategy consultancy. And then , uh, after that, I really started my FinTech career with , uh, with CheckFree, which I know, you know well, and , uh, yeah, that's that's right. And , um, and Clint Savardi was there, who I know has been a guest on your podcast quite a few times. And , uh , he's a great guy. And , um, so start with , with CheckFree , uh , in a strategy role, which is pretty typical for somebody who had having worked at McKinsey did that for a couple of years and then moved into most of my time, there was actually running a business unit , uh, for CheckFree that was really pointed at one client, which was a bank of America, which was an enormous client for , um, for CheckFree. And , um, you know, that was definitely a very challenging role. And then during that time, we got acquired by Fiserv as well. So obviously all of that rolled up into five serve as well. And so that five years was really kind of my formative experience and actually kind of running a , you know, a, the operational elements of a client relationship and then be the sort of business and account management , uh, aspects of that as well. So that's kind of really where I got my foot in the door here, and that was , um, it was just a really great time for me. And I learned a ton and I can't say enough good things about the experience. And then I was able to transition that to working for , um, uh Kartlytics so they needed help with, you know, kind of forming a bank account management team. And so I joined the company when it was very small startup and that's been a huge success story here in the Atlanta area. And so built out their account management team and then worked , um, took on more and more operational roles , um, there as well. So as there for , for six years when they went from basically zero revenue to hundreds of millions in revenues , so it got to go along that whole journey, which was pretty awesome as a , as a startup. And then , um, after that transition to another startup here in Atlanta. So I started doing startups after I was old, which is a weird that's that's the wrong way to do Daniel don't don't do that. Like , dude . Yeah . I don't know what I was thinking. Geez . Started at the right time. Yeah , yeah, yeah. Right. Yeah . Then you're starting young. That's the way, that's the way you want to do it. Um, and then , uh, so is it another startup called clutch technologies, which , uh, was a startup by Kenzie lane innovation, which , uh , was , is run by Tripp Rackley was a famous Atlanta entrepreneur. And , um , we were eventually, that was a great experience as well. And then what was interesting about that for me , um, doing any kind of startup is interesting. And we went, you know, we obviously grew that company a tremendous amount, but as part of that , um , product, we were actually running a service in Atlanta that was , um, basically a vehicle sharing service. And so we were actually running it so that we could prototype the software and make sure that it worked. Um, and so I'm probably one of the few tech cos in Atlanta that actually has experience running like a physical asset operations. We literally had 700 vehicles and uh, 600 ish customers. And so that was kind of interesting experience , uh , did that for three years. And then I got a really interesting phone call from park mobile , uh , to be their COO , uh , where I'm at now. And I was really intrigued because , um, I'm a user of park mobile and , uh, or I've been a user for years before I joined the company. I just went to the first time I used it. I was like, oh my gosh, this is the greatest thing ever. Why does it, I mean, this should just be the way that you park it's like , it was like an epiphany. And so, you know, when I got the phone call, I was extremely interested because it really like the company a lot. And , um, and the role again is very similar to , um, all those ones, other ones that I mentioned, like some combination of operations and account management, operations, typically being things like implementations , um, you know, like backend configuration kinds of things, customer service. So that's been, so I've kind of been doing that same thing here in Atlanta , uh, at various startups in big companies for a quite a while. And so that's, that's my FinTech, but before all that, actually I should mention, I , um, uh, before I went to business school, I worked at GE for a little while. And then also I started my career. Actually I graduated from college on an ROTC scholarship and I , uh , was in the Navy for five years as an officer on a nuclear submarine out in Pearl Harbor. So that's kind of like a weird , uh, career detail that is kind of fun, kind of fun to imagine , but has nothing to do with FinTech. Right .

Speaker 2:

There's a fair number of Navy people. It seems involved in FinTech here in town like Sean , thanks . He was he's , he's a Navy guy and they're avid FinTech venture capital leader.

Speaker 3:

Hopefully he's listening so that I can say he was an intelligence though. So I don't know about that. I'm going to get a phone call now. No, I'm just teasing. Obviously. That's, that's something that I agree. I , uh, you're right, Tommy, you know , I , I think it's delightful. So it was great.

Speaker 4:

A question I have Tommy, if I may. Uh , so, you know , after B school , you said you worked for McKenzie , but then you start to transition the FinTech ecosystem, working with the check for your car, lidded, crunched clutch technology, and currently at park mobile, what kind of made you get that interest in FinTech or there's something organic or something you just fell into through the transition of career and then , um, what kind of made you stay in FinTech?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I , yeah, the , the ladder and actually I clutch, I think technically is not really a FinTech. It's more automotive focused , but you know, but it does have a pretty large payments function . So I haven't totally been in FinTech, but it, but the answer, your question is the latter. I fell into it. So I really wasn't. I, you know, when I left McKinsey, I didn't really realize that there was this FinTech ecosystem in Atlanta. And back then, I mean, this would have been 2000. It actually was fairly nascent. So it was there. And certainly, you know , CheckFree is big part of that. And fr FIS already, I think, had a presence here and you have a couple of banks, but you know, I remember graduating from business school and doing a tour in Atlanta of we were going to , we came down and as the little group that wanted to come to Atlanta and we toured all the startups and I think we did it in a day. Right. Cause there was five, you know, something along those lines. And so obviously if you tried to do that today, you know, take it take weeks. But , um, you know , it was, and so I sort of fell into it because I just networked my way into a meeting with some people from CheckFree and some former former McKinsey alum . And then I started talking to them about the business and I, and what struck me about it was it was online bill payment and you know what, the way that they were doing it, you know, if you start doing it that way, where you're paying through a bank, particularly you have a complicated bill set. Like if you're an older adult, once you start doing it that way, you're like, why would I go back to the other way of doing it? And so, you know, one great piece of advice I got along the way was always be on the right side of a consumer trend. So just to seem like a good play to me, but then since then after I kind of fell into it, it's really developed into this, you know , huge ecosystem that, you know, well, but it wasn't, it wasn't here. My understanding of why it's here at all is it has roots in the fact that Atlanta used to be big check processing hub . Yeah . Right, exactly.

Speaker 2:

Um, those are, you know, it's just , uh , there's so many things you mentioned there in your, in your career history, John, that just really go parallel with the evolution of this entire ecosystem of Trintech here in Georgia. Um, uh , and there's, there's so many different paths that lead back to CheckFree , um, and , and peak height. We haven't mentioned his name, but , uh, his, his vision , um, of course the team he built there at CheckFree the , um , you know, really kind of epic client relationships that were created, one created , uh, grown bank of America. You mentioned, I mean, this was, and I think all of you as listeners, cause most of you that I know are student listeners, you probably never written a check to pay for something. And you got her, remember that in the, really before the onset of, of CheckFree you paid your bill, something came in the mail, you ripped a thing off, you filled out a check, you put it in an envelope, you took a stamp that costs, I guess, 20 something cents at the time and you stuck it on the envelope and you put that in the mailbox and you hope that the payment got there in time before the person you owed the money, the bill, or you owed the money to , uh, got, you know , mad and put you into a bad status. So when, when, when Pete and then Pete kite saw this vision, I think really through work he was doing in the , um , with Jim's right. I mean, it was like he was working with the gyms and he was like, I got this involved with how the registrations and payments are handled for , uh, for like YMC and memberships, things like that, and then saw how this could be really expanded exponentially in the, in the society and created this platform that really fully digitized that pain process of those of those bills. And , um, it was , uh , it was remarkable. Obviously it's still used today , uh , in the materials .

Speaker 3:

Most of it is it's almost an inner network of networks. So like it leverages a bunch of payment networks that are connected to billers, like , um, you know , RPPs and VCE pay well loves back then. And it was probably all changed names and been acquired by now or something. But yeah , um , you know, it leveraged all these other networks, but it also built out its own network to biller . So it was like this, if you had to draw a spider web diagram of it, it'd be this incredibly complex instead of have that vision of, I can create that. So it was really, really difficult, but they did a really great job with it. The functionality of it was just incredible, mean you, you, you can actually enter in the wrong address to send your bill to and CheckFree will correct all of their , uh , what is Fiserv now we'll correct all of that and make sure it gets to the right place. It's really, it's true. Incredible.

Speaker 2:

And I would S I would also say that the success of digital banking period pose a major debt to CheckFree and that's because this activity of electronic paying your bills electronically on your computer was the most exciting, the stickiest,

Speaker 3:

The sticky, right ? It was the killer

Speaker 2:

App of online banking. Before that you could just maybe go inside and be like, oh, I have a hundred dollars in my bank account. Isn't that exciting? Like who cares? But when you could actually go on and save time in your day and make your life better and make sure you were getting payments in on time, and you didn't have to think as hard in advance, if you've got cashflow problems, that was absolutely the killer app. And every, every, if you look through the history of like online banking, even mobile banking uptake in the industry, it all goes back to how many customers are getting engaged with that payment capability, that bill payment capability

Speaker 3:

January. And I was looking at like, what are these old guys talking about? Right. What does that work ? I mean, you've mentioned

Speaker 2:

Two , and then I'll get to you in a sec, but these are kind of, to kind of call outs. I want to make for the audience , um, Tripp Rackley, who was also mentioned the one of the co founders with clot Tripp Rackley , um, also saw the opportunity around digital baggy and seized on it and created a company that's now known as digital insight, which is one of the largest providers of all my banking functionality . And it's , um, it was acquired by NCR, which is a brand I think most of you will recognize. And , uh , the entire, when , when NCR talks about their, their digital banking business, that's digital insights for equity and create . So , um, you know, another just good example of where all a FinTech leads back to Atlanta. And , uh , but Daniel , give us just a second on, on you and the cool stuff you've , uh, you've been doing. Yeah,

Speaker 4:

Sure. So, you know, Daniel had goo for a generation American for a generation recent college graduate of Georgia state university and coming investment analyst at Vanguard and last but not least entrepreneur and co-founder of SCOP and at the old pay is a SAS platform that allows , uh, to connect at the open dash Aspirus in the United States. It's the openings in it , the Copia to allow them to be able to invest in the us capital markets, directly pay bills, transfer funds and reload and redistribute, airtime minutes and data ,

Speaker 2:

And Daniel, I am claiming you as a graduate of the Georgia FinTech academy, 100%. Uh, and , and I know , and you've been great and appreciate all the support you've given us as we've been looking to evolve this , uh, this program. I don't know where we'd be without your input.

Speaker 3:

Danielle , I think that's remarkable that you're a first-generation American graduate of this program and already an entrepreneur. I mean, you are the future of America. Uh, you know, I, I salute you. I think that is just incredible and awesome.

Speaker 2:

And John , what is so been so exciting for me kind of coming into the job is my favorite part of it is that , uh, there there's there's Daniel and his co-founders , um, but then there's others that like, I'll be sitting here in my office. These students will come in, they'll be like, yeah. So I'm a merchant acquiring platform in The Bahamas, and I'd really like to get your input on that. I'm like, what? Yeah . So there's a , there's homeless seems like every month, there's a group of students that are working on a cool idea. Um, it's fun to work with them on it. Um, John, let's talk about part mobile. Okay . Tell us, just give us a bit of the , the company, how that, how the company got started, how it's evolved and , um, what, where, where it's heading in the future.

Speaker 3:

Sure. So , um, park mobile is located here in Atlanta. Uh, we have around , um, a little bit shy of , uh , 200 employees. The company's been in business well over a decade and was originally founded , uh , from a sister company in Europe. There is a park mobile brand in Europe , um, as well. And you know, our mission in life is to power smart mobility , uh, for every driver and vehicle everywhere. Right. So it's not just about parking, but , um, but obviously that's the core of where we come from. And if you live in Atlanta and probably a lot of your listeners do , um, you know, you're probably familiar with us from parking at Ponce city market. Dana . I meant to ask you, have you ever used a park mobile come down the market? Yeah. Yeah. There you go. Good man. Okay. Um, yeah, so that's where a lot of , uh , folks in Atlanta know is from then , uh , maybe on street parking in Atlanta, but perhaps surprisingly to many people where we're a very national company. So we're in over 500 cities across the United States that you may go try to park on street at , uh, enormous cities like Philadelphia, New York. And you might see , uh, an application that's branded , uh , by the city, but that's us powering the technology , uh, behind that. We're in 41 at the top 100 cities where nine out of the top 10 cities , uh , in the United States, we would do well over 9 million transactions, monthly we're. Um, we're actually crossing over kind of, as we speak , uh, 25 million users in our, our rise from 24 to 25 million users, that next million users is the fastest it's ever been, kind of coming out of COVID, which , um, kind of leads me to make this statement that , uh , our , our business is just growing incredibly , uh, which is, which is phenomenal. We do have a lot of , um, functionality beyond just kind of how you might think a traditional on-street parking, where you drive up, pull into space, you'll see a green park mobile sign, and then, and then you'll park. We also do reservations. So if you go to a big concert , uh, there's a very good chance that you might use park mobile if you want to reserve a spot ahead of time. So you're taking the whole family to Disney on ice, that's in the minivan, and you want to really know that the parking is going to be there. We can, we can do that for you, which is really incredible. Uh , we do parking at 140 universities and 20 airports. Um, and so, and we have really almost at this point, one in 11 drivers in the United States is using park mobile. And so what we built, if you, if you really want to take a step back and why we believe we're powering that smart mobility vision is we have built a network, right? Which is it , you guys are both payments guys. Do you get what I mean when I say that? So it's a, it's a physical network. Um, and what I mean by that is if you , um, were to park say in Montgomery county , uh, Virginia, or a place like Emeryville, California, there is a very good chance that you actually started using park mobile at the, at the city that's nearby. That's a really big city like in , uh, you know, like Washington DC. And so when you show up in another location and you see the green park mobile sign, Hey, I've already got that on my phone. You start using it. And so we're building out a network effect across the United States , uh, you know, not dissimilar to a payment network . So obviously we facilitate payments, but, you know, we have this kind of physical , um, network as well, which is really exciting. And, you know, and that's, that's parking as an industry is not as , um, technologically advanced as, as some industries. So we're, you know, we're using that as a launchpad to do things like build backend infrastructure tools for our clients to help them manage all their parking operations. Uh, we have a product called park mobile 360 that helps them do that. And then, like I said, kind of at the very beginning of that powering that smart mobility where we're expanding what we do to other , um, form factors as well, where , um, we actually just launched with Google pay in 240 cities across the us. So now you can actually use Google pay powered by park mobile to pay for your parking. If you take a route of you, create a route and go drive to a downtown somewhere, it will actually , um, Google maps will actually offer a pay pay for parking, and you can do that through us, which is pretty incredible. We just rolled out a beta pilot for tolling across the U S so a bunch of , um , tolling authorities up and down the east coast, you can actually drive through the toll. If you already have parked mobile on your phone, you're set up with your license plate. Um, it'll send you a ping afterwards, and then you can pay for your, your toll that way. So w you know, the future, we're just really excited about , um, our prospects right now coming out of COVID things are just blowing up. And then on top of that, the ways that we can innovate, we're really excited about. So, you know, you're , you hear the word parking that doesn't sound very exciting and sexy, but there's, there's lots of stuff to do there that we think is going to be really great.

Speaker 2:

John, I think of this space , um, and maybe , uh , I guess I think a two kind of big, big trends. One is 5g, which is this, you know, massive , uh , kind of next level of network , uh , Mo mobile network access , um, bandwidth, I guess that's, that's starting to roll out. Um, and then another is the, the car itself and our relationship with the automobile. Uh, that is an it's almost like these things are, the cars are turning into significant, you know , um, high functioning supercomputers.

Speaker 3:

Yeah . They're turning into deals .

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly. And so , um, so like, what really resonates for me with part of noble is this, you've got, you created this network and all this connectivity out in real world land, IRL world, Daniel, Mr . You , um, he , uh, it's , it's , uh, it's that I guess, see all these possibilities where, you know, it's the park mobile embedded in the, in the, in the phone on wheels , uh, is making my life kind of easily and more if they're more , uh, kind of trans , uh, easy to navigate easily to , um, in, in all sorts of ways , um, as I'm going through and removing friction, maybe in many different ways where I'm , um , engaging in the world. Right . And through that, through the, through the automobile, is this , um, am I thinking about this the right way? I mean, these two kind of areas you all continue to explore.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Uh , 5g, I think is especially interesting because , um, you can see some ways where that could really start to remove friction from payments, right? Like that, being able to micro locate something with , uh, with 5g where , you know, whereas with 4g today, and like , you know, being able to tell exactly where somebody is, is , um, a little bit, a little bit difficult. So , um, you know, you couldn't necessarily locate down to a parking space 5g, you can start to see where that actually does happen. And, you know, that opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities for, you know, not just parking necessarily, but being able to pay for things, you know, outside of parking, whether it's , uh, charging , uh, you know, tolling , um, you know, some of these other things that we've mentioned, some of the things that we've , we've got up our sleeve that , uh , we probably don't want to talk about, but they're going to be really cool and interesting things in the future. So I think that's w I think that is going to 5g is going to have a major impact on certainly on what we do. Yeah . Yeah . Yeah. So ,

Speaker 4:

Um, I have a few questions, but I , I like to start off first with prompts . You can talk about how park mobile was pre COVID and how it is kind of post COVID as we're working our way out. It ,

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's a, well, that's a great question. Uh , thanks, Daniel. Um, so , uh , obviously pre COVID, we were , um, you know, as the business continues to grow and we, we launch in more and more cities and, you know , uh , every week , uh, we have a fabulous implementations team that's launching in , um, you know, at this point really well , multiple kind of secondary cities across the United States, just recently, we launched in Lafayette and Baltimore county in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Lawrence, Kansas York , uh , Pennsylvania. So all these kind of secondary cities . So as we're building out that network, like our, our growth , um, pre COVID was certainly , uh, off the charts. And then obviously COVID hit and we went to, you know , a fraction of our , uh , business before. And so that was a little bit of a scary time, but then , um, you know, we , more and more just started to come out of it very slowly. And, you know, things just kind of kept getting better and better. We had that kind of second wave in the latter part of last year. That was a little scary, took a little bit of a dip again. But , um, now we're at a point where we're not setting post COVID records. Um, everyday we're setting records every day. And so our , our businesses just exploding. So this is , uh , I'm leading up to a little bit of a commercial of if you're listening to this , um , we have many open positions at park mobile , so please, please do apply, send me an email directly because we're , um, yeah, I mean, we're just, we're going great guns. The businesses is very healthy. We're super excited about it. So yeah, there , there was definitely a time where that was , uh, or that was worrisome, but we're feeling really, really great about things now. And we knew it would come back. Right. And , um, you know, because that's just any kind of catastrophe like this, that's the way of the world. Do you eventually build your way back out of it? And so, you know, we didn't do mass layoffs or anything like that because we knew we were going to come back and want to keep the business intact and we wanted to keep the team intact and we wanted to grow. And so we're, we're well positioned to do that. Okay. And

Speaker 4:

I guess one other question I have , um, so I heard properly earlier, you talked about a park mobile 360, and how you work with other companies. I just want to know as you're continuing to innovate and see ways that you can kind of build partnerships or just build the overall company , um, you know, there's a company called Ciro ride sharing platform. Um, they have a high density over here in the Atlanta location, actually have a couple of colleagues that know , have a couple of vehicles and , um, you know, put it on there, make a lot of passive income from it. Um, but I think some of the main issues that they have when they're dealing with clients is , um, in terms of parking, where to put their vehicle and then the charge toll component when they go to Alabama or Florida. Um, is that something that you've been maybe perhaps thinking, or considering, you know, developing a partnership with Turo to where, you know , this technology can be provided to host them , people of that sorts?

Speaker 3:

That's a really interesting question. I w I can't say anything about them specifically on it, cause I don't, I'm not aware of that, but , um, but that, but I would say park mobile is super partnership oriented. So , um, if you think about the core of our platform and what it does, it's actually communicating to all kinds of , uh , service providers across the United States. So when you park, we actually transmit things like your license plate information to parking enforcement providers and parking , um, technology operators, so that they know that you're authorized to , to park there. And so we have tons of partnerships and I mentioned like Google and that kind of thing as well. So we're, so we, you know, we are we've is that kind of infrastructure. So , um, we have some more things up our sleeve is what, what I would say to you run some other partnerships that we're working on, where we can actually integrate paying for parking into the, at my point, being, you know, Daniel, your idea is a good one, right? You're thinking about it the right way, which is to say, there's, there's a million opportunities for us out there to , um, uh, to create partnerships where we can make the , the, the payment more frictionless for the consumer. So I'll give you another example. We're working right now with various , um, uh, gated garage vendors where you can drive up to the gate in the garage, you pull the ticket , um, as a QR code, you just scan it. And that's how it scan it with park mobile, and that's how you pay for it. And then , um, you can leave anytime you want, right. And you just hand it , put the ticket back in the machine. What's nice about that much more touchless experience. You're not playing around with trying to program the machine. And so, you know, and that's part of our growth story, as well as the , you know, one of the reasons we're , um, you know , doing really well. And we're excited about the businesses we're , we're well positioned to capitalize on the fact that people want touchless solutions. That's always just a big thing in payments in general, but you know, the , uh , as you think about parking, you know, not having to use the machine or the meter or the garage machine, all of those kinds of things, that's really important. And that all ties back to your partnership question. Like there's just, there's a million partnership opportunities for us out there, and we're , we're excited about all of them. Cause I think it's a , it's a huge space for us to grow.

Speaker 2:

May John, is that the, that parking , um, the , the gate people like the parking garage ma you know, I guess management people, like, is that a massively fragmented population or is there any concentration, like, what is that? I'm always, I mean, I know like, I'll go around the Midtown and it seems like there's maybe one or company that seems to control a lot of the gates and whatnot or acceptance, but I'm always curious, like, are thousands of these, are there like less than a hundred

Speaker 3:

It's , it's not thousands, it's probably, it's less than a hundred, for sure. It's not super concentrated, like two or three, so it's kind of somewhere in the middle. So I'd say dozens, dozen ish. Um ,

Speaker 2:

I wouldn't say yeah .

Speaker 3:

Um, but it kind of depends. Yeah, it depends a little bit a dozen ish that are the largest. Um, but , uh , but I think there's a relatively, there's some tail to that of , uh, uh, various vendors. So it's not as, it's not consolidated enough where it's easy to get integrated into that ecosystem, put it that way, Parkman many, many years integrating into that ecosystem. And it was in his heart and it takes a lot of work and we still do it today. So it's an ongoing project. Like it never, it never ends because there's always somebody new. Um, you know, there are many smaller providers out there. Um, so it's , um, I , I don't have a good answer other than kind of in the middle. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, that makes sense to me. Um, Daniel, I wanted to give you a chance, just talk a little bit about Ethiopi on weekends and I guess audience, we were having some prep before we started recording the show today. And , um, Daniel was talking a little bit about ETO pay and then John had some really awesome questions. And so we wanted to bring this into the, into the conversation a bit , um, cause , uh, Daniel eight to just improve awareness on Ethiopia, but also just wanted to hear that, let the audience hear a bit of the question process and the dialogue , um, related to your interest in AIDEA page on ,

Speaker 3:

Well, what I want to know first is Daniel, how you got, well, first of all, you should talk for the audience a little bit about what , what did it , the functionality is, but I'm most interested in how you got the idea to do it. Like what's, what's your Fiverr motivator.

Speaker 4:

Sure. And thank you again for the question. So , uh, it is a SAS platform that allows it , the open DAS bros , such as myself to be able to connect with it , the opiates in Ethiopia, but to be able to do, you know, bill pay fun chance for purchasing of minutes and data, as well as invest in the, in the U S capital markets. And then really where it conceptualized. Um, you know, for me was really just trying to help my mom. So out of necessity , um, like millions of others going through that long manual process that you talked about , um, that even heard about CheckFree having a long manual process. And it was as there for a lot of people and especially my mom, she has a bad knee, has arthritis in her knee. Um, it was very painful for her to stand in those long lines. And so I just wanted to make it easy for her and then kind of taken a step back. I sold that it was a greater issue within the community. And so I just wanted to come with a solution versus , uh , just complaining about the issue. And that's kind of where it conceptualized on my behalf

Speaker 3:

Is your mom and your investor pitch deck. Yes , she is. She of right. Absolutely . Yeah . Yeah . I mean that, that origin story, like, first of all, that's powerful and awesome. And I love that, but like, you know, that every good pitch starts with like there's an emotional problem that needs to be solved, right? Yeah . 100%. Yeah. That's, that's really great.

Speaker 2:

Um, Daniel was just say a little bit more about that functionality of Ethiopi and more specifically.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So, you know, we're able

Speaker 4:

To be able to be used on a web based application as well as mobile application and really just being able to kind of address two sides. So I think the two lines of business that we have the mostly on fires, the bill pay and the vest component, and to the point that John said earlier, you know, you , you want to be able to look back in hindsight and beyond the right side of the consumer trend. And so, you know, we want to help people first get out of like survival mode. So was that bill pay and the remittent inside , you're able to take up everyday needs , utility bills and things afterwards , but then when you take a step further , um, being able to build that generational wealth, be able to come from a place of consciousness , uh that's where we put that investment component and allowing people to be able to build for tomorrow, not just for today

Speaker 2:

And Daniel you've, you've educated me a bit about the , um, size of the Ethiopian Eritrean kind of DAS bruh here in the United States. Um, can you talk some more about, I know one key thing I've learned is there's some meaningful concentration in that Washington DC , um , area. Um, I certainly learned that, but can you kind of profile that , um, kind of, I guess your, your target audience , uh, a bit more , um, for us and help us understand it? Yeah,

Speaker 4:

So right now we would say that we're targeting that the 3.5 million Aspirus , uh , that live in abroad outside of it, the LPO , uh, are just really struggling to financially support their loved ones , uh, to just a lack of convenient options. And so to the point that you said there , there are hotbeds in the U S Atlanta is one of them, D C is another one. Uh, Minnesota is another one, I'll say Stan as another one, too . Those are like some of the top cities , uh , at the open dash pros and Rudy Anja at the end of the day, we're just trying to be able to provide options and the ability to be able to take care of their loved ones. So you don't have to just worry about them, even though you can't be there in person, you can at least know you have that peace of mind that you're able to help them. And to the point that John said that boosts your morals, which does

Speaker 3:

Yeah , yeah, yeah. That's, that's important. What , uh, I'm interested in to annual , like how has it been starting a business like that here in Atlanta? Is there has been any advantage for you? I assume some yes.

Speaker 4:

Yes. And thank you for the question. Uh , I would say , um, you know, starting a business in general is always hard , um, you know, on the inception of it , uh, you know, to hopefully be able to build it up to growth mode and things out of sorts, but I'll say that it perhaps has been a little bit easier for me just because having that support system, that safety net , uh, the elect to say, you know, Tommy and individuals and the ecosystem, as well as organization entities, like ATDC , um, are here in the Atlanta , uh , and Metro Atlanta area that really, except he was open arms and want to see you , um, you know, accelerate and propel that idea as long as you just have the right attitude.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Yeah. That's great. Well, we were, we were talking about this before in , you know , think it's really important for starting a business. It's not just about getting , uh, you know, equity , um, you know, VC all and building a business and all the operational challenges that you have to have. I mean, a lot of it for the founders like yourself is really just emotional support, right? So there are people around you who hear what you're doing and say, oh, that fits in perfectly with what we're trying to achieve here as a city. And certainly what the Georgia FinTech academy is trying to achieve. And like, you know, that I think is an under represented portion of being in a startup business. So having been in a couple of startups, I mean, on some level as a founder, you know, that that's what you need the most. Right. Exactly. And that's awesome,

Speaker 4:

You know, and , and , and to that point, you know , having people such as Tommy and the FinTech academy, you know, being there since day one, supporting my business venture and always been in that corner , um, I don't think a lot of people get to say that. And , and there is a saying, if you want to go fast, go by yourself. If you want to go far, it takes a village. And I truly do believe that Tommy FinTech academy, everyone in the Atlanta Metro Atlanta area , uh, they are that village for me.

Speaker 3:

Uh , what's been the hardest thing so far. What have , what have you learned, trying to try to do as a small startup? Yeah. Um, I would probably say never take things personal, never.

Speaker 4:

You're so passionate and have that onward faith in your, in your product. And then when you're going, other people are saying they don't know what to talk about. I know what I see in this, you know, there's this take a step back and keep in mind that everyone's here to help you not hurt you. So just don't take the feedback , um, you know, offensively.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. That's that's right. Yeah. That's, that's right. You're dealing with a lot of business. People who have a lot of , a lot of their own notions, but if you believe in what you're doing, you've got that, that passion it'll, it'll carry you pretty far, but you have to, you have to meet with a lot of people before you can find niche of who's gonna, who's gonna support you. So that's, that's actually really great advice for any startup founder . Don't take anything personally.

Speaker 2:

I love it. Um, awesome. Thanks Daniel for persevering that. And , uh, I continued to be excited about the possibilities for , uh, Ethio. Okay. Um, well, I'm going to , we're going to continue our campaign to try to get you from going to Philadelphia , uh, and August, you know, cause that was another thing. Um, cause John, you, your , you did your MBA in Philly, right? At Wharton,

Speaker 3:

Pennsylvania. Yeah. Wharton.

Speaker 2:

So , um, Daniel was, you know, he was like, Tommy, what do you think, should I live? Should I look in places in town and Philly or you know, about Malvern where Vanguard is, right . It's like, I think he'll enjoy Philly outward . Yeah . If you can tolerate the commute

Speaker 3:

Well that, and there they have a tax that , uh, is against your wages. Uh, or at least last time I checked, maybe it's changed, but that was the problem with living in Philly before. But I mean said that one of my favorite cities, a very underrated city, a lot of great things to recommend it. I was just there , uh , this week as a matter of fact, and it's , um, it's a fantastic , uh, place having said all that. That's all nice, but no, you need to stay in Atlanta. Uh , we need you to hear , but I can't, I can't honestly say anything bad about Philadelphia. I really, really did enjoy it there, but look, man, this is the FinTech ecosystem down here. So anyway ,

Speaker 2:

Um, I want to move us towards our kind of in cap, part of our show that our listeners know we do every week and that's, what's the FinTech news. That's caught our attention in the past week. Um, I'm going to let you start Daniel what's on your mind. Yeah .

Speaker 4:

So, I mean, there's always an endless abundance of information out there on the incident, but I would say no, the cryptocurrency market and just all that volatility that's been associated, especially with Bitcoin and China coming, you know , once again, cracking down on the market and just seeing the market cap keep on dipping. Um, you know, I would say that's a , a big issue that I've been seeing and , and keeping my eyes on , uh, uh, once more, another thing that I've been seeing is , um , Tim Berners Lee , uh, this actually had an team where he sold , uh, the original source code of the worldwide web , um, and you know, NFT through a series of art. So that was quite fascinated and that I saw and really able to just be able to see no modern day technologies in not Bitcoin describe small. This is just quite fascinating to

Speaker 2:

Me. I'm Brett , I'm glad you bought up China. Um, and we should say that today, July 1st, 2021 is the hundredth anniversary of the people's Republic of China. So say there is a very big , uh, celebration happening in red square today , uh, and , uh, to be, to be noted. Um, John , how about you? Yeah, I'll

Speaker 3:

Mention , um, visa acquiring tank . It's a European open banking platform for a 1.8 billion and , um, uh, it's integrated with 3,400 banks and it's a little bit of the plat of, of Europe. And , um, it goes along with visa acquiring plaid , uh, cash while how long ago was that? Like a year ago,

Speaker 2:

John, that whole deal blew up. I mean, oh yeah, that's right. They worked on it for what nine, 10 months. And then the , uh, the feds came in and said, no, yeah , that's

Speaker 3:

Right. That's right. I forgot that part. Right. Um, but you know, what , what , what it does show is, and this is something I'd be paying a lot of attention to. If I worked at a bank is like, you know, visa clearly has an intense into there that , um, is something, and I'm not sure quite what the something is, but you know, what you have to worry about, I think as a bank is that, you know, all of the fintechs around you and kind of visa being one of them , um, are trying to kind of reduce, or just intermediate you from the customer. That's not really an insight. A lot of people know that already, but I think what's kind of scary is visa doing it right? Because that's a behemoth of a company and they , um, you know, they can have a lot of muscle to throw around to do things like that. So , um, anyway, I think that's, that's kind of , uh , my point of interest.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It was interesting announcement. I mean, you know, I , haven't always felt like open the European union in general has kind of been leading the way on this open banking trend. And in part of that has been due to kind of the regulatory , uh, influence in that region in particular has been kind of supported and in some ways just mandating it for a PSD two . Uh, I'm very curious though , to see how the regulators in the EU will respond to this acquisition, considering that our USA regulators were not at all supportive of diesel, getting involved with platting and it's a , it's a similar play. Um, so I'm, I'm really curious to see how this plays out for them. Um, my comment is going to be related to FinTech south, which , uh , ended last Thursday. Um, it was our , um , 11th successful year of offering content . What I'm saying, we I'm saying the collective technology association of Georgia, we , um, and , um , great event. I really enjoyed it, phenomenal content hats off again to Andrew Morris for really driving so much great , uh , content into the sessions. But I want to highlight the FinTech south innovation challenge. Uh, we had 10 companies again and the challenge. This was our sixth year of the FinTech south innovation challenge. And the winner was , uh , a company called unit Y U N I T. That's a very interesting , uh, social media driven savings platform. So it's really helping you and your friends together hold each other accountable towards savings goals. Um, and it's , uh, it's very interesting. And , and there's some, a couple of different value props that are kind of similar in the marketplace. What's unique about this one is how , uh, some privacy is , uh , really maintained in very meaningful ways on those social media platforms , um, within the context of the savings goals. So very cool. And as a result of winning , um, unit receives $25,000 cash, non-dilutive from , um, the fintechs out then technology association of Georgia. So , um, you know, hats off to the unit, again, congratulations on that win. They'll also as a result of winning , uh , received , um, direct placement into the ATDC accelerate , uh, level of the ATDC incubator as a FinTech company. Um, so we'll look forward to a welcome Manor into that program shortly. That's

Speaker 3:

That's so great to see. I mean, the ATDC has done so much for Atlanta. Um, yeah , just a huge salute to them for continuing to power, you know, small innovators across the ecosystem.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Well, we are out of time. Um, John, thanks for being here. You are always welcome at the Georgia tech academy. Thanks for being part of this, your partnership with the effort. Uh, Daniel always can't get enough. Um, same here , uh , same to you in terms of , uh, involvement. And , uh, let's do this again.

Speaker 1:

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