All In a Day's Work
Garrett Cassidy, co-founder and CEO of Trezeo, joins the show to talk about making financial services accessible to independent workers, the snowball effect of impacting people's lives, mental health perspectives in the startup community....and the impact of scuba diving on his ability to communicate!
This week we talk to Garrett Cassidy from Trezeo, a fintech on a mission to help independent workers with their financial lives by providing them with a comprehensive safety net delivered 100% digitally. As Garrett said recently on a Future of Work interview series for Aperture, “Trezeo is not a social enterprise, it is a for profit investor-backed enterprise. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make money from doing the right thing, and that’s where technology changes things fundamentally.” Pete Townsend met Garrett back in 2014 when he came into Pete's office talking excitedly about startups and pre-accelerators, and Pete looks back at that meeting as one of the reasons that he's doing what he does. See below for some of the soundbite highlights, and the link here for the Techstars video series on mental health in the startup community and separately for Garrett's pitch at the Barclay's Accelerator powered by Techstars.
- “Just because you work a different way, why should you have such radically different access to financial services? It’s a simple idea, but a really gnarly set of problems to solve.”
- “We actually started by looking at better banking and financial services for micro-businesses, but with our early customer research and some independent research at the time, we dug into the gig economy, the sharing economy and the self employed, and we realised there was a much bigger and more important problem to solve.”
- “When we dug into the problem of broken bank accounts for the people we were trying to solve it for, we realised that bank accounts weren’t as broken for them because they didn’t really care - most self employed and independent workers don’t have a separate bank account for their business.”
- “Keeping a broad mindset of trying to validate the problem actually brought us to “we’re actually looking at the wrong thing here.’"
- “We always had the B2B2C channel in our radar. We knew that we’d have do some direct targeting of small business consumers, but as a route to bring scale through partners, platforms and other ecosystem players.
- “We knew that our route to scale was by working with partners because that’s the nature of the market, and it influenced the sector we started in as it has the intermediary structure you can actually leverage.”
- “When you’re doing something with impact, people assume that you started out to have an impact. Our intention was to solve a problem. What got us interested in it the most though was the fact that we were having an impact.”
- “Our ambition is to impact as many people as we can. Hopefully, in due course, that’s tens if not hundreds of millions of people, to actually improve their lives. We can only do that if we have a very scalable commercial business that sustains itself.”
- “Financial inclusion is right at the core of our DNA, and it’s kind of hard not to be that way when you hear some of the stories of our early users.”
- “In early March, we made the decision to give sickness insurance to all of our members for the worst of the crisis because they couldn't buy it at the time. We just knew it was the right thing to do at the right time so that they could have some comfort that if something went wrong, they’d have something behind them.”
- "As a startup founder, you fail constantly in small and big ways every day. You’re knocked down day in and day out. You’re always questioning whether you’re on the right path, experimenting with different approaches, and on the outside it can look very flashy and nice, but underneath there’s a lot going on.”
- "The lack of diversity in the startup community amplifies mental health issues in the startup community, as men are less likely to raise their hand.”
- “Startups are tough, but if they weren’t, the problems wouldn't be there, someone would have solved them already”
- “One of our customers came to us and said “You know what, I just got my first mainstream credit and I’ve never been able to get it before. Although that’s just one person, it creates the drive to do this again and again and again.”
- “Independent workers represent such a varied sector, and you can beat up the traditional institutions, but it’s just too expensive for them to service that sector. The tech allows us to get to a level and cost of service that gets us to a fundamentally different business model.”
- “The typical qualities of startup founders - curiosity and persistence are both a double-edged sword of becoming unfocused and pigheaded.”
- “What we’ve become better on is articulating our purpose and vision - what are we trying to do, what’s our guiding light and what will help towards that, and push hard towards it.
Finally, If you'd like an intro to Pete, please click here. If you'd like an intro to Eoin, please click here.