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Category Archives: Podcasts

Fintech Fridays EP58: Using Risk Management to Improve Your Business and Life

About NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Oct 14, 2022

FF S4EP58 Alex Sidorenko Risk Management 1000 - Fintech Fridays EP58:  Using Risk Management to Improve Your Business and Life

Oct 14, 2022: NCFA's Fintech Fridays podcast episode 58

Using Risk Management to Improve Your Business and Life

Featured Guest:

Alex Sidorenko, CEO and Chief Risk Officer / Founder, Risk Academy / Risk Awareness Week (LinkedIn)

Experienced executive across strategic, investment and operational risks and insurance working within multibillion dollar corporations in Australia, GCC and Europe. Successfully implemented changes to quantitative risk analysis, risk-based decision making and neuroscience.   Saved more than $13 million per year in premiums on cargo and PD/BI insurance through industry leading quantitative risk analysis without changing deductibles or limits. Successfully presenting corporate risk profile at the Ministry of finance and helping secure more than $1B in extra funding.  Author of the most popular free risk management book in the world, more than 150K downloads in 3 languages. Risk manager of the year, FERMA, 2021, Honourable mention 2021, RIMS. Risk manager of the year, RUSRISK, 2014, Best ERM Implementation, RUSRISK, 2014, Best risk management training, RUSRISK, 2013, 2014, 2015, finalist in risk management awards in 2018 and 2019.

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCog9jkDZdiRps2w27MZ5Azg
BLOG: https://riskacademy.blog

 

On Now --> RISK AWARENESS WEEK  |  Oct 17 to 21, 2022

Risk Awareness Week takes place from Oct 17 to 21, 2022 is the biggest global online platform to learn risk management and decision making. Use RAW2022 to learn from practical case studies on integrating risk management into corporate decision making, planning, budgeting, project management and risk-adjusted performance management.  Learn more

About this episode:

For anyone who needs to make complex decisions or wants to add more clarity into their lives by applying modern risk management techniques, then this one is for you. Join NCFA Founder, Craig Asano, who sits down with Alex Sidorenko, the CEO and Chief Risk Officer of the Risk Academy and Founder of Risk Awareness Week, one of the largest risk management conference programs in the world.  They discuss the commoditization of science, horoscope fairy tales, beating the bear and how intuition may not always be your best friend (in some scenarios).  Understand the difference between risk management for ‘box tickers’ vs modern techniques, generators vs users, virtual data, and how to think about risk management to electrify decision-support for any problem in your business or life.  Enjoy!

Duration:  69mins

 

00:00:00 Introduction
00:02:10 About Alex Sidorenko | Why risk management?
00:05:06 Risk Academy
00:10:00 Risk Awareness Week Oct 17 to 21, 2022
00:14:01 History of risk management
00:15:48 Commoditization of science
00:17:18 Horoscope fairy tales
00:19:46 R1 vs R2
00:21:32 Differentiation
00:24:39 Quantifying risk and key decisions
00:26:05 Fallacy of intuition
00:28:53 Unpacking uncertainty
00:30:40 The nature of risk
00:33:44 Right tool for the job
00:35:04 Adding clarity to complex decisions
00:38:42 Electricity and probabiity theory
00:40:18 Generators vs users
00:43:44 Beating the lottery with math
00:46:37 Autonomous algorithms
00:49:29 Beat the Bear fallacy
00:50:59 Signifiance and practacality
00:53:56 Decision-support and profit
00:55:41 Future outlook
00:56:22 Backtesting
00:57:31 Risk matrix issues
00:59:03 Synthetic data
01:00:30 Free risk management book
01:04:14 Rapid fire questions
01:05:47 Yourself in 5-10 years?
01:06:36 Comfort in your decisions
01:08:23 Thank you and close

 

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fintech Fridays EP58:  Using Risk Management to Improve Your Business and LifeThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Fintech Fridays EP57: 10 Years of Investment Crowdfunding: Past, Present & Future Since the JOBS Act

About NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Apr 11, 2022

NCFA FF EP57 10 years of investment crowdfunding UPDATED resize 2 - Fintech Fridays EP57:  10 Years of Investment Crowdfunding:  Past, Present & Future Since the JOBS Act

Apr 8, 2022: NCFA's Fintech Fridays podcast episode 57

10 Years of Investment Crowdfunding: Past, Present & Future Since the JOBS Act

Host:

Craig Asano, Founder and CEO, NCFA Canada

Craig brings over 20 years of experience as a marketing strategist, software technologist and start-up entrepreneur in technology, finance, manufacturing and real estate sectors.  He founded the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada), a nationally organized non-profit that is Canada’s dynamic and inclusive advocate for the advancement of fintech, open finance, capital markets innovation, digital assets and currencies, P2P, crowdfinance and emerging technologies such Blockchain and AI that are transforming the future of financial services. Craig advocated for and is a key contributor to the birth of disruptive online financing marketplaces, and the P2P Fintech economy in Canada.  Learn more about NCFA.

 

Featured Guests:

Peter-Paul Van Hoeken, Founder and CEO, FrontFundr

After a successful career in international banking, he immigrated to Canada in 2010 and chose the entrepreneurial path in finance and investing. He embarked on a mission to create the New Capital Market – Democratizing funding and investing in private companies.  In 2013, Peter-Paul founded FrontFundr to address the challenge that young companies face in generating capital and to unlock investing in private companies to the wider community, the public. FrontFundr is now Canada’s leading online funding and investment platform in the private capital markets.  For more info please visit the website.

Alan Wunsche, CEO and Chief Token Office, Tokenfunder

Alan started his career as a software developer/scientist and identified Ethereum early as a game-changer, and envisioned a decentralized future powered by blockchain.  He’s implemented enterprise technology-driven business transformations, and was a capital markets and credit risk systems executive at a global bank.  Alan founded Token Funder Inc., a Canadian leader in exempt market digital securities investing and trading, and is business building this venture.  He launched Canada's first regulatory-compliant security token on Ethereum public blockchain; 1st security token as an EMD (@TokenGX); 1st secondary market security token trading platform for private markets (FreedomX).  For more info please visit the website.

Alixe Cormick, President, Venture Law Corporation

Securities Lawyer and Advisor, Founder of Venture Law Corporation who works with privately-held and public companies, mergers and acquisitions, private placement investments, financial transactions, reverse mergers, initial public offerings and licensing matters, as well as general corporate matters.  For more info please visit the website.

Sherwood Neiss, Principal, Crowdfund Capital Advisors

Sherwood Neiss, is a Principal at Crowdfund Capital Advisors and a Partner at Crowd Capital Ventures. He’s a serial entrepreneur and investor and was instrumental in helping the JOBS Act get passed.  He created the first database that aggregates all online investment offerings under the JOBS Act including research and analysis of securities-based crowdfunding (used by the SEC and policy makers) and works to support local economies right across the United States.  For more info please visit the website.

Andrew Dix, Founder and CEO, Crowded Media Group LLC

Crowdfund Insider is the leading news and information web site covering the emerging global industry of disruptive finance including crowdfunding and peer-to-peer / marketplace lending. Recognizing the overlapping aspects of the new forms of finance, Crowdfund Insider’s coverage includes both rewards and investment based segments of crowdfunding. The site provides extensive coverage, and industry leading perspective, from a team of staff writers and leading industry expert contributors from around the world.  For more info please visit the website.

Kim Wales, Founder and CEO, CrowdBureau Corp

Kim Wales is a securities-based crowdfunding, P2P online lending, and digital banking pioneer. She brings a deep and broad background in corporate governance, risk management, and banking regulation. Ms. Wales is an author, adjunct professor, and business owner.  Since 2017, Ms. Wales is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CrowdBureau Corporation, which provides rules-based stock indices for financial products such as ETFs and managed account platforms. The Company also provides research, data analytics, and risk management tools for the peer-to-peer lending and digital banking industry.  Kim has been cited over 100 times in U.S. Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, 2012 final rules for Titles III (Regulation Crowdfunding) and IV (Regulation A+).  Kim is also an author and adjuct professor and sits on several boards.  For more info please visit the website.

About this episode:

10 years ago in 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) was signed into law in the U.S. (and eventually a similar exemption was approved in Canada) to encourage more capital to flow to startups, support innovation, and, create jobs. It's significance cannot be understated as the rule change allowed private companies to raise capital by selling securities digitally for the first time via registered online platforms and dealer-brokers.  Regulation crowdfunding also democratized previously excluded retail investors (non-accredited) by allowing them to invest directly in startup ventures empowering a new era of digital finance.

See:  Crowdfunding is Now a Serious Way for Private Ventures to Raise Capital

A tremendous amount of advocacy and regulatory change efforts took place to make this happen, and since then the original JOBS Act rules have been improved for investment crowdfunding in the U.S., such as increasing the fundraising cap from US$1 million to US$5 million (not in Canada though, we've asked for years ahem).

But there are still many challenges and myths to be debunked. While venture financings are at an all time high in sectors like fintech, it does not mean that startups are awash with capital.  While there is growing interest among retail investors to participate directly in these offerings, and take control of their investment future, education and awareness still remains a top priority if industry is to grow in the right ways.  Having said that, in the United States, RegCF recently surpassed $1billion raised.  Canadian figures are more modest with at least $100 million in equity financings raised on a leading platform.

Today there's also a JOBS Act 2022 proposal on the table but will these changes be sufficient to support evolving technologies and their capabilities while also protecting investors?  Regulatory change is slow and regulators should support innovation and competition.  All stakeholders need to continue to support efforts to make capital markets whole, so EVERYONE can benefit from the advancements in technology or the wealth gap will continue to widen.

This is a not to be missed episode for anyone interested in the past or future of digital finance and capital markets.  Join investment crowdfunding pioneers in both Canada and the U.S. who discuss the 10 year journey from a wide variety of perspectives including the evolution of first generation marketing platforms to the arrival of second generation decentralized finance models powered by blockchain technologies.

Duration:  92mins

Timestamps:

00:00:00 NCFA Fintech Fridays Intro
00:00:17 Craig Asano, NCFA Canada
00:02:06 Andrew Dix, Crowded Media Group
00:02:49 Sherwood 'Woodie' Neiss, Crowdfund Capital Advisors
00:03:32 Kim Wales, CrowdBureau Corp
00:04:23 Alixe Cormick, Venture Law Corporation
00:04:13 Peter-Paul Van Hoeken, FrontFundr
00:05:48 Alan Wunsche, Tokenfunder
00:08:21 RegCF advocacy (SEC, Congress, White House)
00:10:47 Designing the framework
00:11:58 Purpose of the JOBS Act
00:15:10 Road to Equity Crowdfunding in Canada: Change is hard (and long)
00:26:22 Blockchain finance: education and regulatory challenges
00:33:38 Crowdfunding’s Impact and opportunity: first US$1 billion
00:38:39 RegCF to digital finance
00:41:57 Evolution of digital finance Gen1 to Gen2
00:49:23 Digitalizing private capital markets
00:55:03 Ontario’s exemption 45-108 setup to fail
00:59:46 JOBS Act 2022 bill proposed to improve rules in the U.S.
01:00:10 Canada harmonizes equity crowdfunding rules Sep 2021
01:04:00 Educating regulators
01:06:00 Regulators need to support innovation and competition
01:09:00 Financial inclusion
01:11:00 Canadian ECF $100 million and beyond
01:17:00 Decentralized Finance is the future
01:19:00 Convergence and reducing wealth gaps
01:23:00 Regulatory culture change and sandbox
01:25:00 Capital markets need to work for everyone
01:30:00 Closing remarks

 

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fintech Fridays EP57:  10 Years of Investment Crowdfunding:  Past, Present & Future Since the JOBS ActThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Lex Fridman Podcast with Brett Johnson: US Most Wanted Cybercriminal

Lex Fridman Podcast | Mar 27, 2022

Lex Fridman Brett Johnson cyber criminals and entrepreneurship - Lex Fridman Podcast with Brett Johnson: US Most Wanted Cybercriminal

Brett Johnson was a US Most Wanted cybercriminal, called the Original Internet Godfather by US Secret Service for building the first organized cybercrime community called ShadowCrew, which was the precursor to today's darknet and darknet markets.

OUTLINE:

0:00 - Introduction

3:15 - Early years

37:32 - Phishing and social engineering

55:36 - SolarWinds cyberattack

1:01:23 - Future social engineering fears

1:04:04 - Early cybercrimes

1:16:38 - Cybercrime entrepreneurship

1:20:06 - ShadowCrew

1:51:10 - Dark web

1:59:56 - ShadowCrew arrested

2:11:55 - Cybercrime

2:17:02 - Love

2:49:06 - Prison

3:17:18 - Life after prison

3:39:06 - Advice for young people

3:40:30 - Hope for the future

3:43:59 - Meaning of life

Continue to the podcast video --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Lex Fridman Podcast with Brett Johnson: US Most Wanted CybercriminalThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Fintech Fridays EP56: How We Raised $426 million Using Rewards Crowdfunding

NCFA Canada | Jan 21, 2022

JOIN US ON A STORYTELLING JOURNEY EVERY FRIDAY.

NCFA FF EP56 Zach Smith Funded Today  - Fintech Fridays EP56:  How We Raised $426 million Using Rewards Crowdfunding


EP56: How We Raised $426 million Using Rewards Crowdfunding

Featured Guest:

ZACH SMITH, CEO and Co-Founder, Funded Today (LinkedIn)

Zach Smith is a serial entrepreneur having never had a "real" job his entire life. He's always starting, selling, running, and managing businesses. Mr. Smith loves helping others turn their dreams, ideas, and inspirations into successful companies. This passion led to his creation of Funded Today, LLC, the world’s most successful crowdfunding firm. Funded Today has now cumulatively raised over $426 million and counting for 4,000+ crowdfunding campaigns across the world and in 2018 was the 27th fastest-growing-privately held company in the United States on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list, and #2 in Utah. Chances are, if you've seen a successful campaign on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, Zach Smith and Funded Today have been the driving factor behind its success!

Mr. Smith graduated Summa Cum Laude as the valedictorian from Weber State University's Goddard School of Business and Economics, with a business degree specializing in accounting. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and has been featured in numerous publications including Mixergy, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Entrepreneur, and Forbes. He is the author of the Amazon bestseller, Funded Today: The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding, and is also a sought-after keynote speaker at CrowdCon, Import Summit, the Canadian Crowdfinance Summit, Converge, and many others.

Zach is a curious soul who craves knowledge and learning and never stops asking questions. Zach enjoys real estate investing, angel investing, private lending, playing competitive indoor soccer, competitive over-the-board chess, basketball, tennis, spikeball, reading and listening to business biographies and autobiographies, traveling, and working with entrepreneurs. He is married to the beautiful and talented opera singer, Courtney Bergen, has a doll of a daughter named Elliot 'Ellie' Jane, a little baby boy on the way due in early March 2022, and a gorgeous goldendoodle named Arwen, and resides in the glorious city of Ogden, Utah.  To get in touch via email:  zach@funded.today

About Funded Today

Funded Today helps startups to succeed, especially through the fast-paced world of rewards-based crowdfunding. Since mid-2014, it has emerged as the world’s largest crowdfunding agency, and among the most successful, having served 3,751+ entrepreneurs worldwide with its consulting, creative, and/or marketing services, which helped 1,637+ campaigns to raise $426,632,695+ altogether on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. You may visit its reviews website to read and/or watch dozens of testimonials from its many satisfied past clients.   For more info please visit the website:  Funded Today

About this Episode

Checkout this not to be missed episode with NCFA Founder Craig Asano and Zach Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Funded Today.  In 2017, Zach delivered a keynote at NCFA's Canadian Crowdfinance Summit in Toronto after raising $150 million dollars.   Fast forward to today, and the Funded Today machine has raised north of $426 million USD and counting.  In this episode, learn what it takes to be a serial entrepreneur -- "It's not really about how much money you raise on the platform, it's about what you learn from the money that you've raised."  They discuss the story of Funded Today, pivoting, diversifying investments, being strategic, doing what you love, and of course how to raise millions of dollars with rewards-based crowdfunding including a couple of real life examples.  If you have an innovative project, gadget or piece of hardware, or have an app or board game and want to know if you can crowdfund dollars for it in 2022, tune in now....grab a cup of your favourite and dig in.  Enjoy! 

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Subscribe and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more podcasts here:

Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4

 


Fintech Friday Transcript of Episode 56:

Zach Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Funded Today

Intro: Welcome to fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners. Covering all things fintech, blockchain, AI and alternative finance.

 

Craig Asano: [00:00:02]  Hello, everyone. My name is Craig Asano, the founder and CEO of NCFA Canada, welcoming you to season four, Episode 56 of Fintech Fridays, a weekly podcast brought to you by NCFA partners where we sit down with incredible people in the fintech and funding community around the globe to talk about trends, product innovations, developments and challenges. Today, we have an absolute legend joining us from the rewards-based crowdfunding space. I'd like to introduce Zach Smith. He's the CEO and co-founder Funded Today. Some of you may have remember him from keynoting at the 2017 Canadian CrowdFinance Summit in Toronto. That was an illuminating talk. We also have that hosted somewhere on NCFAs YouTube channel. I think Funded Today may have also that hosted but Funded Today is the world's most successful crowdfunding agency. In the past seven years, Funded Today has cumulatively raised a whopping $426 million dollars. Yes, I said that they're approaching and counting and growing towards half a billion dollars. That will be a day. They've worked with 4000 plus crowdfunding campaigns around the globe, and they were ranked in 2018 one of the fastest, I think, the twenty seventh fastest privately held company in the U.S. on the prestigious five hundred list number two in Utah, where they hail. Chances are, if you have seen a monstrous, successful rewards based crowdfunding campaign, whether it's on Kick or Indiegogo. Zach Smith and the team and his partner have Funded Today have probably been the driving factor behind its success. So with that introduction, Zach, I'd like to get into the podcast. Welcome to the show!

 

Zach Smith: [00:01:56] Hey, thanks for having me, Craig. Appreciate it. Glad to be here. It's nice to kind of be back and talking to some Canadians. I spent a couple of years of my life in Toronto, so it's always good to give back to that community.

 

Craig Asano: [00:02:07] Two years? Did I missed it? What were you doing in Toronto for two years?

 

Zach Smith: [00:02:11] I was just doing a service mission for my church, so. You are back when I was a kid.

 

Craig Asano: [00:02:18] You're a man of many talents, I can tell you, because I've got a long bio and I only read a fraction of it. You even speak Mandarin Chinese says, Here you do. You're fluent. How did that come about?

 

Zach Smith: [00:02:30] That was also in Canada. So another wonderful thing the country of Canada is given back to me.

 

Craig Asano: [00:02:36] Well, you know, for the listeners here at Fintech Friday, Zach is also a lifelong learner. He's involved with angel investing, lending. He's an avid athlete. He's involved with just a like a ton of different sports, and he's a sought after speaker. So we're thrilled to have you here today, Zach, and want to kick things off by just, you know, tell us a little bit more about yourself what it's like to be a serial entrepreneur. How did you first become an entrepreneur?

 

Zach Smith: [00:03:05] Yeah. So it's kind of how I introduced myself. Anytime somebody says, Hey, Zach, what do you do? I say, I'm a serial entrepreneur. Now, not a serial killer. None of that Netflix how to make a murder stuff or anything. But for me, a serial entrepreneur is really simply, you know, it's an individual who's always working, but what looks like work to others feels like play for him. And rather than renting out time as an employee, they run small businesses and then they assume all the risks and rewards of those ventures. And so for me, being a serial entrepreneur is kind of intrinsically what it means to be me. I mean, I believe in I believe everything about entrepreneurship is kind of like, if you had to say who Zach Smith, serial entrepreneur, is kind of what I want to be associated with my name.

 

Craig Asano: [00:03:54] So that's your legacy. Well, what kind of businesses as a serial entrepreneur are you naturally gravitate towards?

 

Zach Smith: [00:04:02] Oh, I mean, sorry, I've got a little bit of a cough going on here, but basically I own 17 different businesses at this point in time, so things have transpired quite a bit even in just the last little while. So it ranges for me from a diesel mechanic repair shop out of my hometown of Ogden, Utah, to a gold and silver mint, a privately held mint that makes gold and silver coins and bars and sells them all around the world. And then, of course, Funded Today, which is, you know, in some ways, probably still my favorite most exciting company. I own a construction company. We're building a lot of single family homes, so it varies quite a bit. What am I attracted to? I think it would be 'pivoting' and making the right move at the right time to whatever business, I think makes the most sense when we talk about heavy inflation. Historically, gold and silver have been pretty good for that. When we talk about real estate, America is seen 20-29% increase in prices over the last couple of years in terms of appreciation of home value. So I'm always kind of keeping attention to trends, and I'm trying to attach myself to those trends to capitalize. And I did that with crowdfunding, too. Nearly a decade ago with Funded Today, I was the very first I was early on with email marketing before that was even a thing. I was very early on with Facebook advertising. I was early with Instagram advertising. I've always kind of been an early adopter, not the earliest adopter, but early before in terms of applicability, being able to apply these things to whatever needs to be applied to take advantage of that trend while it's hot. And when you do that because of scalability and because of like the connectedness of the world you can achieve, like exponential astronomical results in a very short period of time across all those industries that I mentioned.

 

Craig Asano: [00:05:43] That's incredible, is there a social bent to I mean, I get the economic pursuits and being surfing the edge of the curve, taking the risks, building and scaling. I mean, pivoting to actually how Funded Today, the story of how it was formed and how it evolved to the world's most successful or the world's largest, however you want to describe it. Four hundred and twenty six million is a big deal. What was the journey like? How did it go?

 

Zach Smith: [00:06:12] Yeah, it's a great story. And as I and you'll have to reference back to that presentation that I gave at the Canadian CrowdFinance Summit as well. But but very briefly, the story of funded today started actually with a pivot, believe it or not. So that's a that's a good Segway. Essentially, I was I was operating like an attorney or an accountant. I was billing on retainer and I had a client from my hometown, reach out to me and say, Hey, Zach, I can't pay you five hundred bucks an hour or whatever it was. I was charging at the time. But have you heard of this thing called Kickstarter? Have you heard of this thing called Indiegogo? I'd like you to take my invention, and she was a seamstress. She had just made this little running pouch called the Ru Sport and had put it all together and had created a prototype or two just by sewing it up. And it's essentially a wallet that attaches to your waistband with magnets and hold your car, your keys, credit card glue energies. If you're like a marathon runner, things like that and it doesn't bounce, doesn't chafe. So it was a cool little product and she's like, I wear it and I run 20 marathons a year or something. I'm like, Oh, wow, crazy. She's like, I can't pay you your fee, but I could pay you a percentage of all the money you raise. And I actually hadn't heard of crowdfunding because I was doing email, marketing, e-commerce, set up, early stage stuff like that, one that was still just kind of catching on before before.

 

Zach Smith: [00:07:27] Even like Clickfunnels and and Shopify and things like that became huge. And so I said, OK, let's give it a try. And so thirty five days later, for this particular product, we launched it on Kickstarter. We made a video, we designed a page and we raised them one hundred and fifteen thousand one hundred eleven dollars or something like that. And that was crazy. Six figures in 30 days, kind of thing. And suddenly everybody was knocking down our doors and say, Hey, how did you raise money for this crazy little wallet invention? We want you to raise money for our little widget. We want you to raise money for our new thing. And one thing led to another. Because of the scalability, because of the little formulas and secrets that we have kind of figured out before everybody else, we were raising money like nobody else could, and no one really knew how we were doing it. Essentially, it was through lookalike audiences and Facebook advertising and email marketing and some of those other things I was doing in my other company. But I had applied it across a very hot and growing industry at the time, crowdfunding rewards based crowdfunding specifically. And then it just went crazy from there, to put it mildly, and it still has. I mean, four hundred twenty six million now and counting as of just a couple of days ago.

 

Zach Smith: [00:08:31] You can follow the timer on our website. We keep it updated. It funded it today. If you ever want to refresh the page, it's kind of fun. Anyway, that's kind of how it went. We had a lot of stories and things along the way that that led to that, but it was one story like that thousands of people knocking down our doors and suddenly maybe being like, Oh, I guess there's something here. Truth be told, I didn't even immediately start the business Funded Today. I was working on some things and still going back to my business after I had raised the money for the Ru Sport product. And because of so many people reaching out to me, it was kind of like, Oh yeah, I better do something with this. So it wasn't as intuitive as you'd think that I was. Raise a bunch of money. Oh, let's go do this a bunch more times. It was more everybody reaching out to me and me, trying and trying and trying and seeing success after success, after success and then starting a business which worked out kind of cool. And that's how you should find your market. By the way, it was an easy lesson to learn because the customers were coming to me. I didn't have to do any outreach for our first thousand clients. They all hired us, essentially.

 

Craig Asano: [00:09:33] That's the beauty of crowdfunding. There's just that social networking element, and you know, how so how big? Obviously, I know that the funding meter and since the Canadian CrowdFinance Summit in 2017, I believe it was, I think you were at one hundred twenty six million around there, maybe $150 million. So you've tripled it since then. We'll talk to like this channel talks about startups, talks about scale ups. What was the trajectory? I mean, obviously it was explosive, but how did you operationalize it? Did you? Are you managing a large team now? And I know you've got a partner, Thomas, right? Could you talk a little bit about that?

 

Zach Smith: [00:10:13] Yeah, it's actually very insightful that you have those numbers. So 2018 turned out to be Funded Today's best year ever, and that year we were the second fastest growing, privately held company in America, and we made the prestigious Inc 5000 list. And so it's cool to hear you kind of say those numbers and I'm like, OK, where did we go? How do we get there? It makes sense because 2018 ended up being our our our biggest year at that period of time. So anyway, the scalability just kept going and going and going. And then I think we had a little bit of a plateau. And I think we've kind of reached a point where everybody knows about us. And so unless we're tied to a platform, we're tied to Kickstarter, we're tied to Indiegogo, we're tied to rewards based crowdfunding. So whatever platforms work on there, we're tied to that. And we can only grow as big as new inventors and inventions grow, essentially, which is one of the limiting factors of our market. Like, Hey Zach, why? Why isn't this a billion dollar company? Well, because there's not one hundred thousand new inventions. There's two to five thousand a month kind of thing, you know, and there used to be eight to nine thousand a month.

 

Zach Smith: [00:11:16] So it's kind of tapered off over the last couple of years as far as new people average inventions on the platform. So we grew, we grew pretty quickly. I think at our high we had 70 plus employees. Now we've made it a little bit more of a smaller team. We've become more efficient. We systematize lots of different things. And so by by being systemize, it's actually. Good or bad, it's made us be able to be more efficient with less employees, but still deliver good results, so I've kind of like that. Thomas is actually I would call him a serial entrepreneur as well, and he has taken on a couple of different businesses. He's essentially going after spammers with his with his law degree, and he's got a pretty interesting enterprise. And I don't know how much I can share about everything that he's doing because he's he's got some pretty big cases, but he's working against against litigating, against some pretty big clients around the world to try to make it so you don't get so many spam phone calls and fixing that industry.

 

Craig Asano [00:12:12] This is a huge problem.

 

Zach Smith: [00:12:14] Yeah, he's doing some pretty cool stuff there.

 

Craig Asano: [00:12:16] I, you know, my my dad got a call and they prey on seniors. He's 80 this year and basically they they want to get access to your computer, drop a widget, a code and then keyloggers and then drain your bank. It is. Yeah. So somebody's got to tackle it. I'm glad Thomas is doing it.

 

Zach Smith: [00:12:36] If you want information on that, if anybody listening or if you reach out to Craig, let me know and I'll connect you to directly to Thomas. He's got a he's got an app, he's got a pretty efficient team and. A full transparency, he has won some lawsuits for me when I was a beta tester where I would just turn people in who were spamming and he took care of it. So it's very effective and I made money on it too, so it's surprising how good it worked.

 

Craig Asano: [00:12:57] Wow, I'll have to look into that. But well, one thing you were just talking about when we're talking about scaling and the journey, and it's intricately linked to these platforms. So Kickstarter, we all remember when they passed your first billion and it exploded. And and I'm thinking back to the day 2017, you guys had a blow off top twenty eighteen. Yep, we're now 2022. What is happening on Kickstarter and Indiegogo? And are there competitors, real competitors and what is that impact to Funded Today's future? What do you think? What's the strategy?

 

Zach Smith: [00:13:36] Yeah, great question. So essentially, yes, because of our success, just like you see across every industry, whether you look at e-commerce, social media, marketing, all those types of things, there's thousands of different people in there, and it's probably hard to distinguish who is actually the best. When you say, who's the best that email marketing, who's the best at social media marketing? Who's the best agency? Who's the best coach for speakers or clients? If you want to do something there, who's the best person that can help you in your personal weight loss or fitness journey? A lot of those things have become so saturated it's very hard to stand out. We still stand out at Funded Today as far as crowd funding goes, but we do have lots of competitors. But over the last three years, I would say there's only maybe two or three that have been able to maybe make it through COVID or whatever other changes there were in the market as far as as far as that goes. But for a time, especially in 17, 18, 19, 20, those four years, I swear there was like 50 new companies that popped up and they were kind of doing like the Walmart model where they would come in and charge very little and, you know, maybe not deliver that good of results, but they would do something. And it did hurt us in the sense that we couldn't be like the apple of the market and charge high prices for great results. We had to actually meet some of those demands and things. And then the industry has changed a bunch as well. In terms of Facebook marketing, it's not nearly what it used to be as far as knowing what to do and how to do it, and it requires way more effort and way more, which is good. And that's why we've been able to stand the test of time to all of these things have been good for us because now all of those competitors. I don't know if they died or they just moved on to something else or what. And then we've gotten really good in email marketing. Believe it or not, email marketing is still incredibly efficient. And I remember just last year, probably two or three months ago, we raised one hundred and sixty seven thousand dollars for just one product. And, you know, in their 30 day period just on email marketing and so very, very, very effective. Imagine if you could send out emails and essentially make that much money from two or three emails. So we've built up massive lists of audiences that way, and we nurture them and take care of them and just follow all the principles of a good, good email hygiene and good email marketing. And that is done well, too. So in the past five years, as far as Kickstarter goes, the biggest change I've seen is less products because it's the same thing for Kickstarter. So inventors saw the same thing. They would see us raise a million dollars for a wallet, $2 million for smart luggage and then 50 other wallets and smart luggage would pop up. And so Kickstarter backers, I think, got savvy and said, Wait a sec, there can't be this many wallets. There can't be this much smart luggage because everybody was trying to do the same thing. Oh, this agency is doing really, really well. Let's start an agency. Oh, this product's doing really well. Let's launch a product. And so I think they got saturated with products, and I think some of those products didn't do so well. And then I think a lot of products had issues with fulfillment and delivering and then compound that with all the worldwide supply chain issues and COVID and everything else. And I think that hurt a lot of things, people. I mean, Amazon is such a behemoth and they can do the one or two day shipping. And so some people will just wait. But the problem with waiting is then new ideas and products can't be brought to life because these people are going to crowdfunding because they don't have money and they need to make money to bring these products to life. And so when you add all those things together, it makes it interesting.

 

Zach Smith: [00:16:38] And then probably the biggest change for crowdfunding has been board games, board games and those types of things. Dungeons and Dragons type stuff, characters, figurines. I talked to a guy who's raised millions of dollars. I actually went to a little board game conference at his house. It was kind of fun. They put together this little thing and we played a bunch of board games. These guys are like professional board gamers. I mean, it was an incredible experience. I'm more on the, you know, I play chess a lot, but then mainly I'm other sports like basketball, soccer, tennis, pickleball, spike ball, things like that. And so going to play board games was actually exhilarating. It was a lot of fun to play with these guys for five or six hours because they they knew everything about board gaming. And I mean, they were talking like strategy and monopoly kind of thing. Anyway, long story short, I was talking to this guy and he said, Yeah, you can't be a board game company if you're not on Kickstarter anymore. And that was not even a thing five years ago. So now if you're a board game company and you're not on Kickstarter, you pretty much cannot make it. That's how much Kickstarter has influenced board gaming at large, and I think it's been relatively a good thing from what I understood from him.

 

Craig Asano: [00:17:34] And it's amazing. I mean, I think when it launched, as you said, any gadget, anything innovative but copycats, were there supply chain issues... It's interesting how something that stood the test of time, or maybe it's the novelty of a board games, but it does make sense. There's a community. There's almost an equivalent number of backer Kickstarter communities as there are Reddit communities, it would seem.

 

Zach Smith: [00:17:56] Oh yeah, for sure. Absolutely. It's crazy.

 

Craig Asano: [00:17:59] Like, is there a geography that in some reasoning that like, let's talk about the backers in 2022 to make sure they like games? I always thought that people want to see companies. Their ideas come to fruition, so they back it. They get a deal, they get a discount, they test product. Sometimes maybe early. Maybe it's the first iteration. Is that still hold true? Or another way of saying this, like which kind of products are not working on Kickstarter that used to work on Kickstarter that our listeners need to know?

 

Zach Smith: [00:18:33] Yeah, that's a good question. The ones that work the best still are definitely board game means and techie I talk about ubiquity, plus something unique leads to huge chance for success. And so, you know, smart luggage is an easy one to talk. You know, a smartwatch is easy to talk about if you look at Pebble. That was the first smartwatch before Apple Watches and Samsung watches and all the smart watches were a thing, but it's a watch. Everybody likes to tell time, they need to know the time, and so a watch is ubiquitous. That's what that word means, essentially. But how did they make it smart? Well, they made it so it could do things that smart things could do. You could look at your text messages, you could check your heart rate, you can do all these other things right. And so those types of products are still the best. That's what you want to be able to do. You want to take something that's ubiquitous and then you want to make it unique. But the problem is a lot of people iterated too much on that. And you know, you get like these smart scales that can do five hundred metrics for your body. I have one and I'm like, How much did I weigh today? It gets a little overkill sometimes, too, you know, with all the different iterations and stuff, and you've got to focus on what's really going to matter. I like my smart. I like my smartwatch most for the pedometer feature. I like to be able to, you know, and to check my heart rate, and I liked it. It's monitoring my sleep. Those three things are awesome. And so when you're iterating on a ubiquitous item, don't iterate to create five hundred things that no one's ever going to check. It's got to be meaningful in their life now. I think that's the new word I would add in. How do you create meaning behind it? So it's not just a bunch of tech jumble mumbo jumbo that's being harvested for data and sold to big companies or something, right? It's got to mean something to me. I like to see if I can get 10000 steps a day and if my heart rate stays this after a soccer game and it's this resting and how did I sleep? What matters in that sense, is how you should go about it. And then in terms of what's not working, I'd say books aren't working nearly as well as they used to. Not that they weren't amazing, but it just seems harder and harder to raise money for books. Different indie type projects are a little bit harder to to raise money for.

 

Craig Asano: [00:20:30]  Why do you think category like that books? Is it that different than board games? And if they're using the messaging and making it meaningful and all of these insightful things, why books like I'm just trying to get my head around of the trends for the hot sectors or the not hot sectors?

 

Zach Smith: [00:20:54] It could it could be a chicken or the egg thing to a lot of people used to run books and they'd raise money on there. And then they raised whatever they did and then they never went back. And so if you never go back, you eventually lose the backers because they're not paying attention to it either. I think you could say something similar to leave for like Hollywood and movies. You actually had some pretty cool things on there trying to think Bridget Jones diary. That doesn't sound right. So right? It wasn't all right. I don't know which one it was, but there's a couple of projects like that that are actually big names, and they started out as Kickstarter projects. You don't see that anymore. You don't see, like Russell Crowe getting on there saying, Hey, help me fund this new movie, right? You saw that a little bit with Kickstarter, but you don't see that as much anymore. So again, the backers that got excited about that aren't there anymore.

 

Craig Asano: [00:21:35] The influencers.

 

Zach Smith: [00:21:36] Yeah, yeah, you don't see as much influencer marketing, I would say maybe that's different to an influencer marketing people have kind of caught on to that. Oh, you've got a million Instagram followers. Are they real? Are they fake? Are they? If I pay you fifty thousand bucks, did I actually get fifty thousand in return? I think metrics, just like I actually I kind of I kind of said this was going to happen and and it has to some extent, just because you have a million followers on Instagram doesn't mean someone's going to give you fifty thousand. Now people are more savvy and they understand that they'll they'll look at your last 10 posts and they'll be like, Wait, why does he only have one hundred likes on his last 10 posts if he's got a million followers or an Instagram, change their algorithm, too? So some of these people that do have a million plus followers on Instagram, just like Facebook did, they've pretty much restricted the organic reach. And by restricting the organic reach, influencers don't have nearly as much power and they have to be like everybody else, and they have to rely on ads and ad costs have gone up and that makes it more expensive. And so those things have impacted as well.

 

Craig Asano: [00:22:32] So if influencer marketing and the shifts in and sort of Facebook marketing and awareness and everybody knows what rewards based crowdfunding is about, I mean, how should entrepreneurs looking to raise some capital for x y z business approach and use crowdfunding to best to take the best from it? What are their strategies because it's obviously a stepping stone to early capital that can be built upon, and I think it's still true that you can connect with a wide variety of stakeholders that can bring more than just capital. They're not just backers, they're still ambassadors and all those good things like maybe we'll ask a question in this way. What are some of the things that entrepreneurs looking to use rewards based crowdfunding need to know or underestimate, or they haven't thought about that they should know the context of is it right for me and how can I do this and maybe also touch upon and this is like a multipronged question for sure, the DIY approach versus working with a company like Funded Today.

 

Zach Smith: [00:23:41] Great question. And let me couch my last thought on influencers as well with with one point. I think about this because I was reading something just a little bit before our podcast interview, Craig. Elon Musk Elon Musk tweeted about allowing merchandise to be bought by Dogecoin, which is for Dogecoin, Dogecoin, whatever you want to call it, it's basically a cryptocurrency meme coin or something that's taken off over the last couple of years. It went up 18 percent with one tweet from him. And so if you are the right influencer like Elon Musk, you can influence billion dollar markets incredibly well, and so influencer marketing works, you just have to be way more selective in terms of who you're reaching out to like if you can get Elon Musk to say something positive about your company. Yeah, you're going to make tens of millions of dollars, probably with one tweet. It's that crazy. So anyway, now as far as as far as your question in terms of how can we make crowdfunding successful today, number one, crowdfunding still is really good for validation. We call it the due diligence and product validation period. You can come you can come to us with an idea and we can tell you in 30 to 60 days or less after, you know, you spend a couple of thousand dollars kind of thing. Where else can you spend three thousand dollars and in 30 to 60 days know whether you've got a million dollar business or whether you need to fix some things. That's the most powerful thing for crowdfunding, in my opinion. It's not, and it never really has been, even though it's exciting to talk about how much money we've raised. It's not really about how much money you raise on the platform, it's about what you learn from the money that you've raised. Even these multimillion dollar projects we worked with pivoted, changed and adapt and adapted at least the ones that are still around and are very successful and created new products and iterated and talk to their customers. And that's the powerful part about crowdfunding. You reach out to your customers. Let's say you raise $100000 like the Ru Sport did. One hundred fifteen thousand Hey, what did you like about this? What did you not like and what and what did they do? And they've changed and the Ru Sport is still around. I just got an email from them yesterday that they read the Disney World Marathon and they were wishing everybody Happy New Year. So it's still a very successful company that's running today. And why? Because they talk to their customers, they iterated. I mean, they're at Disney and they've got the Minnie and Mickey Mouse version of their of their sport, right? That's a simple little pivot that they made that allowed them to get even bigger than they were when they first crowdfunded. And so iterating, talking to your customers, gathering that feedback now, let's say you fell. Let's say you're on a project and you needed to raise $100000 and you only raise $10000. Will you reach out to that group of ten thousand dollars and you say, Hey, why did you back my project? And then you figure out why they liked it, and then you look at your messaging and figure out how everybody else didn't realize that's what you were saying. And then you tweak it and then you launch again. Or if you raise no money. Then you figure out, well, that must not have been something anybody liked, and then you launch a new idea. And that's the power of crowdfunding for a couple of thousand bucks. Ten times over, you're twenty thousand dollars out and you finally have a winner. I think that's what's exciting about crowdfunding. Where else can you iterate and pivot and change and get that immediate customer feedback before you really spend any money? And then if you do raise tons of money now you have all this money that you can use to bring your product to life because you didn't have to buy any product before you begin, which is also exciting. And that, to me, is still why crowdfunding has a huge place in the entrepreneurial journey.

 

Craig Asano: [00:26:52]  You know Gofundme. Yeah, for sure. You never talk about them. I know you're working sort of exclusively with Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but I understood that GoFundMe grew very rapidly. I guess it's out of California. They've got an army of marketers. Yep. What? Compare and contrast that with like a Kickstarter communities?

 

Zach Smith: [00:27:17] Great. Great question. Gofundme. And last I checked, and it's probably still the case. They're the behemoth in the in the world. And it's not rewards based crowdfunding, though. As far as I know with GoFundMe, you give money to somebody who's asking for it just because you want to. Hey, I've got cancer, please or help. What I normally find is, in fact, I can give you a good example. I had a friend of mine. He fell off a roof and he died. And this was over the last couple of days, and he donated all of his organs and everything to charity. And he, when he died, when they when they took him off life support, he only had like 20 minutes or 13 minutes, some crazy amount of time to make it happen or whatever anyway. Some of his friends and family put together different GoFundMe links for him, and last I checked, I think they'd raised like fifty seven thousand dollars to cover his funeral costs. All these other things because they kind of told the hero story of this guy who was a really good dude who gave all of his organs away. And let's let's help him out so that he doesn't have any so that his family and his friends don't have any any trouble with that. That's how I see the appeal of a Gofundme. It's the emotional appeal, and you can get that in crowdfunding as well. But when you're like, Hey, help me bring this amazing wallet to life that I thought of doesn't have the same sense of this guy donated his organs to charity because he died, falling off a roof while he was working. Did you know what I mean?

 

Craig Asano: [00:28:32] Yeah. Well, one is donation, right? Yeah, that's a true cause-based crowdfunding and rewards is the more the entrepreneurial they're trying to build a business

 

Zach Smith: [00:28:41] That cause has that virality factor. Look, I'm telling you about this on the podcast. I saw it before you from 50 other people that had shared it. You're not going to get that with a wallet like unless you tell a really good story, unless you really make that emotional appeal. Incredible what you should do. You absolutely should try to integrate those cause based notions into your own Kickstarter or Indiegogo project, but it's very hard to do. And I think that's why I Gofundme is the behemoth as far as crowdfunding goes.

 

Craig Asano: [00:29:10] What is corporate crowdfunding still happening? Let's take a Canadian brand like a Canadian tire. They want to see. They need products for their shells, and they want to know if a product, whether it's sourced from Amazon or crowdfunding market, is going to be successful or not. So they do crowdfund. They validate. They test. It's a great use case for crowdfunding and then they have an agreement and they say, Listen, we'll buy a whole container stock shelves and you get your money and we did it through corporate crowdfunding. Ok? Do you see much of any of that going on?

 

Zach Smith: [00:29:45] You know, I see I see people who reach out to us who have products that would go into like a Canadian tire type place who raise money on crowdfunding. And then they're like, Look, we raise two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in the last 30 days on crowdfunding and then they get on Shark Tank or what's the Canadian one called Dragon Dragon? Then, yeah, Dragons Den. Yeah, they get on shows like that. And then that leads to opportunities across there. I haven't. I actually, I've seen Samsung. Samsung has actually run projects themselves on crowdfunding platform, specifically Indiegogo generally, and then they determine how those perform, and then they use those metrics to determine whether or not, how they if they want to scale it or build out on that. But most of the time, it's people like you and I who come up with a good idea. We run it on a rewards based crowdfunding platform, and then we take that success story with us and create press pitches for all the places that we want to get it as far as retail goes.

 

Craig Asano: [00:30:36] Yeah, yeah, that's that's true to the cause, the origin, the genesis of crowdfunding, rewards based crowdfunding, I think, is a way to get. What are some of the most memorable or strange campaigns you've worked on in the last couple of years or not worked on? You've seen them and you're like, OK? And how much of the reason like I want to, you know, cover some different ground here on this podcast?

 

Zach Smith: [00:30:59] Ok One one.  It's a good question, and I am trying to think right now to see. I remember I remember somebody who ran a project for a pickle. Let me let me see what it was about pickle. Kickstarter.

 

Craig Asano: [00:31:11] Wasn't it the potato salad?

 

Zach Smith: [00:31:14] Potato salad was memorable, for sure. Yeah. Oh, what was the pickle one? I think it was something like the potato salad one is a great one to it. It was kind of that was early on in crowdfunding. That was why was that years ago? Yeah. He basically wanted to make the most amazing potato salad recipe, and I guess I could be getting this thing wrong. But and he said, Give me, give me money and I'll make you. I'll test them out. I'll taste them all. I'll make the best one ever and you'll have the best recipe in the world when I'm done or something like that. And everybody thought, That's cool. He's crowdsourcing the best possible potato salad recipe, which isn't a bad idea for a lot of things like How often have you been on Facebook and said, What's the best this? You know, that's kind of what he did. And he and he made money on it. Believe it or not, I'm trying to think of the pickle one. But you know, it comes to mind. For some reason, he was like selling different pickles or something. But what's it called them?  I don't know.

 

Craig Asano: [00:32:01] Well, look in the NFT space, they're selling JPEGs, and I know there's a lot more that's going to happen with with non-fungible tokens, these NFTs. But they're getting a lot of money raised for some weird things like, you know, the ape NFT and others. But sticking on the crowdfunding like the I have a good idea here. Let's try to have a fictitious company and walk us through your approach. Some of the things and advice that they might have to consider for crowdfunding. So I'm just going to come up with like a pet app, like a dog or cat app, call it a dog cat app. And that provides health advice and connects these pet owners to vets. And they need some capital. They want to raise money. Would you say crowdfunding is right for them? What would you say to them?

 

Zach Smith: [00:32:53] Yeah. So the first thing I would say and we talked about this earlier, what things are doing well, what things are not doing well. The first thing is apps generally do not do very well on Kickstarter, but they do really well if you pair them with hardware. So the first thing I'd say with this particular product is how can we create a hardware item? And I've got just the idea. It's something that they wear around their leash that does something as far as dog care goes. My brother actually has something for this with his golden doodle. It, like tracks all the steps the dog takes and the dog takes like fifty thousand steps a day. It's just crazy, like how much dogs are moving around, especially his dog. I guess it's got a good backyard to play in. But we do something to pair a hardware item for the pet with this particular app. That's the first thing that we do. Next thing we do is we design a video and a page. And again, when we talk about hardware and we talk about apps, what is going to make this hardware in this app really great. You know, if we connect, if it connects them to online vets, when they have problems, then let's hope it's measuring some sort of vitals. So what can we measure on dogs as far as vitals go? Maybe it, maybe it can do something with, I don't know, taking pictures. Maybe it's doing something like that. I don't know. You'd have to get creative here. Maybe it's doing heart rate. Maybe it's checking for certain signs of a healthy dog and what makes it good? Maybe it can somehow track the fur of a dog or something. Or maybe it notifies you, you know, when you need it, when you do something like that. I don't know all the different things, like the crazy stuff that's happening as far as the smartwatch that I wear is even it's like, how is it doing a lot of this stuff? And apparently it's pretty accurate. I take it to my doctor when I go in, and he said he doesn't even have to do anything because I just send him the data from my app and he's like, OK, let me just confirm. And he confirms everything is right. So I think doing that is kind of cool too. Maybe it, maybe it saves on medical bills. I just had to pay three hundred bucks for my dog because she had something wrong with her on something, and it would have been nice if somehow we caught that proactively and it sounded like we could have. So if an app can do something like that, combined with some hardware element that is communicating with the app, that's the best way to make it happen. And then all you do is you make amazing VIDEO You make an amazing page, meaning all the design and the ad copy and you appeal emotionally, which is easy to do with dogs. I love my dog, most dog owners do, and I was not a dog person at all before I. It's been two or three years now since I've had a dog in my whole life. I was like, I'm never going to dog. It's a pain in the butt. It's hard. It's still, yeah, it is. For the most part, I have a pretty good dog still, but you got to go on a walk every day. Well, it's good to go on a walk every day because now you can, you can walk your dog. Maybe that's what it does. Maybe the I mean, as I continue to talk through this, you can kind of see how my mind works. So it's a great question. I appreciate you asking this one. But OK, the app says, Hey, what are you doing, man? Your dog hasn't walked in two days. It's a really good app like your dog needs to get out and walk. And so do you, buddy. You're getting fat. That's a really good thing, right? That could be a very good app. This might be an idea here. So somebody, somebody steal it I'm not going to knock on a pet.

 

Craig Asano: [00:35:41] Well, if you know someone with that hardware, I know someone with that pet app, we could connect the two.

 

Zach Smith: [00:35:47] It could honestly be really good. My wife's always like crap. Ari hasn't had a walk in three or four days because it's cold here in Utah now, too, so you don't want to go outside that much, but you should walk your dog. So maybe that's what it does. Maybe it's a really simple thing, just like you're like my watch, actually right now. Just a second ago, it said, Hey, get up and moving. You've sat around for whatever right? The app could shoot you a push notification and say, Look, your dog hasn't walked. Go take her on a walk. What we might be that might be enough. That literally would be enough to probably sell millions of copies of this thing if the price was right. The emotional pill was good, and all those things are like good nowadays, everybody wants to get healthier. You've got COVID and so everybody's thinking about what they can do to protect themselves. Well, getting outside and walking is a damn good way to take care of yourself, right? They even say if you get coronavirus, you shouldn't be laying down as much because that's how the pneumonia can happen. So look, now I'm making the emotional appeal. I mean, we've almost got this thing done, Craig. You start, let's start a project.

 

Craig Asano: [00:36:39] Let's do it. And how much are we raising if we do this and how?

 

Zach Smith: [00:36:42] And here's another I always like to try to raise millions.

 

Craig Asano: [00:36:46] Is this stuff? Yeah. If you only raise one hundred thousand, it's not moving the needle when you've raised four hundred twenty six million and you're almost half a billion. How much of this stuff has to be real, like, I've built the app, those versus I don't want to say vaporware, but you know, the intentions are good. I'm getting into the back of a napkin versus, it's here. Yep.

 

Zach Smith: [00:37:06] Great question, because then you're talking about costs, too. It's like, Well, this would be awesome, but I don't have two hundred fifty thousand bucks to make whatever it is, right? It's probably not that expensive because there's so much. The good part is there's a great book called 'Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal' Everybody should read it. Listen to it. Essentially, you could probably take a lot of this technology is probably available on Android or something, and that's allowed to use and maybe get this thing most of the way there without really having to spend too much money. But Kickstarter is pretty strict with prototypes. You've got to kind of show them that it does something. Specifically, Indiegogo has a cool little button on theirs that says, Hey, this is an idea on the back of a napkin, and I like that. I wish Kickstarter would do that, too. And you can choose different options within Indiegogo, depending on what your product is, and so you're not misleading your customers. If we came out and said, Hey, this thing already works, it's ready to go and then we take two years to send it to them, we told them we were going to take three months. That's one of the reasons why Kickstarter has not Kickstarter specifically, but why Kickstarter brand has been tarnished a little bit in some sense and Indiegogo as well. That's why Indiegogo made this pivot is because people were told they're going to get a product in three months and two years later, they still haven't got anything or it's not what they said. It was so great question, and it's absolutely something you need to do, but I wish they just had a button, and I wish backers could look at that button and say, Oh, OK, do I want to support this thing? It sounds really awesome. It looks like the likelihood of it happening is 50 percent sure. Let me throw a hundred bucks at it, right?

 

Craig Asano: [00:38:27] The probability of yeah, exactly operationalizing to a real, you know, brick and mortar, not a brick and mortar business could fully be a digital business, but it's not vaporware. Well, exactly. It's amazing with this. I've got another one for I had a call. Ok, it's a U.S. company. They are doing retrofitting of commercial buildings. This is all in the cleantech space. An example of a retrofitting is as simple as they're using incandescent light bulbs. We can just switch over to LEDs and it's 8x saved and there's lots of buildings and they also run programs. They get into surely the back systems of a commercial building. And apparently the U.S. is several years ahead. This is all in the carbon capture, carbon abatement area, but Canada just hasn't got their stuff together. So there's a group interested. They mentioned crowdfunding. They reached out to me. We had a good initial call. But what is your thought process to, you know, let's do a crowdfunding to raise awareness because ultimately consumers and others that are involved with this, not just building managers, I think if you're living in a condo, you can go to your building manager and say, we should be doing this because we're not doing our part. And it's it's this is the sustainability area as well.

 

Zach Smith: [00:39:45] So it's an awareness campaign. Are we hoping to raise money here or just spread the word and get a lot of people talking about this?

 

Craig Asano: [00:39:49] Well, we're we're there to raise money and then grow that need into a much bigger project. And maybe the government, maybe a larger private equity sort of institutional firm can get there and say, Listen, we've got like the numbers stack up the unit metrics, but there's 10000 buildings, OK, if we got half of them and we retrofitted them, here's the numbers.

 

Zach Smith: [00:40:13] And are we raising money for this particular company that does the retrofitting?

 

Craig Asano: [00:40:17] Well, that's a good question. Maybe some of the savings go to the consumers. Maybe some of the savings goes to reduce condo fees because the property manager realizes that we've got a, you know, a better long term sustainable plan for retrofitting their building.

 

Zach Smith: [00:40:32] And in this case, in this case, since the market has been defined as ten thousand. I did like how you said consumers and property owners could make money from it. That could be a crowdfunding element because we got to think of what reward we're giving because this isn't Gofundme, this is Kickstarter or Indiegogo. And so the reward could be if you join early, you're going to get this savings versus once we raise all this money, you're not going to get the savings. So act now and get the savings forever kind of thing. Be one of our early adopters. However, I would maybe hurt myself and I would say, why don't we just reach out to these ten thousand buildings and build this amazing PR campaign for them and get all their names, emails, phone numbers, addresses, whatever and build this whole targeted email personal campaign to all of them and just see how many we can get interested in this sort of thing and just reach out to them directly. Now we could do that through. Funny, too, because if we have data on them or if we can gather that data, then we can build targeted Facebook ads specifically to that particular subset of people. And if I can get all their names, emails, phone numbers, addresses, I could literally target just those ten thousand people and hit them up hundreds of times with all kinds of different messaging. And I may not even need crowdfunding to do something like that. I could arrange in person meetings where I have salesmen and people come in and close, but I would probably approach something like that and that in that regard, maybe.

 

Craig Asano: [00:41:41] Yeah. Well, like one of the ideas was we have Home Depot. It's like a hardware type store. But you know, you get some volunteers, you have them spread the word, the awareness cause, and they do this with refrigerators that are old cars or, you know, take them off the road, join this program, get a replacement for free. And there's a savings. There's a benefit. It's good for everybody, sort of like a win win if if it's if it's done properly. But you know, I'm just picking your brain, you know, this is this is the time to do it. But it's very interesting. You know, at the end of the day in 2022, what do you think is the main difference between a successful campaign and an unsuccessful one? And I want you to address the question of a DIY approach versus working with a company like Funded Today because obviously you guys know your stuff, it must come with a cost. But you're raising more money than they can ever do themselves, no doubt. So what do you think?

 

Zach Smith: [00:42:41] I'll hurt myself again, and I'll say as much as possible, if you're looking to save money, raise as much money as you possibly can on your own, find someone at your local school. If you're in high school, your high school or college who can make a video for you, find someone who's going into design that can design a page for you. You can look at every single case study Funded Today's done there on our website. If you want to see all the four hundred twenty six million dollars we've raised, just go to our website Fundacao today and then click on the tell you exactly what button is. Let me just look it up right now. Click on the Get More pledges. Learn more. It's a blue button and then scroll down midway on that page and you can start seeing every project we've worked with and you can click on those projects, look at the video, look at the page and then tell your people exactly what they need to do by analyzing all those and then launch your project. The other thing you can do is read my book. It's only like ten bucks or something, and you can listen to my podcast. I've got 40 free episodes. If you did all of that and then launch your project, you're well on your way. And now here's the best part, and this is where I come back in higher Funded Today after you've raised all the money that you can now. Conversely, you can hire us for all of these things up front. You know, call us three to six months before you plan on launching. We'll make you a video, we'll design you a page. We'll do everything that I teach in my podcast. We'll do everything that I teach in my book, and we'll make you. We'll give you the very best chance to succeed without you having to do all of that legwork yourself. So it's just an opportunity cost tradeoff.

 

Craig Asano: [00:44:03] I love it. Well, I think our listeners have have learned a ton here, we're going to move to perhaps one of my favorite parts of the show. It's these rapid fire questions where we're going to fire a quick question expecting, you know, a quick off the top of your head response. You're ready for something like that.

 

Zach Smith: [00:44:22] Yeah. Let's see what we can do.

 

Craig Asano: [00:44:25] So what's the one thing that you would chalk up funded today's success to?

 

Zach Smith: [00:44:30] Hmm. Good question. I read something recently from essayist Nassim Taleb, and he says there are two great addictions heroin and a monthly salary. So how does that answer that question, in my opinion? It answers the question because we were one hundred percent operating on performance. When the Ru Sport reached out to me, I made no money if I didn't raise them any money. And so because we were entirely motivated by performance, we were able to get very creative to try to raise as much money for our clients because the more money we raised for them, the more money we raise for ourselves. And I had a joke that I said years ago, and I guess it's still appropriate today. I make more money from broke, poor, starving student entrepreneurs than anybody else in the world. How? Because I only get paid when they get paid, and once they get their check from Kickstarter, they write me a check. And so I'd say maybe it's that. And then the other thing is, if I had to say one more thing, it's pivoting every single time throughout my life that I've had successful businesses, even with what I believe are going to be some successful businesses with those 17 companies that I own now, in addition to Funded Today.

 

Zach Smith: [00:45:33] It's been pivoting with funded today. What did I do? I was doing e-commerce and email marketing, and I pivoted into crowdfunding and it took those same things into this new industry. Where can you take those same things that are working in whatever business you have now and be thinking two to three years ahead? So that when whatever you're doing now stops working or doesn't work as well? You can go on to the next thing. And I've done this with Funded Today multiple times, even during the coronavirus, when everything else was really, really struggling and things were shut down and things were bad. We integrated email marketing in a way that hadn't ever been done before, and we have the biggest, most successful newsletter and email list in all of crowdfunding. And we raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes five six hundred thousand dollars a month from that newsletter alone, which is huge.

 

Craig Asano: [00:46:16] That was in a rapid response.

 

Zach Smith: [00:46:17] No, sorry about that.  I just thought if I talk really fast, it still counts as rapid.

 

Craig Asano: [00:46:25] I've come up with a follow up I actually like. All right. The million dollar question is like, Well, if it's such an interesting thing and everybody's got to be in the edge of the seat for this one. What do you and you've been in crowdfunding space for a long time and you went from email, marketing, crowdfunding and the industry is maturing, if not matured. And so what might the next pivot be? Hmm. Because people want to join you.

 

Zach Smith: [00:46:47] Crowdfunding or just like, OK, good pivot. Well, I've given I've given a few away and I hate to act like a prophet or something because I'm never. Then I look really stupid. But again, if you don't like, if you don't own up to what you say, then you're not really committal anyway, you know. So let me let me make some predictions. I guess I'll do a Gary Vaynerchuk thing, huh? I love my predictions are a self... What is that? What does that word? Selfish, selfish in a way? Yeah, self-fulfilling, sure. I'd like some of them to come through. I'd love to see real estate continue to do well because I'm heavily invested in real estate, especially single family homes, particularly in areas that are a little bit lower priced. So I'm early there. I'm hoping that I'm hoping that trends continue where people moved west from New York and California because they make so much money there and they they can get a three thousand square foot house in America where I live for five six hundred thousand dollars and it would be like $4 million in California for that same type of thing. And so they'll pay my prices, which are amazing for me, and they'll think they're getting a steal of a deal, which maybe they are not necessarily now, but maybe 10 years from now when Utah continues to grow and expand the way it has. Utah was number 10 in the top 10, I think, like three or four in the nation last year as far as job growth goes. If those things continue, I feel like real estate has huge potential in Utah. The other reason I love Utah is because of our mountainous landscape. It's hard to build. You can't go build ten thousand homes in Utah in a year, no matter who you are, because it takes excavation, it takes rock work, it takes rock crushing. It takes all these other things that make it a little harder to jump into and it's kind of capital intensive. And so somebody like me who has millions of dollars of play and leverage to credit different lenders and different things, I can take advantage of that where maybe a someone who's a little bit more younger can't just jump into the way that I did. And so I like real estate a lot. The other thing I like is I like gold and silver. I feel like gold and silver has potential. I feel like with the. What was it? Was it JPMorgan or no, it was Goldman Sachs or like, I can remember who it was. But there was this big lawsuit a year ago, year ago, year and a half ago, where they were basically artificially holding down the price of silver. And that's been revealed and things like that. Well, that should allow the price to actually reflect what it needs to be. And if that's the case, not only do I sell gold and silver, but I'm also buying up my inventory supplies. It should, it should increase in value. And then everybody wants to know my opinion on bitcoin, and I don't want to piss off. So many people says it's such a hot topic. I don't see the use cases yet as much like bitcoin, specifically Dogecoin. And again, that's not to say I'm not investing in I am. I'm investing in bitcoin. I've got I've got different holdings and a lot of those different types of things. I do think blockchain. Blockchain technology is here to stay. I just don't know if what everybody's doing right now, what are we doing right now? It seems like get rich quick schemes. And believe me, I even have like fear of missing out. I will tell you one thing I've never had fear of missing out. I've never felt like I didn't execute strong off any of my business because I've never been like, Man, I wish I would have done more to Funded Today in 2017 and 2018. I haven't felt that way because I felt like I did as much as I could have done. I made as much money as I possibly could have. I helped as many clients as I could with bitcoin and some of those others I'm like, Oh, I knew about that 17 years ago or something. I did whatever it was like. I remember I remember a guy who worked for one of my earlier companies, and he was telling me about bitcoin. His name was Ramin and Gilbert, and he's like, Hey, you should get into some bitcoin or something, you know? And it was back when it was a couple of pennies. And now what is it, forty fifty thousand dollars? So do I have regrets on that? In a way, but I also am still thinking it's so speculative that why is it actually worth money until someone can? And believe me, I'm not just saying this like, I'm naive. I probably know more about bitcoin and blockchain and all that than most of you listening to this. So I don't think I'm just some idiot who's like hiding behind my screen here and hasn't studied at all. I have. I've read thousands of things on. I've read the white papers I've looked at and I and I have money in it, but I have money that I can afford to lose. And that's the difference. I believe on things like this that are speculative, that are changing 15 to 20 percent every day, you probably should only put in money that you can afford to lose. And that's what I've done, and it's significant for me, but I don't necessarily believe in it.

 

Craig Asano: [00:50:47] Well, there's no question it's a risky asset, but trying to stay that these rapid fire questions. This a whole other episode.

 

Zach Smith: [00:50:55] I'll be quick.

 

Craig Asano: [00:50:57] One piece of advice you'd give to a budding entrepreneur?

 

Zach Smith: [00:51:01] Fail fast. Really simple. Fell fast like it's OK to lose. You're you're young. If you're an entrepreneur and you're young, you're calling yourself. If you're young, fell fast. Like, you probably don't have that much money if you lose it all. Who cares? You're probably getting supported by your parents. Awesome. Take advantage of that time when you get older, like me or Craig, or we have family and kids to support. It's scarier to take big risks. Elon Musk told a story where he was bankrupt, where he was two weeks from bankrupt in both of his businesses in a Tesla and SpaceX. That's a crazy risk to take, and he had like he was going to lose all of his PayPal money. That's how much of a risk he took. I wouldn't dare to do what he did there. So do it while you're young. Take these big risks. And then once you've been successful, take some of that risk off the table and in and diversify and invest in other things.

 

Craig Asano: [00:51:44] I love it. What is the next question? If you had one wish, what would it be?

 

Zach Smith: [00:51:52] It's kind of trite, but I think it would be great to have joy like pure utter bliss and happiness and not just like momentary because I believe we all have momentary fleeting moments of that type of thing. But it would be great to just have peace of mind and confidence and no worries and no risk and just joy for a really long period of time. Like just to be very joyful, not not all the time, because I believe you need that holistically harmonized aspect to understand how good it is to feel joyful. But most of the time, ninety ninety five percent of the time be great to just be joyful.

 

Craig Asano: [00:52:22] Do you meditate?

 

Zach Smith: [00:52:23] Yeah, I do.  Not, as well as I should, though.

 

Craig Asano: [00:52:25] That's it just being in the zone, you know, letting some of it go existing for for just so in. What's your favorite movie your book?

 

Zach Smith: [00:52:47] Yeah. You know, I like stoicism quite a bit, and it kind of goes to that joy thing too, because it helps you get rid of a lot of the worrying. So I like meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I was a big I'm a big fan of autobiographies, too, though I like I like Steve Jobs. I like shoe dog. I liked Washington a life. If you go back to like some of the early founders of America, things like that are pretty cool. Favorite movie, huh? Geez, I saw Dear Evan Hansen recently, I really liked it. That's apparently polarizing, but it was. I cried. I watched it last year and I cried. I never do that in movies. It was a great movie. But you know, classics like Shawshank Redemption probably remember the Titans. If you're looking for just an ultimate feel good, we can do it. We're the underdogs and just kind of blending in a lot of the different things that are still really important to fix in our countries nowadays. To remember, the Titans tackles a lot of that. So probably stuff like that.

 

Craig Asano: [00:53:37] Well, there you have it. Stuff that you but if with Omicron here, if you do, you get away. Do you get any holidays? Like would you go somewhere? Where would you go?

 

Zach Smith: [00:53:45] Not as much, if not as much. I've kind of been keeping it pretty close to home the last couple of years just because, again, I kind of don't want to piss anybody off, too. So I'm trying to just stay within my own thing and do my own thing. But yeah, we get I get outside, I go walking a lot. I go into the mountains, Utah. It's nice for that kind of thing, so you can kind of get away and not be around a lot of people still. And that's been working pretty good.

 

Craig Asano: [00:54:07] Perfect. And last last question, when the hell are you going to be back up to Canada? So you Funded Today and NCFA can do a roadshow.

 

Zach Smith: [00:54:17] We didn't make that happen as soon as as soon as it's clear and people feel good about coronavirus and some of those different roadblocks. Let's get it on the calendar and make it happen. I love going up there and it's man how long and 2017. Probably last time I did go up there, so let's be awesome to get back

 

Craig Asano: [00:54:30] we could crowdfund some real estate. Yeah, let's do it. That's what we need to do.

 

Zach Smith: [00:54:35] Well, we need to talk about that. I heard Canada is hotter than America, even as far as real estate goes.

 

Craig Asano: [00:54:38] So it is bonkers. It is bonkers. But maybe, you know, there's a good story there. We can help first time homebuyers get access and figure out for them and others how it could work. So it's a win for everybody.

 

Zach Smith: [00:54:49] But that's the play, by the way. Craig, yes, but the play was I should have brought that up. If you can find a way to like, get first time homebuyers to qualify for homes because they're getting priced out. Even in Utah, probably only 20 to 30 percent of people can afford the median price of home right now. That's worrisome. That's scary. If the problem is, you can't really reduce your cost that much. So if anybody can innovate or figure that out, whether it's tiny houses or some townhome type of setup, you can make millions of dollars and actually help a lot of people.

 

Craig Asano: [00:55:13] Well, that's that's what we're thinking in the crowdfund real estate context. So something we could take offline. But really, I want to thank you a ton, Zach. It's it's been an absolute blast. The last, last last question, I guess, is how can everyone get in touch with you if they have questions, they want to connect with you, they want to learn more and they just can't wait till you come up to Canada next. How do they how do they get in touch with you?

 

Zach Smith: [00:55:37] Yeah, you can give me on any of the social platforms. Most of the time I'm real Zach Smith or though real Zach Smith, but I'm also I'm I'm just real. Zach Smith Aureole Zach Smith. Get me an email, Zach@Funded.Today. Zach had funded today all my websites today. If you want to see a list of all my companies agile ag.com, That's, agile holding group, ag.com, you can look at everything I got going on and see if any of those interests you. We always have job openings, we always have internships, so hit me up. We'd love to help you. You got a great idea. Funded Today is where you want to start.

 

Craig Asano: [00:56:08] Well, there you go, guys, and ladies and gentlemen, Zach Smith, CEO and co-founder of Funded Today, has successfully raised four hundred and twenty six million dollars and counting, and we're going to have you back when you hit half a billion. Sounds like a blast unless the real estate idea just catapults us to a billion, right?

 

Zach Smith: [00:56:28] For sure.

 

Craig Asano: [00:56:29] So that that was incredible. Thanks for sharing your time and expertise. I had a ton of laughs here, so we we will see you soon, Zach, and thanks so much for joining.

 

Zach Smith: [00:56:41] Likewise, thanks again for having me.

 

Craig Asano: [00:56:43] So if you're new to Fintech Fridays, please check out some of the incredible past episodes on the site. Think you'll be surprised what you find? We look forward to seeing you next Friday for another episode of Fintech Fridays. Have a great week and everyone.

 

Outro : you've been listening to Fintech Fridays brought to you by NCFA and partners. Tune in weekly for the latest fintech Friday podcast by subscribing to this channel. The National crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada is a non-profit actively engaged with social and investment fintech sectors around the globe and provide education research industry stewardship services and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers. For more information please visit ncfacanada.org. Oh yeah.

 

End of Podcast

 

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fintech Fridays EP56:  How We Raised $426 million Using Rewards Crowdfunding The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Fintech Fridays EP55: Global Hiring Trends: How Gen Z Talent Thrives

NCFA Canada | Jan 7, 2022

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EP55: Global Hiring Trends:  How Gen Z Talent Thrives

Featured Guest:

ANNE-MARIE FANNON, Director, Work-Learn Institute, University of Waterloo (LinkedIn)

Bio:  Anne-Marie Fannon is the director of the Work-Learn Institute.  In this role, she sets the research and innovation agenda for the Work-Learn team.  Anne-Marie is passionate about leveraging Work-Learn’s research insights to inform the practice and pedagogy of WIL.  For the last ten years, Anne-Marie was director of Work-Integrated Learning Programs at the University of Waterloo. In this role, she oversaw the development and delivery of curriculum that supported students in a variety of work-integrated learning opportunities including the new (WE) Accelerate program, the EDGE program and the WatPD courses.  Anne-Marie is actively engaged with Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada and serves as co-chair of CEWIL’s Government and External Relations Committee.   She was president of the association in 2016/2017 during which time she led the association through an expansion of its mandate from co-op to work-integrated learning.  To get in touch via email:  Amfannon@uw.ca

About Co-operative and Experiential Education at the University of Waterloo

The future of work is changing. The University of Waterloo’s commitment to the value of work-integrated learning makes it a global leader in co-operative and experiential education. With more than 25,000 co-op students and 7,500 employers in over 60 countries, Waterloo’s co-op program is recognized as one of the pre-eminent institutions in work-integrated learning.

Our talent pool boasts skill sets for all your business needs with thousands of future-ready students, fresh graduates, and alumni available for work.  Tap into bright, entrepreneurial candidates with technical skills, who are also prepared to utilize communication, critical thinking, problem solving and self-assessment in the workplace.  Future-proof your organization and claim your space at the forefront of innovation by hiring Waterloo talent.

About this Episode

On this Season 4 kickoff episode, NCFA Founder Craig Asano sits down with the incredible Anne-Marie Fannon, Director, Work-Learn Institute at the University of Waterloo, to better understand the motivations and needs of the next major human capital resource - Gen Z.  If you're a start-up, scale-up or HR professional seeking intel on an emerging tech savvy, innovative, and talent asset class then this podcast is for you.  Tune in now and learn not just the how but also the why you should be building relationships with Gen Z today.  Enjoy!

UW 1 - Fintech Fridays EP55: Global Hiring Trends:  How Gen Z Talent Thrives

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Fintech Friday Transcript of Episode 55:

Anne-Marie Fannon, Director, Work-Learn Institute at the University of Waterloo

Intro: Welcome to fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners. Covering all things fintech, blockchain, AI and alternative finance.

 

Craig Asano: [00:00:00] Hello, everyone, my name is Craig Asano, the founder and CEO of NCFA Canada, welcoming you to season four of Fintech Fridays, which is episode 55. It's a weekly podcast brought to you by NCFA and partners, where we sit down with the incredible people in the fintech and funding community and talk about trends, product innovations, developments and challenges. Today we have very special guests with us, Anne-Marie Fannon, who is the director of the Work Learn Institute at the University of Waterloo, which is the only research unit of its kind. Researching the development of talent through quality work-integrated learning programs. They have done extensive research and attracting, engaging and retaining Gen Z talent, which should be a very interesting topic in discussion today, as well as what it takes for employers to be future ready. Of course, the University of Waterloo is one of Canada's leading research institutions and universities and produces a plethora. And I'm telling you, I'm talking from experience, a plethora of top grads across the board, especially in tech, science, engineering. They also operate a world renowned co-op program with, I believe, twenty or twenty five thousand students enrolled, which is the largest in the world. So I think that's absolutely remarkable.  Anne-Marie we're thrilled that you can join us today to share your knowledge and experience. Thanks so much and welcome to the show.

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:01:28] Thanks so much, Craig. I'm very excited to be here today and to have this conversation.

 

Craig Asano: [00:01:33] Yeah, I think it's a topic that we've certainly not covered here on the show, and I think it's very relevant to many companies who are building in the space. Obviously, sourcing talent and really understanding the motivations and what it's all about is is critical to building a successful product and business. So I'm very excited. So let's get into this. So just to kick things off, a bit of an intro question, maybe you can elaborate a little bit about the work you're doing and tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get involved at UW and the talent development and experiential learning space?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:02:15] Yeah, absolutely. So I've been at Waterloo for over 20 years now, but specifically in the work integrated learning space for the last 13 years, and my passion for it grows each and every year. And that's really because it is so easy to see the efficacy of this educational model. So the ways in which our students so quickly develop these critical competencies and the impact that they have on our employers and our community partners, my work for the last ten years was really in the development of new work-integrated learning programs and developing the curriculum that supports students learning during those work-integrated learning experiences, and I've recently moved to the Work Learning Institute, which, as you mentioned, is the world's only research center specifically focused on quality work-integrated learning and school to work transitions. And there really is no better place in the world to be studying work-integrated learning than at the University of Waterloo. I feel incredibly privileged to do this work and to be here today to share a little bit of it with you and your listeners.

 

Craig Asano: [00:03:30] Yeah, everything is about a journey. When you're building something new, you're approaching innovation, the ability to learn and foster something novel and tak it on board and develop it and implement it and nurture it. That's the language of a lot of venture startups. Does it matter actually what sector they're in? And so I think it's it's hand and parcel. It's a perfect fit for our podcast. I'm really pleased that you're here to talk about this.  In the world of of sort of let's just begin off with the workforce and what's going on from a trends perspective and how it's shaping the job market and the world. And just can you explain a little bit what's happening and the trends of the workforce?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:04:15] Absolutely. So first and foremost, we have to acknowledge COVID and Covid's impacts on the workforce, particularly with respect to considerations of remote work and hybrid work and what this means in terms of access to global talent. So as as everyone has seen, COVID 19 really accelerated the workforce trends that were well underway and pushed us to think about how we are going to respond in a really efficient and thoughtful manner. The work-learned team recently completed a review of the literature of the future of work, and in that we identified six specific workforce trends that again were already underway before COVID, but has accelerated. So the first one is top of mind for many of us. Advances in AI and technology and really at the core, what that means in terms of ensuring that our employees have an appropriate mix of those human and technical skills and how we're going to be able to really quickly respond to technology's impacts on our day to day work. The next trend that emerged is really the increasing need for employees to have skill agility and transferability. So with the rapid changes, the rapid impacts of technology, our day to day work is changing so quickly and that means as employees, we need to know how our skills transfer to different tasks, to different roles and sometimes even to industries as new industries emerge. So how can you take those skills that you learned in school or that you've developed through 10, 15 years of a career in one industry and think about how to leverage them in an entirely new context. The next one is sort of hand in hand with that, and that's the need for all employees to be those lifelong learners, so constantly up-skilling and re-skilling, identifying their own gaps and taking the initiative to fill them.

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:06:35] And of course, this isn't just on the individual worker. This is something where we're going to need solutions at an ecosystem level, both employers and government. But there really will be quite an imperative that each employee really understand what is happening in the world of work and taking the ownership to make sure that they are individually prepared to respond. The fourth trend relates to diverse workplaces. So once again, going back to this idea of global talent and how we might think about an international workforce, but also what it means to tap into the entire labor market and to build inclusive workplaces that support diverse employees. Because we need all of our workers, it's not just a nice to have, it's it's an imperative for all organizations to really be thinking about talent in different ways and much more inclusive ways. The gig economy, of course, continues to grow. So how do we manage this? How do we protect worker rights, create strong employment experiences in a gig economy? And then another trend that is emerging and we'll probably talk about quite a bit later as this gap between employee and organizational values. And I think that's really epitomized by the 'Great Resignation' and organizations needing to think about whether or not they really live their stated values. Are they really encouraging Wellness Work-Life Balance in their employees? And this is top of mind for Gen Z. So not only is it something that employers need to think about for all of their employees, but if they really want to access this emerging talent, they're going to need to change work structures to live those values and understand the values of their employees.

 

Craig Asano: [00:08:49] Wow, that is a lot to take in. I mean, every single one of those five trends, whether it's the tech moving online and, we've seen growth in the gig economy, of course, in all sorts of others. The diversity point, the lifelong learning, the gap in the values like what this is at a time when you have the Great Resignation, yet governments around the world, they need to get their economies back on track, get everyone back to work. So this is the timing of this conversation it's ideal. So in terms of these skills or trends really what or how is Canada doing a good job? Is there one area that we've got it or there's a gap and we need a lot of work, and how do we rank globally? Are we doing a good job or do we need to go back to the drawing board?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:09:40] Mm-hmm. Yeah, I mean, I think we should be very proud of our educational systems in Canada. Canadian graduates consistently rank in the top five of the world, and we also have a highly educated population with sixty two percent of adults age twenty five to sixty four with post-secondary degrees. So this does mean that Canadian talent is highly sought after, and all employers, especially our domestic employers, really need to think strategically about how to build those workplaces that are going to attract Canadian talent. So this is a problem in many sectors. But as I am sure you know, it's felt very acutely in the tech industry where oftentimes our salaries fail to compete with, say, our American competitors. So not only do our employers need to think about how they're going to attract the talent, but especially how to retain it within their organizations. And as mentioned earlier, and we can get into a little bit later, this really means rethinking what work looks like and ensuring that staff find it meaningful. And for employers, this might mean a lot of individualization of work, and that butts up against many of our existing practices.  But we need to see the value and the specific ways that we can engage each individual employee sort of solve for the individual as I heard someone once say so that we can really build this human capital within our organizations.  In terms of challenges with the Canadian educational system. I think one of the things that's emerging is really making sure that we are indeed imbuing those future ready capabilities in our students. And obviously, I will be an evangelist for work-integrated learning and the ways in which it can help to develop those competencies in our learners because that's what we need them to know that the future of work is going to be volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous. They're going to have to shift. It's not, you know, learn and earn as as we had in the past. We're going to have to be constantly evolving. So that's the thing we need to keep our eye on and the Canadian educational system that we build lifelong learning capabilities in our students and think about constant connection between education and work throughout life.

 

Craig Asano: [00:12:22] Yeah, experential. I mean, I look at my own case, although I graduated many years ago. But the co-op experience, that was what it was about and fast forward all those years later, I just can't imagine how the experience has changed so much but for the listeners, you heard it first...you've got 25000 amazing co-op students that absolutely need this experiential education because we've got to close the gaps. There can't be any gaps in what industry is needing. It's evolving very quickly and it really works hand in hand with the leading universities like the University of Waterloo. So if you need a co-op student, connect with with me or we'll connect you on with the experiential co-op department at University of Waterloo. And we're very thankful that NCFA has a partnership with UW, so that's excellent. So. I know we've got a number of questions in the gaps area but let's just divert for a second here to define the workforce. You mean you're developing exponential programs for students and I guess it's Gen Z. I mean, I find it tough to keep track of it. We had millennials now we got Gen Z. Many of us are Gen X and different generations ourselves. So when we're talking about Gen Z and the talent that they represent, can you just describe who exactly are we talking about? What is their life like? Are there stereotypes that shouldn't be out there? Can you describe a little bit about Gen Z?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:14:04] Absolutely. So as with all of these generation categories, there's some debate about the specific age range of Gen Z, but roughly we're talking about those who were born in the latter half of the nineteen nineties through to the early teens. So really the age range of those that are roughly between nine and twenty four years old. And in terms of their profile, they they tend to be categorized as flexible and adaptable with a real appreciation for diversity. They value their independence, as well as the ability to express and to have their opinions recognized. They're incredibly skilled at multitasking. They are those true digital natives as well. And so one thing that's really interesting about Gen Z is they're really strong at moving between technology and and in person or real experiences. This sort of that fluidity that will work incredibly well for these remote and hybrid work forces. They certainly prioritize financial stability, and they're also seen as highly competitive and entrepreneurial in terms of some specific stereotypes that might emerge from that profile, sometimes we hear that Gen Z has a short attention span that they prioritize, say, hedonism over hard work and that they really do require more flexibility in their work. And I think, well, there's some truth to some of those stereotypes or generalizations. Sometimes that's more us older folks sort of having notions of what effective work looks like or what worker engagement looks like that just don't hold true for this generation, but that in no way shape or form limits their ability to contribute to our organizations in incredible ways. It just means, as we've already talked about, that we need to think about how to bridge that gap.

 

Craig Asano: [00:16:18] So speaking of bridging the gap, we're working with all sorts of start up and scale up companies. They're experiencing right now a resource like a strain of resources and resource allocation, and they're competing across the board. I was just having a conversation with my brother, who's leading a transportation tech company. I think there's 24 developers, and it seems like every week I get on the phone, there's another, talented developer being plucked away for a higher salary and things. So I just the strategies that a company might employ to retain that talent and you know what are some tips and how should an organization, whether they're smaller, nimble and agile startup or, an emerging scale up someone that's closed a few rounds and probably north of 100 employees approaching, two-three-four hundred and even even enterprise. What's the latest thinking?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:17:20] Mm hmm. Absolutely. So this is something that work-learn has studied extensively. Maybe I will start with recruitment. So how do we attract Gen Z candidates to our organization? And we recently did a study with some of our students to better understand why they would or wouldn't apply to a specific job posting. And the advice for employers is this so job ads need to go beyond tasks, pay and benefits. Those job ads really need to be explicit about the skills that an employee is going to learn. The job ads need to help the employee see the ways in which they'll be able to make a positive impact, and those job ads should articulate the organization's values. And students were even more compelled to apply to a job if it was clear in that ad actually how the employer was going to make these things a reality. You know, Gen Z and this applies, particularly in a work-integrated learning context. They want to know how they're going to be given opportunities to grow and to contribute. And we can talk about this a little bit more. But that really comes down to structuring job tasks differently with a rich balance of, of course, getting the day to day job done, but also really carving out space for those Gen Z ers to innovate, to stretch themselves and to make an impact and that goes oftentimes beyond the job description itself. And then there's there's also some work that we've done in terms of how to motivate Gen Z. So again, they're more likely to be attracted to positions where they enjoy their work, where they have a chance to make a positive impact for the organization, but also for society where they have a strong social network at work. That's really, really important for Gen Z and that they're able to receive recognition for that work and there's some job stability. So instantaneously you might begin to see some gaps between these values and, say, the future of work trends that we just talked about. You know, with the increase in the gig economy and our remote workplaces where we're still trying to figure out how to replicate those social networks. So this is something for us to bear in mind as we think about evolving our organizational structures. It doesn't mean upending everything, but it really does require an understanding of these values of Gen Z and being really thoughtful in how we structure day to day work, how we build social networks and how we recognize and reward the efforts of Gen Z.

 

Craig Asano: [00:20:28] Wow, we've got a challenge, the great resignation, it's not going to be easy to get back to work You can't treat them like a number, right. And I think the larger the organizations are, even though they have an ingrained culture, that's a big challenge because however many hierarchies away from those that are making the ultimate decisions, and I heard instead of the task, you really need to show the value, the road-map, the culture and all the things that would be great to know as you're assessing various employer prospects. And so I think that is a gap. I think that might come out in the interviews and maybe if the due diligence were done by Gen Z or anyone for that matter looking for new job, they they might have an opportunity to talk to, another employee and just an employee, an employee and compare notes. So I think it's fascinating. So from an organizational perspective, we're working with a lot of innovation sectors and that's everything from all the new technologies and how they apply to various use cases and sectors. It's not always the, finance apps, let's say, but are there certain roles and there are certain opportunities that would be best matched with Gen Z's capacity to innovate? Do you think there's a good fit there?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:22:00] Yeah, great question. And I think it's really important for us to emphasize that youth, so our Gen Z right now have specific traits that make them uniquely innovative, and some of that has to do with the stage that they're at in their lives. And even with their their neural, their brain development. And so I don't think it's it's limited to specific roles. But I do think what all organizations need to do as they bring Gen Z talent into their companies is to think again about creating the space and the structures that allow and empower Gen Z to innovate. So this is drawing upon some of the work of our colleagues at Waterloo, Amilia Clarke and Ilona Dougherty. They study youth and innovation, and they've found that, among other things, some of the really strong traits that you would see in Gen Z. So youth, as we might remember, are still visionaries. They're they're still able to dream big and believe in the art of the possible. They're at their neurobiological peak of creative thinking, and they are just not as bound by social rules and hierarchy. There are also experimenters who are curious, and they're really, as I said, willing to challenge the status quo. So in order to capitalize on this, employers need to first give space and flexibility for that innovation to occur. And so again, maybe it's one of those models that we hear about with the 10 percent of the work time on an innovation project or a stretch project for that employee. Maybe it's not something that is mission critical, but that could have a significant impact on the organization's bottom line. And that can be really inspirational for a Gen Z to be able to contribute in that kind of meaningful way. But most importantly and fundamentally, it actually requires a willingness on the part of the employer, the supervisor, the organization to hear, to listen to the ideas, to be open to the questions and the potential criticisms that would come from our Gen Z talent and to empower them to bring forward their questions and their ideas.

 

Craig Asano: [00:24:38]  So I'm hearing we need new organizational structures, we need to do this idea of space. We're not talking physical space. They need room in a road-map for growth and one thing that I guess I can tackle it through a question, a couple of different perspectives but maybe the thing that popped into my mind that our listeners might be thinking about is that organizations, they're not all filled with Gen Z employees. So, the founders might be a little bit older (they might be young too).  How can Gen Z with these new organizational structures...so I sort of have a two pronged question comparing and contrasting with maybe some of the organizational structures of a startup or scale up compared to what the ideal Gen Z organizational structure might be but then what is the impact on everyone else because we might have some older employees in there as well, and they're providing a different experience and they're collectively as a team, building and innovating products and commercializing them to market. Yeah. Any thoughts on that?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:25:50] Yeah, absolutely. And I, you know, it is one of those things where particularly as we think about Gen Z or, you know, early talent, early employees, yes, it means that some changes to organizational structures are necessary. But I don't think it means that sort of complete upheaval that changes how you and I do work. So maybe I'll sort of put a little bit more specificity on that point and then talk about how it how those changes might interact with other generations. So, you know, for organizations to really maximize engagement at work from a Gen Z perspective, as we've always already talked about, it really is giving that space for innovation and for skill development but oftentimes those things already exist in our roles. What we need to do for Gen Z is make it really explicit. So learning has always been closely integrated with work. The two are inextricable, but what can be really helpful for young talent is for them to have their attention drawn to those explicit learning opportunities. We're doing this project or we're doing this training, and here's why we're doing it, and here's how it's going to help you. And so it's it's not necessarily saying, Oh, the way that we've been doing work for the last 50 years is wrong. And this is, I don't even think Gen Z specific. It's just youth specific and really making a few more intentional efforts to, as you've already said, show them that career road-map, show them the impact and being a little bit more open to what might be seen as criticisms of why do we do this process this way? So maybe just want to temper that a little bit that I don't think it means we don't know how to create effective organizations for our employees or for our youth, just that it can be really helpful for all of us to think about how we are developing our skills and then that's kind of a best practice across the board.  And then in terms of sort of the impact on other generations, and I'm going to maybe draw upon just work-integrated learning.  Specifically, I think that's where the magic happens, when you can create a little bit of that space and where youth can be seen as mentors and mentees to their colleagues. So, you know, oftentimes the new graduate or the work integrated learning student is going to be bringing some of the newest ideas in their field. Or they they are those digital natives. They've got that technology in hand and so they can mentor their colleagues at the same time that they are learning from their colleagues about their own career journeys. And, you know, the the best practices in the organization and the best practices for finding fulfillment in work and work life balance. So I don't see it....we talk about generational sort of pushes against one another. I think what the magic of work-integrated learning is that when you bring someone with these fresh perspectives into your organization. And you're really willing to listen. There can be this beautiful collaboration that happens and that challenges you to really see things through their eyes and evolve your organization accordingly.

 

Craig Asano: [00:29:55] I love it. Drop all those stereotypes and just collaborate and get the best that everyone can offer. And that's the whole workplace, the whole thing. Let's move on and widen the lens a little bit from Gen Z and talk about the global hiring future because we're seeing and we have heard for decades but I think now it's here, there might be some concern about job loss through automation trends, autonomous workers and robots as not just employees, they're also customers now, as we've learned through some of our metaverse contacts. And what is the impact of the the raw automation and autonomous workforce future look like?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:30:52] Mm hmm. Right. So it's such an interesting question, isn't it? And particularly, as you've just said, as we really start to see it play out in organizations in response to the pandemic and labour shortages, we've already seen that the technology is here and it's advancing quickly. On the other hand, I don't think it's quite meeting the predictions about the speed to which it would disrupt broadly disrupt as many roles or industries. Nevertheless, I believe that the cautions about the impact of AI and robots are true, and those cautions are really that we need to think differently about how we train our workers, and as I've already shared, how we develop the lifelong learning skills that are going to be so critical for their continuous development and employability. Because, as has always been, the case, technology can help us tremendously with productivity. And even though this means our jobs will change and yes, some jobs will be lost, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, if we can find ways to upskill our existing workforce to allow them to make more meaningful contributions using those uniquely human skills. So with with respect to AI and robots, this is of course going to be particularly important with low wage earners who are always vulnerable but many of the predictions with respect to AI and machine learning are noting that knowledge workers are going to be quite vulnerable as well, and vulnerable is probably not the right word, that many knowledge workers are going to have their jobs dramatically changed as a result of AI, and that doesn't have to be a bad thing. It can make our jobs easier, remove those mundane tasks and and even increase demand or availability for services. But we do need to ensure that we are building the structures where when the technology comes in and you have those dedicated employees that have spent their careers with your organizations that we are there to help them evolve their work accordingly, and that's the key thing.  And that's what we're hearing from industry as they start to think about how to do their training differently right now before the technology has come in and completely removed 80 percent of someone's job. How do we train our workers, not in a technology, not on a specific skill, but very holistically to take the initiative to learn the human skills that are going to let them take that specific area and do more meaningful work in it because the technology has helped to remove those sort of rote or routine tasks.

 

Craig Asano: [00:34:02]  look at the supermarket checkout, I never go in the line, I check myself out. It's the DIY checkouter every time, you know.  So you touched upon skills and I can only think like about being future ready and I've got two kids trying to raise them the best we can and regardless of age, young or old, like, what are the skills that are required to be ready for these global changes in automation that is happening? What are the core skills?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:34:35] Yeah, absolutely. So this is something that we've studied extensively at Waterloo as well, and we've developed what we call our future ready talent framework to provide our students with guidance on what those skills are going to be and how they can specifically develop them. So the Future Ready Talent framework consists of 12 competencies that are divided into four sort of clusters or buckets. And first, we have this idea of expanding and transferring expertise. So that includes competencies like the domain or technical skills that you need to do your day to day job. But it also includes technological agility. So the ability to not just learn specific software, but to be really comfortable with technology and to be an advocate for technology. And it also includes information and data literacy as something that's going to be core in just about every job in every industry. And then we also have a category that is really about developing self. And this is kind of how I think the future ready talent framework differs from some existing competency frameworks because it focuses on self-management, so resilience and emotional intelligence, and it focuses on self-assessment, really understanding where your strengths are and also what areas you have for development as an employee and as a human in this world. And then the third competency in this bucket is lifelong learning and career development. And again, that idea that we are all going to have to take responsibility for managing our own careers and making sure that we're staying abreast of the changes within our field.  The third category in our future ready talent framework is one that has always been critical for work and you'll probably find in any competency framework. So we have communication, we have collaboration and then we have intercultural effectiveness and understanding what it means to work within a global workforce. And then the last category is really design and deliver solutions. All of these previous competencies are absolutely critical, but we have to be able to take them and move from concept to execution. So in that category, we have an innovation mindset, we have critical thinking and then we have implementation. And I what I absolutely love about the future ready talent framework is that these competencies span all domains, all careers, and they really do think about the evolution of the human and how we can sort of be using this framework even as myself. What am I doing to improve my critical thinking skills these days? And how does that align with my day to day work? What does it really mean for me? And so I think as our learners move through their work-integrated learning experiences and really start to understand what these competencies are and how they're developing them. This gives them the resilience, the adaptability to navigate these, this rapidly changing future of work.

 

Craig Asano: [00:38:06] That is a ton to absorb. I'm also conscious at the time, I'm trying to keep us on track here, but I love what I'm hearing. I'm learning a ton and it's certainly a different type of conversation than we've been having here on Friday's podcast, so the last question before we get into our, you know, every, every podcast, we try to do that I'm hosting anyway, try to do some rapid fire questions. But the last question is just the trends in education and is there any intel to pluck from your immense knowledge base and experience in what's happening. Are we missing any pieces here with regards to preparing not just our future workforce, but ourselves for for the future from an educational perspective?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:39:00] Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Yeah, thanks so much. It might not surprise you that I want to talk a little bit about work-integrated learning, so it's certainly not new, but we're seeing such huge interest in it these days. And I think again, it really does boil down to its effectiveness as an educational model to meet the changing needs of industry and society. And so that's what I see happening in a work integrated learning space. I mean, if you look at the co-op model, it's been around a Waterloo for over 60 years and in some ways there's some really cool stuff about it that is, you know, preparing students for a gig economy. You work for four months, you go to school for four months and you try out different industries in different organizations. But one of the things that I see happening in the educational space is just this continued partnership between industry and education and thinking about what those connections look like in a different way. And so that could mean an educational institution working really closely with a specific employer or with an industry association to really better understand what is happening out there and to co-create programming, to adapt programming to meet those needs. That's what's super exciting to me about what's happening in the Canadian educational context. I think the kind of the walls of the ivory tower are coming down in and certainly in work-integrated learning there's real interest in understanding how we need to evolve as educational institutions to meet the needs of industry, but then more broadly as society.

 

Craig Asano: [00:40:52] I'd absolutely love to figure out how NCFA and our partnership with UW can really take it to the next level and figure out how can we implement that innovation to get whole capacity, and I think it's very exciting. I don't have all the answers, and I certainly did come up through that more traditional co-op program, which was great but I think we're at a period in sort of the journey of education and people can get access to things immediately but yet from a skills perspective, they need so much more to be future ready. So I'm certainly excited to take that conversation forward another time but this brings us to the my favourite part of the discussion, although I've really enjoyed the entire dialogue today is the rapid fire questions. So I'm going to ask five short questions, and we're looking for short answers and rapid questions and answers. You ready for that?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:41:57] Ready.

 

Craig Asano: [00:41:58] Ok, let's do it. And then we'll we'll wrap things here. So number one, what is your favorite Christmas cookie?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:42:05] Ginger snaps.

 

Craig Asano: [00:42:07] Oh, I love those. Number two, what is one piece of advice you'd give yourself if you went back in time to when you were a university student?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:42:17] Yeah, stop worrying so much.

 

Craig Asano: [00:42:19] Let it happen, right? Ok. Number three, what motivates you each and every day?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:42:25] Absolutely. I am in love with my work and I just feel so lucky to get to do it.

 

Craig Asano: [00:42:31] Love the passion. So number four, what's your favourite holiday destination, whether it's a city or country?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:42:38] Anywhere in the Caribbean.

 

Craig Asano: [00:42:40] Nice. I don't know if you're going to be getting there this year, though. Last rapid-fire question what's one thing Canadians can do to make the world a better place?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:42:52] Yeah, I think we are so, so fortunate and as Canadians, we need to know what is happening in this world. I think the UN SDGs are a great thing for us to be focusing on and to really extend our internal domestic capacity for the betterment of the world. So learn the SDGs, know what they mean and think about that global workforce.

 

Craig Asano: [00:43:22] Amazing. So just in closing here, Anne-Marie, how can listeners anyone who to the podcast get in touch with you if they have any follow up questions, they'd like to learn more or they'd like to, you know, integrative work, learning, or they'd like to hire some students? How do they get in touch with you?

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:43:40] Oh, absolutely great questions. So they can look us up online at the Work-Learn Institute. They can send me an email directly. Amfannon@uw.ca would love to hear from the listeners and to explore some collaborations.

 

Craig Asano: [00:43:58] Absolutely. So with that in mind, thank so much, Anne-Marie, for sharing your valuable time, knowledge and expertise with us. It was an absolute pleasure. I learned a ton. And you're welcome back absolutely any time.

 

Anne-Marie Fannon: [00:44:11] Thank you so much, Craig. It was a blast…

 

Craig Asano: [00:44:19] Perfect. Thank you very much. So if you're new to Fintech Fridays, please check out some of the incredible past episodes on the site. You'll be surprised, I think, with what you'll find. We look forward to seeing you next Friday for another episode of Fintech Fridays. Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

Outro : you've been listening to Fintech Fridays brought to you by NCFA and partners. Tune in weekly for the latest fintech Friday podcast by subscribing to this channel. The National crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada is a non-profit actively engaged with social and investment fintech sectors around the globe and provide education research industry stewardship services and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers. For more information please visit ncfacanada.org. Oh yeah.

 

End of Podcast

 

Subscribe and Listen to more Fintech Fridays podcasts here

Join NCFA's weekly Podcast series 'FINTECH FRIDAYS' where we sit down with the incredible people in the Fintech community and talk about leading fintech products innovations developments and challenges!

Interested in getting involved as a partner or participant? info@ncfacanada.org

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fintech Fridays EP55: Global Hiring Trends:  How Gen Z Talent Thrives The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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FINTECH FRIDAYS Podcast: Season 4

JOIN US ON A STORYTELLING JOURNEY:  SEASON 4

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EP58: Using Risk Management to Improve Your Business and Life

Featured Guest:

ALEX SIDORENKO, CEO and Chief Risk Officer / Founder, Risk Academy / Risk Awareness Week (LinkedIn)

Experienced executive across strategic, investment and operational risks and insurance working within multibillion dollar corporations in Australia, GCC and Europe. Successfully implemented changes to quantitative risk analysis, risk-based decision making and neuroscience.   Saved more than $13 million per year in premiums on cargo and PD/BI insurance through industry leading quantitative risk analysis without changing deductibles or limits. Successfully presenting corporate risk profile at the Ministry of finance and helping secure more than $1B in extra funding.  Author of the most popular free risk management book in the world, more than 150K downloads in 3 languages. Risk manager of the year, FERMA, 2021, Honourable mention 2021, RIMS. Risk manager of the year, RUSRISK, 2014, Best ERM Implementation, RUSRISK, 2014, Best risk management training, RUSRISK, 2013, 2014, 2015, finalist in risk management awards in 2018 and 2019.

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCog9jkDZdiRps2w27MZ5Azg
BLOG: https://riskacademy.blog

About this episode:

For anyone who needs to make complex decisions or wants to add more clarity into their lives by applying modern risk management techniques, then this one is for you. Join NCFA Founder, Craig Asano, who sits down with Alex Sidorenko, the CEO and Chief Risk Officer of the Risk Academy and Founder of Risk Awareness Week, one of the largest risk management conference programs in the world.  They discuss the commoditization of science, horoscope fairy tales, beating the bear and how intuition may not always be your best friend (in some scenarios).  Understand the difference between risk management for ‘box tickers’ vs modern techniques, generators vs users, virtual data, and how to think about risk management to electrify decision-support for any problem in your business or life.  Enjoy!

Duration:  69mins

On Now --> RISK AWARENESS WEEK  |  Oct 17 to 21, 2022

Risk Awareness Week takes place from Oct 17 to 21, 2022 is the biggest global online platform to learn risk management and decision making. Use RAW2022 to learn from practical case studies on integrating risk management into corporate decision making, planning, budgeting, project management and risk-adjusted performance management.  Learn more

 

EP56: How We Raised $426 million Using Rewards Crowdfunding

Today's Featured Guest: 

ZACH SMITH, CEO and Co-Founder, Funded Today (LinkedIn)

About this Episode

Checkout this not to be missed episode with NCFA Founder Craig Asano and Zach Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Funded Today.  In 2017, Zach delivered a keynote at NCFA's Canadian Crowdfinance Summit in Toronto after raising $150 million dollars.   Fast forward to today, and the Funded Today machine has raised north of $426 million USD and counting.  In this episode, learn what it takes to be a serial entrepreneur -- "It's not really about how much money you raise on the platform, it's about what you learn from the money that you've raised."  They discuss the story of Funded Today, pivoting, diversifying investments, being strategic, doing what you love, and of course how to raise millions of dollars with rewards-based crowdfunding including a couple of real life examples.  If you have an innovative project, gadget or piece of hardware, or have an app or board game and want to know if you can crowdfund dollars for it in 2022, tune in now....grab a cup of your favourite and dig in.  Enjoy!  (FULL TRANSCRIPT)

EP55: Global Hiring Trends: How Gen Z Talent Thrives

Guest:  ANNE-MARIE FANNON, Director, Work-Learn Institute, University of Waterloo (LinkedIn)

About this Episode

On this Season 4 kickoff episode, NCFA Founder Craig Asano sits down with the incredible Anne-Marie Fannon, Director, Work-Learn Institute at the University of Waterloo, to better understand the motivations and needs of the next major human capital resource - Gen Z.  If you're a start-up, scale-up or HR professional seeking intel on an emerging tech savvy, innovative, and talent asset class then this podcast is for you.  Tune in now and learn not just the how but also the why you should be building relationships with Gen Z today.  Enjoy!  (FULL TRANSCRIPT)

About this episode:

10 years ago in 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) was signed into law in the U.S. (and eventually a similar exemption was approved in Canada) to encourage more capital to flow to startups, support innovation, and, create jobs. It's significance cannot be understated as the rule change allowed private companies to raise capital by selling securities digitally for the first time via registered online platforms and dealer-brokers.  Regulation crowdfunding also democratized previously excluded retail investors (non-accredited) by allowing them to invest directly in startup ventures empowering a new era of digital finance.

A tremendous amount of advocacy and regulatory change efforts took place to make this happen, and since then, the original JOBS Act rules were improved for investment crowdfunding in the U.S., such as increasing the fundraising cap from US$1 million to US$5 million (not in Canada though, we've asked for years ahem).  But there are still many challenges and myths to be debunked. While venture financings are at an all time high in sectors like fintech, it does not mean that startups are awash with capital.  While there is growing interest among retail investors to participate directly in these offerings, and take control of their investment future, education and awareness still remains a top priority if industry is to grow in the right ways.  Having said that, in the United States, RegCF recently surpassed $1billion raised.  Canadian figures are more modest with at least CA$100 million in equity financings raised on a leading platform.

Today there's also a JOBS Act 2022 proposal on the table but will these changes be sufficient to support evolving technologies and their capabilities while also protecting investors?  Regulatory change is slow and regulators should support innovation and competition.  All stakeholders need to continue to support efforts to make capital markets whole, so EVERYONE can benefit from the advancements in technology or the wealth gap will continue to widen.

This is a not to be missed episode for anyone interested in the past or future of digital finance and capital markets.  Join investment crowdfunding pioneers in both Canada and the U.S. who discuss the 10 year journey from a wide variety of perspectives including the evolution of first generation marketing platforms to the arrival of second generation decentralized finance models powered by blockchain technologies.

Duration:  92mins

 
 
 
 

SEASON 1 EPISODES:

EP1-Jul 20:  Global Crypto Payments and the Future of Digital Assets (CoinPayments)

EP2-Jul 27:  Canada's Role in the Global Fintech Ecosystem (Fintech Growth Syndicate)

EP3-Aug 3:  Doubling Down on Female Founders (Roar Ventures)

EP4-Aug 10:  Importance of a Smart Contract Safety Net (Sagewise)

EP5-Aug 17:  First Coin's M&A Story - Wall street meets Crypto (Galaxy Digital Canada)

EP6-Aug 24:  Asian Crypto Markets meet Canadian talent (Fintech Association of Hong Kong)

EP7-Aug 31:  Structuring an ICO and the Mind of a Fintech-preneur (Pegasus Fintech)

EP8-Sep 7:  Institutionalization of Crypto, China’s Ban and the Potential of Blockchain Decentralization (NexChange)

EP9-Sep 14:  New SmartPay Product & Front-line of Global Digital Payments (Curexe)

EP10-Sep21: A Regtech-based Blockchain KYC Solution for Document Custody (Commercial Passport)

EP11-Sep 28:  How Amazon Bank is Dominating and Risks of a Digital Bifurcated World (Schulte Research)

EP12-Oct 5:  Building Blockchain Products & Decentralizd Solutions for Enterprise and Start-ups (Northern Block)

EP13-Oct 12:  Road to Fintech IPO:  Capital Networks, Scalable Solutions, Putting People First (Progressa)

Ep14-Oct 19:  The Convergence of Data Intelligence and Money Algorithms (Senso.ai)

Ep15-Oct 26:  Gearing up Hyperion Exchange, Hybrid Models and Security Tokens (Hyperion Technologies)

EP16-Nov 2:  Envisioning the Future of Open Banking for Consumers and Businesses (Lending Loop)

Ep17-Nov 9:  How Artificial Intelligence is Optimizing Sales and the Future of Business AI (Fortuna.ai)

Ep18-Nov 16:  Bridging the AML/ATF Gap with Financial Institutions and the New Economy (Coinsquare)

Ep19-Nov 23:  Future of Business Tokenization and How Blockchain Challenges Concept of Money (TokenFunder)

SEASON 2 EPISODES:

Ep20-Jan 11:  Bitcoin Backed Loans and 2x Credit - Putting Your Crypto to Work (Mauricio Di Bartolomeo)

Ep21-Jan 18:  Meritocracy, Decentralized Innovation and the Power of Collaboration (Hussein Hallak)

Ep22-Jan 25:  Reducing Regulatory Burden by 25% in Ontario (Amar Nijjar)

Ep23-Feb 1:  Getting Smart About Crypto and Insurtech Snapchat Models (Justin Hartzman)

Ep24-Feb 8:  Re-imagining Philanthropy (Daryl Hatton)

Ep25-Feb 15:  Unlock the World (Kate Guimbellot and Jason Sosnowski)

Ep26-Feb 22:  Investing in Private Canadian Companies (Peter-Paul Van Hoeken)

Ep27-Mar 1:  Blockchain Gaming and esports (Shidan Gouran)

Ep28-Mar 8:  Rethinking Brokers (Muhammad Rashid)

Ep29-Mar 22:  The Future of Securities (Richard Carleton)

Ep30-Apr 12:  The Future of Canadian Crypto (Andrei Poliakov)

Ep31-May 14:  Blockchain Law (Jason Saltzman)

Ep32-May 24:  Rallying behind Bitcoin (Frederick T. Pye)

Ep33-May 31:  Indexing Consumer Loans and Financial Literacy (Phillip Postrehovsky)

Ep34-Jul 6:  Accelerating Fintech Growth (Brendan Holt Dunn)

Ep35-Aug 9:  Autonomous Alternative Lending (Vit Arnautov)

Ep36-Aug 22:  Techfins (Michael King)

Ep37-Sep13:  Funding is Female (Jill Earthy)

Ep38-Mar25: Why Identity Matters in an Evolving Online Environment (David Lucatch)

Ep39-Apr23: The Power of Digitization and How to Get Exponential (James Wallace)

Ep40-May22:  Why Bitcoin Exists and Education for the Masses (Austin Hubbell)

SEASON 3 EPISODES:

EP41:  40% pandemic growth, taking risks and innovating Insurtech in Canada (Danish Yusuf, Zensurance)

EP42:  Insights into the Teen Banking Sector and Improving the Financial Well-being of Families (Rim Charkani, WALO)

EP43:  Taking the Mortgage Process From 40 Days to Minutes (Chris Gries, FundMore.ai)

EP44:  The Vanguard of Digital Innovation and Ecosystems in Canada (Various NCFA Advisors)

EP45: Mission-driven and Consumer-centric Financial Services (Keith Taylor, DUCA Impact Lab)

EP46: Making Business Borderless: International Payments and Partnerships (Alastair Thompson, TransferWise)

EP47: How to Change the World: Risk Culture and Work-life Balance (Michelle Beyo, Finavator)

EP48:  How to Connect and Resonate with Customers Through Podcasting (Fatima Zaidi, Quill Inc.)

EP49: Managing Private Placements Has Never Been Easier (Brock Murray and Karan Khiani, Katipult)

EP50:  Compliance to the moon (Mark Binns, Digital Assets Inc.)

EP51:  Bacon and Eggs (Julien Brault, Hard Bacon)

EP52:  Technology Due Diligence Process and Cyber Security Risks (Forward Security, CIBC, RiskAware Group)

EP53:  Staying True to Bitcoin (Chris Naprawa, TAAL)

EP54:  How Digital Identity will Transform Human Potential (David Lucatch, Liquid Avatar Technologies)

 

SEASON 4 EPISODES:

EP55: Global hiring trends: How Gen Z Talent Thrives (Anne-Marie Fannon, Work-Learn Institute, University of Waterloo)

EP56: How We Raised $426 million Using Rewards Crowdfunding (Zach Smith, Funded Today)

EP57: 10 Years of Investment Crowdfunding: Past, Present, and Future Since the Act (Expert Advisors)

EP58: Using Risk Management to Improve Your Business and Life (Alex Sidorenko)

 

 

Interested in getting involved in FINTECH FRIDAYS?  info@ncfacanada.org

FINTECH FRIDAY$ is a weekly podcast brought to you by NCFA and partners, where we sit down with the incredible people in the Fintech and Funding community and talk about trends, product innovations, developments and challenges!

Fintech Fridays is an evolving and innovative educational platform focused on delivering authentic personalities, content and story telling on the journey of mainstream adoption of new financial technologies and their impact on the future of finance.

Subscribe and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers.  Want to get involved?  Contact us about partnerships opportunities, hosting and more:  info@ncfacanada.org

NCFA Fintech Fridays podcast - FINTECH FRIDAYS Podcast:  Season 4

NCFA Jan 2018 resize - FINTECH FRIDAYS Podcast:  Season 4The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Podcast: Meet the Crypto Kings – Founders of the Leading Exchanges

The Economist | Dec 15, 2021

Economist podcast meet the crypto kings - Podcast:  Meet the Crypto Kings - Founders of the Leading Exchanges

The Economist podcast on markets, the economy and business. This week we speak to Brian Armstrong, Changpeng Zhao and Sam Bankman-Fried, the founders of leading crypto exchanges Coinbase, Binance and FTX

See:  Creating Sustainable Wealth Through Digital Finance

FOUR MEN hold the keys to a $2trn market. Our finance correspondent Matthieu Favas speaks to some of the most powerful people in the world of cryptocurrencies—the founders of the most important crypto exchanges—to find out what it takes to stay on top in the most volatile market of all. We examine their strategies against a looming reckoning with regulators and ask whether their visions for how crypto will change the world could become reality. Rachana Shanbhogue hosts.


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Podcast:  Meet the Crypto Kings - Founders of the Leading Exchanges The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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