Podcast Transcript – Series TWO, Episode 29
Evan Leaphart, kiddie kredit March 2021
[00:00:00] Evan Leaphart: [00:00:00] I used to see her make gift baskets for people
[00:00:02] I didn’t understand anything about the credit score
[00:00:05]it’s kind of been the common denominator amongst everybody on the team at this point is , they all were affected by credit and like, yeah, , it sucks.
[00:00:10]I’ve always loved the level of accountability. It is right. Like for the money in your pocket is like a direct correlation of what you’ve done.
[00:00:18]And then I was like the internet guy. So like you could make higher commissions
[00:00:22] I looked and I was like the exact thing. I was like, Oh my goodness, this already exists. It was heartbroken.
[00:00:27]I was really naive when it comes to building a backable business versus a bankable business
[00:00:32]there’s no. Hey, auntie, let me get 25,000 real quick. Like there’s, there’s none of that.
[00:00:38] The Kiddie Kredit conversations just started with balconies and beers.
[00:00:41]A year ago. Wasn’t necessarily cool to say you’re a Miami based business. That’s like the greatest thing you could say.
[00:00:47]so what we’re aiming to do is simplify FICO. So you understand it before you actually need it.
[00:00:51] Dan: [00:00:51] What’s up Unfound Nation, Dan Kihanya here. Thanks so much for checking out another episode of Founders Unfound. That was Evan Leaphart, founder and CEO of Kiddie Kredit, a mobile chore tracking app that teaches kids about credit. Evan is one of those founders seemingly born to be just that, a founder. From lemonade stands and snow removal to cleaning services and auto transport. He’s been fearlessly taking on venture after venture.
[00:01:16] Evan grew up in Columbia city, shout out to Baltimore. But he’s been in Miami for over 15 years. So he’s definitely an O G in the newly blossoming Miami tech scene.
[00:01:26] And to top it off, we had a wonderful guest cohost Veronica Parks from well-known venture fund, Maveron. Veronica is one of their newest investors, coming from a career spanning venture and consulting. And it all started with her undergrad from Howard university. We were grateful to have her help us with this conversation for sure.
[00:01:43]Our episode is sponsored by Cascadia Cleantech Accelerator powered by VertueLab and CleanTech Alliance. This 15 week accelerator program delivers mentorship, connections, funding opportunities, and more to early stage cleantech startups looking to launch and scale their businesses. Applications are open [00:02:00] until April 16th, 2021. To apply today, find a link in the show notes, or go to cascadiacleantech.org.
[00:02:07] Our episode is also sponsored by AfriBlocks, the global pan-African freelance marketplace and collaboration platform. A great resource for devs, designers, and virtual assistants. Check out the link in the show notes.
[00:02:19] Please make sure to subscribe to our podcast. We are available anywhere. You get your podcasts, even YouTube. And if you like what you hear, drop us a review on Apple or at podchaser.com.
[00:02:29] It’s March, 2021. And we are hopeful that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel with this pandemic. There are still many suffering though, directly now, or from the economic or health after-effects of COVID. So let’s all remain vigilant and compassionate.
[00:02:43] My heart is also pretty heavy today, as we’ve just had seven mass shootings in the last seven days here in the U S. Solutions to this different kind of crisis seem to evade us. But for me, it all starts with empathy and appreciation. We are all Americans. And unless you are Indigenous, we all have a heritage that originates from outside this country.
[00:03:04] Yeah, we all share a common bond and belief in the idea and principles of what America is. Asian Americans, African Americans, European Americans. We are all still Americans, your neighbors, your coworkers, your fellow citizens, your community, your family. Against this foundation, we can celebrate, not resent ,our differences. And violence is never an answer.
[00:03:29] It starts with reaching out to those with differences you can see. Strive to understand them, appreciate them, loved them. We can’t legislate community, but we can vigorously pursue it.
[00:03:39] Now on with the episode, stay safe and hope you enjoy.
[00:03:53] Hello, and welcome to Founders Unfound, spotlighting, the best startups you don’t know yet. We bring you [00:04:00] stories of exceptional founders from underrepresented and underestimated backgrounds. This is episode number 29 in our continuing series on founders of African descent. I’m your host. Dan Kihanya. Let’s get on it.
[00:04:11] For this episode, we actually have a special guest host, Veronica Parks. She’s an investor with legendary venture firm. Maveron. Thanks for joining the conversation, Veronica.
[00:04:20]Veronica Parks: [00:04:20] Absolutely Dan. Excited to be here.
[00:04:22] Dan: [00:04:22] And today we have Evan Leaphart, founder and CEO of KiddieKredit, a mobile chore tracking app that teaches kids about credit. Welcome to the show. Evan. We’re super excited to have you on. Thanks for making the time.
[00:04:34]Evan Leaphart: [00:04:34] Thank you. I appreciate you both having me.
[00:04:36]Dan: [00:04:36] All right. Well, let’s start off by helping the listeners understand what is Kiddie Kredit? It’s one of those names that seems self-explanatory, but why don’t you just give us a quick synopsis? What is Kiddie Kredit?
[00:04:47] Evan Leaphart: [00:04:47] So like you said, it’s intended to be a tour tracking app that teaches kids about credit. The premise of it is the better a kid does their chores, the better their quote unquote credit score.
[00:04:56] So you want to think of a missed chore activity, like a miss payment. The long you’ve had this activity, your chores, like the alarm. You’ve had a credit card and anytime a kid’s going, Hey mom, can I get this? Hey dad, can I get this? It’s essentially like an inquiry. So what we’re aiming to do is simplify FICO. So you understand it before you actually need it.
[00:05:14]Dan: [00:05:14] I think it’s brilliant. I mean, I wish I had it when I was a kid, because I know I definitely went through my twenties with like the wake up call of, Oh, that’s a score I got to pay attention to and I have no idea how I’m effecting it. So before we dive more into the company, though, let’s hear a little bit about your background.
[00:05:32] Where’d you grow up and where you’re from?
[00:05:34]Evan Leaphart: [00:05:34] Yep. So I was born in Pittsburgh, big Steelers fan, and I grew up right outside of Baltimore in the city, Columbia. Um, I lived there till I was 18 years old, and then I moved to Miami. I came to Miami in 2004, went to FIU, didn’t finish, but I went there. I just fell in love with the city and I’ve been here ever since brief stint in LA for like a year. But I’ve been in Miami pretty much my whole adult life.
[00:05:58]Dan: [00:05:58] That’s cool. So, but [00:06:00] like, let’s go back to growing up in Columbia city and that you have brothers and sisters or.
[00:06:05]Evan Leaphart: [00:06:05] I’m the only child, my man. So there’s this perks be a little spoiled at times. Uh, but you know, you may have to be a real extrovert because you just have to make friends cause you don’t have a brother or sister, so kind of fall along those lines versus being more of a recluse.
[00:06:19] But yeah, my, you know, my mom was a flight attendant, so she was gone a lot when I was younger. So I had to really be it devs out the strong sense of independence. You know, so I think that’s part of where I got my entrepreneurial spirit from one being on my own, but two also she was very entrepreneurial minded.
[00:06:33] So I used to, I used to see her make gift baskets for people and learn how to, to make shirts it’s for people. So I learned how to like, measure it for dress shirts. And I would, I started doing that when I was younger, too. So I got a lot of. A lot of cool gifts and gems from my mother.,
[00:06:47] Dan: [00:06:47] So I always find it fascinating. So what’s it like to have a parent who’s a flight attendant, like, you know, all your friends have parents that have like nine to five jobs, they show up, you know, for the after-school stuff or for the cookouts. And your mom is like gone for three days. And then back for a couple of days, like, did it feel like different or did it just feel normal? Like this is just the way our lives are.
[00:07:08] Evan Leaphart: [00:07:08] It was just my life. Right. Like, you know, my mom and, uh, like it was, it was a really normal childhood to me. Right. But if you look at it on paper, it was different. Right. So like my mom and dad divorced when I was, I don’t even remember the age. I think it was like two or three, but they had a perfect co-existing relationship as parents, it wasn’t, there’s really no friction. But like when she was gone, you know, she would make the tea, did everything that she could. Right. She had the leftovers for three to four days. I would heat them up. So it’s not like I went without meals and I didn’t, you know, I didn’t take advantage of it or any way, at least in my younger years when I got a little like 17, 18.
[00:07:43] But, but when I was younger, I was, I was super responsible. Um, so I think we just kind of had this mutual admiration and respect for one another. I knew that she was gone. So I’ll take care of the house. You know, and, and I, I just knew that she was doing the best that she could to make sure that we had a place to live and, you know, food to eat.
[00:08:00] [00:08:00] Dan: [00:08:00] That’s a lot of responsibility though, as a young person, you know, these days kids are, you know, they’re almost never out of the, the eye shot of some adults, right? I mean, to grow up kind of fending for yourself, you know, obviously your mom made sure that you were safe, but that’s a, that’s a pretty big deal to be that independent.
[00:08:19] Evan Leaphart: [00:08:19] I mean, and it was when I was like younger, younger, like, you know, elementary school years had babysitters and stuff. But from middle school onward, it kinda, you know, I, there was nights where it would just be, I’m just be me.
[00:08:31]Dan: [00:08:31] So tell us more about like how your entrepreneurial self emerged, because you talked about yourself being entrepreneurial at a young age. How did that show up?
[00:08:39]Evan Leaphart: [00:08:39] I think the first thing I did was I had a lemonade stand when I was younger. I actually had one, right? Like this kind of like the perennial start of the journey. Uh, that was, that was mine, but I used to look forward to snow days, not just because I would go sledding with friends.
[00:08:55] Like I knew that I could get outside and I could shovel snow. And a and a be first went out there, had like little business cards out, tear sheets of paper, and I’ll go in and charge like $20 per card, you know, all of a sudden fingers, frozen toes frozen, but I got like $200 in my pocket.
[00:09:10]But yeah, that how I got my start.
[00:09:12] Dan: [00:09:12] That’s great. Yeah, I did the same thing. I lived in Boston and, uh, yeah, when that snow came and I lived in this apartment complex, so it was like within a hundred yards of my house, I could hit 20 houses and be, rich with whatever, you know, tens of dollars that they would give me.
[00:09:28]Veronica Parks: [00:09:28] Mine was the opposite. It was when it’s spring in summer coming so I can mow people’s lawns.
[00:09:33] Evan Leaphart: [00:09:33] Yup. It’s it’s something though is like, okay, you start looking at your neighbors, like, okay, that’s $20. They’re cheap. That’s. As $10, $30. They liked the tip.
[00:09:43] Dan: [00:09:43] Yeah. Well, that’s great. I mean, and I imagine that, you know, the feedback loop that you get from, like, I’m going to start something I’m going to go directly to have somebody pay for it is a powerful lesson , and learning right.
[00:09:55] That you can get. And for some people maybe it’s just like, yeah, that [00:10:00] was fun. And I hustled a little bit for other people. They, you know, probably get kind of drawn to it. It’s like, I want to keep doing that. Is that kinda where you win is like, I like this hustle, entrepreneurial doing my own thing.
[00:10:11]Evan Leaphart: [00:10:11] I’ve always loved the level of like accountability. It is right. Like for the money in your pocket is like a direct correlation of what you’ve done. Right? So like for me, it’s always been if I’m at work and it’s not being an entrepreneur, I’d always liked being a sales rep because I felt that how hard I worked was a direct correlation to how much money I could make.
[00:10:29] So like commission. It was never a problem for me to make a little less than salary, because I knew that I could make more commission and then like to give you another entrepreneurial example. When I was a kid, I learned how to make a computer from scratch. I think I was like 14 or 15, not just because I was overly interested in computers.
[00:10:44] I wanted to have the fastest CD burner in school so I could burn CDs and sell them to my friends.
[00:10:48]Dan: [00:10:48] Wait a minute. Wait a minute. So you figured out how to build a computer so that you could essentially create a CD manufacturing station?
[00:10:58] Evan Leaphart: [00:10:58] Yes, absolutely. So I remember it clear as day was we had a Pentium four.
[00:11:01] I think the CD burner was like TDX and it was like 40 X, which was like the fastest at the time. And, , had like the sound card and a bunch of stuff that I didn’t really need in it. I think the hard drive was like by then standards. Large is probably like 256 mega. I don’t remember that. Right.
[00:11:19] But he was, uh, but it was enough to be able to like out burn my friends and then sell mixed CDs for $7 instead of five, because I had the jewel cases instead of the paper ones. Wow. I did at work. I was doing okay, man. That was, I was, I could say I was pulling in like 30 to $50 a day as a kid.
[00:11:35] Dan: [00:11:35] You know, I see this arc where, you know, you are destined to be an entrepreneur.
[00:11:40]If it wasn’t from birth, it was sort of like early on, you had all these experiences. And again, I think there’s this mastery that you can get just by doing these businesses, which at the time probably seemed like you probably felt like King of the world making 30 bucks a day. When you look back on it, you’re like, yeah.
[00:11:56] You know, that, that was, that was the stepping stones. That was my training camp, my [00:12:00] training for this, where I am today. So when you were coming out of high school, did you feel like. You are going to continue to be an entrepreneur or were you thinking college was going to be, you know, I’ll, learn something and I major in something and then I’ll go get a job doing that.
[00:12:13] How did you think about it as you were entering college?
[00:12:15] Evan Leaphart: [00:12:15] Well, I went to school for entrepreneurship. That was like what I intended to have my, my major be, but I mean, I was young and like I was in Miami, so like I, my college career was not really that. That focused, you know, but I always had entrepreneurial goals.
[00:12:29] I was actually saving up to buy at the time. It would have really actually , it would have been cool. I did, it was ATM franchise and I wanted to have like three ATM’s and a one to put them in nightclubs. There really weren’t ATM’s in nightclubs time, but I just, I didn’t have enough money to do it.
[00:12:45] Yeah. And then I think from there, once I realized that I just, I wasn’t paying enough attention to my studies. I took a sales job , I was selling for the yellow pages, Verizon yellow pages. I was the youngest person they’d ever hired in this position. I couldn’t go to happy hours with my coworkers, but I was killing it because everybody was selling the yellow pages.
[00:13:04] And then I was like the internet guy. So like you could make higher commissions on the thing. It was called super pages. So I would still do the yellow pages because it was required, but the internet, because there was no like the cost to develop was a lot less for them. The commissions could be higher.
[00:13:18]When you’re young people were like, Oh, you know about that internet stuff. So I got a lot of, you know, about the internet stuff, sales.
[00:13:25] Veronica Parks: [00:13:25] What was driving you to try these different kind of entrepreneurial endeavors? It sounds like you graduated from lemonade, stand to building your own computer, to seeking out potentially buying an ATM franchise. What was the driving force behind all of that?
[00:13:41] Evan Leaphart: [00:13:41] I mean, I think it just goes back to my mom and just seeing her always try. Something, you know, like I’ve always been a person that just needs to kind of like be a free spirit, you know? So like I could, I didn’t want to be in like a work environment.
[00:13:53] So I’m like, what? Well, I have to be in a work environment. Where can I still feel like I’m not. So that was where, you know, sales came [00:14:00] in and then I developed sales skills. When I was younger, I took a telemarketing job when I was 15 years old, 16 years old, me and a bunch of my friends. We all worked at this place called Protocol and we would sell like sprint DSL, some other things like some energy company and stuff.
[00:14:15] But we, you know, we just all kind of honed our ability to sell during that time. And I would just say that I, I just like seeing a reward come from like me conveying something, uh, you know, or, or like building a product or like selling a product. Like I, I do get like true validation and gratification from that
[00:14:33] Dan: [00:14:33] That makes a lot of sense. And, you know, they say that some of the best entrepreneurs are unemployable. Right. It’s just, they can’t be buttoned down into these. Do this, do that , and, have a bunch of bosses and things. So I, I sense that spirit in you of, yeah. Let me get connected to a customer and then let me just have at it.
[00:14:52] So I don’t know if everybody even knows what the yellow pages is. It’s a kind of an antiquated thing in the age of Google and Yelp, but, you know, they used to have these books, right. That people got delivered to their house or to their businesses once or twice a year and had all the phone numbers and ads in them.
[00:15:08] So tell us, so the journey between that first experience you had coming out of college, and I can understand how you were restless there too, to. Kiddie Kredit, like , what’s the, bridge , in your career of the things that you’ve done between those two periods?
[00:15:23]Evan Leaphart: [00:15:23] So during that time, it was just many different ebbs and flows, transitions between a business idea, going back to work, business idea, going back to work.
[00:15:30]Funny story. I was super naive when I, when I left Verizon L page a thing had like, like $8,000 saved. I was like, okay, cool. Got a long run we’re here. We’ll be fine. And then I had this business idea, it was called STRIOS. It was an acronym for shirts that reflect an individual’s own style. And what it was intended to be was a t-shirt company where basically people would draw their designs and then they would vote on them and whatever got the most votes, would [00:16:00] be kind of the shirt design. So I was like, well, it’s a baked in audience. Clearly, if people like the design they’ll buy the shirt. And I thought it was like the only person ever would, they clearly like naive young, no market research wrote out this long business plan at that time that’s when business plans were supposed to be 30 to 40 pages.
[00:16:15] And then, um, somebody was like, wait, that’s like Threadless. And I looked and I was like the exact thing. I was like, Oh my goodness, this already exists. It was heartbroken. I had this business plan. I was like, look, so this, this money, this will give me like four or five months. I had a business plan for like a million dollars.
[00:16:29] I was like, I’ll raise this in about two weeks. And then, and then like, you know, we’ll get started. I was like, what? 21 years old at the time?
[00:16:37] Dan: [00:16:37] How’d that go raise a million dollars in two weeks?
[00:16:40]Evan Leaphart: [00:16:40] I don’t think I’ve raised a million pennies. Like I was nowhere close. I don’t think ever anything at all, honestly.
[00:16:47] And then, um, I was like, whoops, time to get back to work. So I got back to work and then years down the line, I use that same name and I was telling you, my mom taught me how to measure for dress shirts. It became the name for the dress shirts. So I did that for a little while and, that was okay. But during this process, like right of working, doing these things, I, you know, mind you, this job history is definitely not good for when it comes to trying to make a purchase like a home or anything like that. But when I, when I came to college, I got like credit cards right away. And I, fell into debt.
[00:17:16] Didn’t understand anything about credit, right? So to bring all this together and like kind of the, the thesis for creating kitty credit was I saw how bad my credit score got. Like it got terrible. And part of it was, yeah, I made financial mistakes, but secondly, like I didn’t understand anything about the credit score and in my business ideas, like if I wanted to get access to capital was never really able to do it.
[00:17:38] My credit score was too low. So I was like, man, there’s people with Facebook level ideas out here, but. They don’t have any means to an end, to be able to execute upon these ideas. There’s no. Hey, auntie, let me get 25,000 real quick. Like there’s, there’s none of that. I mean, now we have crowd funding, so things are getting a little easier, but back then, if it was like, if you didn’t have any access to startup capital, [00:18:00] you kind of really just stayed where you were at.
[00:18:02]Kiddie Kredit was something that I thought about like 10 years ago. I was like, man, how do we teach kids about credit in a way? Like they understand it before it’s actually an issue and it’s not just something you learn in like one class and then you forget it. Like most of the classes that we do.
[00:18:16] Dan: [00:18:16] Yeah. That’s so true. Yeah. It’s, it’s really interesting how, like we have all this massive industries around SATs, and doing well in school and all these things that sort of prepare you to be, you know, I guess a student, right. But these life skills. Um, you know, when I was a kid, we had a home economics yeah. At home.
[00:18:38] Right. , and they, they taught us what a bank account was. I mean, they didn’t tell us about credit, but the, at least they was some, like, this is kind of how interest works. And they also taught us how to sew and some other things, but and how to cook. But yeah, so let’s, let’s definitely dive more into the origin story of Kiddie Kredit, but we’re going to take a short break and we’ll be right back with Evan Leaphart from Kiddie Kredit.
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[00:19:35] Dan: [00:19:39] So we’re back with Evan from Kiddie Kredit. Evan, why don’t you tell us, so obviously you had a , personal experience that was sort of part of the kernel for the idea for Kiddie Kredit, but how did it come about? How did you actually decide this is something I want to build and actually create a company around?
[00:19:56]Veronica Parks: [00:19:56] And why chores?
[00:19:58] Evan Leaphart: [00:19:58] So chores was [00:20:00] kind of the mechanism for me to say, like, what’s something that’s done fundamentally on a day-to-day basis so that when you get older, you, you can kind of have a fundamental aha moment.
[00:20:09] Right. So I couldn’t really think of anything else. We, while we’re a chore tracking app. It’s really the mechanism behind how we’re trying to teach about credit. And I mean, I had the idea like 2010, 2011, I remember sitting down, I was at a telemarketing job and I was like, how they came to me. I was like, you could teach chores and Kiddie credits.
[00:20:26] So something comes to me like that. And then I just go on these like unnecessary, like day of research tangents. I, I like bought the domain again. So we, we already went over the naive business plan. I had another one, I think Kickstarter was out at the time. So around like 2012 or 2013, I had this, like, we needed like $10,000 to launch and build the app.
[00:20:47] And it was like, if the perk was like, we invested a thousand dollars, you could be on like the board of directors. I wish I could find the page. I’m trying to look for it. Like I still can’t find it. I hope it’s there. Cause it’s like hilariously bad. Pretty much. I could have been bought out for like 15,000…
[00:21:00]Dan: [00:21:00] You know what Evan, one of the things that I’m hearing a lot in your story though, is fearlessness.
[00:21:05] Right because there’s some folks who would say, yeah, you know, if I couldn’t feel like that page was really perfect, I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting it up, you know? And again, this is a hallmark of a lot entrepreneurs, and, maybe it’s not fearless. This is probably not the right term, but, but determination to overcome fear or to, sidestep it.
[00:21:23]And so this is just another example it’s like, now you can look back and say, yeah, this is probably the mistakes I made, but at the time you were like, let’s go, let’s do it.
[00:21:31]Evan Leaphart: [00:21:31] For sure it was knocking it out the park. So yes, like, but I own the domain for years just dropping $150 a year on GoDaddy for no reason, cause I’m like one day I’m going to do this app. No idea how to build an app. Uh, and then it wasn’t until 2017, 2018. And I was like, man, I, I could do this. You know, I was mentoring kids at the time, uh, you know, my credit score was in a good space. It’s time to talk about this. So I started to like really research, like what it would take to, build an app.
[00:21:58] And then luckily. Buddy of [00:22:00] mine, Matt Cohen. Who’s who’s on the team knows that he’s, uh, also in addition, running an, a, startup , with Ricky Williams and astrology dating apps, pretty cool called Lila. And we work together to build out the initial wireframes and I started like figuring out how all that works.
[00:22:14] And then we started researching app developers and just going down that rabbit hole. And then I just started studying and just. Taking in as much as possible. So, I mean, these past two, three years have been like a crash course in tech, but I just ask questions every step of the way. So it was, but it stayed on ice for like seven years.
[00:22:30]Veronica Parks: [00:22:30] I think, you know, you talked a little bit about Matt Cohen and finding that co-founder, which I know a lot of founders have questions about, would love to know. How did you build that relationship with Matt and then what took it to the next level?
[00:22:43]Evan Leaphart: [00:22:43] So the Kiddie Kredit conversations just started with balconies and beers.
[00:22:47] You know, we talked about it like three, four, five. He was like, Oh, you really like are trying to do this. I was like, yes. So we would just sit down and we’d spend like four or five hours and like really go through the wire frames. And as he taught me, build it out and he was like, well, we gotta find app developer and.
[00:23:02] You know, I went on like Upwork and some other places and started making a short list of, of app developers. We thought would be cool based on the budget that I had, which wasn’t much. And then set up interviews with them one by one and like rated them all, like on who we thought would be decent.
[00:23:15] And it’s like, man, but you know, the ideal as I started reading more was to kind of find your CTO in house. And then, so we, we went from it being potentially an overseas developer to potentially being a, us developers, the company we were going to use based out of South Carolina. And then, luckily we found a CTO, right?
[00:23:32] So at the time he was a top tile developer had a master’s of science in finance and a personal pain point where credit it’s kind of been the common denominator amongst everybody on the team at this point is like, they all were affected by credit and like, yeah, no, it sucks. It needs to change. I’d love to help.
[00:23:47] So it’s, I mean, that’s been super helpful because this project has been bootstrapped for so long until recently. So being able to get people to do things and be like, I don’t really got it, but like, I will, you know, it helped a lot, but [00:24:00] yeah, no, it’s, you know, once we crank that out, we found our CTO and then we just, you know, we really got to work.
[00:24:05] Dan: [00:24:05] So, I mean, this is an important thing, you know, to Veronica’s point, really the idea of convincing other people to come on board on something that is, you know, let’s call it what it is. I mean, there’s a lot of risk, right? Not just, the risk of the business itself and the idea, but like professional risk and opportunity cost of like not making salaries or whatever, or using your time for things that don’t like pay income.
[00:24:30] What’s some insights you have, I guess, and maybe this is just part of your, your salesmanship, but how do you, how do you think about like, if I’m sitting across the table and you’re trying to convince me to come join the team, like what’s been the thing that you think is like, that gets them every time. Is it the personal pain point? Is it, is it the opportunity? Is it you?
[00:24:49]Evan Leaphart: [00:24:49] I always say, I think there’s a little bit of a cheat code with this project, right? Because it kind of pulls at the heartstrings, like let’s change the youth. Nobody’s going to be like, No, you know what I mean? So like, there’s, there’s that, that helps a lot.
[00:25:00] I mean, a part of is me I’m sure, but like, I think a lot of it is just, it’s a combination, right? It’s like, we’re all driven towards a common goal. Like we see a tangible way to get there. Everybody has their role to play is really no like overlaps and, you know, I, I give everybody a, you know, a voice.
[00:25:16] So somebody can be like Evan, that’s a terrible idea. Um, I’m happy to hear it. And if I, if I’m like, you’re right, it’s terrible. We won’t do it. Or I’ll be like, we’re going to go with it. I’m sorry. But like, you know, being able to have like a healthy level of communication has always been the case personally and professionally.
[00:25:32] So I would say that. Add a lot of it. And because it may be because it stayed in my head so long, I have a very strong vision about it. And so that unwavering vision probably helps too, because there’s been many times, especially when you say trying to teach you about credit, it gets thrown into this financial literacy bucket.
[00:25:48] So like, Oh, you should just teach how to save or how to invest. I’m like, no, like credit, we’ll start with credit and we’ll make the most credit focus and next decision. And then along the way, I’m certain other [00:26:00] components will come into play. But I mean, we’ve been trying to be knocked off our course many, many different times and go in different directions.
[00:26:06]Veronica Parks: [00:26:06] And I think what you said is very key in terms of being able to articulate what is that vision and then finding folks that align with that vision and not wavering on that vision, I think is really important and critical and early stage, especially as you’re trying to build out your culture and all of these things.
[00:26:24] So, you know, for founders listening, I think articulating that vision early on, especially as you start to look for CTOs, and folks beyond that is really important.
[00:26:36]Dan: [00:26:36] Tell us a little bit about how it works. Like what, what are the features and like, how does, how does it work? Exactly.
[00:26:41] Evan Leaphart: [00:26:41] So it’s, it’s pretty simple, right?
[00:26:43] Like, and it’s in its public beta form now, which is available to download me the, on the iOS. So you parent comes in, they sign up, sign up their kids, um, and then they add their chores, right? Make your bed, brush teeth, clean your room, do dishes. We prefer that you add up at five or more chores, right? To get the maximum experience, five chores, three rewards.
[00:27:02] After you’ve added the chores, then you add the rewards. So the rewards could be, it could be monetary. So it could be $10 for 10 bamboo bucks, which is what they’re called right now it could be time outside with friends. Or it could be an actual item. It could be shoes, right. And then the kid now comes into the app and they see how these things have been set up and they have their chores.
[00:27:23] So it’s like, Hey mom, I made the bed. I did the dishes and cleaned my room today by brush my teeth. Right. So every component of that will hold a weighted factor on your credit score, which is from zero to a hundred. And it, the algorithm is designed to parallel FICO. So, you know, your payment history is the biggest.
[00:27:42] Component when it comes to your credit score. So if you miss a chore, it’s the biggest component. When a parent sets up the chore themselves, they can determine the priority of the chores if it’s a low, medium or high. So if you were supposed to brush your teeth, which is a high priority, at least it should be, and you missed it.
[00:27:58]It’s going to affect your score more [00:28:00] than like making your bed, right? Like whatever the parents said, the utilization, your bamboo books that you get weekly, as long as you’re, the way we have a default setup is, is if you’re saving at least 10% of them, you’re not going to get penalized for utilization.
[00:28:13] So we’re not saying you can only use. 30% of your bamboo bucks, like you can and in the real world before you’re dinged, but we wanted to just kind of create that simulated environment. The average age of your accounts is like the average age of your chores, right? So it’s not spanned out over 10 weeks, right?
[00:28:28] So less than 10 years. So if you have it for like six weeks, you’re getting your maximum point allotment there. If you have five or more chores, that’s like a healthy credit mix. And then your inquiries. You’re not penalized for them until after your, like your fifth ask in a week. So you’re just doing a lot.
[00:28:42] If you’re just asking for everything under the sun scores are going to come down a little bit.
[00:28:45] Dan: [00:28:45] So scores will go up and down?
[00:28:47] Evan Leaphart: [00:28:47] Based on the sun then, whatever your scores for the week is basically, uh, the percentage of how much bamboo bucks you get for the week. So let’s say a credit score is 80 and you’re supposed to get 10 bamboo bucks for the week.
[00:28:58] You’d get eight. And just like you can’t start out with perfect credit. As an adult, can’t start out with perfect credit and Kiddie Kredit. To get a perfect score, it would take a minimum of six weeks.
[00:29:07]Veronica Parks: [00:29:07] Are the parents combining this tool with discussions around credit building, or is that something that kind of comes later on?
[00:29:16]Evan Leaphart: [00:29:16] We are aiming to make that conversation easier for them because we find is the parent that downloads the app in the first place for her kid probably needs help understanding it themselves. So we’re trying to simplify it. So it’s kind of a two gen educational approach to where we’re saying to the parent.
[00:29:31] This is how this factors into your kids’ credit score, but this is how it works in real life. Right. And then for the kid, it’s just, it’s simple. , we’re not saying we want seven year olds to implicitly understand FICO. We just want to be like, when they’re 18, they’re like, man, it’s like, when I make my bed that day, it’s like when I miss my car payment.
[00:29:48] So that way they’re, they’re understanding the mechanics of it.
[00:29:51]Dan: [00:29:51] I think that it’s a behavioral masterpiece, right. Because it is about gamifying it and, for a lot of us, I mean, I’m in the FinTech business and, and [00:30:00] phyco still has some, it’s a little bit opaque, right? It’s like you do something and you think, Oh, that should pump my score up.
[00:30:07] And it’s like, Hmm, that didn’t really move or. But just acknowledging this idea of the feedback loop that, okay. If I do this, it results in this. If I do something else or if I miss something, which I think is probably as important, the idea of missing, right? You know, at the end of the day credit score is, is about consistency and reliability and predictability of your ability to repay. Right? And so it’s all about history and consistency that you’ve done in the past. So I think that’s a great idea. Now you said seven year olds, what’s the age that you’re targeting.
[00:30:38]Evan Leaphart: [00:30:38] So Kiddie Kredit is designed for kids ages four to 12, right. Build now for,
[00:30:46] So here’s, here’s what we’re trying to do. We want to redefine what a chore is, right? Because. A chore doesn’t necessarily have to be, it can be something like hug your mom, hug your dad. Right. So we’re still trying to search for like that verb of like, what could it be to be like, just the activity itself? Because we don’t just see this being used at home.
[00:31:03] It could be used in the classroom. It could be used at a summer camp, et cetera, et cetera. But yeah, for four to 12, and then, you know, we, we are intending to build out a platform for teens and first time credit users.
[00:31:13]Dan: [00:31:13] And is the app on the parent’s phone or is it if the kids have a phone it’s on their phone too, or?
[00:31:18] Evan Leaphart: [00:31:18] It’s intended to be able to be used on multiple devices or one device?
[00:31:21] Right? So the way that we coded this, everything that we’ve done from our business model to the way that we built it to the way that we’re charging is really intended to benefit the family that needs to learn about credit the most may not necessarily have the most financial resources at their disposal.
[00:31:36] So the way it works on one phone is there’s parent mode and kid mode. Right. We can’t assume there’s more than one phone in the household. Over 75% of kids, ages four to 12 have access to a smartphone, but it’s not necessarily their own. So the way it is is when you’re a parent mode, when you go to child mode to give it to your kid, essentially they can do whatever they want with their chores.
[00:31:52] But if they can’t approve or deny or change any settings, that’s only in parent mode. And the moment they try to go back, they would have to reenter [00:32:00] the password. Right? So if, for example, with your kids, if you want to use it with your kid, you just tapped on their profile and then they stay in. Stays locked in that kid mode.
[00:32:09] Right? So that way it can, it can operate on multiple, multiple phones.
[00:32:13] Dan: [00:32:13] I’m envisioning an Alexa plugin where it’s like, Hey Alexa, tell mom I made my bed!
[00:32:20] Evan Leaphart: [00:32:20] I can’t yell that out right now. Cause I have one in the house and then she’ll just replay it back. Like, I don’t know that
[00:32:28]Veronica Parks: [00:32:28] Who are your early adopters who have you seen really, you know, pick up. Kiddie Kredit and take off with it. And does that change as you scale and grow the company?
[00:32:39] Evan Leaphart: [00:32:39] We think it will change a little bit because our, our approach now is B2B to C. So we’re working with organizations and municipalities looking for unique ways to engage with their audience, but it, you know, if we look back on what we could have done, I think we really could have done.
[00:32:53] Better job at fact-finding where our users came from. We have over 5,000 families on the app, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t a lot, but we literally spent $0 on marketing. It’s just been all organic interest in what we’re doing. And we have over 50,000 chores completed. So they’re, they’re coming, you know, and then like, so we’ve been trying to figure out from them what they like.
[00:33:13] And what they don’t like about the app, you know, some of the biggest things that we’ve seen that we, we want to add are the ability for kind of a, like a vacation mode, right? So like you have these chores and then it’s like, you know, you know, the other apps that are out there, right? Like their chore tracking, it’s not based on a continual schedule.
[00:33:29] There’s no score component with it, but what. With ours. There is if you have these shores that you’re doing weekly, but then you all go on a ski trip. You don’t want to be penalized for that. So we want to be able to provide that and then, you know, ability to have one time chores and things like that.
[00:33:42] But as we grow and scale the organizations and municipalities, we feel that those unique groups will help us with engagement because there’s a secondary push. So you use them, you know, this particular space, the engagement challenges that we have, like while all parents mean well and want to do things for their kids, [00:34:00] it can be a chore to get parents to attract chores.
[00:34:02] So we’re really trying to simplify that and just really do everything that we can to get it embedded into having them use it on a continual basis.
[00:34:09]Dan: [00:34:09] I can tell you as a parent, my kids are teenagers. And every week I have to say, as I look at the garbage piling up, whose job is it this week to do the garbage.
[00:34:20] And yeah, it was like, I dunno, I haven’t written down. They’re supposed to be responsible enough to organize it themselves. And yet I’m still, who is supposed to do the garbage.
[00:34:29] Veronica Parks: [00:34:29] I don’t have any kids, but that same thing gets said with me and my spouse.
[00:34:33]Evan Leaphart: [00:34:33] Yep. It’s like whose turn is it?
[00:34:35] Veronica Parks: [00:34:35] He doesn’t like to use the term chore. So we’re trying to think of another word as well, but you know, it’s life maintenance, right?
[00:34:42] Dan: [00:34:42] There we go, LMAs. That’s right. And, and have you have you, and maybe this is still being, um, evolving, but like the business model and how you make money. Is that been coming to fruition yet? Or are you still early for that?
[00:34:56] Evan Leaphart: [00:34:56] The organizations we charge per family unit per year right now. And then also we’re building out an app as a product recommendation engine.
[00:35:03] So think like a credit karma for families where we recommend different parents to different products to parents based off of geolocation and age and express need. Um, so that way it becomes a resource for them. So to really get into like how we’re building around the engagement, like we’re focused on three components right now, the in-app educational content itself, right.
[00:35:22] Outside of just simply the scoring model, building a robust reward offering for kids. Right. So. The ability for, you know, real-world acceptance of money, being able to use digital gift cards and then rewards from partners, right? So we’re working with YMC, Atlanta, working with Equifax and Equifax foundation and say, we want to get tickets to the Atlanta zoo, for example, you know, you’d be able to.
[00:35:45] Digitally distribute that reward and the parents’ side, right. To help with that engagement too, is we want to have products for them that actually serve value to them. So they’re not just going into it for their kid. They’re actually going into it for themselves. It’s like kind of credit karma effect, you know, you’re going in and you [00:36:00] see what your vantage score is, but then you see all these different tools that may be available to you.
[00:36:03] Dan: [00:36:03] And so as you think about, I mean, you obviously have a big vision, you know, if we look down the road, like how do you define success view side to yourself several years from now? And you know, you’re the next unicorn or whatever. How do you define success for this company?
[00:36:19] Evan Leaphart: [00:36:19] So I think we, we look at Katie credit essentially is like phase one of what we’re trying to do.
[00:36:23] Right? So like a scaling to teens and first time credit users where we actually want to, we want to be able to distribute our own cards to them, but we want to change the methods of how credit is issued. Right? Like if it’s based simply off of, you know, your, your first time credit user and you’re using metrics around income or.
[00:36:40] Whatever the case may be. They can still be determining factors that are bias and don’t affect positively the underserved, the unbanked, the under-banked communities. So we think education can be a methodology for de-risking. So we’re in the process of trying to make that happen now. And if you combine those things together, we think that’s kind of a credit education ecosystem package that can be replicated in global markets where credit is either a new thing or just doesn’t exist.
[00:37:08] So like emerging markets or third world countries, if we’re teaching countries, how to effectively instill credit that we’re, we’re in good shape.
[00:37:16] Dan: [00:37:16] I like that. I have a business in India in the FinTech space. And I can tell you credit is just in its very early stages there. There’s a lot of opportunity globally, for sure.
[00:37:26] We’re going to take another short break and we’ll be right back with Evan Leaphart from Kiddie Kredit.
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[00:38:07] Dan: [00:38:12] So we’re back with Evan. So Evan, tell us a little bit about the journey of how you funded this entity. So obviously it’s been percolating for a long time. You’ve had the URL for a long time, and then obviously now you’re kind of off and running.
[00:38:28] So how has it been funded? Have you been trying to raise money? Are you going to raise money? Tell us a little bit about that journey.
[00:38:34] Evan Leaphart: [00:38:34] Yeah, the irony of this all is that like, when I started this, I had great credit. And then in order to, you know, really, because I was bootstrapping everything, I really went into my own personal credit and just max things out to get things to where it needed to be.
[00:38:48] You know, I realized that. This is it like I’m, I’m totally cool going all in on this project. This was always the business I wanted to do. So, I mean, I’ve bootstrapped about collectively put together like $50,000, let’s say over the course of this and you know, up until the seed round, which we’re going through now, we hadn’t raised more than the total $200,000 to get it to where it is and, um, edges, you know, scrapped everything together so we could pay our CTO was like, look, I got you on with a Zelle you something now. I’ll do this next week and then give me like three months and I got this. So just piecing everything together, piece by piece. And then, you know, where I didn’t have money. I, you know, I knew I had equity and just, you know, working that balance as much as possible and still trying to hold on for dear life to your project too.
[00:39:31]That was how I got it here. And you know, now we’re in the middle of the seed round.
[00:39:35] Veronica Parks: [00:39:35] Tell us about your raise and how you’re thinking about, you know, who you’re partnering with or who you want to partner with. And how do you think about that as the founder of Kiddie Kredit?
[00:39:43]Evan Leaphart: [00:39:43] So we’ve made some traction there, so pretty notable people, but for me, it’s always fell into three buckets, right?
[00:39:49] Like you’re either identifying with. Who I am as a founder, right? Like be it personally or just, you know, my, my journey is an underrepresented founder. Secondly, [00:40:00] you identify with the ecosystem I’m in, right? Like a year ago. Wasn’t necessarily cool to say you’re a Miami based business. That’s like the greatest thing you could say.
[00:40:07] It’s the weirdest thing ever. I’ve lived here for 16 years to see Miami tech at the forefront is funny. And then thirdly, we’re mission aligned, right? Like if you don’t see credit as like a problem, probably not the best fit for this project. Cause we’re not deviating from that. Right? Like this is like the one unchanging factors that were super focused on demystifying credit first.
[00:40:27] So I looked through those three lenses before, you know, even really having the conversation. And I can definitely say we have turned down money from the wrong type of investment. It’s just either for the wrong reasons or trying to take us in a different direction.
[00:40:40]Dan: [00:40:40] That’s really great clarity around how you filter your investors. Because a lot of people that I talk to sometimes entrepreneurs are like, just, no, they almost view it like, just get a list of investors, start at a set, a find, you know, a contact there, a warm intro, and just go down the list to where, and then Veronica obviously can offer the investor perspective. But I think the criteria you laid out is probably what the better investors use for themselves too. Right.
[00:41:04] They want to feel like they add value that they’re aligned. That they see the vision that you, you know, that you’re envisioning. And so that makes a lot of sense.
[00:41:12]Veronica Parks: [00:41:12] I think some of the best things founders can ask investors are one who are your LPs. Don’t be afraid to ask that question. You know, whose money are you investing into my company?
[00:41:23] And then how do those LPs values align with what you’re trying to build? Right. And then two, you know, trying to understand. Okay. I know who your LPs are, but let me talk to founders, even invested in existing portfolio companies do references on the investors, because they’re doing references on you.
[00:41:42] You can absolutely flip that coin and ask for references. And hopefully if they’re good and open honest investors, they’ll probably just offer that up anyway.
[00:41:50]Evan Leaphart: [00:41:50] Not as, as super true, you know, what would help me? Cause I used to get really beat down and upset by the process. I’m like, you don’t get it. And I was like, what I realized was that [00:42:00] it just, I try to give founder friends this advice because I started taking it less personally, as once I realized that I’m trying to raise money from people that are trying to raise money that got easy to understand.
[00:42:11] It’s like, it needs to make sense to them. So it can make sense that somebody else, when they tell them about what we’re doing. I really just. Started looking at it from that lens. And you’re, you’re absolutely right. Like you start asking the right questions and just saying like, look, this is a partnership.
[00:42:24] You get a little more confident in what you’re doing and where you’re talking about. But I mean, that’s just, I think that’s just the nature of repetition.
[00:42:30] Veronica Parks: [00:42:30] Yeah. I’d love to hear advice for other founders who are going through this process who may not have had as much experience on the sales side as they grew up.
[00:42:39] And as they were trying different entrepreneurial endeavors like yourself, You know, how do you think about telling your story, telling Kiddie Kredit’s story, depending on who that investor is that you’re going to meet with, like you said, they’re raising money as well. So how do you think through telling that story and connecting with that investor on the other side of now zoom calls
[00:43:01] Evan Leaphart: [00:43:01] So, one, if you’re sharing your deck, make sure your deck is up to par. Right. Then look like you just did it using clip art. But then secondly, I would say like, just don’t do your deck and then tell your story based off of your deck, I could do the opposite, right? Like write down your story first and then have that essentially match, match the journey itself.
[00:43:19] Like I always start out my pitches now by like putting people in the space of understanding credit. Right? Like, think about when you, when you got your credit card for the first time. Think about some of the first purchases you made now think about when you saw your credit score for the first time who understood how that even happened or works.
[00:43:36] And then like, people are like, I don’t really remember. And it’s like, exactly. And then I go into my pitch. So I would just say, make your story captivating so they can understand your problem. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be an investor and just have to hear about 80 different business models and just really separate them.
[00:43:52] But I know I would remember the stories. I don’t know. I remember I remember the founder and, you know, especially if you’re pre-seed or seed, I, [00:44:00] know. And I don’t know what stages you all or invest in Maveron. Right. But like, just in general, I think the earlier you are, it’s going to be about you, the founder, right?
[00:44:08] Like series C. Like, I don’t need to hear, I don’t need to hear Robin Hood’s CEO’s story. Like I’m in probably, right. But the earlier it is, it’s like, how will you be able to execute and make sure that you sell your vision as a founder would be the most important thing.
[00:44:23]Veronica Parks: [00:44:23] That’s great advice and I didn’t share, but yeah, at Maveron we do seed and series A.
[00:44:28] So to your point, a lot of what we look for is what is that story? What’s going to compel this founder through the ups and the downs to pursue this company for at least the next 10 years. You know, we want to make sure that you’re in it for the long haul that you’re passionate about. This. Problem you’re trying to solve and really try to get deep into understanding the why.
[00:44:47] And I think also sometimes founders can get caught up in, Hey, there’s other companies that might be doing something similar to mine. So how do I differentiate myself? I think the story is one way to differentiate yourself, but don’t be afraid to share really why you are unique and why you will win and in whatever market you’re playing in. So I love that advice, Evan.
[00:45:07]Dan: [00:45:07] So let’s talk a little bit about being a black founder. So you, you helped found Black Men Talk Tech. I’m pretty sure. I think I saw that you went through Founder Gym. And so these are environments that are credible in terms of the tremendous accomplishment and success of the people who participate in them, but maybe help us understand what’s the advantage of being part of programs that some people may say is, somewhat exclusive, maybe. Right. Because it’s defining by certain groups, even though it’s groups that have been left out for a long time, what do you see as the advantage as an entrepreneur, to being a part of those kinds of programs?
[00:45:45] Evan Leaphart: [00:45:45] So, you know, Black Men Talk Tech Conference, co-founder of, and we did that in partnership with Black Women Talk Tech, amazing organization on your five or six at this point, we’re in year three and.
[00:45:55] For me, it was really just about my journey as a founder. And I was [00:46:00] like, I know what I’m going through. So I know there’s other people going through the same thing. I would love to be a part of something that, uplifts the community. You know, we, we know the numbers and we know like how little of the money comes to us.
[00:46:12] So we wanted to, you know, be a part of something that, that changes that, but not just. Pointing it out, but like celebrating it, right? So like, look at these incredible founders, look at these incredible investors, look at these incredible techniques and just build it out. Founder, Gym was cool. I was in cohort six, which was one that was specifically dedicated towards black founders. And there’s so many people in that cohort that are just killing it. So we’ve always stuck together and supported each other. So that’s been pretty cool. So I think , through shared experiences and like, Being able to express your, like in confidentiality, like your pains and the things that you’re going through, like you, you really build community, right?
[00:46:50] Like any type of program I’ve been in, you know, and I’ve been in others too. Like I think the most important thing hasn’t necessarily been what I’ve learned in terms of the actual lessons is really just been about the people and connecting with them. I would be nowhere. Maybe somewhere, but not as far as I am now.
[00:47:04] Like if I hadn’t been grateful to have the connections that I have, you know, and then the conference has been cool because it’s definitely given me additional connections that I can then build upon, but I’ve always tried to, just for the sake of doing good business, keep the two worlds separate, like this is the conference we’re talking about, or this is Kiddie Kredit.
[00:47:23]Dan: [00:47:23] That’s great. And so tell us, I want it to loop back to this. Give us the real scoop. I mean, Hype or not for Miami, is it legit? Is there really a tech community being built there?
[00:47:34] Evan Leaphart: [00:47:34] It’s so I think we’re trying, right? So like you got people coming down and but nobody’s experienced the Miami summer yet.
[00:47:40] That’s that’s what I really like. Miami Summers are not the weight. Like you don’t, it’s not. It’s not fun. It rains a lot super muggy. So it’s like, is this COVID Exodus? Are you here? But I mean, people are buying places so places aren’t staying on the market. So, I mean, there’s, you know, headquarters of being moved here.
[00:47:58] Those are things you can just say, [00:48:00] whoops and reverse. So, but there’s, there’s definitely a collective effort amongst the people that have been here for awhile. And then the. people are moving down here of significance to try to collaborate and say, look, don’t come to Miami with a bunch of people from the Bay and then a bunch of people from the Bay area at one particular restaurant.
[00:48:17] And then you connect with other people from the Bay. And now it’s like these two worlds, the old versus the new. So, you know, this is like, we have collective group chat, we, we all are in on and on WhatsApp and stuff, and it’s been cool. You know, a couple of coffees and Miami is. For some people listening are probably in like bubbles right now.
[00:48:33] And like, the streets are empty. We’re not that here. Right? Like we’re, we’re open, which, you know, depending on how you feel as good or bad thing. And, it’s interesting. So like, I see, it’s funny. I have people come in town and look around like, like this is crazy. I’m like, I know, I know.
[00:48:50] But yeah. So I would say, I gotta give it time. You know, like Rome wasn’t built in a day, Silicon Valley wasn’t built in a year. And I, I think this will take a while too, but it’s, it’s good to see because it’s something that we’ve longed for people here is a long time. I’ve always wanted to keep the conference here.
[00:49:05] Cause I’m like, let’s not be another tech conference in New York. , let’s be the place. Let’s be the event that people want to come to in Miami. And like now it’s actually the place to be. So it worked out
[00:49:15]Dan: [00:49:15] I love Miami. It’s beautiful. And, uh, although I, have relatives who live in, uh, the Boca area and I worked for my uncle as a teenager doing landscaping in the summer.
[00:49:25]We had to work from like six to 10 and then like three to eight, because in the middle of the day, Forget it 110 in the shade with humidity. And you wait for, like you said, it rains for about 15 minutes in the afternoon and it’s super hard, but, uh, it’s beautiful. I mean, it’s, it’s a beautiful place. so I’m just so excited that there’s this diffusion across the country, right? I mean, we got Atlanta, we got Austin. Uh, we got Miami, you know, DC’s picking up again now, you know, so we’ve got these places that are becoming, I won’t [00:50:00] call them mini Silicon Valley’s because Silicon Valley is his own thing, but they’re places where innovation is being supported. And encouraged and blossoming and , that’s good for everybody.
[00:50:11]Veronica Parks: [00:50:11] I just read about a founder who built a billion dollars in revenue business out of Alabama quietly. Talent is not geo-specific.
[00:50:20] Evan Leaphart: [00:50:20] Yeah. It’s, there’s not, that’s what we need to understand it. I said I was seeing some today too. They were like, there’s some VC now has a thesis that they, the requirement is that you’re not in Silicon Valley.
[00:50:31] Dan: [00:50:31] Yeah. So, I mean, we’re getting close on time here. This is awesome conversation. Maybe like, uh, we always like to just ask this question and. However you want to answer it, but going back in time to, let’s just say you’ve been entrepreneurial for a long time. So you’ve learned a lot of lessons, but just around Kiddie Kredit, right?
[00:50:47]If you could go back to talk to yourself as you’re beginning launching the business, you know, what would be the things that you would bring up to that? Evan say. Definitely do that or watch out for this or, or just, you know, have your eyes open for, some specific things. What kind of advice would you give yourself?
[00:51:06] Evan Leaphart: [00:51:06] Oh, I would have definitely set more realistic timelines for when things would occur. , and then I would have leaned in more. On a concrete business model versus just how cool the idea is. Right? Like, I was really naive when it comes to building a backable business versus a bankable business and, building something for scale.
[00:51:26] It just, this just a world I’d know. I come from a mom and pop type of environment. I had a cleaning business and auto transport business along the way. So these are things where it’s just, she tried to generate a little revenue, not like doing venture math. So I’d have probably just read a little more and just understood.
[00:51:40] You know, got smarter around a business model and like unit economics and financial modeling things that if you do them early and then people are interested and they see you’ve already done that. I think you just, you bypass a lot of hardships along the way.
[00:51:54]Dan: [00:51:54] Good advice. So, you know, we always want to leave with a, with a shout out and I got in a call out to [00:52:00] our audience. Can unfound nation be helpful to Kiddie Kredit in any way?
[00:52:03]Evan Leaphart: [00:52:03] I think you all continue in what you’re doing is great. We’re now in the midst of really reaching out to organizations and municipalities that are looking for unique ways to engage with their audience. So if you do feel that there’s any companies in alignment with that, so, you know, the closest line verticals, so that are like nonprofits and financial institutions.
[00:52:24] And then, yeah, I mean, as far as investing we’re halfway through around anybody that you feel is a decent fit there. I know that’s a super common ask. Focused on the first one, but yeah, no, that’s, that’s fine. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s amazing. I appreciate it. I appreciate you both.
[00:52:37]Dan: [00:52:37] Awesome. And uh, you want to just give us your social media handles URLs? How can we find out more about Kiddie Kredit or about Evan?
[00:52:44] Evan Leaphart: [00:52:44] So for me personally, it’s @evenleaphart, that’s E V A N L E A P H A R T. And that’s. Same for Instagram, Twitter and clubhouse. And then Kiddie Kredit is just @kiddie K I D D I E credit with the case or K R E D I T. And that’s the same for Instagram and Twitter.
[00:53:05]Dan: [00:53:05] And you said you were on the iOS app store, Android coming soon?
[00:53:08] Evan Leaphart: [00:53:08] Android was there. We have to make a couple changes.
[00:53:11]Veronica Parks: [00:53:11] Thank you so much, Evan. I know you think that’s for doing what we do, but we wouldn’t be here without amazing fearless leaders like yourself. So really thank you for doing what you’re doing.
[00:53:22] Evan Leaphart: [00:53:22] Appreciate you.
[00:53:23] Dan: [00:53:23] Yeah. Thanks for the time. This has been awesome.
[00:53:26] We’d like to thank our guests, Evan Leaphart, our guest coast, Veronica Parks and our sponsors VertueLab and AfriBlocks.
[00:53:33] This podcast was produced by yours truly. Dan Kihanya.
[00:53:36] Our music was arranged by Michael Kihanya.
[00:53:39] Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts or simply go to foundersunfound.com/listento. That’s, listen, T O. And follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn @foundersunfound.
[00:53:51] Thanks so much for tuning in.
[00:53:53] I am Dan Kihanya and you have
[00:53:55] been listening to founders unfound.