PART ONE: Life Story and Experiences
What’s your current position and can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?
I am one of the Founders of Tyfone and CEO of the company which means I get to do all the things no one else wants to do. It’s important for me to define our purpose and why we exist and the value we bring to the ecosystem. Our purpose is to fill the gap between most consumers wanting money in community minded financial institutions, but they see digital services are done better by big banks. By filling this purposeful gap with innovative digital technologies with a great user experience we enable credit unions to compete with the big banks even in the digital domain.
What would you say most motivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about?
A couple of things. From a market vantage point, we believe there is a place for big banks. The bigger you are, the faster you grow; however, that doesn’t tell the whole story. We want to really look at retail consumer needs and we know that community minded financial institutions are very necessary to serve retail consumers. From a technology vantage point, digital banking is where innovation happens, and it moves fast. What is true today is not true tomorrow and learning is a passion for me. When your brain hurts, it’s fun! So, both the market need and technology pace motivates me.
I want to hear the story of how you came to work with credit unions. What attracted you to work for Tyfone?
That’s a really good question. When we started the company almost 18 years ago, we knew mobile devices would be important. I was at Intel and we were looking at Moore’s law and we knew smartphones would become commonplace. We decided to focus on mobile payments initially and realized that it is a highly consolidated market and breaking into that “club” is non-trivial. So, it was out of necessity that we ended up working with smaller institutions and it was clear we were going to do something that was exciting. Most of the founders were credit union members and so it was a natural that we would end up serving them. We started with one Bay Area CU and slowly grew. The first client was Star One Credit Union in Silicon Valley. The members of this high-tech credit union expected a good user experience. Digital features are easy to build quickly, but relationships take time and we found that good communication with our customers has kept us relevant and an attractive place to work!