Ryan recently visited Grove HQ in SOMA in San Francisco to chat with two founders who know a ton about fintech.
Chris Hutchins was our gracious host and is CEO of Grove, a startup that uses people and technology to help you with your financial goals. Ryan actually met Chris in the early days of Product Hunt when he was an investor at Google Ventures. Before that, he started a company called Milk that was acquired by Google. All his life he's been a self-acknowledged financial nerd, often sharing his money-saving tips with friends, which was a large inspiration for starting Grove.
Jake Gibson is the co-founder of NerdWallet. The company started back in 2009 and helps consumers make smart financial decisions like “which credit card should I get?” or “what's the best savings account for me?” He left in 2014 and has since focused his time angel investing, primarily in fintech startups.
In this episode they discuss...
How fintech has evolved over the past decade — and why it’s so hot right now
Jake and Chris both worked in finance before becoming entrepreneurs and they talk about how that informed the companies they founded. They talk about the big changes that have happened over the last ten years and why a space that very few founders would touch just a few years ago has become one of the hottest spaces for entrepreneurs and investors.
“We all basically know the guidelines around how to be healthy, but we don’t do it, because eating broccoli sucks, and its complicated, and good food is expensive, so there are a lot of reasons why we aren’t going to do it and personal finance is the same way.” — Jake
The top financial life hacks, including why Chris says he buys his groceries at OfficeMax
People ask me, ‘where do you buy your groceries?’ and I’ll be like, ‘I buy my groceries at OfficeMax, because I buy Whole Foods gift cards at OfficeMax so that I can buy my groceries.’ You have to be kind of crazy to do that but I’m clearly there.” — Chris
Chris talks about his obsessive quest for credit card points and why, once you take a lavish vacation using only the points you’ve accrued on your cards, it makes having twelve credit cards and an index card to tell you when to spend on which one all worth it.
“I have all these credit cards and I’ve specifically gone in and said, ‘do I spend enough here to make it worth it?’ It might be that I’m the first person to volunteer to plan a trip for friends and they all think ‘wow, I’m getting this awesome benefit, my friend’s planning this trip for me, I don’t have to think about it.’ I’m like, totally, and I will do that for free, but I will put 100% of the flights and hotels on my credit card. I’ll earn the points, you get a free travel agent, and it works out really well for both of us.” — Chris
What the future holds for fintech and their favorite companies in the space
They talk about the problems they were trying to solve with the companies they co-founded, what remains to be done in the space, and some of their favorite apps for helping you get a handle on your finances.
“How do you know if a term life policy is more relevant than investing in your 401k or saving more money or putting it towards your kids’ college? How do you figure all that out? The short answer is you could build a future cash flow model and the bankers in the room are like ‘oh, I already did that’ but 99 percent of people are like ‘I have no idea.’” — Chris
The rise of crypto and how it might impact fintech
“There are a lot of people in the crypto space who don’t know anything about finance and a lot of people who know a lot about finance getting into crypto who don’t know anything about crypto, so it’ll be interesting to see how that will all evolve.” — Jake
It wouldn’t be a tech podcast without talking about crypto, right? They discuss the promise of crypto and which aspects of it are overhyped.
“People talk about how tokenizing securities — stocks and bonds and things like that — should make the world better and more efficient. Sure, if you can cut out trading costs, I think that can be helpful, but you don’t necessarily need a blockchain to do that. Additionally, everyone says one of the benefits is it’s tradable 24/7. I don’t think that’s actually a benefit.” — Jake
If you want to give Grove a try, check out hellogrove.com/producthunt to get $100 off.
We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Vettery and Copper for their support. 😸
Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode
Astra — Save money. Without thinking about it.
Cushion — Your bank and credit card fees, refunded.
Ease — Benefits administration and HR software.
Lively — Zenefits for health savings accounts.
Max My Interest— Intelligent cash management for intelligent investors.
Mint — The classic automated budget tracker.
Plaid — A REST API for your bank.
Synapse — The banking platform.
Visor — Taxes made simple.
Yodlee — Access financial data through an API.