The Asia Tech Podcast was joined by Andrew Forman, the Founder and CEO at Givz.com.  Givz is the eCommerce marketing platform that grows sales, creates social impact and reduces discount dependency.
Some of the topics that Andrew discussed:
  • Attending Harvard Business School and networking in a multi-college environment
  • How investment banking helped him learn about starting a business
  • The real impact of discounting and customer expectations
  • Customers’ response to GroupOn
  • Data analytics and customer behavior
  • How Givz works and the impetus for starting it
  • Changing the Givz model and getting the team to come along for the pivot
  • The online implementation and how Givz works offline as well
  • Creating an infrastructure for brands and charities to work together
  • The normalization of QR codes in the United States
Some other titles we considered:
  1. The Pandemic Saved the QR Code
  2. There Is an Element of Luck
  3. Placing Yourself Strategically Is 90% of the Battle
  4. It Was the Beginning of the End, I Knew…
This episode was expertly produced by Isabelle Goh.

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Michael Waitze 0:23
Okay, we’re on. Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to the Asia Tech Podcast. Both of us are smiling, so it’s gotta go well…yeah, it’s gotta go well. Today, we are happy to welcome Andrew Forman. By the way, the easiest name that I’ve pronounced on any of my podcasts all week, I live in Asia lived here for 32 years. So you do the math. Andrew is the founder and CEOof Givz. Andrew, it’s great to have you on the show. How are you doing? I’m guessing it’s morning where you are? Yeah. How you doing this morning?

Andrew Forman 0:55
It is morning here. And I’m doing really well. Thanks. Thanks for having me on. I’m excited to be here. And if you hear little noises in the background, that it’s just either my one year old son or three year old daughter, who will hopefully be going to school shortly.

Michael Waitze 1:09
Yeah, don’t worry about it. I’m and I always say if there’s not a dog barking in the background are a baby crying. It’s not really a podcast. Right now we know. Welcome to the new day and age. I love it. I love it. So now we know a little bit about you. But before we get into the main part of this conversation, can we give our listeners a little bit more of your background? Just for some context?

Andrew Forman 1:31
Apps? Absolutely. So background on me. I actually did six years of investment banking, followed by I’m sorry, yeah. Yeah, so six years of investment banking two years at at Harvard Business School. And then I actually launched into gives gap vz, by the way, but those of you that are thinking, okay, banking HBS, anything to do with charity? What stinks? Right? As I’m sure you’re probably thinking about that right now, Michael, but no, no, never. The missing link is that I was a treasurer of a nonprofit for five years while I was doing the investment banking piece as well. And so we can talk a little bit about what that was, why I was passionate about it, etc, etc. But that’s a very quick background on on me, grew up in New Jersey, ended up playing football at Hamilton College, which is d3. Nothing crazy, but but very, very fun.

Michael Waitze 2:30
We’re in New Jersey did grow up.

Andrew Forman 2:32
Show up in northern jersey. Actually, people don’t realize this, but they’re parts of northern Jersey are actually north of New York City. So I actually was north of New York City, in Bergen County. And that’s, that’s where I grew up.

Michael Waitze 2:45
I grew up in Well, I didn’t grow up, but I spent a year in Essex County.

Andrew Forman 2:49
Okay. Yeah, a lot of good friends from there. And I even worked there for a summer.

Michael Waitze 2:55
Oh, right. Probably Fair enough. Look, I worked. Were you an investment banker, investment banker? Like were you on a deal team somewhere? Or did you work at an investment bank? Like I did, but like on the trading side?

Andrew Forman 3:06
No, I was investment banker, investment banker on deal teams and leveraged finance.

Michael Waitze 3:10
Got it. So that’s why it only took us six years to leave. It took me 20. But it probably took You as long to get your soul back because it took me so at least we’re even there. And look, I don’t see any disconnect, to be fair between working on an investment bank and all the things that you’d learn. I mean, let’s be honest, right? All the pressure, all this stuff about business building, all the analysis that you get to do is really unbelievable training, almost like working at a consulting company. Right. You come out of BCG, you come out of Accenture, the stuff you learn and the pace at which you learn it and tell me where I’m wrong just really sets you up to be able to start your own business. No,

Andrew Forman 3:46
no, I think you’re exactly right. I think the misconception is that investment bankers are terrible people. And HBs people are terrible people and that’s why they get get this bad rap. But I can assure you having been at both places, there are amazing people. There are some tough people in everywhere you go but there are some absolutely fantastic people and mostly absolutely fantastic people at those places.

Michael Waitze 4:13
So I released an episode today at the edge of tech podcast, about a guy named Henry Mark Munoz, who’s half French and half Filipina. He also went to Harvard Business School. And one of the benefits he said of being in Boston for business school was that it was a multi campus city. Right. And I did some math on this a couple of days ago, something like Boston has 690,000 people in it. About 160,000 of them are students. So when the students are the city is almost like a completely different place. Yeah.

Andrew Forman 4:41
Totally. Yeah. It was actually really, really cool not only within the Harvard network to be able to work with you know, I had I worked with Harvard undergrad students. I worked with Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School students, but also outside of that there was a couple of Boston College students that I worked with They are absolutely fantastic MIT students, et cetera, et cetera, teamed up on a whole whole host of things.

Michael Waitze 5:06
Really cool. And look, there’s an entire public policy school at Harvard as well. And just because you’re at business school, there’s no reason why you can’t get through not just osmosis. But through real interaction with all of those multi campuses that are around that city. All of the types of people to whom you’d like to connect that are gonna help you build you called it a charity, but gives itself is not exactly a charity, right? This is a profit making business that no, go ahead.

Andrew Forman 5:31
Yes, that is correct. We’re a C Corp. So a profit making business but we send money to charity, right. So at the end of the day, if we are going to turn this into the billion dollar business that I do believe it can become because we’re making giving profitable for brands, we will by definition, have facilitated the send of billions and billions of dollars to nonprofit organizations here in the US and across the world.

Michael Waitze 5:56
So I want to give you a little bit of an anecdote, a personal anecdote, right. And even though one of my teachers said to me, like, don’t ever generalize from your own experience, I think this is actually important enough to comment on 20 years ago, when I was sitting on a trading desk at Morgan Stanley, it must have been 20 years ago. Yeah. My sister was starting a fashion business offline. She was also in New Jersey, by the way. And I said to her, Laura, why don’t you create a store and a website, right, you have much larger and let much more seamless distribution there. More people can see it, not just locally in New Jersey, but all over the country and potentially all over the world. And she said, I don’t want to get in the discount game. It’s a race to zero. And I’d rather sell it offline, where I can control what the pricing is. And I’m not competing with 7 billion other people to do this. Tell me how this has changed over time. Do you know what I mean? Because at one point, that was what the whole strategy was just go to zero because it’s seamless for me. I’ll make it cheap for you. But now that’s not the case. Is that true?

Andrew Forman 6:54
Yeah, I mean, the perils of discounting that 20 years ago, set the stage for what Ecommerce has kind of become today, and people are starting to see only now, the real effects of discounting, which obviously hurt your top line, right, you’re taking 20% 30% 40% off your top line, that’s clear, that hurts. But when your margins, like if you think about if margins are 35%, and you give a 30% discount, that’s, you know, your margins have just been absolutely slashed, you have no margin left, right to deal with it, to run the business. And so that’s the obvious thing about this cans, the less obvious thing is like, okay, they’re still 5% margin. They’re the people that come in via discounts. And we’ve looked at so much data now at this point that they’re looking for price disassociation. So this thing used to be worth $100. Now, it’s only worth 70. I’m gonna buy it now. And then I’m never buying from this brand again, right? I’m gonna get my good deal. And I’m gonna look for the next good deal. And that’s, that’s it. So people that come in via discounts are always consistently consistently, the lowest lifetime value of a customer, how much have they purchased from now over the next three years? They are consistently the lowest lifetime value customers, and to boot if you continue in this race to the bottom. Where Where do you where do you end, you end at the bottom right? And so and so you say, Okay, I’m now a discount brand. And I’m JC Penney, and I’m going out of business.

Michael Waitze 8:20
Yeah, exactly. And Wasn’t this the overriding problem not of course, the only one, but one of the big problems with Groupon and LivingSocial was that I could get 25 people to go to restaurant B. But they would never come back until unless the discount was there and they’d overrun you with business had complained about the service that give you a bad rating on Yelp and everything went pear shaped, right?

Andrew Forman 8:42
If you saw the craziest part was you saw a restaurant that used to like it was on Groupon. Maybe you’d be like, Okay, I’ll go to that one more time. But I know that this, that this restaurants going out of business, I knew I was like, this thing’s gone. Right? So like, do I want to get in and go one more time? Or do I think or is the fact that it’s on Groupon already? Like, this thing’s probably done. And I don’t even want to go back.

Michael Waitze 9:06
Did you ever see the movie Goodfellas? Is that a dumb question?

Andrew Forman 9:10
I have seen movie Goodfellas. Of course. Do you

Michael Waitze 9:13
remember this? Because this is what Groupon reminded me of. Do you remember when Henry Hill and his gang took over what was at the Flamingo bar? And they kind of walked in with with the liquor on the front side and sold it out the back? That’s what Groupon reminded me of. It was like, Okay, you can do it. But at some point, this was gonna get torched. And tell me I’m wrong.

Andrew Forman 9:32
I cannot tell you, you’re wrong, because that is, it was the beginning of the end. I knew in New York. I knew that when a restaurant went on Groupon, there was over.

Michael Waitze 9:43
What kind of data did you see? Or do you continue to see right? You said we’ve seen a ton of data on the impact of discounts. Where does this data come from? Like, what do you do with this data when you get it? I’m really interested in that.

Andrew Forman 9:55
Yes, so there are a couple of firms and I’ll shout out a couple of partners that I have In the Shopify ecosystem, but there are companies like peel analytics, and tido that are up and coming, that basically you can install the peel app on your Shopify store. And they’ll basically ingest all of your data and show you all of your cohorts from inception all the way to today. And they’ll basically show you, you know, hey, people that came in via discount code XYZ. This is how they’ve performed compared to everybody else who shopped organically in that same time frame. And you can just see the graphs go. And I guess this is a podcast, so people cannot see my hands. But there’s one graph that’s up into the right, at a lot faster pace than the discount graph. And it’s, it’s pretty wild.

Michael Waitze 10:51
So now that you know that, though, right. And you said this phrase, and I really liked this, and maybe this will be the title of the episode. It’s like making giving profitable. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, probably easy. This is one of the big benefits of being able to build a platform is that if I want to give no matter how badly I want to do it, there’s so much friction associated with it that even if there is a charity that I love, the ability for me to give to it in a way that’s easy and simple, in a way, just like E commerce is easy. I click one click buying I can do but one click giving. I can’t Why does this make any sense? Yes. What I mean, though, right, like why we build that I can get groceries in 10 minutes, but it takes me four hours to give. Pick a charity money, it makes no sense to me. What was the tipping point? What was the understanding point for you? You said, Wait a second, if I can make this also frictionless. It’s not just better than discounts. It fixes an entire ecosystem. At scale.

Andrew Forman 11:48
Yeah, and so we’re gonna have to circle back on what you just said. Because that was that was basically my impetus for starting Gibbs way back when but I’d like to stay focused on the, on what we do now. But But I we will talk about I had a hard pivot about a year and a half ago, into what we do now. But the first iteration of what I did was trying to take all the friction away from giving because of what you just said, but so just to just take a step back and explain to everybody how this works. So a brand instead of doing a discount, can say, hey, spend over $100, and we’ll give you $20 to give to any charity that you want. And so you go through, you do your one click Checkout, because that has already been fixed and a seamless people purchase, and they say, You know what, I had $80 in the cart, I may as well throw an extra item in to get to my 110 so that I can get $20 to give to a charity of my choice. And in that way, we’re actually lifting average order value for these brands. And then people buy the extra item, they check out seamlessly. And then on that thank you page on the confirmation page, they now have $20 to give to any charity that they want, courtesy of the brand new dress shop

Michael Waitze 13:00
and is that implementable? Not a word just made it up. But is that easily implementable on a place like Shopify or any other place where there’s ecommerce taking place? Do you know what I

Andrew Forman 13:10
mean? That’s the infrastructure that we have built and are building so yes. And yes, we on Shopify, right now you can install that with a click of a button and then set it up just like you’d set up a discount within Shopify. But now you’re setting up something that does good for the world does great for your brand, and ultimately, helps people who may never have given before now be able to make a purchase at your store. Think about who they want to give to and send that credit to a charity of their choice.

Michael Waitze 13:40
Are you familiar with, with another business that works with Shopify called Shogun?

Andrew Forman 13:45
Of course, absolutely.

Michael Waitze 13:47
So Shogun, again, for people that may or may not know why Shopify has this really interesting business model, right, where they’ve also and this is my favorite kind of business. It’s not just a place where you can again, tell me where I’m wrong. It’s not just a place where you can build a website into E commerce. It’s a fully functional platform that other people can plug them into which other people can plug their businesses Shogun is the most famous, maybe example of this. But maybe gives it seems to me, it’s like doing the same thing. You’re building this business on top of the Shopify platform, I presume that people have to then download your thing or somehow plug it into their install, you install it in some way install, yeah, becomes part of their thing. But what’s interesting to me is that the Shogun business recently took an investment and was purchased. I can remember for somewhere between 650 and $700 million. Right? It’s a big acquisition investment. Yeah. Are you building this in your mind? Are you building the same kind of business platform where you’re building an additional thing onto Shopify? That could get that big? Do you know what I mean? Is that what you’re trying to do?

Andrew Forman 14:49
Yes, although I will say I think it can be bigger than just Shopify, and I think it will be bigger than just Shopify, but just Shopify alone. We were talking about this yesterday with with the team Just Shopify alone, we can easily get to that 650 $750 million mark in revenue opportunity on Shopify alone for what we’re doing. And then on top of that, there’s Magento, and WooCommerce, and Salesforce commerce cloud that all you know, you can build, you can build plugins, to all of those things, all those same like ecommerce tools. But then we’re getting demand for in store applications of this. So we just launched an interesting one, a mom and pop restaurant, up on the Upper West Side in New York, that wants to do some good. They said, you know, hey, if you buy the bow button of the month, you get $5, to give to a charity of your choice. Now, I said, and again, my whole, my whole goal here is to make giving profitable for restaurants for brands, for anybody that wants to use this right? And so how do we make this profitable instead of doing the backbone of the month? What’s the item that has the highest margin? Right? Like the pitcher of margaritas or something like that? Probably. So so why don’t you say by the pitcher of margaritas, and we’ll give you $5, to give to a charity of your choice? So that type of deal, we’re building infrastructure that anybody who wants to utilize giving incentives, anywhere, we’ll be able to do it with a click of a button.

Michael Waitze 16:17
Has there been in your, from your purview? Right? Is that has there been a secular change in the way people are shopping? In other words, are people more mindful about the fact that hey, you know, if I do buy that second pitcher of margaritas, I can actually do some social good as well. You’re laughing. But the people do make these decisions, right? In other words, they’re like, Hey, wait a second, I just want a beer. But if we get the margaritas, we’re actually going to give some money away. People will make that decision. No. Do you feel like it’s a generational change that like, do you don’t I mean,

Andrew Forman 16:48
100% 100% people make decisions that way. We also have the data. So we partner with PLN, tido, to do to do those things, right? So not only are we seeing, there’s three cohorts, right? There’s people that purchased on discounts, they are the lowest lifetime value. There’s the normal, like purchasers that come in without any sort of incentive. They’re the middle and the people that end up donating money after they’ve made a purchase. Because they’re now linked, they have the highest lifetime value, right? And they and that now have the best conversion rates. And the data is just telling us, Hey, guys, people are making decisions on this. And our thought initially was like, Hey, this is very generational, right? Gen Z, whatever millennials, right? This Gen Z definitely cares about this most out of anybody. 100% they are they are making decisions. They want a deal. But that deal need better includes some sort of social impact, not just the discount. But that’s

Michael Waitze 17:47
the point though, right? I guess what I’m trying to say here and what I’m trying to ask and I, there are two parts of this question. The second part I hate, but we’ll get to it anyway. Yeah, is if you know, three guys and two gals are gonna go out and get a beer anyway. Wouldn’t they just say like, Hey, you know, what, if we go up to Casey’s, instead of to Larry’s? Yes, over there, we’re going to give money away over here. We’re just going to be drinking kind of thing. That’s got to be happening. Right.

Andrew Forman 18:09
It is happening. Absolutely. Online.

Michael Waitze 18:13
I get it. I can go to any store online, install a plugin, right. All my stuff. Yeah, works with plugins, and do it. But offline. Yep. How does it work? Where does it get plugged in? I know, there’s a POS but like some places don’t have really, you know, optimized POS. So how does it work?

Andrew Forman 18:34
So some folks do have the POS, and we can have the POS plugin there, right? And we have actually proven that if you’re trying to collect emails, saying, Hey, do you want to join our loyalty program? Here’s one way of doing it. A more effective way of doing it is saying, Hey, you qualified for $10 to give to any charity you want, give us your email, and we’ll send you the $10 reward. That’s, you know, 50% more effective than just do you want to join our loyalty program so that that type of plugin is there. But if you’re talking about the mom and pop restaurant on my side, for example, how does that work? We’re actually utilizing QR codes. So the waitstaff I was actually at an all hands meeting yesterday with the entire waitstaff just training them up. We also did the same thing with Max Maras inside of inside of Bloomingdale’s. So these were like real MaxMara stores within Bloomingdale’s, where we trained up the staff and basically anybody who made you know, a purchase so in in the restaurant case, you know, by the Valbonne of the month, maximum RS case, you know, spend over X amount of dollars and you’re gonna get y dollars to give to a charity of your choice. We we had actual QR codes, printed QR codes that folks could come out and scan and with their phones, they scan takes them right to the page that says, hey, here’s your $5 for ordering the bad one of the month. Here’s our featured charity that this restaurant supports. But at the end of the day, we care about you, our customers, you can give to this five bucks to whoever you want.

Michael Waitze 20:05
So QR codes actually really interesting because it’s been my impression over time that the proliferation of QR codes in Asia has been much earlier and much larger than it has been in the United States. So I’m curious, like, what is the reception from people? Like, like, I paid for my lunch today with a QR code at some silly little pizza place? Right? I bought my groceries before we started this with a QR code. I just scan everything because it’s easier. But what is it like in the US,

Andrew Forman 20:31
right? So the pandemic saved the QR code in the United States. Before the pandemic, yes, there was no such thing as QR codes in the United States. Like what do you have to have? You have to have a QR code reader on your phone? Like, how do I even do that? I have to download something. It’s like no, actually, you just use your camera and scan it like it. It works on pretty much every phone. And people are like, no, that doesn’t work. No way. But But since the pandemic and everything went contactless, especially in restaurants, now all the menus are on QR codes, so that it has become I know that QR codes are now ubiquitous, because my mom and dad scan QR codes without a thought, right. And so now that’s starting to become commonplace in America. But they were definitely late.

Michael Waitze 21:21
So I did not want to talk about the pandemic, just because I’m tired of talking about it. There. No, but that was the second part of my question that I didn’t want to bring up. But you said it. So I’m gonna have to ask, Do you also feel like we talked about this generational difference, right, and Gen Z, even Millennials are saying like, I’d rather drink here than here. If I know that I give money away over here, right? Because it’s better for the world. Yes. Did the pandemic accelerate that we talk a lot out here about how the pandemic accelerated digital transformation, not just in contactless, but kind of across the board? did the same thing happen in this case as well?

Andrew Forman 21:59
I do believe that it did. And I think the interesting piece, because people always ask me, Hey, if you’re targeting Gen Z, and millennials, I totally understand. But what about older generations? They don’t care about this. And actually, I think the pandemic has turned a couple of heads on the older generation side where they’re saying now like, hey, maybe these younger generations are actually onto something. Stuff can really go sour quickly. And, and yeah, now I have a now they have enough money where they’re kind of like, yes, 40 years ago, when they were 20. They didn’t care, they were just going to do the discount, right. But now that they’re 60, and they have some money. And they’ve seen what can happen so quickly. And they’ve seen so much. They’re like, hey, you know what, yeah, I’ll spend the extra 10 bucks to, you know, to get 20 bucks to give to a charity of my choice.

Michael Waitze 22:50
Yeah, I mean, you go through these sorts of these ups and downs, right? These cycles were at the bottom of cycles at the bottom of the economic cycle. So I think people get way more empathetic. And they realize every second, not only can this happen to me, it just happened to me. And if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody. There’s got to be like I said, a frictionless way to give away. Can you go back and talk about you already talked about what you’re doing now? But I’m really curious. Yeah, I have this theory that I call the fallacy of now. Yeah, we’re like every people that meet you from today on, right, we’ll just think Andrew is always been the guy who’s been giving stuff away. They won’t know about the investment banking thing, because they can’t see, they can’t feel I’m serious, though, right? Think about what it’s like for me. They meet me now and think like you’re the podcasting guy. But they don’t know that I spent 20 years working at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as they don’t see. Right. Right. So I’m curious how you got to here. What was that epiphany you have, you’re like, Oh, I gotta do this thing. And then the pivot as well. I’m just curious.

Andrew Forman 23:48
I was always interested in entrepreneurship on the early stage side of things I wanted to. So there are two things I wanted to, you know, doing well, and doing good, every cliche, but I really tried to live by that. I was like, I have to be able to do that. And in my investment banking, I was fortunate enough to work with a company sell a company that was most profitable company I’ve ever seen. And they were literally saving lives each and every day. 1000s of lives, which was really, really cool. It was a background screening company in the Middle East, but keeping people from not being fake engineers and building bridges and buildings that would collapse and, and work collapsing, and killing 1000s of people. So this was a super profitable company. I was like, that is cool, right? They’re doing they are making a ton of money hand over fist, but they are quite literally saving the world. So I aspired to do something like that. I went back to business school, I said, you know, business school asks you what are you going to do with this one and precious life over and over again, I thought I was going to join a socially responsible startup in some way, shape or form that was kind of like I’ll meet somebody smart at HBS. Let’s go there. care and do that. And as I was doing this, I was the epiphany piece was You took the words out of my mouth 10 minutes ago in during this podcast who had done a fundraiser every year, I had donated somewhere between 10 and $200 to his fundraiser for the past seven years. He was actually in Boston, I had been in New York. So I came to Boston, I actually got dinner with him. He told me he was doing the fundraiser again, I told him, I donate, I had every intention of donating, but it’s a pain. And I just, I forgot to do it. So he follows up with me a few days later. And he’s like, sent me a Venmo request for you know, half of the of the meal that I had, I completed that in one second. And then he’s like, Hey, like, didn’t you said you were going to donate to that fundraiser? You didn’t do it? What you’re too good for me now or something like that. I was like, hey, you know what, I just forgot. And it was a pain to do it. I actually had it up on my phone, but I didn’t do it. And I completed your Venmo request and said, I was like, This is insane. Why can I pay somebody back for a burger and a couple of beers 10x faster than I can donate to his fundraiser. And so that was the impetus where I was like, You know what, I had been the treasurer of a nonprofit, I knew that people were demoing me instead of using our website, even though I asked them 10 times not to. And so like I had that experience, and I said, You know what, I’m going to make it easier to donate. And so the initial Gibbs launch was a direct to consumer app that people could install, do the annoying piece once of typing in your credit card, and then never have to do that again and be able to one click donate to folks.

Michael Waitze 26:42
But then where did the E commerce thing come in?

Andrew Forman 26:46
So we were as we were building that, we had two brands come to us and say, Hey, this is really cool. We’d love to replace our discount, instead of doing the discount, can we give people money on your platform to donate to the charity choice, and we just want to test this? And I said, Yeah, I mean, that’s my job. let’s iterate and test as quickly as humanly possible. So we didn’t build anything extra, we just, we built the ability for people to get credit on our platform. And so we built that out quickly. And the two brands did an AB test one done a B test on Facebook, a test get $50 off B test, get it was actually get $30 to give to the Chair of your choice, I don’t know why they didn’t do 5050. But by now get $30 to give to the Chair of your choice performed 20% Better than by now get $50 off. That was mind blowing. Then we had a handbag company send two emails, half the email said use this discount code for $40 off half that email said use this discount code for $40 to get to the Chair of your choice. Again, 19%, better conversion on the $40 to get the chair of your choice. And so that’s the example that you were mentioning earlier of like, Hey, should I go to this bar where I can actually give back or, or you know, the one where I can’t, people are choosing the ones. I mean, this was this was a strict AB test two of them. And I pivoted the whole business right then in there. I was I said, you know, this is, this is what we do now, we will come back, we will come back to the frictionless giving of people’s own money. But this was too big of a result not to ignore.

Michael Waitze 28:25
So in a way, isn’t this like the class like this should be sorry, a case study at Harvard Business School? I’m not getting I’m not taking the piss. Right. Yeah, about what entrepreneurship really is. And I think the name of this class, and I didn’t go to HBS. So I don’t know, maybe they already have this class. Right? And this should just be another case study there. But how do you explain this concept to people? Like this was not your idea, per se? Right. But you were in the game? Right? Right. In other words, if you had just been in a bar moaning about how difficult it was to build, no brand would have called you and said, Hey, Andrew, can we can you a B test this stuff for us? They would have just bypassed you and gone to somebody else who was doing something else. You were in the game and you were close enough to the right part of the game, where someone could say, hey, wait a second, I see what you’re doing. And I get the point. But can we try this thing? And you’re like, some business people just go no, that’s not our business. But entrepreneurship really is about going. I didn’t think about that. But that’s a killer idea. And we already have this thing which we can adapt to do that thing. Right? Let’s try that.

Andrew Forman 29:34
We had the rails and my team looked at me like I was crazy. When I said we were going to do this you are because we were a small team of six. But I had to convince all five other people so I couldn’t even convince some of them had to let some folks go after we decided to pivot because they were they were like hey, what I signed up for it was making giving frictionless now you’re doing this thing but there’s not a doubt in the world. We thing I wish is that I wish I had followed that earlier because this is what we were meant to be doing.

Michael Waitze 30:04
Here’s the even bigger point for me, right? And this is maybe the lesson learned that I’ve learned about entrepreneurship. Is that like, just being in the game is like nine tenths of the battle. Because you could always sit on the sidelines, and I say this a lot now, right? sit on the sidelines ago. Yeah, that guy didn’t get it. And he’s not building anything, you know, while I’m doing my trading job and making a decent salary, but the reality is not it’s really interesting for me, though, right? Because when you thought about entrepreneurship, did you think you’d be taking another idea and building it into your thing? No, you just thought like, you’d be sitting around with your buddies, having a beer, figuring out new stuff, doing it yourself to a B testing it. That’s what it was, but it’s not right.

Andrew Forman 30:43
That’s right. I this conversation reminded me a little bit about the, you know, people are like, oh, like, don’t you just have to get lucky and entrepreneurship? Don’t you just have to like, it’s just, it’s just a luck game. And I’m like, Hey, like this, you put yourself in a position to get lucky. And I feel like that’s what you’re talking about by being in the game, right? Like, if I wasn’t, yeah, it was lucky that those two brands reached out to me and said, Hey, this is what we want to try. But if I hadn’t built all the rails to support that, I would have never been in the position to have those two brands call me. And so I think there is an element of luck, could somebody have built the rails that I built and never got that call from those companies potentially, and then they never thought about it. And then maybe that business model doesn’t work. Totally plausible. So but at the same time, if you’re willing to put the work in, and you’re willing to put yourself in a position to get lucky, that is the only way to get lucky and make it happen.

Michael Waitze 31:39
I may be wrong. And you can go back and check this later. But I think it was Gary Player, a famous South African golfer who said, and maybe he bought it from somebody as well. It’s amazing how lucky I get the more I practice.

Andrew Forman 31:52
Love it. Love that.

Michael Waitze 31:55
That’s my point, though, right? Anyway, that’s it. So where do we go from here? Like how you said, you can do this thing? And Shopify, that’s great. There’s big commerce as WooCommerce, there’s Doctor tech, there’s a whole bunch of different places to do this. What do you do next? Like, where are you going?

Andrew Forman 32:12
Yeah, so not only is it just the E commerce platforms, as I said, it’s everything, anybody incentivizing anybody to do something, it can be like this image on Instagram, and we’re going to give you $5 to give to a charity choice, it can be anything that you want people to do, you are going to incentivize them with donation based incentives, because they work great. They work better than anything else, quite honestly. And they, and they do some good good in the world. But to be honest, there’s a bigger, even bigger picture here. As a nonprofit treasurer, I was always looking for ways to get more money in the door right now, Gibbs sends unsolicited funds to charities, and we get outreach from these charities every day saying, okay, so you just told me that three brands donated to me, how do I get more and more of this was happening, right? And at the same time, I have brands asking me, which charities should we feature like they’re actually finding out from their customers, what charities they should be featuring? Right? So the big picture here is that, in the US alone, there are over a million charities that are trying to figure out how to get more audience. There are well over a million brands who are trying to figure out how do I get more audience, right? And so we’re building that infrastructure and operating system to allow brands and charities to work together at scale, which has never been built?

Michael Waitze 33:39
And is this an API based thing? In other words, anybody can just implement this almost immediately. Yeah, correct. Correct. Or do you ever think about expanding outside the United States? It’s just my ignorance, right? But if you look at Africa, India, China’s like its own market. So do you hear in there I just don’t understand what’s happening there. Like I love it. It’s huge and stuff like that. But Southeast Asia where three 4 billion people live, and they’re wealthier than maybe some people imagine and they want to give to ecommerce is growing insurance is growing all these sorts of digital payment systems are growing. There’s a massive market for that there as well. No, go.

Andrew Forman 34:20
Absolutely. global expansion is 100% on the roadmap for us, and so Shopify is big in Canada, that’s where they originated, right? So we already have a cup of Canadian clients that are that are working with this with us. We actually do have some folks in Asia as well who are like, hey, we’ll highlight we only have American 501 C threes right now, but they do great work all over the world. So we still have you know, we have a couple of Australian clients. We already have clients all around the world utilizing global 501 C threes to highlight so that people can get back to but absolutely global expansion is on our is on our list.

Michael Waitze 35:01
Sorry, I’m not ignoring you. I’m just thinking about where the best entry point wouldn’t be.

Andrew Forman 35:09
Yeah, yeah. I mean, for us it is. It’s clearly, Canada with the Shopify piece is the first is the first place to go. That’s it. And then Australia, we have a ton. We have dozens of folks from Australia. Reaching out.

Michael Waitze 35:26
Australia is 27 million people in Indonesia has 270 million people. I just right. I understand from your perspective, right. It’s an English speaking country. So it feels like it’s safe and easy, right? 60 70 million people in Southeast Asia, all of whom are getting wealthy faster. The wealthiest families here want to give money away as well. I’m telling you this an entry point here, whether it’s through Sharpie or Lazada, which is a Rocket Internet company, right. So they understand the way this stuff works grants us a super app, the GoJek and the Tokopedia teams have massive amounts of users. There’s a massive opportunity here. I will leave that to you. Anyway, there’s a ton to talk about. Hopefully. Hopefully, this was good for you. I really appreciate the time you took today Andrew Forman the founder and CEO of Givz. That was awesome. I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I did.

Andrew Forman 36:14
I did. Thank you so much for having me on. This has been an absolute blast, love chatting and it’s been. It’s been great. Thank you so much for having me on.

 

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