First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Eric Solis: My immediate family and I are doing fine. By coincidence or happenstance, we have structured our lives to be very mobile. We had the girls in online school prior to the start of COVID, so our lives are going on as normal. However, we are getting used to reduced services and entertainment opportunities. As for the MOVO family, in a similar way, we’ve structured our organization as a distributed team and have used technology in unique ways to manage our communications and interactions. Good news there, we had a running head start and have not had a drop in productivity.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MovoCash.
Eric Solis: I am a “full-stack entrepreneur” with more than 20 years of experience leading innovative fintech companies and pioneering the advancement of digital banking/finance, including payments, micro-investing, securities, money transfer systems, transfer agents, and record keeping. In 2014, I wanted to start a company that gives people faster access to their money and the freedom to use it anyway they want, and this inspired me to found MovoCash.
How does MovoCash innovate?
Eric Solis: MovoCash combines the best of banking, mobile payments, P2P, cryptocurrency, and distributed ledger technology (DLT) through a patented technology that enables a highly secure, digital cash network that gives consumers faster access to their money and the freedom to use it anyway they want. MovoCash is leading the way in the adoption of the industry’s most advanced anti-fraud protections. This offers consumers the best security on the planet when it comes to using their money in digital channels.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Eric Solis: The current pandemic climate is accelerating a global shift to a digital-first model and cashless society for consumers and financial institutions alike. As a result of the pandemic, people have become more mindful about the transmission of germs and are less likely to visit a banking branch or store to conduct in-person payment transactions. As such, the pandemic has provided MovoCash with a unique opportunity to exemplify our capabilities’ best aspects. During this trying time, MOVO is empowering our customers to control their finances regardless of their financial background or credit history. We are providing them with easy payment solutions such as the ability to load funds at no cost by linking a bank account or directly with P2P services such as PayPal, Square Cash, and Google Wallet; the ability to load cash at thousands of retail locations; manage their balance, deposit, transactions in one convenient place directly from the app and much more.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Eric Solis: Years ago, when MovoCash was an early start-up, we received an opportunity to apply for a business award. We agreed to pay a large amount of money to participate and traveled by plane to receive the award. When we got to the event, we were the only ones in the room and obviously did not win. Looking back on the situation, I laugh at it, but at the time, I was embarrassed. I vowed to never again pay for industry awards and the false prestige they impart from this experience. Today, if MovoCash wins an award or other industry recognition, it results from our hard work and because we earned it.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, especially when it feels like you and your team can’t find a solution to an issue?
Eric Solis: I am a firm believer in the “invisible hand” theory. This means that coupled with faith; a solution exists even if we don’t see it. At MovoCash, we recognize that this plays a role in the work we do. As a team, we acknowledge that we might not have a solution to an issue right away, but we can arrive at a solution when the timing is right with other things at play.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Eric Solis: The success of MovoCash is dependent upon our innovation and ability to remain nimble to “stay in the game,” in the evolving fintech and digital payments industry. Some key ways that we are able to successfully innovate to remain competitive include:
1. Get good people – Having the right people on your team is your most valuable asset. Without good people, you can’t succeed in this or any industry.
2. Make sure your organization compliant – Modern finance and fintech companies thrive on continuous innovation. But there is a fine line between being on the cutting edge of innovation and running afoul of the law. Hence, it’s critical that start-ups and innovative companies in the payments industry understand and comply with existing rules and regulations, and in some cases, even help to create standards where existing frameworks fall short.
3. Understand risk – It’s important to have a well-conceived, diversified, and tested risk model. With unfettered access to the dark web, cybercrime is skyrocketing, and fraud is more pervasive and more complex than ever. This is spawning an entire industry focused on IT forensics and security protocols to protect your organization and your customers.
4. Understand your data and technology – Finance and technology have collided to create the fintech industry. Machine learning, deep learning & artificial intelligence are revolutionizing finance as we know it. Therefore, having the right data and technology, and knowing what to do with it is a game-changer.
5. Never quit— My grandfather, “Haymaker Hagar,” holds the world record for getting knocked down and GETTING UP more times in a professional boxing match than anyone in history! It is completely normal and even expected to get knocked down. But like Grandpa Hagar, get up off the mat and keep fighting!
Your final thoughts?
Eric Solis: When I was young, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the world of finance so I could help those who struggled with it. I tried to get my hands on every finance book I could find. By the age of 16, I subscribed to and poured over The Wall Street Journal pages every day. The House of Morgan by Ron Chernow is another read that helped shape my career. It is full of rich history and information about the modern finance industry. I first read it about 20 years ago, but I continue to think about it and reference it. I recommend this to anyone interested in understanding modern finance.