We talked to Keith Weiner of Monetary Metals on how the firm has been supporting gold-owning investors and gold-using businesses.
First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Keith Weiner: We’re safe & doing well, amidst the frustrations of limitations being imposed upon us for the sake of the virus. However, even with business travel on hold, I’ve focused on new areas of the business, expanded my team, and closed a new equity round that exceeded our expectations.
Tell us about yourself, your Career, & how you founded Monetary Metals.
Keith Weiner: After starting DiamondWare in 1994 and developing the concept of 3D voice for real-time communications, I sold the business to Nortel in August 2008. When the market crashed almost immediately after, I began to study markets and economics to figure out how to protect my proceeds. I ended up with a Ph.D. from the (non-accredited) New Austrian School of Economics in Monetary Economics. During that journey, I realized that our monetary system is failing, drowning in debt, and sinking under zero interest rates. I wanted my next venture to be part of the solution, so I founded Monetary Metals.
How does Monetary Metals innovate?
Keith Weiner: Monetary Metals pays interest on gold and silver. We do that by offering financing to businesses that have precious metals in inventory or as work-in-progress. We have a transparent marketplace for gold-owning investors and gold-using businesses.
How does COVID-19 affect your Business, and how are you coping?
Keith Weiner: Our team members have worked primarily from home, even before the pandemic, so, fortunately, we did not have much transition to deal with. The same goes for productivity. We were already on a growth trajectory, but it has accelerated over the past 6 months. One of our team members got COVID during a hospital visit, but thankfully, he recovered quickly.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices? What were the Lessons Learned?
Keith Weiner: There were definitely a few. The biggest one is related to our recently closed $1.3M equity round. Originally, it was to close in March. But due to the uncertainty created by the lockdown, I kept it open, with the goal to de-risk the business. We ended up raising considerably more than we originally planned. Once again, taking a risk paid off.
How do you deal with Stress and Anxiety? How do you project yourself and Monetary Metals in the Future?
Keith Weiner: Great question. In his book, Wilson Harrell, former publisher of Inc Magazine, explained that there is a special kind of terror reserved for entrepreneurs. And it never ever goes away until you go bust or sell out. I hadn’t noticed that “terror” too much in myself until after I sold DiamondWare. Two days later, I noticed its absence. Dealing with it? Exercise helps, and scheduling downtime is a must. But overall, I think the key is to recognize that business can sometimes be a roller-coaster, with manic, euphoric highs and crushing, despairing lows. Self-awareness is key.
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Keith Weiner: Well, no one else is paying interest on gold and silver, so the field of direct competitors is very small right now. But if suddenly it wasn’t, the transparent marketplace we’ve created for the gold-using businesses we finance and our gold-owning depositors would definitely distinguish us from our competitors.
Your Final Thoughts
Keith Weiner: Although many people may not outright realize it, there’s a universal human need to earn interest. And to compound your savings over your working career. If we don’t fulfill that need, most people will have to work until they die. The Fed has long been waging a war on interest. Now it’s all over but the shouting. Monetary Metals is on a mission to provide a yield, serve this human need, and help the world transition to a better monetary system. It’s a great challenge, a lot of fun, and it is urgently important.
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