First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Reyn Aubrey: I can’t complain – the people I love are healthy and safe, and we’re getting through this.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded PocketChange.
Reyn Aubrey: I was born and raised in Hawaii and was always quite entrepreneurial, doing lemonade stands, flipping items from garage sales, and so on. I’m 22, and in my senior year of high school, I started a company that manufactured and sold Hoverboards – the two-wheel self-balancing devices that were all the rage in 2016. We ended up doing quite well, outselling Wal-Mart and Target in Hawaii at the peak of the hoverboard craze, but I realized in doing that that it was not what I wanted to spend my life doing. I decided I wanted to build a company that mattered – a massive company that made use of my love for business and a company that did good for the world. A few years later, at the University of Denver, I had the idea for PocketChange in the shower of my freshman dorm, met my cofounder, and we were off to the races.
How does PocketChange innovate?
Reyn Aubrey: We make it possible for people to make a real difference in the things that matter. PocketChange is a social platform, and you share your perspective about an issue and then make a tangible micro-donation to it. Others see that post, and instead of liking it, they also micro-donate to the same cause. You’re a real influencer on PocketChange, harnessing social power to do good.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Reyn Aubrey: When things get hard, people get better. We’ve seen more activity on our platform during Covid, more brands and investors interested in what we’re doing, and more people wanting to do good. People are inherently good, and our business plays to those strengths. So, of course, it’s been tough being virtual, but we see good activity from folks as a result of COVID.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Reyn Aubrey: Absolutely, we all have to make hard choices. We had to have real conversations about mental health. We had to slow down production in certain areas to make sure everyone remained happy. We had to reset some expectations within the company. But ultimately, this brought us closer together. The lesson is simple: people always come first. Take care of your team, your family, and everything else becomes minor.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and PocketChange in the future?
Reyn Aubrey: For me, It’s about really checking in with yourself when you’re sitting in your bed after a long day. If you are burned out and exhausted, take a rest day. If you feel beaten up by something, talk to your team about it. If you’re nervous or sad, express that. Give yourself what you need to pull through and remove judgment from doing so. Ultimately you’re not any good to the company if you’re not on your game, so give yourself what you need to get there. It’s a business imperative.
We project forward as we always do – hope for the best, plan for the worst, and keep focused on the most critical pieces like product or growth. If you do that, global pandemic or not, you’ll move forward.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Reyn Aubrey: We don’t have any direct competitors, so for us, it’s just about producing the best product, and telling as many people about it as possible. Download our app PocketChange on the IOS app store!!
Your final thoughts?
Reyn Aubrey: We’re more divided than we ever have been, and we need to regain a basic level of respect for people who disagree with us. PocketChange has three guiding principles: (1) treat everyone with respect, (2) criticize ideas, not people, and (3) connect with people you disagree with. If those things feel on the money to you, download our app and join the community of people making things better.