Spotlight is a column launched by Georgetown FinTech that aims to shine a light on the great work of our students, alumni, and anyone else leveraging technology to transform the financial services industry.
This month, we sat down with Sunny Gupta and Chris Johnson of Edible Finance. They're a dynamic duo on a mission to make investing and personal finance bite-sized!
Q: Can you guys tell us a little bit about yourselves?
A: My name is Sunny Gupta. I'm a part-time MBA candidate at Georgetown University, working at Capital One in the Commercial Bank for reporting and analytics, and co-founder of Edible Finance. I am very passionate about finance and everything about it. I actively trade market derivatives and dabble in crypto-currencies. Can't get enough of the field, although I'm glad that the market takes a break otherwise I would be glued to my computer screen 24 hours a day! I enjoy spending time with my fiance, family, and absolutely can't live without my spoiled German Shepherd.
A: My name is Chris Johnson. I'm also a part-time MBA candidate at Georgetown University, a management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, and co-founder of Edible Finance. Prior to that, I worked for six years as an institutional investment consultant at Cambridge Associates. I'm passionate about startups, venture capital investing, strategy and innovative lean solutions. I also love to geek out about cars and most things with wheels, particularly older Toyota Land Cruisers and vintage Trek bicycles from when they were steel and and still made in Wisconsin. My awesome wife is a fellow Hoya and our cat is named Nancy Drew. These two keep sane.
Q: Tell us a little bit about Edible Finance.
A: Edible Finance makes investing and personal finance bite-sized! We offer short tid-bits of information delivered via video to user's smartphones (work in progress as it's currently web based) and help them build knowledge over time to successfully invest. Our goal is to build knowledge among millennials that are ready to start investing beyond their 401k.
Q: Why did you guys launch Edible Finance?
A: We started Edible Finance because we both saw a desire that our friends and family wanted to learn more about investing but they were frustrated and intimidated by current available resources. They kept asking the most basic questions, and the questions were very similar across the board. This was originally intended to be a blog that provided lessons and advice, but we quickly realized that was not an effective format and pivoted to quick Instagram-like videos that build on each other. The idea was initially launched in Eric Koster's Innovation and Intrapreneurship class and he remains a mentor to this day.
Q: What has been your proudest moment so far?
A: Our proudest moment was when we realized we had a near-perfect conversion rates, which meant our lessons were working. Our work refining the Edible Finance strategy and launching a pilot enabled us to win at the Bark Tank/Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize pitch competition. With the money we won we'll be able to automate and streamline a lot of our manual processes and start testing conversion rates beyond friends and family.
Q: What has been your greatest challenge?
A: Our greatest challenge has been scaling. Due to a lot of inefficiencies and manual procedures in place right now as we build content and manage users. Another challenge is securing a growing user base, as investing is not something most millennials actively think or learn about on a day-to-day basis. Our goal is to change that. The good news is, in our research (as well as many others') most millennials express an interest in doing that but haven't had the confidence or tools to focus on it before. Did we forget to mention balancing working full time, going to school, and Edible Finance?
Q: What are your 2018 goals for Edible Finance?
A: The goals for Edible Finance this year include growing exposure, further developing the platform, building an active user base, landing our first strategic partnerships and more funding, and building an app.
Q: What advice would you have for any other aspiring entrepreneurs at Georgetown?
A: Work hard, be smart about your connections and don't be afraid to utilize them or develop new ones. Learn everything you can from as many different sources as your can, but know that often you need to listen to your gut.
Q: What else would you like to share with the Georgetown community?
A: Getting to this point has been a lot of work, late nights, and a ton of stress. But the feeling of building something, even though it's small at this point, is rewarding. While juggling demanding full-time jobs, rigorous evening classes, the gym, life, wedding planning, hyper-active puppies and cats... it's still possible to start a business.
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