Fintech regulations around the world can vary wildly, but here in Canada, they can be particularly onerous. Today someone who is no stranger to redefining and working through the complexing of Canadian regulations. Our guest is the Founder and CEO of KOHO Financial, Daniel Eberhard.
Dan grew up in a tiny town in British Columbia and now runs a company with over 250 employees and $275m in financing.
We talk about how bad the Canadian regulatory environment is for fintech companies and why innovation in the industry is being throttled by the government and their respective industry advisory groups.
About Daniel Eberhard:
Daniel Eberhard is the Founder and CEO of KOHO Financial. He started his career in 2010, building Kineticor Renewables Inc., a Saskatchewan wind farm company he and partner Andrew Plaunt began as a class project. They sold in 2011 to renewable energy giant Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.
Eberhard then decided to take on Canada’s bank giants by starting Koho Financial Inc. in 2014. Koho does away with the bank fees most users pay by providing them with a free, prepaid Visa card and mobile software to do many of their transactions such as taking direct deposits, paying bills, and making electronic transfers. Koho is not a bank but has partnered with Vancouver-based Peoples Trust Company to hold clients’ money while Koho handles the user interface, earning money by taking a portion of the interchange fee that merchants pay to process credit card transactions.
In this episode, we discuss:
(01:11) Dan’s path to becoming an entrepreneur
(05:05) Lessons he learned from his mom about business
(06:53) The problems with Canada’s banking regulations
(09:26) Why the name KOHO
(10:40) The culture at KOHO
(13:57) Finding the right fit for new hires
(17:50) How EQ figures into Dan’s leadership style
(20:36) The impact of coaching and therapy on his leadership
(22:52) The role of coaches at KOHO
(30:22) How Dan is able to focus and compartmentalize his work
(32:31) Why Fintech innovation is failing in Canada
(37:26) How the market for fund raising and managing capital as a startup has changed
(39:20) The next five years for KOHO
(41:41) Advice to new founders
(44:08) Early feedback from users
(45:06) KOHO’s current relationship to other bankers
(45:56) Life if Dan wasn’t a founder
🎙- Favorite Podcast: Sam Harris
📰- Favorite Newsletter / Blog: Wait But Why
📲- Favorite Tech Gadget: Oura
📈- Favorite New Trend: Deoptimizing your life
📚- Favorite Book: The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant
🤔 - Favorite Life Lesson: Watching how hard his mom worked