A Donation Incentive Platform with Andrew Forman from Givz

Andrew Forman has spent much of his life pondering how to make the biggest positive impact on the world. Becoming a volunteer or funding the volunteers?

The quest for an answer led him down many paths that eventually inspired him to found a company aiming to make it easier for people to donate to charity. But though the ambition was sound, the lift was heavy. It turned out his company, Givz, was only the first step toward a better solution.

Now Givz offers Shopify stores donation incentives as an alternative to discounts, helping eCommerce sites increase conversions and value by offering their customers to choose their favorite charities.

More information:

Andrew is the Co-Founder and CEO of Givz. Givz is a B2B marketing solution that allows companies to drive sales and avoid discounts while building their brand image. Givz started as a “Venmo for charity” to help nonprofits, but quickly became the leading impact marketing technology platform that converts discounts into donations, helping partner brands see significant increases in customer engagement, MRR, and AOV. 

Prior to Givz, Andrew spent 6 years in investment banking while moonlighting as the treasurer of a nonprofit organization. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Mathematics and Economics from Hamilton College. He lives in New York with his wife, 1-year-old daughter and newborn baby boy. He loves playing any sport/game whenever he has the chance. Andrew was a part of the college orchestra, playing the bassoon, as well as the Hamilton football team.

Recently, Andrew has led Givz through a new round of fundraising and the company has dropped an app for Shopify. This new app will make it much quicker & easier for brands to start using Givz!

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Andrew Forman 0:00
I think every single brand is going to need to have some sort of social impact initiative, some sort of purpose driven activity going on at their brand, or they’re gonna be falling behind, they’re gonna be extinct.

Alexander Ferguson 0:16
Welcome to UpTech Report. This is our applied tech series UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at Today I’m joined by my guest, Andrew Forman, who’s based in New York. He’s the founder and CEO at Givz. Welcome, Andrew, good to have you on.

Andrew Forman 0:34
Thank you. Thanks for having me on. Happy to be here.

Alexander Ferguson 0:36
Now Givz is a donation driven marketing platform. Help me understand and what was the what is the problem that you guys solve?

Andrew Forman 0:45
Yep. So there’s actually two problems. First one is that brands are trying to get away from discounts as much as possible. And the second problem is that brands want to weave in social impact in a genuine and authentic way. But that’s really difficult.

Alexander Ferguson 1:01
So let’s go back now. That’s what you do right now. But was it day one, that’s what you just turned on. So this is what we’re doing? Get let’s go back where this whole idea started.

Andrew Forman 1:11
Not at all. In fact, in fact, this wasn’t even my idea, which you’ll, you’ll find out shortly. We I mean, we it was in the sense that we started out to build a Venmo for charitable giving, which was actually solving a completely different problem of trying to democratize giving, and being able to be a direct to consumer brand that people could actually donate to any charity in America, in three seconds flat from any device, that type of deal, try to take the payment friction out of, you know, out of charitable giving. And that was the initial place where Givz was born misses nearly four years ago now, which is crazy. 17 right. 2017 Yeah, it was over four years ago, I guess now Geez. And that is, that’s something that’s that’s wild. I didn’t I we sort of launched the company at that point in time. You know, we hadn’t raised any money. I was like, thinking about it. I was finishing up school. And so I say I was full time. But if you’re in school, and I wasn’t really full.

Alexander Ferguson 2:13
We were just like always interested in giving like like that the nonprofits. And that’s why you got to take the Venmo of nonprofits and giving

Andrew Forman 2:20
great question. So I’ll take I’ll go back just a little bit to give you a bit of insight into myself and my high school version of myself. So now we’re going back decades, I had a very serious High School girlfriend, we would argue about one thing and one thing only we had a really good relationship, but the only thing we’d argue about is how do you have a bigger impact? Do you graduate from college and go into the Peace Corps and volunteer and clearly have an impact that way? Or do you go graduate college, become an investment banker make enough money to fund the Peace Corps, right, which was my argument. And I thought, you know, obviously, this is a way bigger impact that can send many volunteers there. If I just go volunteer, that’s only one. That’s only one thing. And we were 17. And trying to figure out, you know how to save the world, you obviously need both sides of that coin, you need the person who’s going to go do this, you need the person who’s going to fund it. As a quick side note, I I went into investment banking, I realized very quickly that I was not going to be making enough money to fund the Peace Corps or anything even close. So instead, I did start a nonprofit to have some actual impact. But she went straight into the Peace Corps right after she graduated college, and then we never spoke and but that was the, you know, that was the impetus of this whole thing. And it’s kind of been woven throughout my life. And as I started that nonprofit, I was the treasurer of the nonprofit, we collected very minimal amounts of money throughout the year, but and every time I ran a bar fundraiser, or we did something to collect, you know, even small dollar amounts, people were betting going me instead of using our website, people would say, you know, your website stinks. They wouldn’t say it that nicely. And and I just thought, Wow, how is it possible, you know, then I think about this for the better part of a decade. And I’m at business school, and they’re asking me, what am I going to do with this one and precious life. And I said, you know, it’s crazy that I can Venmo my friend 30 bucks for a hamburger and fries and a beer, but I cannot send $30 to the Red Cross in 30 seconds or less, I’d have to go to the website, I have to type in name, address, credit card name of firstborn child and everything else you have to put in there. And I just, I just thought that we could we could solve that problem. So that was the initial thought process. And it’s been a long journey, just as I’ve been long winded here to get where we are.

Alexander Ferguson 4:49
Oh, it’s fascinating. I appreciate the the the you and your high school girlfriend have different approaches and you’re kind of circling back ish in a capitalistic way to help nonprofits to do it. But you go into creating Givz, try to create this Venmo mentality but profitability wise, the business model. What was that first, like, Did it start clicking like,

Andrew Forman 5:13
it was interesting when I first did it, I thought the fees that that some of these platforms we’re taking where Hi, I tried to take the lowest fee possible. And then I realized that if it’s if it’s a Venmo, for charitable giving, that you’re trying to create, and just like GoFundMe has basically mastered this, ask for tips, people are already in the charitable giving mood. They’re they’re donating their own hard cash, they don’t want you to take any fees out of their own donated hard cash. But they will, but they will tip you so so we actually found that business model to be working. But the acquisition side of getting people to install an app to be able to donate to any charity in America was a higher Hill than I was able to climb more than I wanted to climb. And then what ultimately happened was two brands came to me and said, Hey, this is where this wasn’t exactly my idea. But they came to me and said, Hey, Andrew, can we instead of giving a discount, give people credit on the gifts platform to be able to donate to any charity that they want. But this way they buy at full price, their incentive to buy at full price. And now we can support the exact charity that they want to support because we have 1000s, if not millions of customers, and they all care about different things. So let’s let them choose, let’s give them credit on your platform, and they can choose whatever they want to give to we trust them. And I was like, That actually sounds pretty awesome. Let’s test it out. And so we tested it out, one of the companies ran a Facebook ads campaign, they took the last sentence of their Facebook ad, they changed nothing, nothing about the creative, nothing about the first sentence. The second sentence, instead of saying, sign up now and get $50 off said, sign up now. And we’ll give you $30 to give to a charity of your choice. Why didn’t they test 50 and 50? I don’t know. But they tested $50 off versus $30 to give to charity and the $30 to give to charity. So a 20% better conversion rate. So right then in there, I was like, This is what we do. Now this is a full on pivot and had to go back and tell tell the team This is it. And we saw the same results with an email AB test with another company. And that sealed it.

Alexander Ferguson 7:20
Let’s before because I do want to come back to that and dive in a bit more of them where you are now and where you guys are headed. But 2017 you start sort of full time sort of knots exploring this doing this. Are you a technical guy? Did you build this yourself? Did you find another co founder to help build it?

Andrew Forman 7:36
No, that’s a great question. So I do have a co founder. Neither of us are technical classic sob story. And we did just bring in a technical co founder earlier this year, to really once we found this product market fit and now blast this forward, you do need that technical piece, obviously something you read about and hear about all the time, a 100% true. On on our side, we did find a an initial tech partner who was who was fantastic. We went through a ton of a ton of churn with with various initial founding CTO types, and have all The scars and battle wounds and stories from that. But we eventually found somebody Great.

Alexander Ferguson 8:21
So just staying on there for a moment, because I imagine there’s a lot of people who have great ideas, and they’re not technical founders. And they’re like, how do I get it off the ground? And what if you had to pick one lesson learned of who to partner with who not to what to look for, and being able to build that first MVP and get it launched will come to your mind?

Andrew Forman 8:41
I mean, I think the number one lesson is that you actually need less tech to prove your concept than you think. So the Venmo for charity, for example, I got I got this offer or not offer, I got this advice from somebody once and they said, don’t build any tech to test it out. And I was like, That’s crazy. How can I possibly do that? And he was like, well email all your friends and tell them anytime they want to make a donation instead of donating just email you their credit card and tell you to do it. And then you just go make the donation for them. And I was like, That’s crazy. Like, they’ll never like actually they probably would email me their credit cards, like I don’t even know but like definitely not legal. Definitely not like, like PCI compliant and the least. But I wish I went and did that. Because I think I would have known that. At that moment in time, people aren’t donating very often. So when building a demo for charity, what is this guy this guy is gonna email me once once a quarter to say that that’s that he wants that he wants to do that. And I think you’d learn a lot of stuff. And maybe that’s not the best example. I think I probably could have built some other MVP that was slightly less crazy than that. But the idea is there right which is test this as much as you can, without building any tech and try to try to get an MVP that doesn’t, that doesn’t need a huge build associated with it.

Alexander Ferguson 10:12
Our full realization of everything is testing. And this whole pivot is actually based off of someone testing something and you seeing what works and what doesn’t. This, this idea of knowing when to pivot would if you go back to yourself, aside from testing earlier as anything else, you would have gone and told yourself that like, just educate yourself that something you know, now that you didn’t, then

Andrew Forman 10:41
I think trusting your gut is also something that that I didn’t fully appreciate, right, you know, when something’s not working, whether it’s a hire, whether it’s your business, whether it’s something like that, you know, you know, when it’s not working, and trust that gut and and I found that, when you get to the point of no return, that’s, that’s when you problem solve, and you get there and you say, like, hey, like, let’s just say this hire is not working out. And so you think it’s a gut, from a gut level, you’re like this hire is not working out. But maybe it still could maybe if I did a little bit better at managing and this kind of stuff, you know, but then once it once it becomes so blatantly obvious that this is not working, then you’re like, Okay, we need to fire this person, or we need to do something, and we need to get rid of them. I think that once you get to that realization, I just would like to get to that realization quicker. And that’s something that I’ve been working on ever since. And if I had known earlier on, I think that would help me that would also help me in the pivot and try to test things faster. But like, hey, this wasn’t working. Great. It’s not working. So what do we do? Do we shut it down? Do we pivot? What do we do? But once you get to get to that place quicker?

Alexander Ferguson 11:48
what year it was, was it? It was fairly recently this pivot has happened? Was it last year?

Andrew Forman 11:53
or? Yeah, yeah, it was, I guess I’ve been saying a year and a half. Now for a little while, it was basically end of 2019. So almost, almost two years now. So 2017, we sort of start 2018 was rarely when we started to build stuff. And and so we built all the pipes to be able to get this going. And then I’d say 2019 was the year, you know, we took six months from the end of 2018, to middle of 2019, to see like, Hey, where we spend some real dollars, we raised national round, you did do raise an initial round, a very small, you know, friends and family, I guess, as they call it. So we raised raised around there to really push and say like, Hey, we’re never gonna know if this is going to work we have we have the product built, but like, Will people download an app to donate to a charity of their choice and have that live as a separate social media piece? And so we spent some real advertising dollars to find out? No, the, the the unit economics of that don’t really work, at least not the way we are doing it. So that was the decision point. And I remember kind of summer of 2019 thinking, Okay, what do we do here? And I was thinking about companies, I knew there was a big opportunity there. And we had this great tech stack that we could deploy in a whole host of different ways. And then when those two companies came to me and said, Hey, we want to try something for the holiday season for 2019. I said, Great, let’s let’s do it. And so those as soon as those went well, though, the full build was on. And yeah,

Alexander Ferguson 13:24
did you have those relationships already with those companies? Like word? Or? No, it was when you were reaching out? It was

Andrew Forman 13:33
after that realization and I was reaching out so I spent the summer of 2019 reaching out to companies saying hey, I think there’s there’s something here I don’t exactly know what it was. And so one of them I reached out to the PR person I knew a PR person at a company like really our first our first client and they and she said yeah, this is super interesting to us, we would love to like test get rid of the discount and test the donation incentive instead. And and then the other one actually was an intro through my wife always got a got a plug that she she crushed it. So so they both took a chance and the results were spoke for themselves.

Alexander Ferguson 14:10
This, you give yourself a little too little credit that you say wasn’t even your idea. But you were already headed in that direction. It was just confirming but so after that was like a three month four month period of starting to search and then you get them and you test it.

Andrew Forman 14:26
That’s That’s right. And so I get them I test I didn’t know exactly how it was going to look. And this was actually I did at least learn for myself. So we didn’t build a whole new product for them, right? Like we kept the app and so they and they first ran this they said you know, sign up now get $30 to get to charity, your choice. Then they sent those people that signed up an email and said, Hey, here’s your $30 to get to trial, your choice. You got to download an app and all that stuff. And so that was actually a disastrous, right? No one wanted to actually like go through that and then like you No and get complaints there so we had to actually like so that prove the concept for us though we knew we knew that one companies wanted to do this we had other companies trying to try to do this as well. And we’re like okay, we’re really onto something here to the customers were pissed off about that about that service. So that that again, I could have taken that as a bad thing but it was a great thing to me because people actually wanted to want to donate the money. So we we shut down for a little bit and said, we need to build a new product here but based on our existing rails, which was extremely extremely helpful and so then we really came back out April of 2020 and that’s like when when I think the full pivot was on

Alexander Ferguson 15:41
how did the pandemic affect or not affect you guys?

Andrew Forman 15:45
Man so I think it affected us positively in a number of ways it affected us negatively in one big way we had a huge contract with with h&m, h&m right before right before you know we’re supposed to be in every single store 564 stores or something like that across the United States as well as online you know, signage everything it was going to be very cool spend 60 bucks get $10 gives whichever choice we still ran something for Earth Day and an earth week and earth month with them and they were our first big you know, really big customer and they they really set the stage for what we’re doing now. So forever grateful to them and we’re still in communication and talks with them about signing something bigger here but the analysis doors reopen for them but that really was was a tough blow for me. I was getting ready to video every day trying to visit as many of these stores as possible and whatever I could do to make this happen. So the pandemic really put the kibosh on the in store capability there but online is really where we’re focused anyway we do have capabilities for in store and online but with the partnership with Shopify right now and online is has been fantastic. It’s

Alexander Ferguson 17:00
just speaking of that rolling out online your focus of going forward you’re focused on enterprise mid market like for those in small businesses like do you want everyone to have access to this the whole goal

Andrew Forman 17:14
at the end of the day is every dish should be table stakes and I fundamentally believe it will be table stakes for every retailer selling anything to anybody, even services selling services to somebody instead of like as just as discounts are basically ubiquitous I think we could even be more ubiquitous because there are non discount brands whereas I don’t think there are going to be brands that don’t have any social thoughts whatsoever I think every single brand is going to need to have some sort of social impact and initiative some sort of purpose driven activity going on at their brand or they’re going to be falling behind they’re going to be extinct

Alexander Ferguson 17:51
What can you see because I’m sure you are paying attention as far as the competition out there what are the options and what are people looking at how are you are you different

Andrew Forman 17:59
Yeah, the space is totally heating up there’s there’s a ton of folks playing in the cause marketing space I think you started to see even as far back as 10 years ago, employee giving start to be a huge huge deal. And I think that’s now kind of reached that point where almost every every large company has a matching program or some thing of the like right and so I think the natural extension of this is to be able to do this You of course care about your employees you also really care about your customers so you’re going to need to be able to provide something like this for your customers what what shape and form does it take who knows everybody’s out there guessing on it, there’s a ton of companies popping up and a lot of different places. I think we’re unique in that we can we’ve found a model where you can drive sales in the short run while building your brand for the long term and I don’t think you know rounding up your change is having its moment and I’ll never speak badly of something that’s sending money to charity and those things those programs really do send a lot of money to charity and I love them for it but I don’t think the value prop there is is there long term where somebody says to themselves oh this company made it easy for me to donate 37 cents to a charity that they chose that the company chose I love this company like I just don’t think that that that and even if it’s not certainly not driving the sale right now they’re not they’re not advertising saying hey buy these, you know, awkward shoes and you’re going to be able to donate 47 cents like that’s not it’s not a clear value prop to me. I think that that’s what makes us different.

Alexander Ferguson 19:34
It’s the Is it the ability for the customer to choose where it’s going I think is one of the main power points.

Andrew Forman 19:43
I think it’s that combined. Absolutely that combined with real dollar amounts and like a promo ask. It doesn’t I don’t want to say it’s promo feeling because I I think the customers consumer psychology around this is is different than anything we’ve really seen, so you take that $300 pair of shoes that you want to buy, but you’re really guilty and you’re like, you know, do I really need this? And now it’s like, hey, well, if you buy it, you’re gonna get $50 to give to charity, like, all right, it’s for charity, I got to do it. And I think that that unlocking that piece of in the consumers brain, I think is something that we are uniquely positioned to hit.

Alexander Ferguson 20:26
Removing the guilty feeling from your purchases, because you’re doing good the same time.

Andrew Forman 20:32
And the crazy part is you genuinely are doing good, right? So I love that it’s that it’s like unlocking this piece, it’s, it’s something that the company is very happy because they didn’t have to give the $50 discount, they drove the $300 full of revenue, the so it’s genuinely a win for them, even though they donate the $50 on the back end still better for them. And every respect, they they’re not taking the brand hit the brand dilution that’s associated with this council, not training people, the next time that person wants to buy a pair of shoes, they’re not expecting it to be 250 instead of 300. It’s 300. The price is what it is. So the brand’s certainly winning, the brand is also sending $50 to a charity that the person that I really, really care about. I’m pumped because I got to buy the shoes guilt free. I also sent $50 to my my wife’s cousins charity. She thinks I’m a hero. And now the charity is pumped because they got 50 bucks. So one of the true Win Win wins if we’re an office fan, that really can’t can’t be replicated.

Alexander Ferguson 21:36
When you think about your trajectory, what what are you most excited about? Like what is it that you know, in the next six months a year that you’re working on the roadmap that that just like gets you up and pumped.

Andrew Forman 21:52
So we were just featured on the Shopify App Store, we’re actually featured right now. And we were started to be featured two days ago. So we built this, we got into some really great investors, they were like, hey, how do you not have a Shopify app? How are you not building this for scale? Like right, thanks, I need to know what I’m doing. But this is this is great. And we are, you know, we have a Shopify app that people are signing up for we’ve got some installs, since we’ve been on this call. And they are installing, setting up their campaigns, setting up not even just individual, like short term campaigns, but actually evergreen campaigns that are going to last, you know, all year, and then they’ll ramp it up during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday. But they’re setting all of this stuff up without talking to me. And that’s something that we haven’t experienced until we partnered with Shopify on this side of things. So that is what is exciting to me. The fact that we could have 1000 brands sign up tomorrow, and the tech will hold up and customer service will hopefully hold up as well. But you’re you know, that that we may need to hire up a bit for but we’re really excited about that.

Alexander Ferguson 23:05
is speaking of your team, how big is your team right now?

Andrew Forman 23:09
So we are eight full time people right now.

Alexander Ferguson 23:11
Okay, so you’re doing great things with a small team. But it’s it’s like hitting that strive right now being able to ready to go and you just mentioned that you did raise additional funds just recently,

Andrew Forman 23:25
right? Yes. So recently raised from two to awesome, and I can’t say enough good things about TJ Mahoney at accomplice, I believe he actually just put a post out that he’s starting his own VC firm called vinyl. If you get a chance to meet him or speak with him, he is fantastic. And same with Vic Singh over at ENIAC, the folks at ENIAC that are four four partners there, they’re all fantastic. But Vic in particular is an amazing person to work with these guys. You know, they give the I feel like they give me superpowers. It’s, it’s absurd, how helpful, the introductions, they make their thought process on, they’ve just seen this over and over again, they know, they know the playbooks, they know how it goes. There’s nothing you can say that’s going to scare them or shake them in any way, shape, or form. They’re just gonna say, Great, this is what you should do. Or don’t listen to me because you’re the founder and you know what you should do?

Alexander Ferguson 24:22
Did you were you reaching out to folks about this? How did those relationships come about?

Andrew Forman 24:29
Yeah, we were going through that fundraising slog. So there were at least 50 folks that said, Thanks, but no thanks to me, at some some point along the journey. I think that’s something that any founder will tell you, you try to collect. I always at this point of my game of collecting nose so try to collect 100 nose before you say, Hey, this is not is not viable, because it’s it really does just take that one right person who in my case had invested in email Marketing when it was just coming on the scene had invested in SMS marketing when it was just coming on the scene. Watch those companies go from $10 million valuations to $10 billion valuations. And and now donation driven marketing is the next thing on the scene obviously in my opinion and and they share that and that that in itself gives you gives you new life right but if but if I’m talking to somebody who hasn’t invested in those email marketing tools or those SMS tools, they don’t know what’s next in marketing and they they could be this could be could be something totally different. And so they you know, they just weren’t the right weren’t the right fit. And so I think we were reaching out to folks, I did do a, an accelerator program through through HBS, which is actually quite, quite good. We did a six minute pitch and TJ a partner at accomplice actually said, Hey, this is amazing. But TJ is the right guy. You just hadn’t seen the right guy and so I actually got put put over to TJ from him from his partner from Sam and and that was the best intro actually should call Sam and thank him for that intro because that was that was game changing. And TJ had actually seen Gibbs This is actually funny. TJ had seen Gibbs when we were Venmo for charity. And he said that’s cool. I like Andrew maybe but that’s not gonna work

Alexander Ferguson 26:36
you’ve already known Oh, not not gonna work

Andrew Forman 26:39
catchy catchy in three years?

Alexander Ferguson 26:42
Yes. So is there anything that you now have going gone through that slog that you would go back and tell yourself would you have done it differently? Or it just it just what is what you got to do?

Andrew Forman 26:57
Unfortunately, I think it’s what you got to do. I hate that answer. But I I don’t I don’t know. I don’t know that it could have been done differently. I could have gotten lucky earlier. But I don’t think I don’t think there’s a way to manifest that

Alexander Ferguson 27:15
it’s just the effort and time of working those relationships and talking that talking it up you as a as a leader of the of your of this business of this idea moving forward. Imagine your your role in your activity has changed over the past few years and will continue to change the as the team grows. But I’m curious it’s like can you think of the most recent constructive feedback that someone gave you that you had to take and and kind of like oh, okay, I gotta I gotta change that I’m changing. I’m improving as a leader as a person.

Andrew Forman 27:48
That’s good question. I’m going to try to take take a couple of seconds to think about that. I think yes, I’m just trying to figure out which one do I do I do I talk about here I try to pride myself on being open and and from you know, when you’re a seven, eight person, you know, all the way from from three to eight people. It’s still pretty flat organization, right? And I still want to cultivate that. Anytime you have constructive feedback, please do share and I will probably over index on it just because I want to encourage you to share those types of feedback with me. In terms of recently, what’s like, what’s the most recent thing that somebody said, Hey, you could be doing this a lot better. Man, there’s a there’s a bunch of stuff. I think it’s classic with with CTOs. And so your technical technical co founders and your non technical co founders. I think there’s a good part of why you need somebody great on that side of things by your side is so that they can give you that constructive feedback and say hey man, you come off really disorganized on these team calls. And that’s not good. Okay, tell me more. And he’s like you know, have a plan take 10 minutes before the call and make sure you know you have everything you want to say go through at once and people will follow you to the end of the earth you have that type of personality but just make sure you have it all reined in and then type package looks like great he’s like I can’t do it so he’s not easy you know I’m not throwing shade but but you you can you can do it. And just take that that five to 10 minutes extra prep. I thought that was good. And I’ve been trying that in meetings we’ve been doing a lot better.

Alexander Ferguson 29:41
That’s that’s a succinct but powerful feedback of be organized in your leadership and your actions. It’s like Yeah, get to the point faster. For you what, where do you go for your learnings? Like is there any major books that I’ve or podcasts or audiobooks or things that you’ve read or listened to? that have helped inspire you or helped you grow

Andrew Forman 30:03
that’s a great question I immediately go so so the last book on tape that I listened to Well first of all, Dan pelota if you haven’t watched that that TED talk I think that was like the first thing that I saw that I was like this is like correct in the charity space and you know I think that’s amazing I think things like you know the classics like the hard thing about hard things from it you know all the all the classic kind of stuff as well you know, that’s it is it is helpful to have that just reinforced and you listen to that I think those are all very very good things.

Alexander Ferguson 30:42
Is there like is there one that comes that you I mean, I

Andrew Forman 30:45
the most recent book I listened to on tape was green lights by Matthew McConaughey. Yeah, it’s like his basically autobiography if you will. And it’s wild and I I loved it I thought it was I mean there are some things where I was just like, this guy is a nut job and I love it and then there are other things where I was like this guy is a nut job and and I’m actually learning some some some cool stuff i mean he’s chasing down literally chasing down his dreams going to going to Africa because he had a dream that he was in Africa flowing down the river and so he had to go live it I mean, crazy stuff but like interesting and I feel like if you want to learn from it, you can and he and he and he does a good job of joking about himself but also bringing it back down to what you can take away from it if you want to look that way.

Alexander Ferguson 31:43
As a tech leader and always I’m sure paying attention to tech things are there any like really simple or cheaper or helpful but small work apps or or tools or things that you’ve come across are like oh this is nice this is cool. Nothing major investment just simple ones that someone could go download or use or has has helped you or as as an individual as a leader

Andrew Forman 32:07
Yeah, no, that’s a that’s also another very good question. I wish I had a better answer here. I don’t know that there’s anything What do I use that truly helps in the day to day side of things like the things running through my mind immediately like okay, yeah, you need your slack and your G Suite and all this kind of stuff, but like what are the small investment items that have a huge impact? I don’t have a good answer for you here on this one. I wish I did.

Alexander Ferguson 32:41
It’s all right. It’s it’s I like to ask them throw it out there because sometimes there is and sometimes there there isn’t. If If you look ahead, though, into kind of where technology’s going when it comes to maybe ecommerce or or or or nonprofits What if you had to make a prediction of what we will see in 510 years from now tech predictions what what come What would you say what comes to your mind?

Andrew Forman 33:06
I mean I’m always thinking about that ease of ease of payment piece right and so I do think this one click you see something on Instagram or wherever you are and you want to buy it you just click like you know hey I like the shirt that guy’s wearing like done right and and it’s it’s coming that is coming it has to be and I think in the next five to 10 years it will it will be that and it will be I like the shirt that guy’s wearing Oh and I get $5 to give to charity when I do it great click and so I think that that is going to be 100% something that that is is just out there this this Bible piece I I wonder about you know virtual reality and how that’s going to going to come into into play I these these these fake worlds that that kids are starting to live in I just I don’t know I don’t know how that’s going to affect I wonder about it a lot I have two little ones and how how much different with the rate of change technology the way it is how much different are their lives going to be than ours? Are they going to go outside and run around in the backyard and play tackle football or are they going to do that virtually with goggles on I just I just don’t Yeah, yeah wild Yeah.

Alexander Ferguson 34:34
What is the future look like virtual or not or a combination of Yeah,

Andrew Forman 34:38
yeah like is there is there some combination of this and they’re actually running around with the with headset on outside and it’s a good thing and so I don’t know I just don’t know.

Alexander Ferguson 34:50
I whenever I look at it, it’s like it’s usually a combination of however we the worst you think of the best thing somehow the two together For you, is there is there a type of technology that you just love that are fascinated with or like man I would totally get that like if you if you could have or maybe another way to say is a futuristic tech science sci fi tech that could exist right now just for fun what would you want?

Andrew Forman 35:16
Yeah, I would love to so I played Division Three college football I always always since the beginning of time, my time at least wanted to play in the NFL so if there’s some way that like I could be put in to the NFL in two ways one like first of all make me like an NFL caliber player which I’m clearly not that would be cool and I would love to like experience that and see like oh wow, I can jump this high or do this that would be very cool. Run this fast. Or I’d also love to see like, how I’d stack up just as I am now getting smoked by these NFL players, and how much slower I am and how and like how like I’m like sometimes like I could catch that it’s like actually It’d be great if I could replay that play and like go see if I could have actually caught that. That would be super super interesting to me. Sorry for the weird answer but that’s just what came to my mind. That’s that’s my heart of hearts right there.

Alexander Ferguson 36:12
I love it too I think so coming back to gives you we talked a little bit beforehand in this whole plan and just kind of circling back to the name itself. You mentioned the domain name that’s always a fun thing try to get a good domain name How did you get the domain name?

Andrew Forman 36:33
Yeah And for those that are not sure about or not domain experts four letter domains are hard to come by so was parked, bought and parked, which I’m not sure if you’re not familiar with that that means somebody bought it and they’re just holding on to it and warehousing it but there’s nothing actually on that site so basically you go there and they’re like alright make make me your best offer. They’re buying it so that somebody’s gonna want it in the future and they hold it so very tangential side note we once back my investment banking days sold the company where somebody had bought in the early early days out of his grandma’s basement,, all the two letter domains. And then when you think about that, American Airlines they are going to want and you’re gonna make a boatload of money and this guy did so. The even even four letter domains that have some semblance of a word are super tough to come by. So I when I looked up, give that calm so I was parked. You can look up on the Whois database you can just google Whois database and see who owns these things and so I saw a woman on this in Canada I emailed her you had her email address I emailed her This was when I was still at school emailed her to no response for at least three months then she I sent I sent her I tried to be respectful and just do like one email a month like hey, I’m building this company it’s in the social good space. You know, I own get gifts calm and I own but I would love to own gifts calm and I see you have it parked so I would love to just hop on the phone tell you what we’re doing and and my hope was that I could get on the phone and she loved me so much that she just gave it to me right so I tried that and she after three months so three emails one email a month she finally did respond she wrote back and all caps Make me your best offer and so I’m like all right, I don’t know how much these things go for. I had one investor or potential investor who’s gonna say like, I’ll put up 25k like this you need the domain like that. That’s what that’s what you need. I think she should sell for that but at the same time, and I was like, Okay, I don’t know if she’s listening. You might have been able to have 25k but probably not. I I I did then say no, please can we get on the phone and we went back and forth over email should tell me more about what you’re doing. I know and we went back and forth for another four months or seven months in total. before finally she called me on a Tuesday morning at like 8am we talked for two hours. And she ended the she ended the call with you know, things were going well I thought and she said alright, Andrew, where are you spiritually? And I was like, I don’t know how to answer that question. So I started talking about how my parents raised me to do the right thing and I don’t know I’m not like super I don’t do like a ton of meditating or yoga or anything, but like I want to, but she said, Stop babbling. I’m gonna send you the GoDaddy codes today. You got it. Like I was a You’re lucky lucky as hell better be lucky than good. I was a hardened marketer who’s just buying up four letter domains. I thought this one was interesting years ago, forgot I owned it, and I’m gonna give it to you. And if you want me to help you on SEO, consulting, I can do that as well. I was like, I would love to and she’s like, and I’m against and I insist, don’t pay me just, you know, I want this to exist in the world and that was back when it was mammaprint charity and so I owe her a ton. And just one of the many people that that make this journey interesting along the way.

Alexander Ferguson 40:07
Oh, that’s awesome, awesome story. And it’s just it was the beginning of the journey and so much more to now and to happen as as you continue to go forward. This has been awesome. And for those that want to learn more about gifts now you know what the domain is and the story behind it. GIVZ four letter and be able to explore it more on Shopify now. Thank you for your time, Andrew, this has been fantastic.

Andrew Forman 40:31
Thank you so much for having me. Really appreciate it.

Alexander Ferguson 40:34
And we’ll see you all on the next episode of UpTech Report. Have you seen a company using AI machine learning or other technology to transform the way we live, work and do business go to UpTech and let us know


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