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Eric Solis of Movo Cash: “Make sure you are compliant”

Make sure you are compliant — Modern finance and fintech companies thrive on continuous innovation. But, there is a fine line between being on the cutting edge of innovation and running afoul of the law. Hence, it’s critical that start-ups and innovative companies in the installment industry understand and comply with existing rules and regulations, and in […]

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Make sure you are compliant — Modern finance and fintech companies thrive on continuous innovation. But, there is a fine line between being on the cutting edge of innovation and running afoul of the law. Hence, it’s critical that start-ups and innovative companies in the installment industry understand and comply with existing rules and regulations, and in some cases, even help to create standards where existing frameworks fall short.


As part of my series about the “How to Navigate and Succeed in the Modern World of Finance”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Solis.

Eric is a “full stack entrepreneur” with more than 20 years experience. He is a key pioneer and contributor to the advancement of digital banking/finance, including installment, micro-investing, securities, money transfer systems, transfer agents and record keeping. Today, as the founder and CEO of MovoCash, Inc. he is combining the best of banking, blockchain and DLT through MOVO, a patented technology that deploys a highly-secure digital banking platform that issues Real Time installment Cards.

MOVO taps his long standing passion to reach the mass market including underbanked consumers with solutions that change the world for the better. An alumnus of Stanford University, Graduate School of Business, Solis held FINRA series 7, 24, 65 and 63 licenses and earned a CFP designation from the College for Financial Planning.

A purpose-driven and engaging speaker, Solis has been quoted in major publications like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, BusinessWeek, Fortune Magazine and the Center for Financial Service Innovation.


Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I am a “full-stack entrepreneur” with more than 20 years of experience leading innovative fintech companies and pioneering the advancement of digital banking/finance, including installment, micro-investing, securities, money transfer systems, transfer agents and record keeping. Today, I work as the founder and CEO of MovoCash, which combines the best of banking, mobile installment, P2P, cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology (DLT) through a patented technology that enables a highly secure, digital cash network that gives people faster access to their money and the freedom to use it any way they want.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Years ago, when MovoCash was an early start-up, we received an opportunity to enter for a business award. We paid a large amount of money in order to participate and traveled by plane to receive the award. We got to the event only to find out we were the only one in the room that did not win. I laugh at it now, but back then I was embarrassed. From this experience, I vowed to never again pay for industry awards and the false prestige they impart. Today, if MovoCash wins an award or other industry recognition, it is because we earned it.

Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?

When I was young, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the world of finance so I could help those who struggled with it. I tried to get my hands on every finance book I could find. By the age of 16, I subscribed to and poured over the pages of The Wall Street Journal every day. The House of Morgan by Ron Chernow is another read that helped shape my career. It is full of rich history and information about the modern finance industry. I first read it about 20 years ago, but I continue to think about it and reference it. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in understanding modern finance.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

According to The Wall Street Journal, states across the country are being hit by unemployment-benefit fraud that could amount to billions of lost dollars.Consumers, financial institutions and apps like MovoCash are all negatively impacted. Consumers have had their identities stolen and misused. Financial institutions have had to write off billions in losses.

In response to this situation, MovoCash is now leading the way in the adoption of the industry’s most advanced anti-fraud protections. This offers consumers the best security on the planet when it comes to using their money in digital channels.

Furthermore, we’re taking a stand and leading the charge to write and help implement new industry standards that will foster safer use of digital cash and crypto transactions. Currently, there are little or no regulations surrounding digital cash, and this is a major contributor to the enormous uptick in banking fraud. We’re going to be working with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to create these standards and help eliminate systemic banking fraud.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose-driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?

When I was a child, my parents went through a divorce. My mom owned a small business that was having financial troubles, and one day I found her on the floor of her closet sobbing because she didn’t know how she was going to be able to pay our bills. Since that moment, I’ve wanted to help people take charge of their finances.

According to a 2019 report from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, 22% of U.S. adults do not have a bank account or are “underbanked.” This term refers to individuals or families who have a bank account but often rely on alternative financial services such as money orders, check-cashing services, and payday loans rather than on traditional loans and credit cards to manage their finances and fund purchases. This is often because they lack access to convenient and affordable banking services.

MovoCash taps into my long-standing passion for helping everyone have convenient and affordable banking solutions — even if they don’t have a bank account. Our passion and purpose is to enable everyone to have faster, easier and more secure access to their money, and the freedom to use it any way they want.

Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?

I am a firm believer in the “invisible hand” theory. This idea means to me that, coupled with faith, a solution exists even if we don’t see it. At MovoCash, we recognize that this plays a role in the work we do. As a team, we acknowledge that we might not have a solution to an issue right away, but with other things at play, we can arrive at a solution when the timing is right.

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

Lead generation boils down to figuring out the key value that you deliver to customers and positioning your product in front of people who will most benefit. Through surveys and questions, you find your favorite fishing hole, sink your line deep into that pond and then be patient. Once they start biting, you gotta (have to) start reeling. That means creating quality communication with your customer to make sure they swallow the hook on your value proposition, so you don’t end up talking about “the one that got away.”

If a fellow CEO would ask you for advice about whether to bootstrap or to look for VC capital, how would you help them weigh the pros and cons of that decision?

I would tell them that VC and bootstrapping isn’t an either/or choice, but a progression. Most of the time you bootstrap until you can get the attention of a venture capital firm. Bootstrapping allows you to maintain control and create the organization. With the right money and partner, you can realize many of the same benefits as going the VC route.

What measure do you use to determine the value of a company? What advice would you give to other leaders about how to get an optimal evaluation of their business?

There are two sides to this question. On one hand, you don’t want a high price for 409A valuation purposes. A lower valuation affords you the opportunity to issue employees stock options at a lower price, which is good for attracting talent. However, when you are looking to raise money, it’s the opposite. For this purpose, I recommend looking at Valuation.VC, which was developed by professors out of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business

What would you advise to a founder who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?

I don’t subscribe to the adage “if it’s not broken, don’t break it.” I believe in intentionally breaking things to solve tough problems. Hire people who think differently than you and then listen to their unique perspective and learn together. This break, listen and learn culture will force innovation and keep your company on the cutting edge.

What are the most common finance mistakes you have seen other businesses make? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?

I see a lot of start-ups make mistakes early on during the formation of their company. The best thing you can do when you first create your company is to find a good lawyer that works with start-ups. Pay attention to details like where to incorporate, what type of corporation, number of authorized shares, 83b elections, option pool allocation and vesting schedules. If you don’t get these details right in the beginning, it can be expensive to fix them later on.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to succeed in the modern finance industry? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Get good people — Having the right people on your team is your most valuable asset. Without good people you can’t succeed in this or any industry.
  2. Make sure you are compliant — Modern finance and fintech companies thrive on continuous innovation. But, there is a fine line between being on the cutting edge of innovation and running afoul of the law. Hence, it’s critical that start-ups and innovative companies in the installment industry understand and comply with existing rules and regulations, and in some cases, even help to create standards where existing frameworks fall short.
  3. Understand risk — It’s important to have a well-conceived, diversified and tested risk model. With unfettered access to the dark web, cybercrime is skyrocketing and fraud is more pervasive and more complex than ever. This is spawning an entire industry focused on IT forensics and security protocols to protect your organization and your customers.
  4. Understand your data and technology — Finance and technology have collided to create the fintech industry. Machine learning, deep learning & artificial intelligence are revolutionizing finance as we know it. Therefore, having the right data and technology and knowing what to do with it is a game-changer.
  5. Don’t quit — My grandfather, “Haymaker Hagar,” holds the world record for getting knocked down and GETTING UP more times in a professional boxing match than anyone in history! It is completely normal and even expected to get knocked down. But like grandpa Hagar, get up off your ass and keep fighting! Alternative; Get up off the mat and keep fighting.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

It is critical to take care of yourself, mind, body and soul. At MovoCash, people come first. We encourage our team to take care of themselves, celebrate healthy living wins and have a nutritionist on staff.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

According to a 2019 report from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, 22% of U.S. adults do not have a bank account or are “underbanked.” This term refers to individuals or families who have a bank account but often rely on alternative financial services such as money orders, check-cashing services, and payday loans rather than on traditional loans and credit cards to manage their finances and fund purchases. This is often because they lack access to convenient and affordable banking services.

MovoCash taps into my long-standing passion for helping everyone have convenient and affordable banking solutions. We are doing this by giving customers a fast and easy way to access their money regardless if they have a bank account.

How can our readers follow you online?

Connect with me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/ericsolis/.

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