Laurence Sotsky

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Epi 24: Credits & Incentives for Public Partnerships – Laurence Sotsky, CEO of Incentify

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Find Laurence Sotsky on LinkedIn here:

JC: Welcome everybody to another episode of The Future of BizTech. I am your host, JC Granger. I have with me here, the CEO of Incentify, Laurence Sotsky. Laurence, thank you so much for coming on the show. Tell the audience a little bit about yourself, your background, and what incentify does.

Laurence: I sure will. Thank you so much for having me on the show today, JC. it’s a real pleasure to be here. So, let me tell you a little bit about Incentify and then I’ll move over and talk a little bit about myself. So we are the only purpose-built solution for a really interesting asset class called credits and incentives.

And most folks probably have never even heard of a credit or an incentive, but it’s actually a trillion-dollar asset class, and regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on politically, the government uses credits and incentives to create a public-private partnership. And let me try to explain that just a little bit more.

So the government of course has no real ability to create a vaccine or a therapeutic. The government has no way really to build a retail store or a manufacturing plant, but they do have the ability to help companies achieve specific goals without having to necessarily be profitable at the time that they’re trying to achieve those goals.

So if you think about things that are on the tip of everybody’s tongue, things like the coronavirus vaccine. So the MRNA technology was created through a credit and incentive. The therapeutics that people are using for coronavirus have been created through a credit and incentive. So the government gives these big corporations and, look, “We’re going to give you a tax write off. We’re going to give you some sort of a property tax abatement. We’re going to give you some sort of a stimulation so that you can help us achieve these, this, this, this, or this”.

And it’s an incredible way that the government can do it because they don’t have to necessarily come out of pocket. If you think about like stimulus checks, that’s the treasury having to dig deep into their pockets to go and cash, give everybody these $14,000 stimulus checks or PPP for small business that’s cash that has to come out of the treasury. With credits and incentives, these are all achievement-oriented. If you do these things, then we give you usually it’s like a 10-year offset to your income taxes. So it’s not necessarily digging into their pockets today. It might be taking a little bit from what they would have gotten in terms of income tax or property tax tomorrow. But it’s a great way to kind of spur the economy. As far as me, let me say a little bit about myself – I started my career in management consulting. I worked with Deloitte consulting, had an excellent career. I was really happy, really happy on the partner track, but my experience was always on the sales side. I just love to sell stuff. I was good at the consulting work, but I was always like, can I get through it so I can go sell something and very, very, very, very good at sales. I got approached by a recruiter when I was kind of on my way to becoming a partner at Deloitte and decided to go run the sales organization of a tech company, that one got bought for $500 million. And I was sold. I was like, well, this is, this is incredible. Like you go to a company and it gets it acquired and you make a ton of money. This is really great. So I loved it.

Unfortunately, the next few, it took a while for my next exit, but I was, I was pretty fortunate. I kind of rose through the ranks of venture capital-backed companies, that’s been my passion. I love sort of tinkering with companies, organizations, and figuring out, you know, you got the sharp machete. You’re in the jungle. You know, there’s some treasure out there, but you don’t really know which way to go. It’s got to start off with the way you got into it. You gotta, you know, you gotta use your brain and your muscles to sort of figure out where that treasure is, and I just got hooked. I mean, it is just so much fun and luckily I’ve been very fortunate in my career. I’ve led the sales teams and had three successful exits. And then I was tapped to be CEO of my last company called Hopscotch, which was in the entertainment, sports and entertainment space.

JC: I’ve heard of Hopscotch.

Laurence: Oh, good. Yeah. Great. So I sold that company back in February of 19, and then I was looking for the next thing to do, and it was kind of my first time ever, that I didn’t go from one thing to the next, or I wasn’t sort of pulled..

JC: You gotta take some time off, man. I mean, you gotta take a break every now and then.

Laurence: I’ve had some good breaks here or there, but I’ve always said, all right, well, it’s always a binary decision. Is this better than this? Okay. I’ll give you that. Is this better than this? No. Okay. I’ll stay doing this, but I had a little bit of time and I really sort of thought to myself, what can I really do? How do I make an impact? And I hope it doesn’t sound cliche, but I believe a lot in a book by Simon Sinek called “Start With Why”. I hope you’ve read that. I hope a lot of your viewers have as well, if they haven’t, they should. There’s also a TedTalk called the golden circle that you can watch in about maybe like five, five or 10 minutes.

JC: I love Simon man. You’re preaching to the choir. I love that guy.

Laurence: It’s a great one. And I saw the Ted talk a long time ago and since I had lots, a little bit of time off after selling my last company, I had time to read the book and I was like, you know what? I got to find something that has a real why. I want something that is going to inspire people that I talked to, investors that I’m working with, employees that I hire, I want something really serious and I want a real why. And luckily I met a gentleman named Brett Markinson, who is a serial entrepreneur, very, very successful man. And he started this company called Incentify. And the story is that he met the son of Max Factor on a golf course, and they were talking about credits and incentives for their own personal kind of financial planning.

And then it kind of, it morphed and became this enterprise company. And then that’s when Brett said, I got to bring in somebody that’s done this before, that can sort of take what I’ve built and bring it to the next level. So I’m fortunate that they hired me in and we’ve had a hell of a run and we’ve got a real strong why and the, and the reason why the why is so strong is sorry I’m not, I’m not letting you ask a lot of questions here, but I’m pretty excited about it.

The reason why, the reason why the “why” is so strong here at Incentify is that most of the things the government is trying to do to help society. I mean, kind of a no-brainer, but whether it’s affordable housing, whether it’s finding some sort of a coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic, whether it’s sustainable energy, these are things that the government says, look, we don’t want to be on fossil based fuels forever, we want to move to wind energy. So what do they do? Actually George W. Bush, one of the biggest oil tycoons ever. He’s the one that actually, Obama gets all the credit, but actually George W. Bush is the one that actually puts together the ITC and the PTC tax credits that are enabling big companies like British petroleum move from petroleum-based products to win.

JC: Yeah

Laurence: British petroleum is sitting on, can’t tell you how much, but multi-billion dollars worth of credits and incentives all to help them move over to wind, which they could never do without these incentives. And you’re gonna say, Oh, well, a lot of people will sit, not you, but a lot of people will say, Oh, well, BP, they’re such a big company. They make so much money. That’s not the point. The point is the government is trying to “incent”, his company BP British Petroleum and I’m using them as an example. I can use hundreds of companies as an example here, but they’re trying to incent British petroleum to say, look, you already have the infrastructure once the energy is produced. Now we want you to switch from petroleum-based products to wind. How are they going to do that? They’re not going to make any money on it. It’s gonna take them 10, 20 years to actually build it.

JC: Well, they have to have a net margin in there. So it’s kind of like that whole penny saved is a penny-earned idea. So, well, let me ask you a question. So how does it Incentify, how does the platform itself integrate? Like, do companies just go on there and they sign up and then it maybe they answer a questionnaire or they put in their industry and it tells them here’s all the different things. You qualify for a click here to start, like, what is that, you know, ground-level look like for a company. And then is it only for really big companies? Is it for mom and pops? Like, tell me a little bit about that.

Laurence: Yeah. Great. Thank you for that. So Incentify those three things really, really well. The first is. Help companies find credits and incentives. The reason why this is a trillion dollar asset class, but only a very small percentage actually gets all the way through to monetization is these credits are very hard to find; they’re at the federal level and those are kind of easy. You can kind of see what the Biden administration or Trump administration or whatever the administration is doing. It’s like, okay, I’m going to work on this, this, this, and this there at the state level. Also somewhat easy, neither easy to find, look up and find, but they’re also at the hyper-local level. That’s where it gets pretty complicated. If I’m going to go put a manufacturing plant in Oxford, Mississippi, I’m going to need somebody that has boots on the ground that knows the folks in the economic development office in Oxford, Mississippi to help maximize. Every single credit incentive that I can get, because maybe that’s a, and I’m not saying Oxford is, but maybe that particular area or location is depressed economically.

And maybe there’s some sort of stimulus to try to get people that please move your manufacturing, plant your store, whatever here, because we need jobs, right? So that happens at a very hyper-local level and that’s where it gets pretty complicated. And that’s where my software comes in. So we built a product that helps companies if you’re going to build a corporate headquarters, build a distribution center, build a retail store, whatever we’re going to help you to first find every single credit incentive. That’s available to you. We then present those credits and incentives to the clients. So let’s take Kroger is one of our clients and they’ve got 3000 or so locations.

They’ve got distribution centers, warehouses. They’ve got lots of physical assets. They got of course a ton of a ton of grocery stores, but we can load all their data in our system. We can tell them, here are the credits and incentives around the country, or even around the world to get some big international companies as well.

These are all the credits and incentives around the country. That you can go after it. But the next problem is that will also help solve is once you have all those, that could be a lot of management, right? How do you, what are you? Most companies will build an Excel spreadsheet, usually they won’t necessarily be able to follow the spreadsheet.

So we built a management system. So you load everything in and the system basically says, Here are your tasks for today. You have to file this document. You have to connect with HR and get your payroll information. You have to connect with finance. It basically makes a step-by-step process for you that you just click run, and then it just gives you a task.

So similar to the way that I run sales organizations in the past, I usually don’t know what’s going on in sales. I hate to say that I probably shouldn’t have just said that, but what I do know is I have all my tasks and every morning I go into that, we use HubSpot it’s similar to Salesforce, but I go into HubSpot and all my sales guys are putting in, Hey, Laurence, we need you to do this. Laurence, read this, review, this Laurence, I need you to talk to this customer. It’s going sideways. Laurence talked to this customer, they just signed say, thank you, whatever it is. I have it all in there. And I always tell my team, if you don’t put it in HubSpot, I’m not going to know to do it because I got too much stuff.

I got too much stuff going on. So that same process is done for our customers. So they’ll know, we’ll build out the workflow for a particular tax credit and incentive, and then they just run that workflow and they’ll just get tasks. Fill this out, do this, do that. That reminds me a lot of the software I use for a payroll called Gusto and Gusto came into my opinion anyway, kind of just obliterated a lot of what like ADP was doing because ADP’s backend was just so clunky. It was very technical and Gusto made a very user-friendly workflow, task-oriented style. You know, telling you what you need, like kind of holding your hands with the process, but in a software, which I thought was really cool. But even for like PVP loans, you know, I would log in and it’s like, Hey, we’ve already done this for you. Here’s the PDF, download it, give it, you know, put this, upload, this your application it’s done. And while I was like, wait, what? And so it kinda sounds like your software has a very familiar usability to it. Am I correct? Is that kinda like it’s intuitive. It already knows what to do. And it’s just like, Hey, click here, we’ve done what we can now you got to fill in this part, you can submit it. Boom done kind of thing. Absolutely. Now some of these credits and incentives are really complicated and in those cases, that’s when we work with advisors. So we cannot, we actually, what we tell our clients is work with advisors or work on your own or work with some combination thereof.

And we’ve done a really good job of that. They’re the biggest private company in the world. I don’t know if you’ve heard of them or not. Some still haven’t heard of them. 80% of what’s in a McDonald’s is, is made through, through Cargill. So that allows, that kind of gives you that they’re in in 70 countries, multiple operating companies per country, bigger than Coca-Cola. So all depending on the price of soybeans and sugar, they go, they go back and forth one and two, but Cargill has standardized internationally using our product. They probably have about 20 different advisors that they work with, all of which are now, but Cargill has a centralized view of everything that’s happening around the world. They know exactly what their credit and incentive portfolio looks like. And something that’s really important with credits and incentive is this thing called the carry forward schedule. So the CFO will often ask, well, how many credits and incentives are we going to be able to monetize next quarter? Most tax departments will build a panic.

They have no idea. We don’t know. It’s almost like, you know, if we get it great, if we don’t, so whatever.

JC: What industries, you know, even have credits and incentives available to them. So for example, you mentioned oil, you know, I had a client that had that, that does a service that’s similar to your software, right? Cause you guys have found a way to automate it. I had a client before that does it. And they, they. Dealt with, you know, fast food chains. Like McDonald’s, Arby’s, you know, things like that. Right. Because they were getting credits to hire like either maybe sometimes felons sometimes at low-income areas because the sea rises all boats kind of thing.

And so I know that from talking with them that those were things that were available and they were showing that my question to you is, for example, I own a marketing agency. I wouldn’t think to myself that there’s credits and incentives for industry like mine. Question one is there. And then secondly, you know, is there industries that there’s absolutely nothing for that I guess how broad is this spectrum – people listening? Should they even, should they even go try to find out or is it only a few different industries that get this?

Laurence: Yeah, it’s such a great question. So let me, you said a lot of things there and you’re right. You’re right on track. By the way, the tax credit that you’re talking about for hiring formerly incarcerated, Individuals is called WOTC.

It’s the worker walk worker opportunity tax credit. And it, and that’s exactly the type of thing that I’m talking about. Getting folks that are, are having a real hard time, getting a job, have them get a job, give them a chance, get them back. Don’t put them back in the, in the prison system. Let’s get them working and confident and having purpose and all that stuff.

Again, back back to my “Why”, that makes me super happy that I can look in my system. And I can tell you that through the credits and incentives that are being managed. In my system, we have more than a hundred thousand people that have been put back to work. And I’m not saying that that’s because of us, I’m saying that that’s because of my clients.

JC: And the WOTC program is industry agnostic. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. If you were at you’ll hire under whatever rules that they set forward. Of course, I’m sure you have to follow that. But any industry, any mom and pop, any big enterprise could use the WOTC, the WOTC credit. Work off your tax credit too. That’s just one example, right? Like, so anyone could use that one, right?

Laurence: Anyone can I use that one and I can tell you with complete confidence that many folks are not getting anywhere near what they should be getting. I talked to a big company just the other day. They’re in the, uh, I don’t want to say the name of the company, but they’re in the recyclable space, the trash and sort of the trash business. And they’re getting a fraction of what they should be getting from WOTC because of the nature of their business and the people.

JC: What could they be getting? Let’s put some numbers to this. Give me an example. Let’s say, for example, A company hires through the WOTC program, right? Let’s say they hire someone at, you know, $20 an hour or whatever to do whatever work.

Okay. What do they get back in terms of credit? Like what’s the scale here? I mean, how financial..

Laurence: $9,200 per employee per year is the credit that they get back.

JC: Wow.

Laurence: And if you’re talking about companies that have 5,000 employees, 10,000 employees, those numbers add up real quick, that’s a good amount of money that comes up.

JC: Right. So that’s against their taxes, right? Whatever their tax liability is at the end of the year, each employee that it qualifies for that they would come back 9,000 and change or whatnot from that.

Laurence: It’s a ton of money and it really does. And that’s the thing the government is saying, look, we know you don’t necessarily, if it’s comparing apples to apples, we know you’re going to take the guy that has never been in prison.

But give this guy a shot and we’re going to give you $9,200. Hopefully that may, and a lot of companies are like, Oh, okay. That makes sense. Let’s do it. And by the way, it’s not just formerly incarcerated prisoners. It’s a lot of other types of disadvantaged workers.

JC: Like what, could you example then?

Laurence: Yeah. Someone that has been on I’m on disability. So someone who’s, who’s kind of coming out of, you know, disability they’ve been on disability for, for quite some time folks that you good for..

JC: Well that could be good for like software companies then, because I mean, being remote, you know, everyone went remote. So maybe someone who was in a wheelchair who couldn’t get to work before can now be at their computer at home and the company would benefit from specifically hiring them.

Laurence: You got it. Exactly

JC: That’s awesome.

Laurence: And again if we go back to the “why”, I’m just so proud of, in fact we’re working, we haven’t done this yet, but it’s on my product guys know that I really want this done. I want the dashboard in my office that shows like I want to see it when people walk in, I want to show like our clients hired this many disabled people formerly incarcerated, but whatever, whatever it is, a live count. Like a live count. I want to say the other one that’s really important to me is the environment. So how many pounds of CO2 have we taken out of the air? You know, New York state. I always talk about this one New York state before, right before the big lockdown, New York state, they might’ve canceled it by now. I haven’t checked, but New York state had a credit. If you build an electric charger, if you own a parking lot or you own a, if you own a parking garage and you put electric charger in New York state would pay 90% of the freight, like 90%, like, okay. You know, like that’s, that’s pretty cool. Yeah. That’s, that’s really cool.

JC: Well, let’s transition to the, you mentioned the lockdown. So let’s talk about COVID. How did COVID affect, you know, your company specifically, but also the industry? I mean, were there a lot more examples of these tax credits that popped up because of COVID and then how did Incentify, you know, did you guys do better because people were paying more attention to that stuff. Like, you know, cause I know a lot of companies are scaling back, so they were looking for any way to streamline and obviously it sounds like credits would be a great way to do it if they even knew about it. Right. So how did COVID affect you guys and the overall industry?

Laurence: Yeah, such a great question and it, you know, just like everybody else, we all panicked when the lockdown happened. We’re like, Oh my God, we’re gonna, we’re gonna lose everything. It’s going to be awful. We ended up, luckily being able to help a lot of companies that were also in trouble and because of that, our business actually thrived. And I don’t mean that with any, any ego. I’m just saying that we were able to help people, a lot of companies that had never gone after a credit and incentive before all of a sudden said, “We’re crushed, what do we do?” You know, like, you know, strategic meeting, CFO, all the managers in a room, CEO, everyone in a room with these big fortune 500. So what do we do, guys? What can we do? You know, someone raised their hand, how about credits and incentives go get them, right? And then it’s like, Oh God. Now what do I do? How do I get them? It’s not, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

You can call it. You can call an advisor. Here’s the problem. A lot of folks will call an advisor. But that advisor, even the big guys, even the, even, you know, my Alma mater, even like, you know, Deloitte, Deloitte will probably say, all right, let’s go after the, let’s help them with the ones that we’re really good at because they’re, again, they’re very complicated. And there’s advisors who specialize in these different types of incentives, the WOTC credit that you mentioned, there’s, there’s people out there that all they do is WOTC credits because it’s complicated. The calculations are hard. The audit that passing the audit from the government is hard. It’s all really difficult.

So then, so the audit is that you have people that are specializing and, and a question that you asked a little bit earlier, and then I’ll finish the question that you just asked. Now you said, can all companies benefit from credits and incentives? Well, it’s interesting. There’s another company, similar to ours that just got an unbelievable valuation, $500 million valuation for coming. It’s been around just even less time than we have, I think. And all they do is one credit. They do the R and D tax credit for small businesses for startups, right. Companies like mine. And it’s a pretty simple marketing pitch. They send you an email and they say, and this could be good for you too. Right? “Hey, you’re a small business. If we think you can get around, you know, put your number in there 50,000, a hundred thousand, whatever it is, all we need to do is a little connector into your ADP or your whatever your payroll system is a little connector into your, maybe into your github. If you’re a tech company like mine, we just need to know how much money you’re spending towards new product development, and then we can give you money back”.

Now you could say, “Oh, well, a lot of startups, like Silicon Valley startups don’t make any money. So they’re like, Oh, it’s not for us. I don’t know. It is because in 2017 there was a new rule that was passed where you can actually take a cash rebate. It’s called a refundable credit cash, cash In your hand, write you a check. Here you go against your payroll.

So any of the developers that have been working on a new product, which like coming like mine, it’s like most of it, unless it’s like bugs or things, hopefully, we don’t have a lot of those, but anything that you’re working on with new products, you can basically take, uh, either an offset here, income tax, or you can take a refundable credit for payroll tax. So for a company with 20 employees that are, let’s say 80% of those 20 employees are working towards new product, it could be 50,000, $75,000 that they’d never had before.

And this company, this just got the incredible valuation. They’re pretty smart. They’re like, look, you don’t do anything. You don’t pay anything, just hit the button. And if we get money, you win. And then we get, we’ll take our cut. Like they take 20% or something like that.

JC: But it obviously does apply to people who’ve been doing R and D and whatnot, but knowing that a company like that exists can encourage some companies to start, you know, cause they thought, you know, maybe where that financial barrier started, they’d say, well, we can at least get X amount back once we do this kind of thing, right?

Laurence: Now for us, that’s pretty cool. But what, you know, it’s even cooler when you can work with a big company, you can say, oh, it’s not just one tax credit. We’re going to go after thousands. And some of our customers, we have some big customers. We have Viacom, CBS. We have Sony, we have Tyson chicken. We have, I mentioned Cargill. We have, we have a ton of really, really big manufacturers, retailers. I mentioned Kroger international paper. We have a lot of customers. Some of them are managing billions in our system, billions, with a B like, it’s not, we’re not talking about $50,000 here and there. We’re talking about, and some of our customers, it’s great when you talk to them, cause they’ll say, you know, before your system, we had no idea. We thought maybe we had 100 million in credits, we weren’t really sure. After we got every single operating company, every single area it’s in the billions. And that is really exciting for everybody involved.

JC: Yeah. That’s incredible. Let me ask you a question. I’m a marketing guy, you know, I specialize in the whole B2B tech marketing stuff. So I’m, you know, when I get to talk to someone like you, like my ears perk up my tail wags cause I love hearing about software, right? I’m just that geek from the Bay area originally. You know? So my question is this though, you came in a little bit later, uh, to the company right now. What are you guys doing to get yourself out there? I mean, you know, there’s so many companies, like you said, who have no idea that these exist.

So what kinds of marketing are you guys doing? To get that word out there so that mom and pops all the way up to big giant companies even know that these exists and to try to use your platform, you know, what, what are some of the things that are working best for you right now?

Laurence: Yeah, well this is one and I, again, I really appreciate you having me on the show that the press that we’ve been getting lately has been outstanding and I’ve been trying to push in the press quite a bit. I want to be kind of a counter-voice to the voice that’s out there. A lot of folks, if you think of like AOC, they’re the Congresswoman from New York or Bernie Sanders, sorry. Senator from Vermont. Of course, a lot of folks, those two in particular are very anti credit and incentive and it makes people kind of back away.

So, what I’ve been doing from a marketing perspective is taking the, taking the counter-argument and their argument goes something like this, they’ll say, you know, AOC will say, she’s got an incredible following. She’s done an incredible job. You know, a lot of things she does are amazing, not knocking her at all, not even a little, but on this particular case, she really has it wrong. So she’ll say things like, “Oh, Jeff Bezos is so rich and therefore Amazon doesn’t deserve any credits and incentives”. And that is just. Ridiculous. And let me, let me, let me explain why, and I love getting this out in the press because it know then all of a sudden there’s, there’s lots of, lots of people are talking about

JC: Well, there’s two sides to every concept. So yeah..

Laurence: It’s just such a simple sound bite that they, the did politicians use. And again, I don’t mean to disrespect, but I wish that they would sort of dial this in with a little more intelligence. Amazon has probably more credits and incentives than any other company in the world because of the number of distribution centers and how prolific they are building.

If they want to put a distribution center in location A because that makes the most sense for them. They know exactly where they want to put that they have all the information systems. They know, they know their supply chain inside and out. They know exactly where it is, but if there’s an area that’s 30 miles East of location A that’s depressed and has the economy’s bad, there’s no jobs, it’s become a bad thing or a bad place. And the government says, look, Amazon, we know you want to put it in location and we get it. We understand why you made it very clear. We want you to put it in location B and what will it take? That’s not Jeff Bezos being the richest person in the world. That is a hyper-local event that the government is trying to push Amazon to move from location A to location B.

So if Amazon says, well, that’s going to cost us more money and drivers and in gas, and then slowing down our deliveries and the number of Amazon prime people that pick up Amazon prime, whatever right? They have their reasons why, but if you give us a 10-year property abatement, In the amount of a hundred million dollars that would offset some of the loss that we’re going to have in our business.

And the government says, you know what? Okay, fine, federal, we’ll give you 50 million local. We’ll give you, you know, state, we’ll give you 20 million local. We’ll come in and finish the rest. But you have to promise that you’re going to hire this many people at this wage by this time. And what does Amazon do? They do the business case, just like any successful organization. And they go, okay, we’ll do it.

JC: It’ll be beneficial negotiation where Amazon can save and cover, you know, offset, but then also the local economy, like you said, you didn’t get a really bad neighborhood that all of a sudden you put some anchor business like that in there, and everyone has jobs, all of a sudden that didn’t kind of thing, right? That’s a general idea of what you’re saying?

Laurence: Absolutely and it’s beyond and by the way, think it through a little bit further. It’s not just the jobs at that distribution center. That’s good. Like let’s say they hired 5,000 people. Great. Awesome. Get those people off the street off of welfare, off of whatever.

Now they’re working in a distribution center. Cool. But what happens all around that distribution center, lunch places pop up dry cleaners, pop up, rental apartments, start building some gentrification occurs. Some people start moving into that area. Some executives come in and maybe they build a school or charter school. Now all of a sudden school system starts to look a little better. All of this is happening at the micro economy level. It’s not Jeff Bezos and his $90 billion or whatever he has posted worse. It really is the people in that town that the government needs to get back to work. That’s their job, right? The government’s trying to help us.

So if they can move at, so what pains me and you asked a simple question, I’m giving you a very long answer, but what pains me is when politicians take that as, ”Oh, look at Amazon, they have. They have a portfolio of, I don’t know their portfolio. I don’t work with them. They have a very sophisticated team that’s doing this better than most other companies I’ve ever seen, but they must have, you know, tens of billions in credits and incentives in their portfolio. And they go after every single one precisely for this reason, though, exactly what you said is there to analyze the business case. And if the government says, look, you know, it’s not really worth $10 million property tax abatement for you, then they’re going to say great then we’ll put it in the location we wanted to put it in. And we don’t really care what the credit incentive we need that for our customers. So that’s one thing we do. So we’re in the press quite a bit. And again, I really appreciate you having me on, on the show today. The other thing is we, we have targeted the bigger companies for now because they have the messiest and they have the most to gain and the messiest credit incentive portfolios.

So we know. All the tax people, all the finance people, all the CFOs in the fortune 1000 and we’re attacking and pressing and pushing the messaging into those, into those folks. But you’re right, the next step, once we get all of those accounts up and running and going, then we’re going to go a little bit lower and we have a new offering, which is pretty exciting and it’s a no-cost offering similar to the, the company that I mentioned earlier, where if the company gives us their economic data, high level redacted, whatever. We can look at their job information for things like WOTC. As you mentioned, we look at their capital expenditures in the different regions.

We load it all in our system and then the system can figure it basically plots it on a heat map. You look at all the locations, it’s very easy for us to come up with. Okay. This is what your incentive portfolio could look like. We also work with advisors. So on the other side, the other side of it, we have advisors.

Ryan LLC is the fifth largest advisory in the world, but just behind the big four, Ryan, we did a strategic partnership with Brian just a little while ago. So for some of these tax credits and incentives, they’re very complicated. Even if you have a system like ours, You still might want the counsel from an advisor and we allow advisors to connect into our system.

JC: So it’s like having, it’s like having QuickBooks, but you still need to CPA, you know

Laurence: You got it, you got it first for some of them, some of them are very easy. Some of them are very difficult. WOTC is difficult. R & D is difficult. You know, a lot of these enterprise zone credits that the Trump administration put in place and they’re a little difficult.

So you got to find specialists in all these different areas. And so we pulled in all the best advisors, Ryan being, our main partner for broad-based strokes. But in very specialized areas, we have other, other advisors as well that can help out and really guide, guide the conversation with the local economic development offices in all these different jurisdictions.

JC: So let me ask you a question here then when it comes to the future of this. So, you know, you’re in a, you’re in an industry that can change on a dime, right? It can change with politicians. It can change with the economy. So, you know, where do you see first, the incentives industry, right? Cause you have some competitors and obviously you guys are big in the space too.

Where do you see that going in the next four or five years? You know, with either the current administration or if there’s a change, like, do you have kind of a forecast? Do you see certain incentives that maybe aren’t out yet that you think will hit? Do you see some that are here now, do you think will be repealed? What’s the future of that?

Laurence: Yeah. Well, it’s such a great question. The good news is regardless of the administration, and regardless if it’s Republicans in the white house or Democrats, credits and incentives are the best way for the government to kind of move the economy forward without any liquidity requirements.

As I mentioned, kind of earlier, no, no reason the treasury doesn’t have to go print a bunch of checks. So especially now with the way where we sit with the deficit, that’s just gone up and the, PVP three, as well as the stimulus three, that’s gone out. You know where we’re in a spot where it’s gonna be difficult for us just to kind of write checks to a bunch of companies to do what the government wants them to do without inflation starting to rise.

So, you know, the administration and the economists that are there are starting to think about that. So the best thing they can do is, is a credit incentive package and regardless of it’s Republican or Democrat, credits incentives have always been used. So what we’re seeing, we haven’t seen it yet, but it looks like the Biden administration where we’re trying to get as much information as we can very focused on, you know, Biden’s green initiatives, similar to Obama.

And so we’re, we’re super excited about that, especially with the customers that we already have in place, helping them sort of navigate the big federal credits, but outside of the federal credits, there’s so many other credits at the state level at the local level, as, as I mentioned, as I mentioned earlier, so regardless of the administration, we’re going to be fine. And we’re going to help. We’re going to keep helping to guide our customers and using our technology with the credits and incentives that come out of Washington or their state or local government.

JC: Yes. You know, like I said, I had a client who did something, somebody you guys more of a service-based. I think they probably fall on what you would call advisors more than anything. And they used to tell me that. It’s a very bipartisan issue. They’re like a, you know, things, it can tweak. They’ve seen it tweaked during certain administrations, barely, but ultimately they’re, you know, Republicans like it because it gets people back on their feet and off of the system and Democrats like it because it helps out disenfranchise people.

So like both sides was one of the few things they said that that actually brought both sides together. One of those policies. So I think that it’s good for the future of your industry, which is great. Now let’s talk about the future. That’s my last question. The future of your company. So, you know, my audience likes to hear about new things coming on before other people, this podcast might actually be a couple of months delayed anyway, just cause we’ve got, you know, a queue here running so by the time people hear this, what you might tell me now might already be out. What do you have like in beta? And like what’s a new feature or something coming out or wishlist that you really want to add into your software? That, when people finally hear this either it’s already hit or it’s coming out soon.

Laurence: Yeah. Great. What a great question. And I guess what I’m, what I’m comfortable sharing is a lot of stuff that we’re tinkering with the mad scientist.

JC: I have to ask, I have to go for it man.

Laurence: I know you have, you have to try, right. The mad scientists are working away. But what I will say is we do three things really well as I mentioned earlier, discover new credits, managed credits and then analyze and monetize those credits, all the reporting and analytics and monetization. We’ve been very focused on the discovery piece because it’s really what we found from our customer base. It’s what they need the most. And I think it’s, it’s the thing that’s going to drive the “why” of our company and ultimately what will make us successful.

So we’re doubling down on the discovery area of our solution. So being able to pull economic data. We were in the process of building adapters to two most major ERP systems, whether it’s SAP, or co-financials or something else. So we can easily pull data from our customers, attach APIs into their general ledger so we can pull invoice. Sometimes you have to prove to the government that will show me the invoice on that. Oh, you, you spent a hundred million? Show me, right? So how do we pull that from general ledger without having to call somebody up and say, “Hey, can you load all the invoices that then can you make sure they add up to a hundred million? Like we don’t want to do that. It would be a task, our system I’m playing a little bit, but, so we’re trying to make everything as automated as possible because what we’ve found, I think our biggest inhibitor to our success and our client’s success is that nobody has any time. There is not a credit and incentive department at most of these companies, a couple of companies have it. Amazon has it. Cargill has it, right? Some big companies have it, but most companies, 95% of companies, it falls in the tax department.

The tax folks are like, dude, I’m busy. Like I don’t have time to go chase all this stuff. Like if you can help me. Cool. If you can’t, I don’t have the time. That’s why only 10% of his trillion-dollar asset is being monetized because people are busy. It’s hard work.

They don’t know how to do it. And when you don’t know how to do something, usually that falls to the bottom of your to-do list. It’s just human nature certainly happens for me. If someone asks me a question, I don’t know the answer to, I usually like “Well, and I’ll get back to you later, right?”

I think that’s just human nature. So, what you’ll see maybe when this goes live, or, or maybe a little bit after is a renewed focus, not a renewed focus, but an extra focus on the discovery side and making things really easy for those tax, the tax teams that don’t have a dedicated department of credit incentive folks.

JC: That’s awesome. Laurence, listen, this has been incredibly useful interview. I know, actually I want to check out your software for this because I’m curious, you know, what is my company qualified for? You know? And so I’ll have an offline discussion with you about that, for sure. How can people reach you either personally or the company, if they’re interested in either reaching out for partnerships with you, or if they are interested in just simply signing up.

I mean, we give the audience a little bit info on that.

Laurence: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for that. I appreciate it. So our website is Although we are moving to, we just got the domain, which we’re super excited about. It’s not depending on when this airs it’s one or the other.

But “GetIncentify” should resolve either way. If you want to get a hold of me, (Laurence with a “U”.) I would be happy to respond to anybody that wants to talk about credits and incentives? You can tell I’m pretty passionate about it. Everyone at the company is fired up and we want to make sure that every single dollar allocated from the government makes its way all the way through these big corporations to main street America. That is our mission and we will complete it. And I really appreciate you taking the time and letting us talk a little bit about incentives.

JC: That’s awesome. Laurence, thank you so much for being on the show, sir. We’ll talk soon.

Laurence: Great. Thank you, JC.

JC: All right. Bye-bye.

infinityadminEpi 24: Credits & Incentives for Public Partnerships – Laurence Sotsky, CEO of Incentify