Find Andrew Forman on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-givz/
JC: Welcome, everyone to another episode of The Future of Biz Tech. I’m your host, JC Granger. And I have another fantastic guest with me on the show today. And listen, if you end up loving this episode, please show your love and appreciation by following this podcast wherever you’re listening, and give it a five-star review, put some nice comments behind it because that is other techies like you and I find cool podcasts like this. And today I have the absolute pleasure of interviewing the founder and CEO of Givz.com with a Z at the end. Andrew Forman. Andrew, thank you so much for being on the show. Tell the audience a little bit about yourself. And what is it that Givz does?
Andrew Forman: Yeah, thanks so much for having me on JC, this is exciting. And yeah, to give you a bit of background, what about me, and about what does Givz do? So on my end, let’s see where to even start. I did six years of investment banking, give you the real quick rundown six years investment banking also founded a nonprofit during that time. So kind of separated, they pay the bills and have some sort of impact type of deal, went back to business school, attended HBS for two years, and came out of Boston basically saying, okay, I want to start my own company that’s going to have a boat, this double bottom line type of type of activity, right, where it’s like, hey, this is good for the world. But it’s also good for the investors and shareholders in the company. And so how do you make that happen? And so Givz is doing that on a couple of different levels. And so the first thing that we do is we allow brands to run donation-based incentives. So the hypothesis is that brands are trying to get away from discounts as much as possible, the consumers really wising up and at the end of the day discounts, while they still drive short-term sales, people know that they’re just, they’re not like getting this amazing deal, they’re actually just paying for a lower quality product, and that, you know, something that’s $200, discounted to $100 really should just cost $100 in the first place. Of course, they’d rather pay $100 than $200. But if they if they will definitely pay $200 for an item that should be worth $200. And so that is kind of the rub, that brands are kind of running up against discounting here, where they’re like, hey, like, we can’t just mark it up and knock down the knockdown a discount piece, because then we’re gonna have to do that for the rest of time. And so why don’t we just sell our goods at full price for what they actually should be worth and the quality that they’re manufactured at? And then how do we incentivize people if we’re not going to use discounts? How do we incentivize people to actually care and buy right now, and that’s starting to come across as pay social impact is extremely important here. But everybody cares about different things. So how do you do it, you use donation incentives, you say, Hey, by today, you’re gonna get $10 to give to any charity you want, if you buy right now. And we make that really easy for any brand to be able to do that.
JC: So that’s cool. I mean, that’s one thing that I took a lot of interest in this when I heard about your company kind of coming through the pipeline, so to speak here, but tell us how, like E-commerce right, like, how does it work for them when they are plugging into your system? Like, like, what does that look like? In its real nature, right? So what, so they have a product? It’s $100. And they say, what? If you know, $20 of that is going to go to a charity, you pick? Like, how does it look in real-time? How is the user experience even understanding or knowing that they’re giving while buying?
Andrew Forman: Yeah so it manifests itself anywhere that you and the reason I always draw the comparison discount, because anywhere you would find out about a discount code is the same way that you’d find out that you’re going to get money to give to a charity when you buy this product, right? So the banner on top of this site, spend $300 or more on our site will give you $30 to give to a charity, which always comes in a banner, you can we’ve had companies do a bunch of social posts around this, we’ve had companies talk about it in their emails in the footer of every email, don’t forget, when you spend over $200, you get $20 to give to a charity of your choice,
JC: Does it allow the user to pick the charity does it like take them to another screen and say like now pick the charity, you want to send that $30 to or whatever?
Andrew Forman: Yes, that’s actually embedded to our tech guts embedded in the thank you confirmation page. So after somebody makes a purchase, so very importantly, you don’t want you know, from a user experience standpoint, you don’t want to take people away or make people think about what charity they want to support individually just yet until they’ve made the purchase, make the purchase know that you’re gonna get, you know, all that upfront stuff, know that you’re gonna get money to give to a charity of your choice. And that actually we’ve shown enhance, enhances their ability to say, yes, I want to buy this right now, do I really need another pair of $400 shoes? I don’t know, but I’m gonna get $40 to get the charity boom, I do it. Right. And so that is that that psychology piece up front is what we’re focused on. But in terms of what you’re asking, Okay, how does it actually work? Right after you make the purchase embedded on the thank you confirmation page, you now have $40 to get to whatever charity you care about, and you’ll see highlighted charities that the brand and cares about that you can easily choose, or you can go in and search and we have over 174,000 different charities that people can choose from.
JC: That’s really cool. Okay, see that that like that? Because it’s very engaging with the user experience? And you know, you got Yeah, what was the name of the company? Was it? Was it Tom’s what what was the one where it was like buy a pair? Give a pair? Like who started that?
Andrew Forman: Toms? Yeah, so it was, it was so thick, you know, they kind of broke the mold, you know, or created, I should say, more or less on, on that giving aspect. And we all saw the results of that, right? It was really good. But this is interesting, because it allows a little more user engagement, other than just knowing that it’s going to go somewhere, you get to actually decide and pick, which is pretty quick..
JC: Well, that’s pretty cool. So I’m a marketing guy. So I always like to ask them how are you getting the word out about Givz? I mean, you’re on the podcast. Okay, so PR check, right? What else do you are you guys doing internally to go after? And what brands? Specifically going after big, big giant ones are going after mom and pop like, you know, yeah, what’s the target and how you get in there?
Andrew Forman: Yeah, part of the issue, I think on our marketing side is that we’ve had success across the board, right? We’ve had success across the board. And so toning in on that, like who is the exact perfect customer for us has been very difficult. We’ve got h&m as our as a large largest client, we’ve got a ton of brands that you’ve never heard of as small clients, right? And so how do you focus like, well, if we get a bunch more h&m, we should really focus there. But those are hard, long enterprise sales cycles. How do you do that? For us, we started to we really invest in the Shopify ecosystem. And we recognize pretty quickly that while we could get a ton of these longtail Shopify stores, but larger Shopify stores are really ones where we wanted to focus Shopify Plus. And we’re actually now about to roll out a Shopify POS integration that is going to be really interesting for in-store shopping. So being able to allow people in the store, you know, the store can put up a sign saying, hey, when you spend over $50, today, you get $5, to give to a charity of your choice, you know,
JC: Like the little logos will pop up on the screen or something, you could just tap it kind of thing?
Andrew Forman: Exactly, exactly. So that’s, that’s something that we’re really excited about also, because it is hopefully going to get us exposure to some larger Shopify brands that already are gonna have store presence, etc, etc. So that type of you knows, physical retail presence. So that’s, that’s one thing that we’re excited about. There are a bunch of different conferences that we think about and try to and try to attend. And then it’s really been the way we’ve grown to date is really word of mouth. It’s hard to describe what it is that we do. So from a marketing perspective, I wish I would have invested in brand marketing a bit more earlier. We it is hard to I mean, not only brand marketing, but also product, product marketing, like what is it that we do and people are like, Oh, you guys do like Roundup stuff. It’s like no, we don’t do..
JC: Anybody would think it’s Roundup, because that’s another model that’s pretty popular, right?
Andrew Forman: That’s, it’s much it’s even more popular, I’d say Right. But I’d say it’s way less effective. So it’s killer on two fronts. People are like, Oh, I tried that roundup stuff. It doesn’t work. I’m like, that makes sense. Roundup doesn’t have it doesn’t make sense Roundup. Did you think about it, right? Like somebody goes into I use the instore example of CVS here and here in New York. Somebody says, oh, like I wanted to go buy toothpaste that CVS and so you’re gonna go and you’re gonna spend whatever it is five bucks and 27 cents on toothpaste. Okay, great. So you go in, you’re gonna buy toothpaste, you go to checkout, they’re like, Hey, do you want to donate an extra 73 cents to this charity that we’ve chosen for you that you probably don’t really care about? But don’t hate. I mean, it’s probably like, Okay, I don’t know, like, how many people are looking at me in line? Like, do I really? Do I really want to do this. They’re asking you for me for my own money now. And I’m like, Sure, or no. And either way, if I say yes, like, Man, I should have just like, went on Amazon and used Amazon smile or something. And like, it didn’t wouldn’t cost me anything. Or if I said, No, now I’m like, walk around feeling bad. No, I should have done it.
JC: Yeah you can’t you can’t tell me hey, puppies, right? Like..
Andrew Forman: Yeah, so like, that does not have good business implications for CVS. What I like about is that a lot of people end up saying Yes, for just I don’t know, for different reasons. But it gets a lot of money to that one charity, but, they certainly don’t have a better relationship with CVA. Because of it. Nobody’s like, oh, like,
JC: It inspires guilt, rather than a positive emotion where you felt like you’ve done something good, because you have choice is really the foundation of any positive emotion after the fact. Right? It’s like, knowing that you got to do it, right. And they just had, it’s like, they hand you a 20 and said, Where do you want that? 20 to go? No, oh, I’m gonna go there. And it’s not my 22 You’re 20? You know, so yeah.
Andrew Forman: Exactly, so you get the point. So it’s, you’re building that up. So So for me, the flip side of that would be the gives version of that, as CBS says, you walk into CVS, you see a sign that says, Hey, spent $50 or more today, and CVS will give you five bucks, we’ll hand you $5 to give to whatever charity you want. So now you go into the store, you’re like, Oh, I was gonna buy toothpaste. All right, I’m $5.27 all the way there. But you know what, I actually needed all this stuff. And this stuff, all of a sudden, I spent 70 bucks. And I go check out and I’m like, Okay, I spent 70 bucks, like, okay, great, here’s $5 to give to whatever charity you want, they flip the screen around, and you like, choose a charity. And now you feel great. Maybe you just, you know, last night had a charity event that you were like, add to or something, you have friends that have charities, you have family members that have charities, whatever it may be, you’re gonna give it to their charity, you’re like, This is what I truly care about. And now CVS has that information as well. So the next time they go to email you, they’re gonna say, hey, we know you care about this particular charity, come back, spend $100 This time, and we’ll give you 10 more dollars to give to that charity. Okay, so that is what we’re trying to build.
JC: So I know you touched on a little bit when we first started, but you know, what inspired you to create this, right? I mean, like, I get the idea of saying, I want to create something that can also help give back. But why Right? Like, I mean, and I don’t mean that in some nihilistic way, like, Why Does anyone care? I just mean, is that something happened? Did you go through something? Or, you know, or did you see things in the industry that you hated? And you’re like, This is bullshit, we need to, you know, make this better? I mean, what was that moment where you’re like, This is the idea. I’m not just going to make e-commerce, you know, SAS platform, I’m going to make one that does this in particular.
Andrew Forman: Yeah, I for me, so I was the treasurer of a nonprofit. And I had friends who were working at retail companies, and we were trying to make this partnership work. And it was just so much harder than it should have been so much red tape, so much internal bureaucracy on top of illegal bureaucracy that I was like, Man, this is nuts. There has to be a better way. And like our industry must be shifting towards how do you how do nonprofits and corporations work together. Because they each have something that that that the other wants, right? Like, there’s a symbiotic relationship to be struck there. And for me, I just felt, if I could build a really big business around that hypothesis, that would be the home run. And so I spent, you know, my time in business school trying to figure out where that intersection makes sense. And that’s ultimately where we should go. It was a long road to get here. My first idea was a Venmo for charitable giving. And it was a direct-to-consumer, you know, everybody downloading an app to donate to a charity of your choice that didn’t work out. And we pivoted into this, and I think this is what we should have been doing the whole time. Obviously, I wish I had known. But this is, this is where it was meant to be. And now, you know, as we think about that second piece, not only so there’s an increase in average order value or an increased conversion rate, increase in sales, however way you want to sell So when you use gifts now as an e-commerce store, but I’m already getting pressure from both the stores as well as the charities to be more connected. So you know, when somebody, when you spend that $50 or more at CVS, for example, and they spend it around which charities show up well, there should be a marketplace there where the charities that show up are actually posting about people like posting to people, Hey, go shop at CVS, spend $50 or more, get the $5. And give it to us, because they’re your you have a choice, you have an agency, you have agency, you in this model, as the end consumer, you have the power to donate to whatever charity you want. And so charity should be talking about the fact that that’s out there, and the brands would obviously love that. And there, there’s your flywheel.
JC: Got it. If I knew then what I know now kind of like we all wish we had a time machine, right? So but this is where you’re at, you’re here now and that’s what matters. Alright, so speaking of time machine, let’s pivot towards the future. Right, the future biz Tech, we got to talk about the future. So first question is where do you see your industry going? So you know, kind of maybe the, I guess, for that you’re kind of in the middle of two industries, right? You’re in the, in kind of the nonprofit giving platform industry, but then you’re also an E-commerce, SAS industry, you know, where do you see these industries going in the next maybe five or 10 years? Whether it be through technology, legislation, culture, you know, just where you place your competitors, like, where’s this heading?
Andrew Forman: I mean, I’ve, the hypothesis for me has always been that these two worlds are going to collide, right like commerce and social impact are going in the in this in the same direction. And on a crash course in terms of people caring about what’s behind their purchase these days, it did not use to be the case. My parents did not care, right like that. They really didn’t. They’re like whatever is the lowest price for the best quality stuff. Like that’s it. I think there’s still a little bit of that. But there’s definitely like, hey, like, how did the How did this gets made now, right? Like is was it ethically sourced? Was it you know, is this going to hurt the environment if people keep buying it this way? These are real questions now that people and companies have to answer and the younger generations especially are starting to say no, we’re not going to buy something that is unethically sourced, we’re not going to do something that’s bad for the environment over and over again. So we need to start listening to this type of thing, right? And so for me, it’s they are going together culturally, it’s going to be you buy whatever you’re buying any physical and goods that you’re buying, and even virtual goods. If you’re talking about, you know, the metaverse and everything like that. Why are people buying skins in the metaverse? Why are people buying sweatshirts in real life that have particular sayings on them or particular designs is it because they want a signal? It’s all about signaling who you are as a person. And more and more people want to signal? Hey, I care about this world that we all live in together. And I think that’s where it is heading. So as much as I’d like to as much as I like to say, Yeah, I do this because we’ve sent $2 million to charity, and we’re wanting to send a billion dollars to charity. We do. And we will. But I also think this is where the world is actually moving. And therefore this is where the money is going to be.
JC: Perfect. Yeah. And that I can see that I can agree with. Now, let’s talk about your company. Right? My audience likes to get the inside track on some new stuff. So what do you got coming down the pipeline here? I mean, where’s Givz going? Specifically, maybe roadmap style features or just any general shifts or direction?
Andrew Forman: So two big things that we have in common one is that POS piece that we’re looking at. So the point of sale, for Shopify, we’re excited on that front, something that’s even more maybe techie and consumer and a bit more of a shift that we’re excited about is we’re in building out our offering and our platform, we had the Shopify integration, and then we wanted to build like a platform agnostic API so that any company could use us, right. And then as we built this out, and we were just, we’re going through the final touches of like, Hey, here’s the full platform, it’s beautiful. You can you know, any brand can now say, alright, here, I want to create a $10 to give to charity link, boom, go. We have a jewelry store that wants to create $100 links because if people spend over $1,200 at their store, they’re gonna get $100 to give to charity. Great, you can log in and create those links, no problem. And one of our engineers added a Share button on there, right? And he was like, you know, maybe, and I was like, Dude, what are you doing? That doesn’t make any sense like a jewelry store creates $100 link. They don’t want to share that all over the place. As I’m on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, because then people are going to be donating without having made the purchase that needs to be guarded, you know. But then I took a step back, and I was like, Wait a second, that’s actually interesting if we open it up back to individuals, so I do get this from my friends all the time, where they’re like, hey, like I want to donate, I want to donate 100 bucks, I don’t know where to donate that. And so if we actually open that up, that feature up to everybody, and we’re about to do this, you know, in the coming months, where we open up to everybody and put that share button on there, so I’m really glad he did this. Now you set a limit, you say, hey, I want to donate $100, I want to donate it in $5 increments. And my friends, or followers or whatever, maybe tell me where this should go. And so create, you know, a link that says the first 20 people that click on this link, allocate $5, to the charity that you care about most. And I want to support my friends. And so that’s a feature that we’re rolling out here in relatively short order that we are excited about.
JC: Very cool. Awesome. All right. Well, let me ask you, I want to switch to a personal question. So I asked this to some of my guests. What did you want to do when you like, when you were a kid? What did you want to be when you grew up? And then is this it? Or if not, how did it get here? You know?
Andrew Forman: Yeah, I mean, so when I was a kid growing up, I wanted to play football professionally, obviously, right? Like that was that was, that was a childhood dream. And then I as I got older and realize that that was not going to happen, I thought about you know, alright, what is it that you want to be when you grow up? I love math and numbers. So I was like, Alright, I could be a math teacher was like, you know, kind of the next leg and I was like, okay, but I don’t know, I don’t know that I want to make retirement plans. Still, once I’m, you know, once I’m unable to be running around and pounding the pavement all day, every day, I will retire and become a math teacher. That is something that I want to do at some point. But I think, at the end of the day, I Yeah, once I gave up on the football dream, I really didn’t know. And so I went into investment banking because that was the, you know, opportunity to in my mind that opened the most amount of doors, you could kind of do anything from there, and had a good bass of salary.
JC: Nice. Well, listen, since you’re, you know, a young entrepreneur, if you what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given on your journey through all this? or what have you learned that you think would be the best piece of advice you could give?
Andrew Forman: Yeah, I mean, I think for best piece of advice I’ve been given, man, there’s been so much, it’s so hard to so much good advice, so much bad advice. But I think the most important piece is if you’re an entrepreneur, then your business revolves around you, you can’t separate it in the beginning, you can’t separate out, you know, oh, I think I in the beginning, I was really trying to be like, super objective and analytical about everything. And there’s just nothing to analyze in the beginning. And people are betting on you, as the CEO, as the founder, to make this thing go. So you have to bet on you and trust yourself. And make split-second decisions. And just go and run with them understanding, you know, that some of them are going to be wrong, some of them are going to be right, you’ll adjust as you go along. But you have to just put one foot in front of the other and sprint, and you have to go as fast as you can. And just and just trust yourself. And don’t hold yourself to too high of a standard. Just trust yourself that you’re not sure what the right decision is. You’re gonna make this decision. You’re gonna make the right decision. 70% of the time, great, perfect. Let’s go do it.
JC: Just launch right? You don’t have to be perfect. You’ll figure it out.
Andrew Forman: Oh, definitely. You don’t have to be perfect. Perfection is the enemy of progress. Right? Like that is Yeah
JC: How can people reach your company? You know, like what sites now? And then also, how could they reach you individually if they have maybe some bigger deals..
Andrew Forman: Yeah, so the website is Givz.com. You can chat with me remember the team there, you can also book my calendar there. And then online, you know, I’m on LinkedIn. Always. I do get a ton of whatever stuff there. So if you have something just put a message in there and I’m happy to chat just say that you heard on me on this podcast and I will immediately accept and chat. But also on Twitter, a forum, not super active these days. But just kind of monitoring what’s going on.
JC: Perfect. And listen for everyone out there. Again, if you liked what you heard today, be sure to subscribe to this podcast and give it a five star rating, preferably with some writing behind it. So other techies like us can find, enjoy learning about all these amazing and helpful b2b software is on the market today. Just like givz.com Andrew, thank you so much again for being on the show. And I really appreciate you coming on and I think what you’re doing out there is great and I wish you the best of luck with it.
Andrew Forman: Thanks so much. Appreciate it. All right, bye bye.