Digital Wealth News is pleased to bring you our “Fintech Luminaries” series – featuring thought leaders within the digital wealth and blockchain ecosystems. For the next feature in this series, we’d like you to meet Sally Outlaw of Worthy Financial, which helps the “98%” painlessly save & invest while also helping businesses get better access to capital.
NAME: Sally Outlaw
TITLE: Founder & CEO
COMPANY: Worthy Financial
WEB ADDRESS: https://www.worthybonds.com/
How did you personally become involved in fintech?
Like most entrepreneurs, I became involved because there was a problem that needed to be solved – and that was funding for small businesses. I started out in reward based crowdfunding over a decade ago when it was a pretty new approach to capital raising – meaning harnessing the power of the crowd to support a project or venture. I launched and ran a crowdfunding site for entrepreneurs called Peerbackers, but after awhile I got mad when I realized that the people supporting these companies with a contribution could only get a product as a thank you. They were not allowed – due to securities laws – to get any sort of financial return for backing the businesses and that didn’t seem fair to me. So that began a multi-year effort, along with many of my crowdfunding colleagues, to get the laws changed and to bring solutions to market to help both entrepreneurs and individual “Main Street” investors to access the capital and financial returns they deserved.
What does your firm do/offer within the fintech sector?
We fall within the “wealthtech” sector of fintech. We help people do more for their community and their wallet by offering a painless way to build their nest egg while giving back. We do this through our Worthy bonds – which are $10, 5% interest earning bonds that can be bought and sold with the click of a button – with no fees – via our app or website. We then take the proceeds from these bond sales and we lend them out via secured loans to growing American companies – so while investors can tuck money away earning 5%, they are also helping their fellow humans.
Worthy is really trying to solve for two things – to help individuals build a more secure financial future and to do so while freeing up more capital to community businesses which are the backbone of our country.
What is your role within your firm and what do you do there on any given day?
I’m the Founder and CEO of Worthy and what I do differs day to day. As with many CEO’s, along with my administrative responsibilities, I am involved with capital raising for the company, marketing, securing partnerships, product management, sales, and even customer engagement (I say the latter as I enjoy occasionally popping into the live service chats to interact with our customers and to keep my finger on the pulse of the business). Recently a lot of my time has been spent with the tech team working on a totally new design for our app and on preparing for our Series A capital raise launching next month.
One of my favorite things to do is to take time to research and to stay up to date on what is happening in my industry as a whole as all the innovation is inspiring and motivates me to always be thinking about how best to move the company forward. What keeps me going every day is imagining all the ways those of us in FinTech can help solve so many social challenges.
What has been the biggest success in your firm to date?
Although every milestone met as a founder is exciting, I am personally most proud of how we successfully navigated the obstacles when Covid hit. Since our product can be cashed in any time without fees or penalties, the “run on the bank” that happened when the virus surged and people needed their cash was the biggest test of how well we had planned for providing liquidity for our bondholders. The fact that we were able to meet the needs of our customers during such a difficult time was very rewarding.
On the flipside, the fact that we were able to provide flexibility to our borrowers as well, including successfully restructuring a few loans with those who were struggling due to the temporary shutdowns, was very satisfying. All-n-all we came through what I would have to believe was one of the most trying periods in any company’s life and we not only survived but thrived due to our team’s hard work, creativity and strong strategic planning. We are on track to surpass over 250 million in bond sales by the end of this year – and we have achieved that with very little outside capital and while facing the challenges of a global pandemic!
Sally Outlaw is Founder and CEO of Worthy Financial. She founded Worthy to bring higher yielding alternative investments to the public. Her personal and company mission is economic opportunity for all.