This past month I made the difficult but exciting decision to board a flight to Paris, France to pursue my summer internship at an 18 person, seed-stage startup called Kard.
Are you crazy? What about your opportunities at more established companies? What if this company doesn’t scale? These questions were all too common when discussing the opportunity with family and friends. But what they overlooked is Kard’s power to change the world of banking, starting with building a banking app designed specifically for Generation Z, a generation that will be the largest group of consumers worldwide by 2020.
When I first arrived at Kard’s one room, attic office, and met the team I could feel their energy and passion for the product — a feeling I knew well from my time at Uber. Just over 5 years ago, I joined Uber as an operations manager in Washington DC. At the time, the team was small and scrappy and we learned to hustle to build a sustainable, high growth business. I will never forget the excitement of these early days, coming to work and juggling everything from driver and rider marketing to hours of support tickets. While one can argue that these roles are unstructured and risky, it is exactly this environment that forces an individual to grow and take on new challenges. The resource-constrained and time-sensitive nature of a startup provides early joiners the chance to take ownership over a wide range of responsibilities, often in verticals they previously had little experience. This is one of the reasons I chose Kard, where I will have the unique opportunity to help develop the international expansion, growth marketing, and fundraising strategies.
What also drew me to Kard is the company’s emphasis on Generation Z. The team is hyper-focused on understanding the desires and challenges faced by the new generation and tailoring the perfect product to meet their needs. So the next question is what makes me interested in Gen Z? Well, for one, they are soon to make up 40% of the consumers in the US, Europe, and the BRIC states, and as the first generation referred to as “digital natives”, they spend nearly every waking hour on their smartphones. As someone who has spent 6 years in mobile app businesses, it is important to develop an understanding of this generation’s mobile and social trends, trends that will surely dictate the future direction of the tech industry.
More importantly, however, I spent my final 2 and half years at Uber based out of Dubai, managing the regional growth strategy for Uber in the Middle East and Africa. It was here that I began to take a personal interest in developing products for Generation Z. The Middle East & Africa market contains all of the top 30 countries in the world with the highest percentage of population under 18. Much of the region’s success in the coming years will lie in addressing the needs of this youth bulge, and it is my hope to one day return to the region and focus on Generation Z innovation. At Kard, no country in EMEA is off limits and the team will continue to assess new regions for future expansion opportunities. While at Uber in MEA, I had the opportunity to personally launch new markets and better understand the MEA customer base. I am excited to take this knowledge and develop a point of view on how the Kard product could one day improve the lives of MEA’s youth.
Uber instilled in me a desire to build and to disrupt new industries, and after 3 and half years I decided to go back to Harvard Business School to pursue my MBA — a move that I hoped would bring me one step closer to eventually starting my own company. This summer for my internship, I am super pumped to help Kard take their growth to the next level and to help them prepare for their future international expansion. But above all else, I am excited to learn from the incredibly talented team already assembled as they look to turn the world of banking upside down!
Download Kard now to join the banking revolution.