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Rodney: Welcome to the Atlanta Startup Podcast. This is Rodney Morris, and I am an Associate at Valor Ventures. I’m very excited to have the talented Sheena Allen with us today. Sheena, how are you doing?

Sheena: I am well, I mean, outside of being in the house all the time. Outside of that, doing well.

Rodney: Right. The pandemic is definitely something that’s very serious right now.

Could you please tell us what you’re building? How did the idea of CapWay come about? Share some insight into your background and all of those things tie in together.

Sheena: Yeah. I started my first tech company when I was in college, so CapWay is not my first rodeo, as they say. The idea for CapWay actually came about in 2016, so four years ago, which seems like forever ago now. 

I’m from a small town in Mississippi — Terry, Mississippi. I grew up in a banking desert, so I grew up in a town where there was only one bank, and that bank was a local bank. It was nothing innovative about it. The bank didn’t have an app — I think it still does not have an app. Most people in my community did not use their bank to be quite honest; people would cash their checks at the grocery stores and convenience stores. Everything that you hear about people who are financially underserved, that was my community. That was my family. I had uncles, my sister was unbanked. 

My first startup did really well, actually. Once it started to take off, I left Mississippi. Once I graduated, I left Mississippi. I moved to San Jose, which is also known as part of Silicon Valley. I eventually left there and moved to Austin — I spent actually about almost two years in Austin, so the majority of my first startup life in Austin. There was a bank on every corner — I worked in downtown Austin, but let me tell you not everywhere in Austin is like that. I worked in downtown Austin, and even being in the Bay, you would see banks all the time. Going back home, I just noticed that nothing had changed.

There was still one bank in my hometown. Terry is right on the outskirts of Jackson, which is the capital city of Jackson. Terry is on the outskirts of Jackson, Mississippi, which is the capital city of Mississippi, and Jackson is very similar. Jackson definitely has banks, but there are definitely going to be like regional banks and the predatory options outweigh the bank. If you’re driving down Hills Avenue, for one bank you’re going to see two pawn shops, three check cashing places, two payday lenders. That’s how I grew up. 

I know I had a gift and that gift was to be able to combine my professional experience of building a successful tech company, personal experience of really understanding what it meant to be financially underserved, and to put both of those together. The idea came about in 2016, still running my first startup, so I didn’t really do much in 2016. It really was more like a research year for 2016 and 2017, dove deeper in 2018, and then actually raised funds and then moved the company to Atlanta in January of 2019. We’ve been actually operating and executing for about 15 months now.

Rodney: Great, sounds great. Just for some context, what was the name of your first startup?

Sheena: It was a portfolio company of mobile apps really in the photo and video space, social space. The company itself is called Sheena Allen Apps. I know, right? Very creative name. We had five apps, generated revenue, generated millions and millions of downloads. Some of those apps were — one of the apps, PicSlit, was actually one time named the top marketing app for Instagram. Dublin, I got to see everybody from Kevin Hart to — almost any major celebrity you can think of at one time was using Dublin and also used PicSlit. I got a chance to see a lot of great success with my first startup. Once again, that was part of me saying I bootstrapped that company, by the way. I didn’t take any outside funding. I always want to bring that experience into building my second startup.

Rodney: Got it, got it. Sounds great. I’m pretty sure that that experience helped you along the way to build what you’re building now. Wouldn’t you say?

Sheena: Oh, for sure. I mean, this was different. I’m actually grateful to say that I have seen the best of both worlds. I know what it’s like building a company and bootstrapping it and not having to answer to anybody, to be quite honest, which is totally different from having a company that is VC backed. You have other people’s money and your baby is less of your baby because, of course, you have to give equity and you are working with somebody who has money, you need to return that money. I’ve seen the best of both worlds, but the experience has definitely helped. This startup is different, because this is a FinTech startup. We’re building a bank, and our goal is building truly an alternative financial ecosystem, and that’s not going to be the same as building an app in three months and throwing it out there and generating millions of downloads. This is more of a marathon when I will say my first startup was more of like a sprint.

Rodney: Got it, got it. Why did you move CapWay to Atlanta? What drew you to Atlanta?

Sheena: Well, crazy enough, 2018, I actually pivoted from Sheena Allen Apps. The company Sheena Allen Apps was never shut down. I pivoted that company in 2018 to a company called App It Out — like map it out, App It Out. That company pivoted because as well as we were still doing app downloads, and some of those apps are still up by the way, the thing that we will get a lot of traction on and demand on was people who will come to us, or come to me, in general, as the founder and say, “Hey, you built this company as a non technical founder. You figured it out. You built this company. I have an idea, too. What do I do now?” I put somebody in charge of that company to be the contact that people go to when they have an idea for an app and don’t know what to do from there. Doing that then 2018, I wanted to explore the best place for CapWay because I knew I was about to dive like 100% into CapWay in 2018. 

Actually, the first six months of 2018 I spent in New York. New York is considered the FinTech capital of the US, and after those six months, I decided that New York was not for me. I do love New York — before for the pandemic hit, I was there all the time. I’m still there a lot; a lot of our business is still done in New York to be quite honest. But it was very expensive. I did have plans to raise a large pre-seed round, and I couldn’t make that money stretch there. Then I thought about the Bay, which a lot of our VCs are in the Bay, but same thing. I couldn’t make that money really last or stretch in the bay.

Atlanta is actually considered, depending on who you ask, is considered the third or fourth FinTech hub in America. I knew that the money that we raised, I could make the money last here. It was also in the South and the reason that plays a factor is not because I am from the South per se, but because you think of mobile banking, you think of our competitors, none of them have actually dominated the South and I think it’s because the South is a different culture, and being from here I understand it. So being back in Atlanta, being back in the South, in a way to be back in close to a region that I knew that I understood and I thought, as a company, that we could come out the gate and dominate.

Rodney: Got it, got it. And that definitely makes sense. Being as though a lot of market share is here in Atlanta. Atlanta is definitely a very growing, fast growing tech scene as well, and especially in the FinTech community, as well, just the ecosystem, just how you mentioned.

Sheena: For sure. I had a few friends here who did FinTech — Christian who runs Coin is a friend of mine, so I knew him. Jewel doesn’t do FinTech, but before she sold Partpic to Amazon. Hoel and I were on that same black female tick together. We would tell the stories of the struggles that we went through. She was a really big advocate for me coming to Atlanta to be quite honest. I definitely have some allies here, and I’m glad that we made the choice. We were able to make the money that we raised last here much longer. We would have been out of money, honestly, probably in San Francisco in New York. Just running along would have killed us.

Rodney: Right. Absolutely, absolutely. Jewel is amazing. She’s actually from Mobile, Alabama, and I’m from Mobile, as well. That’s very amazing. 

Just to give some context to our listeners, could you speak to those first venture capital meetings that you had when you were trying to pitch Capway and any advice that you could give to aspiring founders about how to actually get that first pre seed funding and things of that nature? Also, the struggles of doing so and the success of doing so?

Sheena: Well, you need to have something to show. A lot of people have this notion that you need to have an idea and that is going to get funded. Don’t get me wrong, that works for some people. It doesn’t work for everybody. Have something to show. You could still be pre-launched or pre-revenue, but have something to show. Don’t come in with just ideas on a piece of paper. You need a beta app or some signed customer. You have to give investors something. Because once again, this is their money. 

However, I will say with pre-seed investors who call themselves pre-seed investors, what it should be about, and what I have had experience of, is they care about your idea, they want you to understand what you’re trying to do, they want you to tell them how you are going to make their money back. But a lot of it’s on the founder. They care more about you then per se the idea. They’re not necessarily attached to the idea because every idea you’re going to pivot somewhere anyway, I don’t care who you are. Uber pivoted. PayPal pivoted. Every idea, as it grows, will want to pivot. No pre seed investor — probably even the seed investor, I would even argue maybe even Series A to some degree — is so tied to the idea. It is definitely being tied to the team, to the founder. When things go bad, is this a person that can pivot or is this person going to crumble? It’s important to show that you know what you’re talking about is important. Showing that you understand your industry is important, you know your market size, your market opportunity — all those things are vital. They are important. Don’t overlook those. I would say for real pre-seed seed investors, that team matters, that founder matters. My experience. 

As I mentioned, with my first startup, I did not raise money. Completely bootstrapped it. Made money. I made good money. But it is really hard to bootstrap a bank. I don’t even know if that’s possible. Honestly, like most black and brown founders, I didn’t raise a family of friends round. I didn’t have family friends to go to to raise money. So it was “I have to go find some angels. I had to go find money elsewhere.” That’s what I did. What crazy is my first check actually came from a lady named Leslie Jones in New Orleans. I remember it was a warm intro, but when I was talking to her, I actually was not pitching for her to write me a check. I was telling her about what I want to do with CapWay and how I understood that audience — I truly feel, and still feel, I know that audience more than anybody else that is going to come out of an Ivy League school that they’re going to get a bigger check than I’m going to get. I told her why, I told her how I was going to do it, how long it was probably going to take. She wrote me my first check for $25,000. That was my first check that I ever got. Since then, of course we have some amazing investors. I mean, of course, the podcast that we’re on now. In addition to that — and Lisa and Robin are amazing — Initialize, which is run by Garry Tan and Alexis Ohanian, Hustle Fund, which is like ex-Facebook and some more bigger names. They were like really early employees and he helped build those companies. We have some amazing investors and made amazing advisors.

Luckily for me, like some of my friends, I didn’t pitch to 200 people before I got my first “yes.” I would say I maybe pitched to 30, maybe 30, maybe 40. It was a short list compared to what I know some people pitch to — they pitch like 100. I would say it wasn’t that bad. It was also different. I mean, you got to think about it. If you look at the founders of mobile banks, they don’t look like me. Imagine me walking in to talk to a VC about a black girl from Mississippi trying to start a mobile bank. I knew going in that was something that they had probably never seen, and call it conscious or unconscious bias, I knew that was going to be an uphill battle. I knew there was something they probably had never seen before. I even had people ask me questions like “Did you make up the word unbanked?” People questioned me on whether there are actually that many people in America or in the world who don’t have a bank account. Especially in America, I got the question a lot “People in America who don’t have a bank account?” It’s funny because, even now, when we’re going through COVID-19, the federal government acted so surprised to learn that one in four households in America was unbanked and they cannot direct deposit the stimulus check. They have to figure out a way to do paper check. I laughed when that happened, not because it’s funny, I laughed because honestly that’s been a part of my journey, even raising money, is investors or people being surprised that that many people in America don’t have the same access and opportunity to financial services.

Rodney: Yeah, absolutely. I think you just brought up so many great points when you just answered that question. I think I’ll tap on a few. 

I think the first is, you mentioned that for people in the black community, we don’t have access to those individuals, a family or friend that can write us a $100,000 check or a $25,000 plus. I think access to opportunity just to be in the room with certain people that could actually write you a check is a blessing. Could you speak to actually just being able to get in front of the right people to actually get that first check? I get this question a lot from founders. How do I find angel investors? How do I find people that can give me that family and friends check? It’s pretty much about who you know and navigating the room and getting in the right rooms with the right people.

Sheena: Oh, networking. That saying that your mom probably told you growing up about “it’s about who you know, not what you know” is true. I remember a quote from Michelle Obama, and I’m going to misquote it and I don’t know exactly how she said it, but to some degree her quote said, “We all look for a seat at the table.” She had a seat at that table when she realized that they weren’t that smart. That’s true. Sometimes we want a seat at the table and that table is not meant for us. But for me, I would say getting in those rooms, a lot of that I experienced my first startup. Even though I didn’t raise money for my first startup, I built a name for myself, I built the network for myself with my first startup.

As crazy as this sounds, people want to invest in you or work with you when you least need them. At my first startup, we were doing millions of downloads, Dublin was actually ranked as one of the top apps in the App Store, not by its category, but like in general in the App Store. It was at one time a top ranking app in the App Store, period. Every app that I put out under the Sheena Allen Apps was ranked in its respective category at some point during its existence. People saw and reached out, and I didn’t need their money. We were making money. I never looked at Sheena Allen Apps as being a home run as far as like, “Oh, it’s going to be a unicorn.” I definitely looked at it to be a lifestyle brand company, which is what I wanted it to be, which is what it was, which is what it is. It pays bills. It pays bills for people, myself, and my team. But I built a really great network with that company, and that trickled over into my second company. When I announced that, “Hey, I’m starting another company,” people that I had relationships with in my previous company, I was able to reach out to and say, “Hey, this time, I actually am raising money,” and this is what I would love for you to be an investor.

I think what’s really important is, especially for black and brown founders, is a lot of us don’t have a choice, but I want us to understand that all money is not good money. That’s really hard to say when you know when you need that $25,000 or $30,000 to keep your head above water. You’re bound to take it from anybody. I trust me, I get it, I understand it.

But I think it’s really important that we do value who we’d allow on our cap table. It’s like a marriage almost, it’s not just a business relationship. They’re stuck there. Then sometimes people will judge you off your cap table. Who was this person? It’s an angel. Maybe they’re accredited. I’ve had friends who take money from VCs or from angels, and they’re like “I will do anything to get this person off my cap table.” Are they going to micromanage you? I don’t want anybody who is going to micromanage me, especially early on. Because in the pre-seed stage, even a seed stage, there’s so many mistakes you’re going to make. There’s so many hurdles that you have to jump over, so many small pivots you’re going to have to take. If you have a VC who is like emailing you or breathing down your neck every single day, you can’t work. 

I mean, there’s so many options that are in 2020 that I didn’t have when I started in 2012. Crowdfunding, like don’t overlook crowdfunding. Accelerators. I’m not the biggest fan of accelerators, but they are an option. Find a lot of networking meetup groups. There’s a lot of stuff that’s happening outside of Silicon Valley in Boston and New York now, so find a hook that works for you. Maybe Austin works for you. Maybe Atlanta works for you. Maybe Cincinnati works for you. Maybe Colorado. There’s so many different hubs now, but I think it’s definitely about doing as much work as you can before you ever ask somebody for a dime, because people are going to automatically get FOMO. They want to attach themselves to something that has worked. People are more willing to give you a check when you least need it. I know that sounds completely backwards, but that is the reality of how this world works.

Rodney: Yeah, great information. Thanks for that. I think that’s a great tidbit. They’re going to want to give you a check when you least need it. I know you’ve mentioned COVID-19 and the stimulus checks and the government realizing that one in four Americans don’t have bank accounts. Has that reality been able to drive some traction to CapWay in what you’re building and what you’re doing?

Sheena: Oh, for sure. Our demand has become — our emails are blowing up non stop. We’ve been doing this podcast for I don’t know, 20 minutes, I can tell you emails I’ve had come through. I’m not complaining. 

Rodney: Right. Business is booming, as they say.

Sheena: I think the sad part about it is that it took something like this for people to wake up to that. Not everybody in America is “middle class” or has a bank account or has access to money. As there’s two things that I’ve always said that have definitely come more to the forefront now. 

Because we’re America we feel that people will not understand that audience. We feel that, we think that we’re just going to go 100% digital and everything’s gonna be great. I say that as someone who is building a company that’s mobile banking and everything is based around digital for the most part. But I will say that actually CapWay is about 90-95% digital and 5% not. I say that our mobile banking is still mobile. We don’t have a brick and mortar. We don’t have plans to have a brick and mortar. However when I say that, the plans and things that we had in place — everything from how do we get cash to people who are unbanked and they’re unbanked reasons that even CapWay can’t fix for them. Yes, I would love you to download CapWay if you’re unbanked, underbanked, financially underserved, looking for a better option. But what about people who live in areas where there is no internet or weak internet? Yes, people in America, there are places in America that do not have internet access. What about the 60 year old lady whose daughter bought her her very first iPhone and all she does is answer the phone on it or play Candy Crush? She is not going to download a mobile banking app. She doesn’t even download an app from the credit union. It’s not going to happen. There’re so many factors that play into people who are financially underserved, and I think that we have to be able to still have an answer for them. It’s not trying to solve every piece possible because no company solves every single problem. You find a problem that works for you, you focus on it. For this audience, if you know this audience, and once again, I know this audience, you have to be able to cater to a piece of people who are financially underserved who it’s never going to work for them to have a mobile banking app. Because once again, they might not even have internet access where they live, or they might be driving 30-40 minutes to a bank bank now and that bank is a credit union that doesn’t even have an app. There’s so many factors that play a role. 

It’s crazy because with what’s happening COVID-19, there’s a quote that I saw, and I tweeted, and I’ve actually mentioned this quote probably in the last week a million times, and it’s because it stands out. The quote is “Everybody thinks they’re middle class until they lose their job.

In America, we have all believed, for the most part, that we are middle class. But based off of what research you believe, 50% to 80% of people in America live paycheck to paycheck.

Even if it’s 50%, they mean half the 350 million people in America live paycheck to paycheck, potentially could be 80%. We have all been led to believe that none of us are poor, none of us financially underserved, we were all doing amazingly great. We’re all middle class. Some of us drive a $6,000 car but we make $35,000 a year, but it’s okay because we’re going to get paid tomorrow. Every bank is for us. Even though national banks are not national — there’s no Wells Fargo in Louisiana, there’s no Chase in Mississippi — we’re being charged fees for somebody who’s trying to hold on to the last $200. They’re going to get charged $14 because they didn’t keep enough money in their account. There’s a lot that’s wrong, and a lot of us don’t realize it or we don’t want to realize it. That’s why for me that quote is so powerful, because we all believe we’re middle class until it hits the fan.

Rodney: I think you bring up a lot of great points there, especially the factors of a lot of people losing their jobs and now they’re financially stressed. I guess a lot of people will actually get a lot of fees in this type of environment and potentially even lose their bank accounts just because of the situation that is going on. Can you talk to the solutions that CapWay implements in these types of scenarios?

Sheena: Yeah, well. For one, people who are unbanked, we’re the answer for them without question. When it comes to fees, I want to say the last one that was on MarketWatch was that banks made about $34 billion in 2017 from fees. As someone who is running, building, and operating a bank, a mobile bank — look at my financials, look at our projections — I think that just charging fees is a very traditional, old school way of doing things. I think it has worked and that’s why banks do it. There are so many ways to make money outside of just fees, fees, fees, fees, fees. It’s about being innovative, which is what we do, who we are. It’s about giving people back a choice, at least little more power, or little feeling of power when it comes to their money, which I think has not been the case. CapWay is so much bigger, so much more than just banking. Yeah, we give you a debit card. Yeah, if you’re unbanked, we get you banked. Yeah, if you’re getting charged too many fees by your bank, here’s a place that you can come to. Yes, for the people who need to participate in the cashless economy. I want Netflix, I want Spotify. I come from an area where I don’t have a bank account. All the above, CapWay is for you. It’s why it was created. I understand you, we get you. 

I say it’s more than banking. We have a content side, a financial literacy side. Yeah, there’s a million financial literacy companies out there or blogs or whatever the case, the one thing at CapWay that is different is, if I give you financial literacy from anywhere else, you can take every quiz, you can read all the content, but I cannot tell you if that financial literacy actually had any form of impact on your financial behavior because I don’t know. But at CapWay, I can because if you watch some videos on buying a house, or if you’re reading content on how to save better, or if you’re using one of our forecasting tools, I can see what you’re consuming and I can actually see if that’s having an impact on your financial behavior because it’s all on one platform. I can cross reference it. You’re not going to find another platform that is going to be able to do that the way that we do that. I can tell you a breakdown of your needs versus your wants, and then point you to content on our website on how to make adjustments. 

Getting into things down the road, like microlending, that’s huge for black tax purposes. That’s huge for keeping people out of the predatory economy — payday lending check cashing all the way down to credit. What’s crazy is people think of Credit Karma, your bank or your credit card gives you your free FICO score, but it’s estimated about 40% of Americans couldn’t even tell you their credit score right now if you ask them. In large part, that’s going to be people that we are serving. It goes from “How do I get money if I don’t have a bank account or I don’t have access to a Cash App or PayPal?” There’s so many factors at play that I think people have created great companies. I think there are amazing FinTech companies out there, but there’s been a huge gap, a huge hole. I know that hole is there because people just don’t understand the people of this market. People understand that problem. If you Google startups focusing on financial inclusion, you’ll find plenty. But most of those people don’t have the experience or the knowledge of the people themselves, not the problem. That knowledge is what makes us very, very different.

Rodney: Got it, got it. Thank you so much for that information. You are currently raising right now, which is exciting. 

Sheena: Yes.

Rodney: Who is the ideal investor for you at this moment and why?

Sheena: Well, as I mentioned earlier, we don’t look for people who micromanage. Don’t get me wrong, all of our investors, and this is with three of our investors, I have a call with them every month. It’s really great calls, but it’s smart money. When I say smart money, it is I can introduce you to somebody else. We’re a B2B2C company — well, we’re hybrid, we’re B2B and B2B2C — so maybe they can introduce us to some potential partners of CapWay: schools, employers, community organizations, corporations. That’s important, like smart money is important. Someone who is not going to overly micromanage, especially at our stage is really important. Someone who actually understands that FinTech is not something that you’re going to throw up overnight, and it’s going to be great. I don’t know if you know the story of PayPal, but I think the story was that they were down to like $40,000 in their bank account, and they were trying to charge fees, trying to pivot, trying to figure it out. PayPal didn’t happen overnight. CapWay is not going to happen overnight. I mean, we’ve been at this now for 15 months. I think that we’re close to greatness, I really do. Of course, I say that as the founder, but this isn’t my first rodeo, as I mentioned. I know we are very, very close to greatness with what we’ve built over this time. Somebody has to understand it takes time. This is a FinTech company. This is challenging the status quo. But we’ve done all the groundwork. We have our issuing bank, we have made sure that every regulatory compliance piece is checked, we’ve created things in-house, we built systems in house that you’re never going to be able to find anywhere else that allows us to stay above the competition. Someone or a firm who understands things like it’s not gonna happen overnight, but we have the team, the experience, the knowledge that we are the right people to run CapWay and grab the market share that we need.

Outside of that, I like honesty. I know that sounds crazy and most investors should be honest, but I like quick yes’s or quick no’s. I don’t like investors who drag and drag and drag. I’m okay with no. I love a yes, but anybody who’s a founder in the startup world, no is part of the game. I prefer a much quicker no, or a much much quicker yes, than a five month process. It doesn’t help us at all. I like quick yes’s or quick no’s. Yeah, I think that about covers it.

Rodney: Got it. Got it. I definitely understand the quick yes or quick no. As a startup founder, time is very valuable and precious. If you get that honestly, you can keep moving forward.

Sheena: Yes. Time is huge, especially for us because there are so many things that we need to, we have to do. We’re working around the clock, even now, to achieve to take full advantage of what is going on right now withCOVID-19 that I feel like will allow us to have an early home run. Yeah, time is of the essence.

Rodney: What does this next level of scale look like to you? Are you looking to hire any new team member or are you just growing the company?

Sheena: Well, with the bridge round that we’re raising now, that will hold us over until next year. Then when we raise next year, that will be when we do our next round of major hires. We have our team right now. It’s pretty good. It’s myself, we have a lead engineer who has been building apps and websites for 10 plus years. This guy can build an entire system with his eyes closed. Absolutely amazing. We have someone who is our Head of Vendors. When I say vendors, it is our banking vendors — our KYC vendor, our processing vendor, who has been doing this for 20 plus years. She’s brought some actually known mobile apps to fruition. We have an amazing, amazing team now. We do plan to add once we hire once we raise again next year. 

This summer’s going to be extremely busy, as I kind of mentioned. My opinion, I don’t think we’re going to get back to normalcy until 2021. I think as far as really being in financial distress, it’s going to be around, I would say, until at least throughout Q3. Maybe in Q4 we start to see some shift, but I think at least up through September, I think America, for the most part, is going to be in financial distress. That’s for us is why I say it’s been a lot of work around the clock. There’s a lot that we are going to be doing between now and Q3. I guess, as I mentioned, I think it gives a great opportunity to have to have a pretty early home run. 

The scale is financial literacy programs launched earlier this week. We’ve had demo after demo people coming in who at one point would say, “Oh, no, we want to find a literacy to be taught in person” to now understanding why virtual financial literacy actually makes sense — which has been a good thing for us — all the way to making sure that people who don’t have access to digital payment options, like the PayPal and Cash Apps, have access and opportunity to also get money very quickly. It is needed now. If I have to send my grandmother money, I can’t send through Cash App. I got to find a way to get my grandmother money outside something like a Western Union or money grants — something more innovative that even she can easily get. Working on that problem. Of course, the banking of CapWay is huge. We have an amazing long waiting list of getting that debit card out, getting people on board. People are going to be looking to leave their banks because they can’t be tied up with all the fees, they are going to be charged, especially in their time of hurt. We want to be there for them when they’re ready to switch to somebody else. The scale for her the next, I’ll say, four months is amazing and then we’ll finish the year out building onto all of that. As I mentioned, looking to raise from what we’ve done with the rates from the bridge round first of next year.

Rodney: Got it, got it. Thank you so much, and we’re definitely excited to see exactly where this goes. I will say, especially from someone coming from the same ecosystem as you — Mobile, Alabama — they say we have goats and things down there, which is not true. Startups and businesses like CapWay are definitely needed. There are people, such as my uncle, who keeps his cash literally in his hamper. He never trusts the banking institutions and the systems. 

Sheena: If you needed to get your uncle money right now, how are you going to give it to him? He doesn’t have Cash App.

Rodney: Absolutely not.

Sheena: Even outside of that, most people even don’t trust those services. Another thing for us that was really big about the South was that if you ask somebody in the south about an alternative mobile bank, most of them be like “A what? A Who?” Most of them only know that small credit union like in the local town. They have no clue what’s going on. Because we focus on the younger generation, older Gen Z and Millennials, as you and I know, you got the cousin who’s mom also kept her money in the house or only banked with the credit union. Now he’s going to college, and he wants Netflix and he wants Spotify. Of course his mom didn’t take him to get a bank account. He’s looking for “where do I go?” I want to make sure that Capway is the answer for him.

Rodney: Absolutely, absolutely. For anyone looking to reach out to you, how should the listeners be able to get in touch with you as far as other startup founders for advice or potential investors that want to connect with you?

Sheena: Yeah, so my personal email is You also can check out our website, of course, and that is Of course, there’s a contact form there. Also be sure to download our app, which you can check out in the Apple App Store. Yes, that’s how you can contact me.

Rodney: Great. Got it. Got it. Thank you so much, Sheena, for the conversation and thank you so much for joining us today. You gave us some great information, and also thank you for giving such great advice to other aspiring founders. 

Sheena: Thank you so much.


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