Ep. #789 - Focus on What Matters
In this episode of Startup Hustle, Lauren Conaway talks with Susan Langer, the CEO of Spave™. They talk about community impact, passion-filled work, and truly focusing on what matters as a key to financial wholeness and wellness.
Covered In This Episode
For most people, finance is an intimidating and confusing topic. That’s why it is important to take advice from knowledgeable and trusted partners in the space.
So, how do you become more financially whole? Tune in as Lauren Conaway and Susan Langer discuss financial wholeness and what Spave™ can do for you as you work towards achieving financial wellness.
Get empowered through this conversation on Startup Hustle podcast.
- Sara Langer’s background (2:19)
- Learning from African women (3:13)
- The start of Spave (5:39)
- Spave’s goal (10:42)
- How Spave works (15:04)
- Focusing on bringing a positive impact to the community (24:24)
- Getting investment for Spave (26:20)
- Putting your money focus where it matters (31:11)
- Spave’s 2022 and beyond outlook (34:49)
- Spave aims to empower (39:01)
- Susan’s heroes (40:17)
- Wrapping up (40:52)
I mean, we have this firm belief, and it’s our core belief that every person has a purpose. How we spend our finances tells us what we prioritize in our life, for sure we have more access to relevant, meaningful, timely data, we can make more healthy, excuse me, and wise decisions for ourselves.Susan Langer
We want to put control choice and convenience community into the palm of the consumer’s hand so that they can decide for their individual circumstances what will help them live their purpose. So that’s why we call it financial wholeness, first versus financial wellness.Susan Langer
So finding ways to make that money and make that very seemingly inconsequential change work for you and help you invest in the things you believe in and help you invest in yourself. Like that, that is so impactful. And so powerful. I can imagine that at the end of the year when you look at that statement and see how much you have saved and how much you have given like that’s got to be a really powerful feeling.Lauren Conaway
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Lauren Conaway 0:01
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHer KC. And I do have to tell you that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by fullscale.io. They’re a software development team that can help you get it done quickly and affordably. We love Full Scale here around the Startup Hustle office. So today we have with us. You know what, actually, Susan, I am going to pop. Okay, we are back. And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHer KC. And I gotta tell you. We are super excited for this episode sponsor. I’m sure by now y’all have probably heard of Wix. Wix is where you go when you want to create, manage and grow your business online. They are the leading website creation platform. They’re going to help you create a site with designer-made templates that can be customized for your business. They look great on all devices. That’s actually how they’re designed. They can help you reach a new audience with SEO tools. They can help you get found on search engines, all of those things that you need to power your business. You can manage all of it from one place at home, at the office on the go. You will never miss a thing when it comes to your business. You definitely want to check out Wix and join over 200 million customers already doing it. So head over to wix.com to get started. So today, we have with us a fabulous guest. I’m really excited. There’s been a lot of anticipation around this one. So I’m gonna hop right into it because you’re really going to want to meet Susan Langer, CEO of Spave. Susan, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today.
Susan Langer 1:54
Well, thank you, Lauren, for having me here.
Lauren Conaway 1:56
Absolutely. It is a privilege and a pleasure. And no thanks are needed because I am psyched. So I am going to, I’m going to ask you the softball question. I think you’re ready for it. Tell us about your journey. Tell us about Spave; tell us about you. We want to know inquiring minds want to know, Susan, you need to know.
Susan Langer 2:19
Thank you, Lauren. Yeah, no, it has been a journey, I can tell you that. It’s been one that started back in 1995. So I started a company called Live Give Save. And it really is the journey of my career and my life. I have a career that spans banking, marketing, and philanthropy. And so I saw a lot that was happening in the marketplace. When I was traveling to Africa in 1995, where I met women living in abject poverty who were repaying their loans at a 99% repayment rate. So, that was kind of crazy to me. 99% repayment rate, you’re living on less than $1 a day. How exactly does that work?
Lauren Conaway 3:01
Well, so it was just what is the kind of benchmark against that 99% repayment rate when you’re talking about loans made in other areas by other types of founders? What is that exactly?
Susan Langer 3:13
So, well, that was part of, you know, microfinance and micropayments in the developing world. I was marketing the nation’s largest credit card portfolio at the time. And we were not seeing those types of repayment rates. We were seeing more like in the 70%, 77%. I think it was, yeah, at the time. And that’s, I mean, that’s pretty standard. And what we do really, really well in the US is spend, so we’re seeing, you know, a surge of spending and a dearth of savings and not that kind of repayment rate. So I’m like, what is the secret sauce here? How does this work? And honestly, Lauren, it wasn’t until I had returned back to the same women over a number of years to see this transformation that was happening. So women in the developing world oftentimes are isolated in their homes, they just work and work and work, and they take care of their families. With what I noticed when they came together to get a group of women, micro-entrepreneurs would get one loan. And they would divvy out that one loan to each of the women. One might be mat weaver. One could be a baker. Another one could have small animals. It was very, it was so interesting what these women did, as far as their profession. And so they would get part of this one loan, and then they would have to come back each week and get together and pay their portion of that loan back. And so if one woman, let’s say, didn’t have enough money to make her payment, the women would surround her, and they would help her make that one payment. So let’s say that same woman didn’t make three months or three weeks’ worth of payments. She would be then voted out or kicked out of the group, but it really was this community engagement. So that was pretty cool to me. Oh, wow, this is kind of neat that they help and support one another. That is so then
Lauren Conaway 5:09
I’ve heard of, like, crowd, you know, you hear of crowdfunding where people are funding an entity, but I’ve never heard of crowd payment. That is, yeah, that’s incredible. They’re kind of flipping that on its head and how, how beautiful it is through a consortium of women coming together to help each other and uplift each other. But, you know, to teach them to fish kind of situation, like we’re gonna teach you to fish, not give you a fish. That’s, that’s amazing.
Susan Langer 5:39
Well, I mean, actually what it did for these women, so the first year that we met with them, they could barely look us in the eye, they were so they lacked self-confidence, and they were just demure. And, and so we came back the next year, and where they had paid off their first loan. That was incredible. They were so excited, they were happy, they were shaking our hands and hugging us. And it was just it was beautiful. Then the third year we came back, these women were community leaders. I mean, they had, I mean, so much self-confidence, and dignity and a sense of independence, it was mind-blowing. And then if I looked, you know, back at the US and the experience that I was seeing with individuals that were carrying a lot of debt. They weren’t able to budget or manage their finances. There is a tremendous amount of burden and anxiety that comes with that kind of lack of financial management. That is not uncommon. That happens all the time. And, you know, the technology was not available to do what I wanted to do, which was every time you would maybe swipe your card, you would tip and tax yourself, you would apply a percent that you determined what percent that was going to be on every purchase that you made. Well, in that scenario, if you swipe your card and you add another percent, you’re adding debt to yourself. So that really wasn’t good. So fast forward 20 years, I learned about acorns, everybody knew about mint, but that’s a budget management app, which is cool. It’s part of Spave. But when you learn, yeah, it’s
Lauren Conaway 7:15
like pennies, pennies on the dollar, like you kind of round-up and you’re able to save off of your transactions that you make is that is exactly,
Susan Langer 7:22
exactly round up spare change. And then they put it into a mutual fund that aligns with your risk tolerance. So once it gets to $5, they move the money. So they accumulate the pennies, the micro amounts, and then they transfer the funds once it hits $5. And that keeps accumulating for you. So I’m like whoa, whoa, okay, the time is right. So that’s when I decided to embark on launching the company live give save, which then created the product space. And then just in this last year, we were acquired and so we created the company space, the L spade, LLC. So put a pause. That’s how we started the company.
Lauren Conaway 8:05
Okay. That is that is, that is quite a journey. And I do alright, so I’m gonna backtrack a little bit, because I think that the question I’m about to ask is going to inform the question that the questions that I will later ask and say no, and I’ll tell you why. So you mentioned that you were when you were operating in these, you know, community socio-economically impoverished communities, and you were empowering women financially, you were allowing them to start their own businesses, that you would see the change in these women year after year. So the question that I have for you is, while you were seeing change, positive change in these women, were you seeing the change in their communities? Was there new confidence? Was there new empowerment? Was that being translated across their entire community? I want to talk to you a little bit about that.
Susan Langer 9:01
Exactly, that’s exactly what I saw that was so mind blowing. Year after year, you saw these little changes in the women, then you saw changes in their family dynamics, and then you saw changes in the community. They just got stronger and stronger, and they got a bigger voice. We traveled a lot to Rwanda. I mean, I was in East Africa and all the countries in East Africa there. But in Rwanda in particular, it was fascinating to me because, at that time, the Rwandan parliament was the only country in the, I think, in the world that had more women in parliament as a percentage than men. And they saw and that was on the heels of the genocide. It was probably Yeah, I don’t know how many years after the genocide wasn’t that many. But yeah, it was fascinating to me to see what they recognized in women and the resourcefulness and the power that women have to influence change and to see strengthen the foundation and fundamentals within a country.
Lauren Conaway 10:04
So I adore that. Like that’s kind of, you know, the core of what I love to do, how do you empower women to empower their communities? And so I asked you that, to ask you this, either with Spave you are you’re, you’re serving a completely different market? For sure. And but are you finding that allowing giving people the tools that it can empower them financially educates? Help them to set goals and save? And all of these things that save does? Are you finding that you are creating ripple effects to the community at large?
Susan Langer 10:42
That is our plan. I mean, we’re still a startup. So we’re still gathering those data points, but there’s no doubt in my mind, that that’s what will come out of this. I mean, we have this firm belief, and it’s our core belief that every person has a purpose. How we spend our finances tells us what we prioritize in our life, for sure we have more access to relevant, meaningful, timely data, we can make more healthy, excuse me, and wise decisions for ourselves. And so that’s what we’re doing with Spave is we’re helping people be informed about their finances to create, I hate the word budget, I really do. It’s so awful,
Lauren Conaway 11:27
though, you know, I mean, people understand what a budget means. It’s all right.
Susan Langer 11:31
So we can help people create their budgets, just by their behavior, and then give them information and tools to make tweaks and we call them nudges. And they’re all affirmative and positive, because we believe in building up people and, and focusing on their strengths, versus the their weaknesses and the gaps, if you will.
Lauren Conaway 11:53
So what you’re doing, I find this fascinating, because the way that you are your approach, there are a lot of organizations out there and companies out there that have creative created products that speak to financial management, here are tools that you can use to manage your money. But what you’re actually speaking to is financial empowerment. And I think that that’s a different, there’s a big difference between the two, like, I might know how much money is in my account at any given time, but having the knowledge and the guidance to figure out how what to best do with that money. That’s a really powerful thing. And I think that that’s actually something that’s sorely lacking in our country, you know, when you think about like, high school curriculum, college curriculum, even, you know, elementary and middle school, you don’t get a lot of financial education. Here in the States, you know, you might take like a budget class, the or like a home at class where you have to do a budget, your senior year of high school, and then we’re the powers that be are just kind of like, well, let’s call it a day, and we’re good. And so I know so many people, particularly young folks, who just don’t even understand money, don’t understand investment, don’t understand how to figure out how to best make their money work for them. And then in turn, to your point to a lot of what SPIEF does is put it toward the things that you prioritize and the things that you care about. Right?
Susan Langer 13:23
Exactly. Well, Spave is actually an acronym that stands for Sharing Purpose And Value Every day. Because every time that we’re spending our money, we’re making a statement. So if we can help people more easily save and give. So we say that we’re a financial wholeness solution that uses technology, marketing, and data to help people live given save with purpose. So now we’re taking that concept of micropayments from microfinance of what we saw in the developing world, and translating that to micro giving, and micro-savings, eventually paying down debt contributing to an HSA and Ira a 401K. We want to put control choice, and convenience community into the palm of the consumer’s hand so that they can decide for their individual circumstances, what will help them live their purpose. So that’s why we call it financial wholeness, first versus financial wellness. When I started out, Lauren, doing my research and and trying to gather as much information as I could about the way that people were managing their finances and how that was being measured. And what impact giving had on somebody’s financial stability. I learned there was 00 data out there zero studies that showed the impact of giving on on your financial wellness. So there was a hole in financial wholeness, if you will. And so that’s why we coined the phrase, financial wholeness, it’s putting giving and social good at the center of what we’re doing.
Lauren Conaway 15:04
Oh my gosh, I love that so much. So I understand Spave conceptually. But let’s get down into kind of the nitty gritty, I want to talk about the user experience. So I am going to use myself as an example because I know myself, and it’s the easiest way to do this. So I, a 38-year-old woman, who has a small savings, teeny, teeny, baby teeny tiny savings accounts, you know, kind of all the standards 401K, but don’t really do much with it, you know, that kind of stuff? What would my experience with save look like? If you know, I hear about it from friends, and I download the app. Talk to me about what that looks like?
Susan Langer 15:47
Yeah, your experience will be all about setting goals, goals that are important to you. So you download the app and you link all your bank accounts, your checking your savings, you don’t have to link your savings account, because we have an automatic one that is set up there. It is not an interest bearing account, but it is FDIC insured. Then you’d have your savings account, and then we would ask you questions about what’s important to you, what causes you care about, that’s really important. And then you can decide once you pick your causes, let’s say it’s Animal Rescue, then we’ll present to you nonprofits that are in your area that are accredited. And then you pick those nonprofits or a nonprofit that you like, and then you say, Okay, I want to round up spare change, or I want to apply a percent to each purchase that I make. We will have a calculator in there also that will help you say what if I would have rounded up spare change over the last three months? Or the last year? What would that have looked like? What if I would have applied a percent because we know that you can accelerate your giving and your savings. If you tip or tax yourself, if you will, just like we tip a waitress, right or a server, you’ll never see that money. And we don’t know how much we’re going to tip them when we walk into the restaurant. But they get that money at the end, if they did great or whatever, whatever that percent is anywhere between 10 and 20%. Right, that goes on to our bill. Also taxes, we never know how much it’s 20%,
Lauren Conaway 17:17
by the way, 20%, to our listeners playing along at home tip,
Susan Langer 17:25
Well absolutely. So then, and then the government, we pay taxes for the products and services that we get there too. And we never see that money. And that is always, you know, depending upon where you live, what those taxes are going to be. So I’m saying, you know, there’s got to be a way that we can tip and tax ourselves and watch that money grow. You know, it’s using existing behaviors to transform futures. And that’s how we set it up. So then you apply those percents, and you set it up. So then you start using your debit card, or your credit cards, whatever you blinked in there, even your target card by the way. Once you start, yeah, once you start spending, you’ll start seeing in your app, your savings as we call them grow, whether it’s saving or giving your I’ll be saving is a verb
Lauren Conaway 18:10
saving, I love it. So that is that is super cool. And I love that. And I think that one of the most important things to remember. And one of the things that always impressed me about acorn. And you know, some of these donate your change, you know, institutions is, you don’t notice that, you know, if you spend $1.80 on a pack of gum, I actually have no idea how much a pack of gum costs. So that number that I threw out there. You know, if you round up that 20, you don’t miss that 20 cents, but it really adds up over time. And so finding ways to make that money and make that very seemingly inconsequential change work for you and help you invest in the things you believe in and help you invest in yourself. Like that, that is so impactful. And so powerful. I can imagine that at the end of the year, when you look at that statement and see how much you have saved and how much you have given like that’s got to be a really powerful feeling. Is that the feedback that you’re getting from your head?
Susan Langer 19:11
Absolutely. And all of your giving is in one place. So I’m sure that at the end of the year if you’re trying to collect all of the different disparate pieces of information of where you gave or donated
Lauren Conaway 19:24
to oh, that Yeah, we all want our receipts.
Susan Langer 19:27
Yeah, it’s all in one place. You only have one place to go when it’s all there. The other thing I think that’s important with save is that it really if you think about it, save is meant acorns digit, the United Way and Venmo all in one so if you and I are saving we can move money to each other free and real-time. It’s crazy.
Lauren Conaway 19:49
All right, I just I want you to know that my goal for the day is to use Spave as a verb in a sentence with someone. So you know the holidays are coming up. How’s your savings? going and then have somebody look at me like slack-jawed. And then I’m going to explain Spave just so you know, that’s going to happen. Because I love that you’ve turned it into a verb. So something else that I love Susan, I gotta tell you about this. I love tools that make it easier for entrepreneurs to do business. And you know what, who makes it easier for an entrepreneur to do business wix.com. So they are today’s episode sponsor, and they are the place that you can go when you want to create, manage and grow your business online. It is super, super easy. I’ve actually personally used Wix many, many times to help build client websites. They are the leading website creation platform, they have all of these plug and play tools that you can just pop things in. And you all of a sudden have a finished product that looks like a really talented web designer made it for you. They look super expensive, and they’re crazy easy to make. You create the site you use these designer made templates that can be customized. If you’re going to create a website that is unique to your business, it’s going to look great on all devices, mobile laptop, wherever people are accessing your information, you’re going to be able to use SEO tools, you’re gonna get found on search engines, you can manage it all from one place. I mean, there are just so many benefits to using Wix, I cannot stress it enough. We love them as a sponsor, but we certainly love them as a tool that makes entrepreneurship easier because as we all know, it is hard to be an entrepreneur, anything, any tool that we can use to make it easier, is something that we want to support. So definitely check out wix.com Join over 200 million people that is that’s a crazy number to me, by the way. 200 million people who are building websites on WIC head over to wix.com to get started. So today we have with us Susan Langer. And Susan is CEO of space, she’s talking about save and how to give and save and, you know, prioritize focusing on what really, really matters around financial. And I’m going to say empowerment, again, financial empowerment. So financial wholeness is what Susan calls it. And I love that so. So Susan, let me let me ask you this, you know, we’ve talked about the kind of tactile user experience. I’m gonna give you a minute to brag a little bit. Talk to us about the impact. What is the feedback that you’ve been giving? We kind of touched on it a little bit, but what have you heard from your clients and customers? How has it changed their lives?
Susan Langer 22:36
Well, first of all, they’re saving for the first time. I have two millennial children. And I can tell you, it’s been exciting to watch them accumulate their savings and what they’re saving for. And so you, you, we talked about saving as a verb. And that’s a lot of fun. Because what are you saving for, that’s one of our questions that we pose out to our, our users. And then we have them post a picture of themselves what they’re saving for. And it’s just a lot of a lot of fun. But people like that they have choice and control is what we hear. They don’t have to keep it and stick it in one one place round up spare change. And that’s, that’s all it is. I mean, you can set it and forget it, but you get to choose. So this month, I’m going to save for Animal Rescue next month, I’m going to save to the United Way, the next month, I’m going to save for a local clinic, or I’m going to save for the tornado. So we’re we’re also putting a section in our app called trending. So it could be fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, all those things that happen and we feel like we’re out of control. I mean, right now, personally, it’s like, oh, my gosh, I’ve got to do something. We want to run down and help to help the people help the victims. But that’s not going to help. But what does help us if we can support the organizations that are there on the ground like World Vision, or Jose Andrea says, world kitchen, whatever it is center, I mean, amazing stuff is doing? That is being done, but we can help them just by using save every day.
Lauren Conaway 24:08
That is awesome. All right. So I gotta ask you, and now this is the time for Susan to get to shine a little bit that how does it feel as the CEO of this organization, and knowing that you are creating such a deep impact?
Susan Langer 24:24
Well, frankly, I mean, it’s it’s an honor to be able to do it, period. I mean, I feel like I am living my calling. I had mentioned that my background is in banking, marketing and technology and or philanthropy I should say. And being able to pull that all together and to do something that has been in my heart for years since 1995 is incredibly gratifying. But I’ll tell you, the thing that is most gratifying also is to watch our team members who are as passionate as I am working on building this company building this tool ideating around what could it be everything that we do to Lauren is rooted in research. So we are constantly gathering feedback from the market, whether it’s qualitative or quantitative. And we make that input seriously. Our go-to-market strategy is through partners. And we work with nonprofits that have a national footprint and local presence think YMCA, Big Brothers, Big Sisters. And as we work with them, we’re able to allow them the opportunity to feedback messages to their users. Because of you another kid went to summer camp, for example. Or another youth was engaged was partnered with a with a Big Brother, Big Sister, those things are incredibly important because impact and showing people’s impact changes their own psyche mean, there’s dopamine, and serotonin and all those good things in our brain that are released when we do good things. So the more that we can bring those messages of impact back to the users, that’s when they’re going to be fulfilled and having our team talking daily about how can we do that, and, and ideating around that is so much fun. And we’re finally in a place where we can employ people, and we can actually pay people and give them benefits. Yay. Well, it’s been a long time coming
Lauren Conaway 26:20
that so that is absolutely fantastic. And I know so you talk about paying people. And I think I read recently that Spave had a pretty decent-sized investment. We like to talk to us about that.
Susan Langer 26:36
I would love to Yeah, so as many of your listeners can relate to, you spend many of your days and nights preparing for and delivering pitches to lots of different investor groups.
Lauren Conaway 26:51
Oh good at it like I could do I could do our elevator pitch in my sleep at this point. It’s ridiculous.
Susan Langer 26:57
Well, good for you. You’re a lot better than I am. I will tell you, it was a rough going for me, the pitching part of it. And I pitched other people’s businesses, I have raised millions of dollars for other people. But when I was pitching for myself, it was just different. But I happened to pitch Oh, and the and then when COVID hit. We have a wonderful and amazing support system ecosystem here for the startup community in Minnesota, out of the Twin Cities. And then of course, I live an hour south of the Twin Cities in rural Minnesota, there is a strong ecosystem that was built here. And so I was able to tap into that, to get exposure to a lot of different places to pitch to but eventually when COVID hit, everything went virtual. And that played to my to us better actually. And we got some funding out of that from the state of Minnesota with their lunch mn initiative. And so one, one of my pitches was to an organization that provides new innovation, technology, etc. ideas to the credit union market, MDC member Development Corp. And so I pitched there. And in all honesty, I was not thinking too much about that. I was kind of like, okay, whatever they’re not going to I was, you know, rejected so many times to kind of give up. Anyway, I pitched in about a couple of weeks later or more, I got, I received an email from Michigan State University Federal Credit Union from their CTO or their head of digital innovation, Ben Maxim. And he said, Hey, we were interested in what you’re doing there. Would you like to connect? And so yes, yes, let’s connect. So we talked about, would you be interested in piloting our technology? Yes, we would. Okay, great. Then the next meeting was, well, would you be interested and able to provide us with a savings product? Because we wanted to fill out that savings piece of it? Yeah, we’d be interested in doing that. Oh, okay. Well, then the next meeting was would you be interested in providing ACH processing possibly to help reduce their costs? Yeah, we could do that. Well, then, we were in a series or a new round that we were raising for capital. And I said, Well, if you’re doing all these things, would you have interest in investing in us? And they said, Well, let’s think about that. Yes, we would. So it just kept going. Oh, for sure. The CEO of the of the credit union APR club. Clovis is just an amazing woman. She’s been at the credit union, I think almost her full career and just rose very rapidly to the top. And she has, we share values. She is all about helping others, you know, helping her community helping her members helping her employees. It’s all about how can we help people make people’s lives better. So we clicked right away and we were their first investment they created a holding company and we were their first investments they have since made Several other investments and, and all related to how can we build products and services that that serve, if you will, the credit union market. And so the receipt a group was formed. And that’s the holding company that is actually the 80%, owner of space and then live gives save. My company owns the other 20%.
Lauren Conaway 30:23
Okay, well, so congratulations on that like that. That is a huge accomplishment for any entrepreneur. And I’m sure that there are many listeners at home who are just kind of hanging on every word like how do you create a product are a startup that is attractive to investors. And one of the things that I love about Steve is that you have done that by creating an authentically heart compassion led organization. Like that’s so cool. You’re a social impact entrepreneur who’s realizing financial success, and that is absolutely incredible. So kudos to you. I’m, I’m clapping, you know, right around my microphone. So, so our listeners at home, that’s what that was. But you know, congratulations.
Susan Langer 31:10
Thank you very much.
Lauren Conaway 31:11
Yeah, absolutely. So so I’m gonna switch tacks a little bit, and I keep doing that to you, I’m sure that you probably feel like, Whoa, where are we going next? But I just there are so many things that I want to talk to you about. But one of the things that I love to do here on Startup Hustle is one of my favorite things to do is I love to offer our listeners, actionable tactical advice; these are the things that you can do today, to make your business better make your life better. And so I’m going to ask you, I’m going to ask you this, I would imagine that most of our listeners, myself included, um, you know, for me money is it’s that thing that lets me do the thing, things I need to do, you know, like, I pay my bills, and I get to keep a roof over my head. And, you know, when I can I give to different organizations, and that makes me feel good. But I mean, there’s not, I wouldn’t say that there’s a whole lot of intentionality about it. And I love the fact that Spave is designed to help people bring intentionality to their financial strategies, you know, to your point, and to kind of what we’re talking about is like putting your money focus where it matters. So I’m gonna ask you this. For those of us who are just getting started on this faith journey, or who you know, might think about downloading the app or Hey, even want to just get more intentional about the financial wholeness piece of our lives? What is the advice that you have for us? What are the best ways that we can make sure we are investing in ourselves and investing in our communities? In the best ways?
Susan Langer 32:53
Well, the first thing I would say is to go to the App Store or Google Play and download Spave.
Lauren Conaway 32:58
I would definitely say that too, for sure.
Susan Langer 33:02
Because what you can do and save though in all seriousness, Lauren, is that you can look back, I think it’s almost two years of your finances, and you can we have a spending analysis feature in there. So you can you can save you can give, and you can analyze your spending. And the more we know about where our money is going, again, it’s that priorities thing, the better we can be equipped and make changes in our our behaviors. In our choices. Yeah, so the first thing is good to know, right? Yeah, what you’re what you’re doing. That’s the first thing and then I would say to I would, I wouldn’t take an inventory of what’s important to me. So what is important to me, is it, you know, what is on my heart, what breaks my heart, you know, that I want to contribute to and feel like I am living my purpose, and then find an organization that that you want to support. And it can be just rounding up spare change, it can be 1%. And then you see the impact. And that will that will make you move forward. And then set goals for sure for yourself and what you want to do for a savings. And all of that we do believe in taking, you know, putting your oxygen oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on other people. So take care of yourself first.
Lauren Conaway 34:22
Yeah, you definitely. You definitely want to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. And I love that. Well. Well, thank you so much. So, alright, so I think this should be the final changeup. I think. Don’t hold me to that though. I never know. So I want to ask, you know, as you as Spave continues to grow, what does 2022 look like?
Susan Langer 34:49
Super excited about 2022. That’s where we’re demonstrating significant growth. So we’ll be engaging the MSU Federal Credit Union members. So we’ve just started with their employees adding them on. We have 10 spay faves, which are nonprofits that are we have 1.5 million accredited charities in our app, if it’s, if it’s in the IRS, it’s in our app, you can find it. But we have relationships with these nonprofits. And we, we want to help the nonprofit’s accelerate and amplify their missions. That is a huge goal of ours. Because if they’re doing good, the community is doing good. The world is doing good. And so how can we help them and so that’s a big deal for us. And we’re in negotiations right now with a very large international nonprofit. So 2022, we’ll be incorporating save into credit unions, there’ll be licensing our technology and private labeling it into their, their platforms. We also will be then expanding our nonprofit network, and then we’re looking at higher ed. So we’re looking at a big year coming up here just proving within these individual verticals of nonprofit credit union and higher ed.
Lauren Conaway 36:04
Incredible. Well, I am super excited for 2022. For you and for Spave, I definitely feel that you have created something really special. I love social impact. I don’t know. It’s where my heart lives. I love talking about them. So just hearing and hearing the excitement in your voice makes me really happy. So alright, let’s go a step further. What does fav look like 5,10 years from now? Long term.
Susan Langer 36:36
Love that question for sure. Because well, we have global ambitions for sure we’re focused right now in the US. And we’re focused on millennials, Boomer women and Hispanics who have you know, trends of spending going up, they’re not saving, they need to save more. And they have compassionate hearts and want to give and they’re very social. So those that’s our focus right now. But if we look and fast forward in 10 years from now, I definitely save we’ll be back in the developing world in 10 years 100. Let’s see what it is 100% of the population between the ages of 35 and 60 will be saving regularly to a long term savings account. They will be giving measurably more to charity. And they will have paid down the majority of their student loans. We will have 100 million micro-entrepreneurs in the developing world will be using Spave to save for their future they’ll be using our technology that is to save for our future, their future and save will be part of the international lexicon that is our 10 year by 2030. I
Lauren Conaway 37:42
think Can I just point out something that you just did, I think it’s really important to point out that you just did this. I asked what the future looks like for Spave. And you answered what the future will look like for Stave’s customers. And that makes me really, really happy because that means that you are a founder with your heart in the right place. That was super cool. I don’t know if you know that you did that. But I’m gonna tell you that you did that. You appreciate that very, very cool. Perfect, perfect response. And I gotta tell you, I am super psyched to see that happen. The fact you are giving the gift of what financial wholeness, I’m going to start using that phrase. Now I’m going to help to like make it become a part of the regular vernacular because I talk about financial, particularly as it pertains to women. You know, that’s where my heart lie is, of course, and I do think that often women get kind of shortchanged on financial empowerment and being taught the tools and the tips and the tricks that can help them succeed and thrive financially. So so the fact that you are prioritizing that and the fact that you are doing that it is a true gift to your customers. And I just want to I want to thank you for works.
Susan Langer 39:01
Lauren, you brought up empowerment several times. And what is really interesting is if I showed you there, our diagram of our brand identity. What’s at the center is the word empowerment. We are, yes, we are empowering individuals. We’re empowering nonprofits, we’re empowering financial institutions, we’re empowering the society at large to make more healthy, wise decisions related to their finances which will then reflect a better world so I got to tell you like empowerment is one of the core foundational ethics that we firmly believe in
Lauren Conaway 39:31
You know, we’ve had a great conversation here, and I knew that we were going to be friends at the start of the conversation, and I’m ending the conversation definitely feeling that that’s the case because I feel like we’ve got some serious like value alignment or tactics are different Susan, but we are very much aligned in our hearts and I love that it’s been a pleasure talking to you. So now I’m going to ask you what I think it actually might be a tough question. Usually the human question is like, a real dumb one. But I’m going to ask you one that has a little bit of meat to it, because I think you can handle it. So I’m going to ask you, who are your heroes?
Susan Langer 40:17
Oh, my heroes, goodness sake. Well, well. My parents, I have a 91-year-old father, and my mother has Alzheimer’s. And she was a powerhouse. And neither one of them had college degree. And dad was an entrepreneur, and mom was, ended up running a great big clinic here that was eventually purchased by. And how they still have their dance together and live their lives in the twilight years right now. They’re my heroes.
Lauren Conaway 40:52
That’s awesome. And that is, that is such a lovely note. To close out on, I just, I really want to thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Susan. It has been a lovely, lovely conversation. I’ve enjoyed my well, it actually, I’m going right to the App Store. As soon as we have a call, I need to Spave in my life.
Susan Langer 41:12
And then tell me what you’re saving for I want to know.
Lauren Conaway 41:15
I don’t. Well, and like I said, I’m gonna have to figure out how to use that word in a sentence just to get the look so I can explain what saved us. So I look forward to becoming a speed evangelist, if only so I can use the word as a verb. But I will. So I will do that. That will be my mission moving forward. But I just want to thank you for taking the time right here in the present, to chat with us. Talk to us about what you do. Talk to us about you know, your heart and, your mission. It’s been awesome.
Susan Langer 41:46
Great. Thank you so much, Lauren. I appreciate it. And thanks to your listeners for listening in. For going to the App Store and Google Play and downloading or going to spave.io. For you get that Spave, folks, get it.
Lauren Conaway 41:57
So, I also want to give a huge thank you to our episode sponsor. You know, Wix, we’ve talked about it a couple of times, and I gotta tell you Wix is the leading website creation platform. And anytime you see folks rushing to a provider, you know that they’ve got something special going on Wix. They make it super easy to create a website that looks slick and functions well and helps you to get your product and get your company and get your brand out there. You can create a site using these designer-made templates. They’re super easy. I’ve implemented them myself. And it is crazy easy. You click a button, you’re like, oh, done, check. And then you put in your copy and your pictures. And it’s amazing. They’re all highly customizable. They look great on all devices. They’ve got tools that can help you with things like SEO, which has always been a struggle for me. You know, you can find your company on search engines, which if they can’t find you on Google, can they really find you? I don’t think so. So Wix can help you do that. And you can manage it all from one place. It makes it super easy. You will never miss a thing when it comes to your business. Join over 200 million people who are already using wix.com to get started. I also want to mention, you know, Startup Hustle podcast, we are nothing. If we are not accessible, you can find us on YouTube. Just search for Startup Hustle. You can find us on LinkedIn, you can find us on Facebook, we actually have a really cool chat group, where we talk about the show, and we talk about things going on. We talk about entrepreneurship, and we invite you to join us in Startup Hustle chat. So definitely check that out. I also would invite you to listen to the Matts. They’ve got this 52-part series on how to build a tech company. And they offer all kinds of insights and really awesome stuff that you can listen for. So I invite all of you to do that. Definitely keep an ear out and keep an eye out for ways that you can access Startup Hustle. We want to hear from you, listeners. We are so grateful that you take the time to listen to us week after week, month after month. And we just want to want to thank you so much. We’ll catch you on the flip side.