Cory McKane 0:00
We came from very different backgrounds, be classy, be genuine, be brief. I wanted to help out and contribute and sort of give back to the people that had helped me,
Unknown Speaker 0:10
man welcome city in slow, no need for the introduction all about the world and the world where we discuss it where every single time that we had came for something so it's funny that we made it when we started, you would not make up your mind to find out why when you start a dark sky to turn on the light. And no matter what you do, you never want from a fight because we find it to be better. And that's why we strive.
Cory McKane 0:37
Hi, I'm Cory McKane, CEO of we strive an all in one platform for personal trainers and gym owners to build and scale their business. I want to welcome you to the why we strive podcast where I interview some of the most incredible founders, investors, professional athletes and more from around the world. We do a deep dive into the who, what, when, where, how and why they strive. Make sure you tune in and subscribe every single week so that you can watch and listen to some incredible people tell absolutely amazing stories on how they got here. Now, let's get to this week's episode. Alright, let's get started. I'm pumped to have you here. We met through the Google for startups program about a year ago like this month. So actually So Bruno, Google Cloud actually might sponsor my my happy hours and I'm talking with Brando right now from the program. So after this,
Unknown Speaker 1:35
Cory McKane 1:36
do a shout out shout out. So actually, let's start with congrats on the new baby. Thank you. You're just like you're just the founder. Mother like what else you do? That's about it. That's about it. For me right now. Yeah. How old is your Is it a girl or boy?
Ari Salafia 1:52
It's a girl. Saylor and well, that's a cute How do you spell that? I say y lor. Oh, I'm such a mom, too. I like even have it on my Oh, that's
Cory McKane 2:00
cute. How old is she? No.
Ari Salafia 2:02
She sent me nine months this week. Oh,
Cory McKane 2:05
really? I guess. I guess you did have your kid like in the wintertime ish.
Unknown Speaker 2:08
Yeah. It was really good timing. We joked like as a team, like, honestly, when I told my team like they were very stoked for me. Yeah, but they are also like, very relieved that she was born after taxes.
Cory McKane 2:19
I was gonna say because all the people know it's tax taker. But yeah, that would have been terrible to have like a one month old. Like, at the height of tax season.
Unknown Speaker 2:27
Yeah. And as much as I would like to say that I didn't like enough things. Yeah. Completely gone. I definitely demand.
Cory McKane 2:34
Yeah. How does that work as a because obviously, like, you know, you have paid leave, typically when you have a kid when you're at a company, but how does that work? When you are the company? Like when you're when you're like, I'm gonna leave? Like if I had paid leave for a kid like that? We would we would do nothing. So like, how does that work for you?
Unknown Speaker 2:51
Yeah, it's kind of strange, right? When, like you, yourself, are making policy. And yeah, as much as I would love to have been a big company and giving myself all this time and paid leave. I just I wasn't able to do that. Just for the mere sake of not because we couldn't have me being paid. Yeah, it was just mostly because it's just hard to step away from your other baby. Yeah. So that was actually really one great thing. And one thing I'm really grateful for, for like having a child and 2021 that then, because so many people have paved the way for thought to be an easier conversation like women in the workplace. So our investors were incredibly supportive. Our team was supportive. But like, we're just not a big business, right? So like, we I don't, I don't have the luxury of taking six months, if you're working at Salesforce,
Cory McKane 3:42
I couldn't even imagine no matter what the scenario is, I couldn't imagine. I can't imagine. And
Unknown Speaker 3:46
it's funny though, because most moms I've spoke with, like three months goes by really, really fast. But like also, it's like, what are you gonna do? Like you start to want adult time
Cory McKane 3:57
for Yeah, well, I mean, I don't have a kid so I can't speak on it. But I'm sure it's insanely stressful, but I'm sure there are many hours where you're like not doing anything also like it like it's nap time that kind of like you probably want to take a nap yourself. But there's, you know, I mean, yeah,
Unknown Speaker 4:10
yeah, they're always like, You should sleep when the baby sleeps, but it's kind of laughable because like, they just like, all of a sudden you will be just like, doing housework. And then like, conk out. So what are you gonna do like sleep when you're vacuuming? But yeah, I did tell my guys I was like, Don't be weirded out. If I like Slack message you at three in the morning. And I'm the only one awake in the world. It seems like
Cory McKane 4:32
Well, that's what I love is that it's probably been within the last year but slack added the schedule message feature, which do you use that? No, you didn't know that
Unknown Speaker 4:40
now? Well, my game changer now I don't have four
Cory McKane 4:44
in the morning. Well, no, my team's in Ukraine. So if I'm messaging them at 4pm It's like, you know, it's like 3am 4am their time. It just makes no sense. So what I do is it's the little the little button right next to the Send. Yeah, it just says just like an email Yeah, exactly. So, all scheduled, like, it's probably annoying. So I try and go like one, I try and go like 9am their time. 10am 11am So they have, they don't get like 12 but I'll have like 12 slack messages across my team that I'll just go throughout the night and then I wake up to their responses. So oh, it's well, so thankful. But also like, I feel like they wouldn't get back to me if it was just like 20 like 3am DMS,
Unknown Speaker 5:23
so honestly, like not urgent to all them because you exactly answered
Cory McKane 5:27
Exactly. Like yeah, so when they added that it literally changed my life like because I'm like I used to, I used to like wake up in the middle of the night and like, send the message really quick, and then like, go back to bed. So anyways, shout out slack. If you've ever tried to use your laptop, outside or on the moon, you'll know that it's impossible to see your screen in direct sunlight, and laptops will overheat and shut down surprisingly quickly outside. here in Austin, the team at Sun shader have solved that problem. Sun shader is that the sunshade heat shade and privacy shade for your laptop, so you can work efficiently from coffee shops, co working spaces, or with your friends on campus, from the beach, the pool, your backyard or balcony, from airports, airplanes and Airbnbs. I've got one it is now part of my everyday work gear that fits easily into my backpack. Sun shader can also be co branded with your company logo, your brand story for incredible and practical swag to give to your employees, customers and partners. Check them out at Sun trainer.com and use code y we strive for 15% off. So very cool. So when after you had your kid like, let's we'll say like month one of them will go month six, like how many hours are you spending? Like at the company per day? We'll say
Unknown Speaker 6:40
Yeah, so I mean, this is another like beauty of like remote first kind of world. Yeah. So my business in particular, is heavily project based. So it's not that you have to be working in the confines of like nine to five, like some positions. I mean, so one of the great things is that, you know, I can plug in after she's asleep. Yeah, exactly. She's actually on a schedule. So month one through four. It's all a blur. Everything everyone tells you like you're feel like you're a human, but you're just off. Yeah. And but now that she's more in a schedule, it's like I'll work. Fortunately, we have a situation that's really helpful. We have a nanny that comes during the work day. It's great, because we also get that extra quality time with her because she's around, or the babies around. But it's great because I can work for six, seven hours, and I fit so much into those hours
Cory McKane 7:40
more than you used to. Yeah, no more
Unknown Speaker 7:42
productive. Yeah, exactly. So I'm not telling anyone to go out have a baby to like be disciplined. But my goodness, when you really have to be Yeah, it's unbelievable what you can accomplish in little time. So I say yes to a lot less than that's been a big challenge when you know, in the startup world too, because it's like event overload. It's, if you don't network, right, you feel like you might be missing out on other opportunities. That wouldn't happen otherwise. But I have found especially you know, because I've done enough of it over the last few years, right? Relationships are maintained. You know, you don't have to say yes to everything. And it can actually benefit your wrist. Oh, for sure. Oh, yeah, I'll work from like, eight or nine to like three ish. Take a couple hour break. That's my quality time with her. And then she's she sleeps and then I'm back on my laptop or Yeah, very cool.
Cory McKane 8:40
Well, no, it's funny because I used to when I was in LA, I was just starting my company. I was like, wait tables, and then I would Uber also. And I swear I probably got more work done because I just didn't do any extracurriculars. And like any moment, I had free I would work just as crazy.
Unknown Speaker 8:59
There's kind of that like mantra or like that saying, I've heard if you want something done, ask a busy person. Yeah.
Cory McKane 9:05
Yeah, well, I hate it now. Because I mean, I pay myself full time and I'd like but not a lot. But like what are called we'll call it we'll call it change that we'll call it when you join out? No, so it's funny because like, I mean, don't get me wrong. I still work like 10 plus hours a day, but there's so many hours where I'm like, No, I'll be like, I can watch. I can watch TV. It's fine, like an hour or whatever. And I'm like, I would never have done that. When I was working for Uber or waiting tables. I would have never sat down watch TV. So it's very healthy. But I definitely get comfortable though, which I hate. Yeah, absolutely. So let's go let's go over the obviously what is tax taker,
Unknown Speaker 9:42
right. So tax taker helps startups get money, essentially. So we Yeah, startups everyone out there, get you some money.
Cory McKane 9:53
Money, tax taker.com
Unknown Speaker 9:54
tax anchor.com. Thank you. Oh, yeah, we leverage government tax credits for small businesses and startups. So the most popular one is the research and development tax credit. It's gained a lot of popularity in the last few years, especially because there's been more technology companies coming into this space and making it better. But there's other government, federal and state programs that companies need to be leveraging. And I actually have an exciting announcement, because I didn't even tell you this is coming. You didn't tell me what any of the questions were gonna be today? I didn't tell you
Cory McKane 10:31
don't tell anyone the questions I Yeah, that's awesome.
Unknown Speaker 10:33
But it's gonna be a you heard it first here tonight, we are finally going to be doing tax credit lending. So
Cory McKane 10:43
very cool. So where like, I have, like, 30,000 in r&d credits, and you pay me ahead of time?
Unknown Speaker 10:51
Yes. Yes. Because that's one of the biggest challenges with these programs, right? Like, I we might be talking about last year, like we're still in 2021, and the tax rolls. And it's August 2022. So that's just as weird, right? We're talking about last year's expenses. So a lot of times, you know, a company might have just gotten enough credit, or maybe they weren't eligible last year, but they have a lot of qualified spend this year. Well, we can place the number on that and then start giving that to you.
Cory McKane 11:21
Very cool. Is that like one big upfront payment? Or is going to be installments? Or how does that work?
Unknown Speaker 11:26
Yeah, I don't we'll pretty much depending on I mean, there's certain parameters and certain underwriting criteria, we basically have to put a score on your on your business, but we'll be able to advance some percentage of your estimated credit amount and that yeah, that will be paid over. Monthly.
Cory McKane 11:41
Very cool. Wait, why didn't what is the government do that? I mean, I don't know if you know that answer or not. But it's like they want to promote companies scaling and researching elements. I like, what is the purpose? Yes. So
Unknown Speaker 11:53
the reason why tax credits really are have even been in existence is to incentivize businesses to invest in innovation and development and create job growth in United States. So like, the r&d tax credit, actually dates back to Cold War, cold war times. Gotcha. So kind of context, right? They want to maintain global competitiveness in the market. So they basically said, Hey, if you employ and you hire folks and invest in, you know, growing technology here in the US, we're gonna give you a percentage back on every dollar you spend. So typically, it's about 10 cents on the dollar, over time that's evolved, and the programs become more robust. And the reason why we are helping startup companies is because a few years ago, legislation improved to make it so that startup companies could better benefit. Up until a few years ago, you have to be paying taxes to get a tax credit. Right? Which so a lot of Canadian money. Yeah, and most companies, whether or not they want to admit it, you know, sometimes, you know, not making it or being in losses for some amount of time is intentional, but many times it's not right, but you're still spending the money. So the government went ahead and said, Hey, we know that for a few years, they're calling it five, you know, you could you know, be operating in losses, but we still want to reward you because you're doing the things we want you to be doing. Yeah. So they said you're employing people, you're creating job growth. So we're gonna give this tax credit to you as a payroll tax offset. So that's a big thing for you know, in running a business like you're operating capital as a huge expense, right? Or your human capital. Yeah. So a big reason why people don't you know, convert that 1099 to a W two is taxes. Yeah. So they're basically making it they're making it easier for you to make that person employee because they're going to reduce that tax so you add up
Cory McKane 13:54
very cool and are you like a big tax nerd prior to this? Or like you're just like this would be cool if we did this or like what what got you into like, knowing everything there is to know better yeah,
Unknown Speaker 14:04
I smile because we say we're a bunch of tax nerds and I'm certainly become one but I didn't like enter the scene as a tax nerd. My one of my biggest role models in my life has been my stepfather. He raised me with my mom and he was has been an entrepreneur and in the tax space his whole life, and I admire him but that's another reason why I was like tax like, not that excited. I
Cory McKane 14:29
kind of agree. I'm like, No,
Unknown Speaker 14:31
like you paid but you've got a leg up on on folks, right? Because knowing your numbers is so huge, right? Like, it's a super strength that not a lot of people realize they have if you know your numbers, you're so much further ahead than a lot of businesses. And so to make a long story short, I didn't think I would get near tax was definitely more on the art. I always kind of had the entrepreneur bug but I joined his business really because I it delayed law school and he was like you like working with startup companies? You know, we help startup companies all over the country. So I took a look at the business, which was, especially Tax Practice. And I was like, You mean to tell me you get to speak with all these really cool business owners all day long and tell them they save money? Like nice? Who wouldn't want to be a part of that? That seems awesome. And so I couldn't really think of another space besides venture capital. And I had like no reason or business at that time to be in that space, nor any connections or background.
Cory McKane 15:34
I mean, granted most people in VC have no business being Oh, I'm a VC is like, what are you doing?
Unknown Speaker 15:40
Here? Like I went to an Ivy League I should be MVC. So yeah. So really, that's how I got my my start just doing sales and marketing for a very traditional Tax Practice. And then move to Austin, Texas, because you know, that was the way to go.
Cory McKane 16:01
You don't even go here. Definitely don't go here. Go eggs.
Unknown Speaker 16:06
I'm allowed to pop up ut because I didn't have a football team. I mean, would you marry him out? So we're still undefeated, we turn like 1950
Cory McKane 16:16
I used to live in Playa Vista. I don't know if I knew that. I live I literally live down the mountain or the hill from like, I've looked at LMU every day like when did that farmers market on Saturday? I was just there. I was literally to my girlfriend there. Three weeks ago when I was oh, we got the little like, I don't know what they're called. But in SpongeBob they have the silly patties. You know what I'm out? Color patties. What are the desserts called that? Mac macaroons? No, that macaroons? Yeah, yeah. Oh, macros. Cool. They're real. They're really good. So Siva is incredible. If you live in LA area, go to Playa Vista. Heaven
Unknown Speaker 16:55
when I lived there, like the Farmers Market was there and like a few apartment complexes, but it was nice.
Cory McKane 17:01
It's really good. And Google's there now you to like 40 other companies. I don't even know
Unknown Speaker 17:08
every tech company. I've been really great to go to along you.
Cory McKane 17:11
Yeah. Well, I literally lived. Google bought the the Spruce Goose hanger, which used to be like, the biggest way, you know, out there. And they they painted it black. The whole giant ass building is black now and then they put their in China's company and they're it's so and I lived like across the street. It's so cool. It's so cool. You want to like
Unknown Speaker 17:30
the coolest person if you got one of the very few internships at like Deutsche PR that was like the close.
Cory McKane 17:36
Oh, my, my, my original. You mentioned that. My, when I started we strive like week one like year like five plus years ago when I was even called we stripe. The first guy that I met that, like knew anything about tech because I'm from a tiny town. He and moved to LA and worked at Deutsche was crazy. And I know that building because they filmed a bunch of like Silicon Valley's like that. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 18:05
It was a bunch of great cameos.
Cory McKane 18:07
Dexter, I mean, really good.
Unknown Speaker 18:11
Alright, so yeah, so started working with startup companies. And really, I could only work with heavily VC backed companies because or companies that were profitable, so more mature mid market size companies, because they were paying tax or they saw the benefits and banking the credit. So fast forward to a few years ago, really tax taker forms because I was in the space legislation created a whole new market and account the accounting community that I was working with. This is back to are you a tax nerd? Probably. They're like, how can you help these small businesses? And so when you work with specialty tax accountants and engineers and tax attorneys, these are highly skilled individuals with high hourly rates? Yeah, billable hourly rates, like right, most of them are not on value based billing either a lot of them are still an hourly. And so a consulting fee of 10s of 1000s of dollars just doesn't add up for a company whose credit is 10. Yeah, so we knew there had to be a way to put some technology to this space. And that's how textmaker was formed.
Cory McKane 19:21
Bam. I love that. So what do you have your degree and if you want me ask him a political science,
Unknown Speaker 19:25
Okay, gotcha. Yeah, political science and Communication Studies. doubled up.
Cory McKane 19:30
Did you get Do you have any scholarships? LMU I did. Okay. I was gonna say I was I was like, because my buddy that works at Deutsche with LMU. And I know how much money he paid. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 19:38
I saw to thank my parents. They championed a lot of it. But yeah, some of some of those internships paid off. I think after I accepted my dad, I was like, Why didn't you go to UC school again? Live in California would have been like a deep discount. I was like, oh, sorry. Well, I'll tell you a little bit paid off
Cory McKane 19:55
now. You're killing with tax taker. So when you first I actually day one of tax taker, like you said, you're gonna do r&d tax credits. What were like the first steps you took where you just like, bought a book on r&d tax credits, or were you like calling people like what, like, how do you even go from like, you know, I want to work with startups to like, okay, now I process my first, you know, r&d tax credit for a startup.
Unknown Speaker 20:18
Sure. So, was already helping my dad's practice with this endeavor. So we he is a shareholder and tax taker, and he because he was like, if you're gonna make it better, like, I want to be part of it, too. And if you don't, then, you know, yeah, I'm gonna keep my business, right. So really, the network that I had built there, where there was kind of folks that wanted to try kind of some new things, that's who I went in on first. So, you know, wasn't really ever competing with my dad's firm because he had such big clients and companies. So I immediately went to those those CPAs that were like, we want this and it was a very much a different product in day one. So I had CPAs actually, so this prefund me was
Cory McKane 21:05
the service CPAs wanted because they know the companies they would work with wouldn't hire them anyways. Because that kind of that
Unknown Speaker 21:11
so they basically like Right, like everyone loves a good bundle.
Cory McKane 21:16
Discount Double Check. Yeah, that is one of those
Unknown Speaker 21:20
sounds. Sounds right. You're
Cory McKane 21:22
like state farm. A farm or price ladder? Yes. Progressive. Yeah. That's progressive. Oh, sorry, flow. Sorry. She's really rude. Really heard that. I'm like a tick tock. This chick was like she was the rudest anyways, doesn't matter. She's not rude. I'm sorry.
Unknown Speaker 21:36
Okay. Well, Jon Hamm, because he's all over. So, yeah, so view, one of tax taker was a white label solution for accounting firms, these accounting firms, they see it as a way to attract new business and new business. They also see how much money consultants are making with their clients. So they're like, We want a piece of this, or we want to have a competitive difference from the CPA firm across the street. So let's bring this in house or how do we do that, but realistically, building a team of r&d tax practitioners is, it's time consuming, it's expensive. Again, these are specialists like it's not cheap. So they were looking at us like, Okay, if you really can simplify this process, and we can, you know, sell this out to our clients to make it easier than you know, we look like the hero. Yeah. And we get to offer it and make money along the way. Yeah. And so. So that was the first start. Okay. And so we had about six CPA firms across the country that I had that made, you know, small deposits. And then I all I kind of ran it as a, you know, rev share
Cory McKane 22:53
kind of split. Gotcha. Very cool. Yeah. Are you still working with any of those firms?
Unknown Speaker 22:56
I am, yeah. Oh, I'm working with one from that original.
Cory McKane 23:01
Very cool. Yes. Is it still like a rev share model? How does that work? Yes, yes. Okay. Yeah. Very cool. Yeah. So then when do you pivot to k, now we're gonna focus on working with, like, startups themselves. And then kind of like the rev share model is kind of gone at that point.
Unknown Speaker 23:15
Sure. So truthfully, it was kind of a long, painful realization that if you wait for folks to specialize in what your your true core offering is, it can just be really slow. And like startups with time is one of our biggest gaps, right? So if you don't have it, because of runway like, you die, so I joke like accountants, they're great people. I'm around them every day. I love my colons. And I love that count, instead of helped tax taker become the company that is today. But in the early days waiting her I determined, I was like, if we wait around for account accounts to sell this, and we're just behind the scenes, like we're gonna die. Yeah. And so it was a big shift. So 2019 was like our pilot year, okay, where we're just doing kind of things, slowly testing things, building out the product, we get to 2020. And we're like, we're not getting enough velocity here with these accounting firms, because they also have 1000 to do and right. This isn't their core offering, and they have so many other things to do. So basically, we're like, we gotta go direct to companies. And I was like, Oh, I'm already in Austin. I know a place where I can start.
Cory McKane 24:30
What companies are we were you in Austin, for?
Unknown Speaker 24:33
I had moved to expand my dad's Tax Practice and help him set up an office here. And yeah, so I was kind of co working with with that crew.
Cory McKane 24:43
20 Like when did you first moved here?
Unknown Speaker 24:45
2016 Oh, yeah. Before the presidential election as well times,
Cory McKane 24:49
you're an OG and Austin.
Unknown Speaker 24:51
I am now. I am not but I do remember the days like it was yesterday, where it's like I've been here for two weeks. Two months. That was really fun. But yeah, even that Yeah, they were throwing shade on California, you
Cory McKane 25:02
know, I'm sure I'm sure they always will. Well, if my my license plate is a custom data, it says W stripe and it's a custom California license plate. Now whenever I'm front of anyone, I've noticed people get real close to my bumper, necessarily. And I'm like, I feel like I'm this, this this, this street employee flipped me off the other day, he was like, he was like cleaning the street. And I drove by, and he was like, in the lane. So I moved over like a whole lane and let him by he just like fucking flip. And I was like, What do you think it's because he was I watched him look at my plate and then do it. So I was like, like, my bad. So I'm probably going to change the Texas. Bad. We're not all California. Okay, so you move here. You start. You're in 2019. I
Unknown Speaker 25:47
was here for a few years. Gotcha. So still in the business, working with companies and accounting firms locally. And nationally, I was kind of just on airplanes all the time, because r&d credits No, no bounds as long as you're in the United States. And so yeah, fast forward to 2019, the business kind of gets up and running. And then 2020, we decide, okay, we're going to shift our go to market strategy, shift our product. And the pandemic hits. No. Okay. And so never really has there also been a time where government funding really resonated with businesses across Oh, yeah. And all of a sudden, they needed it. So that was really interesting times, right? Because all the PPP started, and then we raised a seed round.
Cory McKane 26:34
Were companies expecting you to understand all that stuff, too. Oh, yeah. Okay, I figured.
Unknown Speaker 26:40
It's probably like, I don't even know. I mean, that's, that was probably on the same level. Yeah. Motherhood,
Cory McKane 26:48
basically not working.
Unknown Speaker 26:51
Like fundraising. Yeah. Nice. And sort of also talking about PPP, which I had, like, no business doing. I was basically just making banking relationships.
Cory McKane 27:01
Nice. Nice. Nice. Yeah. Wait. So when you're when you're, when you're raising that first round, like, what what are you pitching? Like, we're going to change tax forever for startups? Like what is what was your kind of like, motto or mantra? Whatever you might call it?
Unknown Speaker 27:15
Yeah. So I mean, back then, I was like, Oh, my gosh, AI NML is going to change the game. Right? Like, I'm changing tax, like, this is just the start, then we're getting into probably the whole probably every incentive and every tax return known to man, right, like, but that's like the big thinking, right? Yeah. But then, but then you spend time with your customers? Well, and you're like, Well, I can then go raise a lot more money and still maybe not make a dent or really make like it really that much better for the end customer. And that was a harsh pill to swallow. Yeah. So sure. A lot of technology can help with your taxes, it's being done. It's going to change things, you're but you're always have some type of advisor. And that's what you want. accountants don't want like other service professionals, they don't want to be doing every single task in a workbook or process, right? They want to be consulting you and advising you and you want that person to to know
Cory McKane 28:26
someone that's like, you know, making sure you didn't put the wrong QuickBooks button.
Unknown Speaker 28:31
Yeah, like, it's like, just like, why would you want someone filling out a paper tax return? Like it was like, it goes back to like how simple that is, like, we know, we don't need people to be manually doing every single thing. It's a waste of time. But like, let's just use this space. And I don't know, maybe some of my competitors would disagree. It'd be fun, but they also are asking what's in our tech and they've raised significant more money than me so that's telling
Cory McKane 28:57
I wish we had drinks cheers to that. Yeah. Cheers. Whoo, bubbly, different kind of bubbly? Oh, Chico that we're not sponsored by either not sponsored
Unknown Speaker 29:03
by but maybe maybe next year. Cool.
Cory McKane 29:06
Just couldn't go on them too. Yeah, I
Unknown Speaker 29:09
do. It changed. Topo was like, I was like Bud Light when I moved here. Like it was
Cory McKane 29:16
just a drink or no topo it is.
Unknown Speaker 29:19
I mean, I think it's just like a Texas thing. It was South Texas. Like, you could get a topo anywhere for free. And now they're like $5 Yes.
Cory McKane 29:27
Is Milwaukee now. Well, this is where they're made. Yeah. I know. Someone will know we want someone Oh, no, I'll Google it by then. I
Unknown Speaker 29:34
guess. Yeah. Cool. But yeah, it was like so fun to drink turbo now. It's like they can't even serve it at a bar because it's gonna be like your drinks gonna be double?
Cory McKane 29:42
Oh, yeah, yeah. Oh, can we hold out? Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 29:47
So are you saying oh, so yeah, automation. I was like all about it. And yes, we still have a lots of things that we're working on and things that make our client experience better but truly, we started out Actually, we were just talking about, yeah, talking to customers. So yeah. Okay, so besides, before we got sidetracked on Topo, the computer didn't like that we were saying that I was saying that we started we, we've always talked to our customers. But even more so when we started working with startup companies, because also, right, they're early adopters of things, they're willing to kind of talk exactly about things. And also the relationships that we were building with these founders, like how you and I, like know each other, right? We're, we have a different connection that maybe someone else you might sell to do business with, because you're going through a lot of the same things. So you're more inclined to not just talk about maybe the transaction or value exchange in hand, but you're talking about all the other stuff you're going through. Exactly. So like that's one of the really cool things about what we do, not only do we get to learn about a bunch of different technologies, and founder stories, but we get to tear about what's working, what's not working. It's our fundraising, like how that certain things are going. And because of that, a bunch of founders are like, hey, tax taker, like, all this, like, automation is like, cool, but like, and you're dashboards really pretty and all that, but I don't really care how you do it. Just do it the money,
Cory McKane 31:18
right, literally, yeah. And so
Unknown Speaker 31:20
I, you know, we've really listened to that. And we've pulled back technology in certain areas because of it, because we found that you know, to get to an answer faster, if that takes you no scaling, no kind of customer service process. And that means that we're going to talk to customers for 30 minutes, instead of them going through a 20 to 30 sort of survey, we're gonna get the information we need faster, and then we're gonna get more quality,
Cory McKane 31:49
much higher conversion rate, I'm sure much higher. Yeah, absolutely. Much
Unknown Speaker 31:53
higher. Yeah. So yeah, because of that, no, we are not the AI guys in the space. And, but we we like to say we're kind of high tech and high touch. And we really think that's the winning approach the space.
Cory McKane 32:08
And I love that too. Like, it's it's so funny how you think one thing is gonna be the way to do it. And like, I'm, I've gone through our platform so many times, you're just like, taking shit out and be like, Nope, didn't need that. Good. There. We spent two months building it. Like, yeah, and
Unknown Speaker 32:21
then you start thinking about the dollar sign? Or, you know, you're waiting to get paid. Yeah. And do you find with, you know, with your product to initially, right, like, you have to get this feedback loop from fitness professionals. Right. And I feel like it's really easy, probably like accountant. It's like, these are particular people, right? Yeah. So, yeah, people probably you probably think, oh, finance and accountants, like the same personality. But I would imagine that it would be easy to get into feet feature fatigue, like, I'll do this when I see this, or this, or this or this, but you have to kind of keep checking.
Cory McKane 32:58
So you're saying like, it'd be easy to just add a million things? Is that what you're saying?
Unknown Speaker 33:02
Yeah. And then all of a sudden, you're six months down the road, and you're like, Okay, I have all these things that didn't move the needle.
Cory McKane 33:07
And that's literally my number one problem as a CEO is like, I'm, I'm always adding shit, like constantly adding shit. And then like, but But, and I always give myself a little like, a little caveat here, I don't know, is that we are an all in one platform. And so when you call yourself that, if you're missing one thing, or like, look at someone else will push a push an update, and then it will be like at, like, it'll be done, but like, a few things could have been added to it. And we'll just get DMS. Like, why does this not have this? And why isn't this working? I was like, fuck, dude. Like, we didn't even tell you, we're gonna give you that feature. Like, that's a bonus. And then you're like, Okay, so I've learned that, like, if we're going to ship something it needs to have even if we didn't say we're going to do it, it needs to have like, every little last detail. So like, I do have feature fatigue. I'm still always adding features, but like, I've gotten a lot better at my biggest problem was having one person asked for something and then I'd be like, Alright, stop what we're doing. We're gonna build that. So I
Unknown Speaker 34:02
wasn't actually urgent. And yeah, and I've
Cory McKane 34:05
wasted so much. I built pitches for people that are like, you know, they're doing tons of sales. And then like, I'll build it, and they're like, I'm gonna go somewhere else, actually. And I'm like,
Unknown Speaker 34:16
Hey, I'm with you, either. We joke like, I've built r&d practices all across the country with you know, you asked me how many colons are still working with me from that first group. One, five others doing something else.
Cory McKane 34:33
Yeah, that's so annoying. I mean, it's just, it's part of it. That's very, we learned it is
Unknown Speaker 34:37
and it's all on execution. Yeah. Yeah. It's like kind of cliche, but it really is. Yeah,
Cory McKane 34:41
absolutely. So what's the team looking like now like you guys, raise your round? Do you want to share what you raised? Is that okay?
Unknown Speaker 34:48
Yeah, no, that's totally fine. Yeah, we and it's actually I think it's kind of impressive because we've raised significantly less capital than than our competitors. So you Yeah, so you know, it's a double edged sword there, right? Because you need more to get to certain milestones if done right, right. But I think the funniest part for me, we we've raised a million dollars and and that's been over notes and I see our seed round and so it's just it's funny when you when your first time maybe a first time founder or first time fundraiser or I don't know for me, right I've kind of I'm in this category of like, female founder, which is under represented so statistically, we raised loss, but it's just wild right? You're you go into the fundraising game, and they're like, this is never going to be a big market like I don't see it and then you raise that money and you're so excited and then like six months later, someone raises 5x 20x 60x You raise him you're like, Oh,
Cory McKane 35:55
it's so well the guy used to share the pot I mean, there's a million of those examples but the guy used to share the podcast with he used to run a barber shop like marketplace Sorry, sorry, haircut marketplace. I'm saying that wrong but it was involved like getting haircuts, like promoting barbers and all that stuff. Yeah. And they were about to close like one or 1.5 million they had it pretty closely done that their main competitor that was like super far along closed like 60 million like that week and then they were all just like we can't really shut the company down they're like we literally can't
Unknown Speaker 36:30
Yeah, I met in Dallas through kappa factor
Cory McKane 36:34
for hush and I used to live with Faraj in Oklahoma actually know what he was doing Canada. Yeah. So so so actually, so this is pipe dream. So Garrett is the CEO of pipe dream. So me for hush Garrett, three other guys became best friends in Oklahoma, just like randomly within like four months. Yeah, like just going to bars or like working world in tech. I actually got I met for Hodgins startups.
Unknown Speaker 37:00
And that's like less than the Kevin Bacon, six degrees. There's like two or one that's really all just met and became fast friends.
Cory McKane 37:08
I met I met Faraj at a conference in outside of Fort Worth, or in Fort Worth, like five years ago, and then I moved in with him and then just met all four of those guys. Just were like, Oh, we're there's no one else here doing tech. So I let's, I guess Yeah, it's easy. Yeah. What was this? Oh, yeah. So basically, like, I mean, that happens so often, like Arthur Arkin. Well, thankfully, our competitors, our two main competitors actually had an exit. And they sold like, ancient company, so they're not going to do anything. Yeah. But for a reference point to Yeah, it feels good. But like, Yeah, our question, almost competitors are just like 40 million, 30 million. And so I'll get these texts every like six months. They're like, Hey, do you see future raised $60 million? And I'm like, well, that doesn't affect me. But I don't like it. I'm not like, like, happy about it. So I know. You're saying,
Unknown Speaker 37:59
yeah, no, it can be defeating. But it'll also like, it's just really important to right as CEO to like, make sure that you know, your team knows that that is normal. And competition. Can you spin it? Right, like competition, for the most part is a good thing, right? Yeah. When we met.
Cory McKane 38:20
Cannon cannon was like,
Unknown Speaker 38:22
I know, it's very, very cool name. You're like, Oh, are you like Main Street? And I'm like, What did I say? I was like, yeah. I mean, it's so refreshing to not have to say, I find government taxpayers all sizes every single time like having that like
Cory McKane 38:40
exactly like the way well? Yeah. Well, no, it wouldn't when I when I met you. And you told me what you did. I didn't need like another explanation. Because I was like, I was like, yeah, they paved the market, they probably had to go through a lot before them. Like what was what is it r&d tax credit? And
Unknown Speaker 38:55
they did did not? Well, yeah, they did not pave the market, but did pave
Cory McKane 38:59
Unknown Speaker 39:01
no, I've seen I've seen the so they've helped pave the market for startups. Yes, exactly. 100%. But I have heard that they pioneered the industry. And I was like, well, that's just not true. They started two years ago, and this is from 91. So that's just that
Cory McKane 39:16
was what I was gonna ask is, what is like, do you guys have like, what are the Are there differences between you guys? Like, are you guys going through different types of startups? I work?
Unknown Speaker 39:25
Yeah. So they have an interesting kind of, they're, they're doing a few things at the same time right now. And I would say that we like them for the sense of like, I know that there's some good folks over there and we share a lot of the same, you know, mission of like wanting to help businesses and like fuel their innovation and growth. I think that raising the size of round they did and going kind of like Blitzscaling like you know, things. Bad things can happen along the way. And I put them in a category with some Are other sorts of competitors in the sense of where they rely? They're way more like relying on tech, which it backfires. Because they under qualified companies, and they overqualified companies at the same time both. Both are not good things. Yeah. Right. You don't want to tell a you don't want to tell a company that they qualify for something, but they don't. Exactly. And they've done that. And and then they vote for qualified companies to that shouldn't be getting the amount of credits that they're getting. So, so that's where we differentiate that we've been in this space, we really have we came into this space from being practitioners versus Oh, I heard about this. Maybe I've taken tax credits myself, I'm gonna go former company around it. I honestly don't know the founder story that well. But that's kind of what it sounded like it was. And, yeah, and then, you know, they, they, you, they're just one of many REITs that are going through these massive layoffs where they're laying on 40% of their staff. So, you know, things happen when you go big and you send, you know,
Cory McKane 41:09
that's tough. Are you guys?
Unknown Speaker 41:13
Hey, I'm all about full sense. But yeah.
Cory McKane 41:15
Are you guys kind of like a white glove approach to r&d for startups?
Unknown Speaker 41:20
Definitely. Definitely. You heard that here first? No, like we because of us knowing the space so well, that's our biggest differentiator. So like, I could talk to you in 510 minutes? Well, less than and I can tell you how, how you qualify what you're going to qualify for, and what you're going to qualify for next year, right? Yeah. versus you know, someone who hasn't been in this space, that's going to take a much longer. And that's what you get, that's when those like, little human moments matter. So like, we do that a lot on their initial kind of screening, because why would you want to sign up for something, spend any amount of time on it? And then just to find out that you didn't qualify in the first place? That happens that happens all the time.
Cory McKane 42:03
With them actually happened with me? Yeah. Really? Well, I spent like, weeks trying to get them they wouldn't they could not connect to my QuickBooks for some reason. And I spent weeks and weeks in email after email. And then finally it was like, you don't qualify, and I was like, I'm gonna fucking I was so so pissed.
Unknown Speaker 42:21
On such and such. It's not it's not just that it's like,
Cory McKane 42:24
we don't attack retro attach
Unknown Speaker 42:27
out there. Hey, we love you for helping pave the way. Like seriously, like, it means a lot. Yeah. But yeah, it's just frustrating. If anyone's going to come out and make a claim that like, you're probably going to get this money, get some money, like, especially for founders that need it. Yeah. It's gonna be like, let's try to manage expectations a little bit. Yeah.
Cory McKane 42:47
And what you were just mentioning, like, I mean, I said, the white love approach, which, thanks to your dot coms gonna have a big white glove on there creeping back, like a little bowtie like forehand. So, so okay, you're the CEO, you know, all this stuff. But it's not just you. So how do you go? When you're hiring these people that are you're more people doing sales calls than just you are? So like, when you're hiring these people? Are you hiring people that also have experience in r&d? Are you hiring random people? And then the way like, here's everything I know,
Unknown Speaker 43:15
yeah, so it's been a mix. Truthfully, at the beginning, like I couldn't afford the people that knew the space, except for the actual practitioners, like my first hire had to be an r&d Tax Credit guru, like he had to be, he had to be employee number one, right? Because if you don't have him, you know, you can't create a backstop for things, right. So you have to be able to build the modules and the trainings and everything. So that's like, absolutely fundamentals, you can't really you shouldn't be in the accounting tax business without true and a true accountant on staff. Right. But then from there, yeah, I mean, it's been a mix of folks. So most have been trained, like, like engineers are great, like, like, even out of school, like my, my number two was an intern turned, he was actually a biomedical engineer out of UT, that could speak to engineers about their projects. So he would follow like a guide of interview type questions for these tax related programs. But he knew the principles of engineering so he could speak the same language and get to certain answers a lot faster than maybe just typical customer service first,
Cory McKane 44:31
when he's talking to like the CTO of a company and walking them. Okay, cool. Yeah, that's cool.
Unknown Speaker 44:36
Yeah. So like, so you don't have to come from the space but certain kinds of backgrounds do help. Right? So being comfortable around numbers, right. That's why we are going to be more inclined to hire someone that has some type of accounting finance background, if they're going to be on the delivery team or have have at least been around it. Not afraid of certain number of words from a sales side, we've found that's actually been our biggest challenge. And I've heard that's a big challenge for people like, especially if that's a founder strength. Yeah, that ends up being just not the business's strength, like we've done well with sales. But it's, you know, for a long time, it's very founder led sales. So now our team has experience selling into our target market.
Cory McKane 45:23
Very cool. So who is your target market like startups that are
Unknown Speaker 45:28
you if you spent money in the United States?
Cory McKane 45:33
What's like the is there like a specific spend or like a like revenue? Or like what are you looking for?
Unknown Speaker 45:39
So that's one actually big differentiator between us and like, a lot of our competitors is that we can we can work with a company that has one or two employees on app. And so that was really important to us, like we want to get in first year they qualify. And but typically, our clients are, you know, obviously Coast skew things on amount of fundraise. We've established that, but are a typical profile is a VC backed SAS business seed stage. Gotcha. Yeah. So usually has at least five technical people. They're getting a $50,000 credit the first year they work with us pretty cool.
Cory McKane 46:19
Yeah. Well introduce you to pipe dream downstairs. Hopefully they'll
Unknown Speaker 46:23
sign up with anyone else is about to be tax season on extension.
Cory McKane 46:28
There we go. There we go. You guys do your own r&d Tax Credit, like who on your team does do you do?
Unknown Speaker 46:35
We? We drink our own Kool Aid. And you have to
Cory McKane 46:42
we use Mainstreet.
Unknown Speaker 46:45
There was one year it was tempting, you know, just to be like, okay, just calculate right and not go through it. Yeah. But yeah, we we pay ourselves to do
Cory McKane 46:56
it. Nice. Very cool. Okay. Well, I'm actually upset with myself, because I was gonna start the podcast off with, who are you? And who do you take taxes from your whole tax taker?
Unknown Speaker 47:04
Oh, I know. That's good.
Cory McKane 47:06
What a really good question.
Unknown Speaker 47:08
I like that you went backwards, though. Instead of just the formal like,
Cory McKane 47:11
Well, I wish I had asked it that way. Instead of being like, what are you guys do?
Unknown Speaker 47:15
Take taxes from? So that's been kind of a confusing word. And, and honestly, like, when I was forming a company, I was just like on godaddy like text. Like, I don't even know why we're there. And so it is kind of a double charged word, but we take your taxes away, we don't actually take your taxes.
Cory McKane 47:36
And so speaking of that, what is your revenue model is like percentage of what you get back for
Unknown Speaker 47:42
a percentage of savings? Yep. All day long. That's worked really, really well for for our startup companies, because a lot of times when they meet us, they're like, they don't know if this is too good to be true.
Cory McKane 47:55
Anything technically, reality like, you know,
Unknown Speaker 47:58
yeah, in reality, they have to pay us for, you know, a fee. But yeah, it hasn't been upfront, we've been playing around with shifting that model, because that also, as other businesses that are on you know, a percentage split or like kind of zero upfront, that it's a tough business model, because you're basically fronting capital and your expenses a lot of the year and your, your revenue is really choppy.
Cory McKane 48:26
Yeah, I was gonna ask, what's that window? Is it like, I file like, doesn't matter, because it's tax season is that they're typically all gonna be like, in March, April ish time, they're going to have fiscal so like, what if you file what if you do mine? And like, May? Yeah, you have to wait until literally next March to get paid, or so
Unknown Speaker 48:44
it just depends on when you file your taxes. So tax season is actually 10 months and some change long every year. Most businesses like we are all we all think because of personal taxes like Oh, April 15, right. So businesses can file in March and April. However, most businesses in the United States they file an extension. So definitely what I do every year, there's no penalties in doing so honestly, it can actually benefit your business if you do, because if you haven't take advantage of certain tax credits. You still have time to get them in. So you really as but don't wait, because we can't help you on October 10 11. But the last day to file your taxes as a C Corp is October 15. So we're helping businesses all year round, but sure there could be the situation where you're like, Oh, I already filed in April.
Cory McKane 49:36
How soon are you guys getting paid? Is it when they get their tax return? Or like is it like you did this you right up front? Like how does that work? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 49:43
so we we just, yeah, we charged when we deliver their tax gotcha your tax credits. I'm sure like if because we're working with startups, right. We offer payment plans. We actually just recently partnered with a really cool company called alternative and a He's kind of the bank by now, excuse me pay later for b2b payments. So yeah, such that a startup needs just more time to pay or wants to pay over time, we've always offered kind of payment plans for, you know, just so they can start to see some upside. But we also have to get paid. So yeah, we, we want to, you know, be good custodians of what we're, what we're serving. So, typically, though, a startup is going to be benefiting, very soon after we finish our work. So most times, like the r&d credit is going to be one of the final pieces of what gets included in a tax return. So like, we see clients filing all summer long, just because just because their CPAs, you know, had certain projects or filings to do in the spring, they're gonna want to do some in the summer and some in the fall, because it just is, you know, impossible to get every one done at one time of year. So because most of these companies are startups, we're gonna give them their credit, they're gonna file their return usually, like, we're talking days, weeks after, and then we're loading those up in their payroll system, and they're starting to get their benefit. You know, if they're on like, a gusto or something, they can get their benefit, the next pay period, very cool if they're on a proper RPO, like you're trying to, or the like, it's typically the quarter after they file.
Cory McKane 51:22
And I just realized, as we mentioned earlier, like you had your baby, and like, it was best time I wasn't even thinking about business tax season, obviously, my just personal. So basically, like, you had it like right after business edit, and you were able to take care of your kid for like five months before taxes and even really started or like four months, three, or four.
Unknown Speaker 51:40
I mean, it took three weeks off. But yeah, five months will be
Cory McKane 51:43
three to three months, you had them you were like didn't have a lot of work to like mechanically.
Unknown Speaker 51:49
So yeah, so with our business, it's sort of strange, because yeah, it's indefinite. It's really easy to look at our business and be like, they only work two months out of the year. I wish I'm working. I'm working to get to that point. Yeah. Do the hard things now. So you have the freedom to do less later. Right. But yeah, so tax season really starts January 1, like, because financials should be done. Right? Exactly. So tax time is January through April, then there's a small break, and then people fall in the summer. And then extension pilers. When we get to q4 as a business, we're like thinking about year end planning, and we're helping, we're getting back in touch with companies. And we're mapping out like, because we know what their spend is going to be. Yeah, exactly. There's only a few weeks left of the year. So we're kind of planning those things. And after a company works with us, we already know their business is gonna be even faster next year. So like, if you work with us, we're like January one, or you know, maybe the 21st from W twos are actually finalized. Like we're here to help. Yeah, so we really do kind of work all year long.
Cory McKane 52:56
I didn't even think about that being like a recurring business. So obviously it is
Unknown Speaker 53:00
that cool. Yeah. So it's like, it's for the life of life of your business such that you continue to improve. So cool. Yeah. Your product and
Cory McKane 53:09
you keep making more money, because, well, I mean, ideally, these companies are growing. Yeah. So yeah, hopefully, well, you either make no money or you make more like zero or, yeah.
Unknown Speaker 53:21
Yeah. And, and our, we've hatched that bet. And we've seen the companies that we've been intentional with around our targeting and, and they do grow. And it's really, it's exciting. It's exciting to see a group of girls or guys that were two or three people and you know, getting a $30,000 credit. And now I'm looking I'm like, they got 170 this year. Yeah, that's amazing. It's really cool. It's amazing, because then I know, I know exactly why, yeah, you're growing their teams are growing their products. And so you really do start to see some of these hockey sticks. So it's really fun.
Cory McKane 53:59
So what, what's, what's the company that you guys would partner with? Is it like a, like a VC fund that would give you all of their startups is like an accelerator like who are who are you're like, Oh, we this would be so cool. Like kind of partnerships. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 54:11
So I mean, anyone that has an interest in seeing, you know, one of their own investments, like that's a great, that's a great lead for us. Right. So like, that's why VCs and accelerators have been great partners for us historically, because they want to see their their portfolio companies be capital efficient and leverage things that are out there. So anyone that has a stake in kind of the startup world, like is a great kind of referral source for us, VCs and accelerators spot on, right so they have a vested interest in their portfolio company's success. So they want to see those companies taking advantage of government programs because why not have another 50 $100 Some dollars, you know, back to the company. So that's been a great, great way for us to grow. And then, you know, the traditional route was the accountants and CFOs. The people that know those, those company's numbers, because then we can go in like confidently and be like, alright, not only do we think you qualify, we actually know your
Cory McKane 55:23
know for a fact we really know. Yeah. And it's so cool, because you guys are just basically giving them free money because they wouldn't have done this on their own. So you're like, you can be kind of pushy and be like, No, seriously, like, what do you why would you not? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 55:37
surprising, though, like, there's, yeah, so many people are like, gosh, you have such a no brainer business. But we're also working in a space where it's just these, everyone has so many priorities. So because tax time you're like, oh, yeah, that's not till 10 months from now. All of a sudden, it's here. And they're like,
Cory McKane 56:03
who's it was that girl?
Unknown Speaker 56:06
Tax Court girl like, she she was bugging me. But yeah. And then all of a sudden, they're like, Oh, I forgot. And it happens all the time.
Cory McKane 56:15
Yeah, I'm sure happens all the time. Wait, so Do you guys ever provide like discounts and you wanted to like that? Like, how does that like, how does that work? Like, did that can you get a discount? Like, what does that mean?
Unknown Speaker 56:24
Like a discount on like our fear?
Cory McKane 56:27
Do you guys ever do that? Like, what is that? Like? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 56:29
sure, like, so like will try to to encourage good behavior? You know, sometimes will you just provide some kind of discounts if a company starts early with us? Or Yeah, very cool. Kind of a different option. Yeah, we just like accounting firms, we want to try to even out to our project loads so that we're not doing all of our work
Cory McKane 56:53
very well. So we don't have to air this. But like, if I have a sponsors page for the podcast, would there be something that we could like a code or something like that, for people that tuned in? Oh, sure. Yeah, well, what would? What should the code be? We'll make it up right now. Like we get, we'll add this in, like two weeks. So let's
Unknown Speaker 57:09
do you have so I feel like with your podcasts, like, you should try to just have like, a, a, like a code that you kind of try to use consistently, you know, like, always have like, strike like, Well, why are we? Why are
Cory McKane 57:23
we striving in something when people have the other companies like AWS and Brexit, Lee added random numbers at the end, so I just don't have like a Oh,
Unknown Speaker 57:31
yeah. I mean, if you just say like, if you mentioned why we strive, like, they'll give you like, $500 off.
Cory McKane 57:36
We'll figure it all figured out. Okay. And I'll do let's, uh, what should we do that right now? So that was this is all like, delete this whole part? Yes, we do that right. Now. They'll say, Oh, just by the way, if you guys do this, because then I'll have it in the show notes. I'll have it on our sponsors page. And then I can also do it live right now. What would you wait, what we always say?
Unknown Speaker 57:53
I love it. Yeah, just be like, we'll give you 15% off. Cool. Rip
Cory McKane 57:58
off the fee. Okay, cool. And use code. Let's see why we strive.
Unknown Speaker 58:01
Yeah. You mentioned why we strive podcast because we're not we've done referral code stuff. And it's like, people forget to enter LM and E comm. It's easy. Yeah, yeah. And then people like, I've taught that aside, and I did submit it, you know, just the same way. Mention it? Yeah.
Cory McKane 58:20
Yeah. All right. Yeah. So if you mentioned the why we stripe podcast when you're going on tax ticker.com You will get 15% off of your fees. Yeah, get that money, get that money. So we'll take a pause from tactic a really quick. So you are a part of the Austin venture Association here in Austin. Yeah. Are you? You're a part of it. You're one of the founders. Actually, before you even launched that. So funny. I was at I'm not radio I haven't been there in a long time. The call. The other one was radio and I was at cosmic River and OSGEO cosmic is great. It's just too hot. I can't go right now. It's gross. But inside space for this time. Yeah, exactly. So I show up there when you were on this point, like October because you were very pregnant when I was saw you, you're very pregnant. And
Unknown Speaker 59:08
I've got the nine months and not the nine months
Cory McKane 59:11
ended tax season for businesses. And so I saw you there and you were like, Yeah, we're gonna start this thing. And I was like, Oh, cool. You know, I didn't know you're talking about and that was really cool. Like, it's I've been to a couple of your guys's events. I've worked with ces a few times want some things so like, what what is that you're one of the three people that started it, right?
Unknown Speaker 59:29
Yeah, yeah. So yeah, originally, it is Carl grant Chris. And he was at Cooley now he's got connects the partners, Chris chunk from ATX ventures who's such an Austin OG and myself and we realized there was no formal venture Association and a burgeoning VC backed kind of tech hub. And based upon some of, you know, each of our experiences being kind of service providers, founders ourselves and So investors were like this needs to happen, especially at a time where the whole, but tech and venture scene has just changed immensely, mostly because we've had this huge, great migration. Yeah, right before 2020 We had a couple of dozen VCs. Now we have hundreds. So we're like, there's so many amazing community builders and groups, but not everyone knows, like, where to come to when they first get here from an investor standpoint, right. So we're like, there. We've got a creative. And so and then yeah, we we joined up with CES, she was starting a venture club and it just it made sense. And we kind of we, you know, it's our mission is just to promote the greater startup and venture landscape here. And we're starting kind of slow to go fast with, you know, some key events and, and, you know, it's good to know folks like you that are like, I mean, you may as well just take over because you how many hundreds of people are you getting at your beer pong tournament,
Cory McKane 1:01:04
I had a tech reporter with 500 people out, it was pretty crazy. Tech beer pong. So I decided I turned 30 In April, and I decided that in March before southwest, it'll be my last beer pong tournaments. I'm like, even though they're tech and I don't even plan them when I'm too busy hosting it. I just don't want to be that 30 year old.
Unknown Speaker 1:01:23
Oh my gosh, no. 3030 30 is
Cory McKane 1:01:27
fine, but like to play in it. i People, people are in their 60s playing my tournaments. But it's like, I don't wanna be the 30 year old beer pong host, the host, but to the host part. So I'm gonna
Unknown Speaker 1:01:39
tell it I thought I'm supposed to you before though I feel like you needed to create just create like a digital guide.
Cory McKane 1:01:45
I know, I need to just cash flow that I have a full.
Unknown Speaker 1:01:49
So you have so much planning, the planning is unbelievable.
Cory McKane 1:01:52
It's insane. Like in the fact that the last one didn't come out there was like 12 times where it should have gone to complete shit. And just like, everything around me broke. And I was just like, sprinting it somehow worked. And everyone had the time of their life. And it was so cool, like amazing reviews from everybody. But it was stressful. It was so insane. In retrospect, I don't know how I did it by myself. I mean, I have people that help that day. But like, anyways, so much.
Unknown Speaker 1:02:17
I just I just don't believe you that you're gonna completely get up the beer pong biz. I mean, this podcast is gonna get so huge. Yeah, that you're it's gonna be sponsoring, you know, beer pong wherever
Cory McKane 1:02:29
to kill a sponsor to kill a 512. Yeah, yeah. So, well, I'm gonna host host happy hours every month, we just do those now. So stick with those, those are manageable. Those are very manageable. So with ABA, what's your what's your time commitment and rule, like on a weekly basis now,
Unknown Speaker 1:02:44
I mean, on a weekly basis, because we have an executive director, right, really just kind of on it, you know, as needed basis for anything we need to support depending on you know, it's gonna be maybe a couple of hours that we give it, you know, how we actually have an event coming along. And also, it was a really a natural thing for me to do based upon the folks that I already network with and do business with. And I've always just been a big believer of like, you know, the more value you create, like, the better and like you'll get some back and return maybe not immediately, but you know, someday like and I love seeing people make connections like that's just like, one of my favorite things like if I can actually I know someone who said, Give actually one of our ABA sponsors, Tim Donahue a shout out CBRE if you are looking for office space timbale here. No, but he he's a super connector just like coral. Grant too. And he was like, if I make a connection between two people and you start Hanging Out Without Me, I've done my job. Like, right, like, I don't want to be the center of everyone. I just want to have good people meet good people. And I think it's such a natural place for that to happen in Austin. Like, I don't know when you moved here. Did you know anyone when you moved here?
Cory McKane 1:04:08
Um, I knew I knew that. I knew a couple of people. Yeah, well, like no like best friends like I had. Well, here's if it was really weird. My tiny hometown in Washington State. We have like 12 alumni here that are like my age. It makes no sense. Like, it's but they're all I don't see them ever. Like they're just doing their own shit. Like, one of my childhood best friends lives here. I never see her. But like, I had a good buddy Jake O'Shea who you know watched that. Buddy. So not so I met Jake like two months before I moved here at a like a rich founder retreat outside of Denver. And then I was living in Oklahoma City. I did not like living there and I was like, Well, I want to move to a bigger city. So Jake was my intro to Capital Factory which has kind of blew things up. But to your point about awesome is such a cool city like I did the same happy I was in LA and I was like it was, I was on LinkedIn. And the police showed up at this event and that my events were cool, but it was so hard. And here now we've
Unknown Speaker 1:05:06
just talked about that with being a bit shallow, or superficial. So like, people won't hang out with you again.
Cory McKane 1:05:13
Yeah, so we'll definitely more than here. I think the biggest issue with LA was that like, the founder community wasn't like Central like this. Like you didn't know other founders very like I did, but like, not a lot. And then the main thing was that it's such a spread out city, spread out in Santa Monica, like people keep forgetting your family. We just talked about this. So we hosted Santa Monica, people were like, Well, I live in Long Beach, so I can't make it or they have to drive it.
Unknown Speaker 1:05:38
Graphically. It's difficult. It's for sure. This is the smallest big city ever.
Cory McKane 1:05:43
I was the happy hour. I literally walk like anywhere. I privately invite people now because like, if if I put up an event, like I haven't done an event, like since my first event, because if I put it up event like I'd have 5000 Yeah, you have too many. It's just like,
Unknown Speaker 1:05:57
No, that's same thing with Austin ventures that station we have we will put things but we'll have to say request an invite. Exactly. Because you have to at this point gate things and like we want to be as inclusive as possible. But we will also want it to feel like a very intentional curated kind of the right people or their experience. Exactly. So yeah, so I love community building. I think Austin has been so good to me. It's been such a supportive city for me to build this business. And so I've looked at the ABA like one I'm already talking to founders, investors all day long, like pretty much the main people I've talked to, so why wouldn't I and and I just I want to see this community continue to just foster really, really cool people and companies and if I can do that in a really, really tiny way then given an ability through the VA,
Cory McKane 1:06:49
I'm pumped for the hotel. This Thursday. Oh, y'all can't get there because it's gonna this is gonna post in two weeks, but yeah, sorry.
Unknown Speaker 1:06:57
It's gonna be too late. But we're excited. Yeah, but if Yeah, we're gonna Ferraris there. Should
Cory McKane 1:07:02
I dress like I left all my dress pants back. And the coolest thing
Unknown Speaker 1:07:06
about Austin and it's too hot to wear like dress dress being true, but it is gonna be a little bit nice. That's what I'm saying.
Cory McKane 1:07:13
I have no idea what I'm wearing. These just will take a nice shirt.
Unknown Speaker 1:07:16
Yeah, yeah, I think so. Yeah. Yeah. No. Where were those with? Like a button down? Yes. That's what was good. Yeah. Because yeah, and as long as you
Cory McKane 1:07:27
like just bought brand new pants. Yeah, I'm gonna buy a new pair of these because, yeah, they're
Unknown Speaker 1:07:34
nice. They're fine. They're fine. But
Cory McKane 1:07:35
yeah, Amazon got really they look really? I look, I buy a new pair of these every three months.
Unknown Speaker 1:07:41
Got some new ones too. I'm
Cory McKane 1:07:42
excited. I'm obsessed with white
Unknown Speaker 1:07:44
shorts. So yeah, shorts have made like a sea entry. entry for men. Awesome. Yeah, you're allowed to work in New
Cory McKane 1:07:51
York wearing a full business through the summer. That's disgusting. Oh, I feel bad. Wet. Yeah. Whatever. black shirts that all the time.
Unknown Speaker 1:08:01
I mean, yeah. I thought that says the Jessica actually someone on my team sloppy and pastel. They're like they're there. And they're like, this was the first time seeing him in color. And I was like, yep. The founder uniform
Cory McKane 1:08:13
is black, I'm sure about anything. Exactly. I want to get back to one thing that you mentioned. Like, obviously, women do make a much smaller percent of the fundraising percentage. So like, why do you know how to ask it? Like, what's your experience been fundraising? Have you felt like I mean, did you like I don't know, I don't wanna say a word this correctly. Not get lucky in the sense of like, you're lucky to raise but like, did you get lucky by getting, you know, people that invested in you that like word the sexist or like, you know, kind of like, like, what was that situation? Like? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 1:08:43
definitely. So I mean, again, like, right backdrop, first time founder have real no real experience with venture capital except for like, talking with a few accelerators and
Cory McKane 1:08:58
literally same. Yeah. Right. So like,
Unknown Speaker 1:09:01
and knowing people who have invested in companies that you know, like that was really it. So like, network is a huge thing. And then not really have it? Yeah, network and those connections, right? Disadvantage one to don't have a team that has prior like exits or big company experience. So again, it's kind of this network. The theme here is kind of network but I would say that tapping into places like the Capital Factory, and certain other kinds of groups, it's pretty incredible, like how much ground you can cover and like start to make some of those connections and one kind of opportunity leads to next so I will say that I never felt like a ton of doors were closed on me because I was a woman. I just think initially it was sort of lack of experience then. But then I, I just I knew what we had and you The numbers don't add up right for the amount of investor conversations I had. And I talked to Bay Area VCs and New York receipts who ended up investing later on in some of our competitors. Oh, just so
Cory McKane 1:10:15
are you worried? That was no, no.
Unknown Speaker 1:10:16
Yeah, as a salesperson, I'm gonna say, right. And so that's disheartening. Right? Like, I still know. Yeah, I mean, earlier, we talked about like, oh, is tech going to be the winner and die? No, there was a board member that I had deep conversations with an invested in one of my competitors. So like, that's disheartening. Right? And so I don't know if that necessarily has to gender maybe. But yeah, maybe it was because they're like, they wouldn't pull the same games on someone else. But I feel like though, for the most part, it was respectful, like, I did what I was supposed to do. And, you know, it wasn't like it took me three years to fundraise either. Like when I was committed to going on a fundraising journey, it was like February 2020, which is crazy. Oh, with Capital Factory, to Chicago and New York City, very cool. And then was already having some conversations with some Texas funds. That was what did it because, you know, got enough interest in those areas started have really kind of, kind of get a snowball effect of interest, start to deliver on what I'm saying I'm doing that government messaging resonates all timing. And we closed in July of 2020. So pretty fast, you know, compared to you know, a lot of female founders, I think that I've that I've looked at, but it's it's just heartening to see what's out there. And I work with a lot of female founders, and for the statistics to still be like, 3% of all time. It just doesn't make sense. So but we're seeing, we're seeing things change. And so you know, we just got to fight the good fight, but I will give a bi investors a huge shout out like, Never did I ever feel like, the gender thing was an issue. They looked at me like a capable individual. They were also family oriented people. So maybe that had something to do with it. So then, you know, fast forward, I wasn't, I wasn't nervous to tell them I was getting married. Get Ben, like, another year later, having a baby like all the things that like probably in the back of my mind, I would be like, Fine, you know, you know, she's gonna leave. But they're incredibly supportive. So really, really thankful for them.
Cory McKane 1:12:38
Very cool. No, I love that. And I think Austin's a very, very female founder friendly city. Well, literally as I was like, just founder founded city goes like. So I think it's a great place to raise if you're like a person of color, or like a female founder, for sure. I mean, I don't know what that's like in other cities. I've just noticed in Austin, it's very like, yeah,
Unknown Speaker 1:12:59
definitely, definitely. And that, but I also think it just goes with the community that's here in Austin, like it's, I in many ways, I think it's an easier city to build a business because of the network that you can build if you don't have one, right. And that's one of the bigger problems with female founded companies that were companies with that have, you know, persons of color is they typically just don't have that same access point of like, oh, I don't know some like rich angel investor to start with the light.
Cory McKane 1:13:30
Last Podcast, episode two, like five pieces of tape. Well,
Unknown Speaker 1:13:34
I'd say I think that's actually fine. It
Cory McKane 1:13:36
looks fine. It scared me. There's two episodes in a row that I jumped. Last one I literally because it fell to the ground. Oh, my gosh.
Unknown Speaker 1:13:43
So yeah, so awesome. It's been been great. Fun to hear. Yeah.
Cory McKane 1:13:48
Very cool. And so I want to I want to finish on one thing. So what is next for taxsaver? Besides the very cool announcements that we've had on this call?
Unknown Speaker 1:13:58
I mean, that's, that's one of the things right, like, being able to deploy capital faster into these companies we think will be extremely helpful.
Cory McKane 1:14:09
How are these? How much time is that going to save you think, like, versus how long it takes you? So they're getting the money instantly? Kind of a thing?
Unknown Speaker 1:14:17
Yeah, it's like, if they qualify, then we're talking like within business days to fund this. And so that i We're hopeful, you know, that just makes makes it even easier, you know, for companies to get excited about these programs and actually see money in their pockets to start, you know, growing very cool marketing plus value money. You get that money faster, like what are you going to do with it?
Cory McKane 1:14:41
Yeah, I can imagine like your, your hero text on your page to like, now you can change all that stuff now. Yeah. Like, I'm
Unknown Speaker 1:14:47
gonna ask you about that. And I'm happy to be happy to do a lot of that stuff,
Cory McKane 1:14:52
maybe two people. Well, I mean, I'm in so many groups and so many like, like, I'll put my website on there. They're like, yeah, that looks like shit. And I'm like, okay, got it. Cool. So I would much rather complain. Oh,
Unknown Speaker 1:15:04
yeah, right. No, that's so great. That group because do we feel feel like sometimes as a founder, like people will also be like, oh, like they just won't go. They won't say something. That's
Cory McKane 1:15:14
yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I love the eating like the while I'm in a group called I'll add you to it. Well, you you're not really a SAS what's called SAS growth hacks. There's like 20,000 people in the group. And so I'll post like, what do you guys think A or B, and I'll get shit on for a while. They're like B has two things. But I would do this. And they'll like reference of website and I'm like, Yes, love. Oh, it's amazing.
Unknown Speaker 1:15:37
I love that. Because literally, when we did it, we did like a small refresh recently. But we're waiting on this. We have to be like, kind of that final thing. I don't know every company I talked to they're like, my website's not done. We'll never be done. It's living. It's some product, basically. But I literally was like, tell me the stuff you hate about.
Cory McKane 1:15:57
Exactly. I love and I give very cruel feedback. Like, that was a terrible. I've never said the word cruel in my life. I don't know. Why does unusual punishment. I give a very, like honest feedback as well. I don't know why I say cruel. Sorry. Yeah, it's
Unknown Speaker 1:16:13
edgy, edgy. Black girls. Cruel is cool
Cory McKane 1:16:17
rules. Cool. Sorry, I interrupt you, though. You were what were your finishing on? Or what do you guys adding next?
Unknown Speaker 1:16:22
Oh, yeah. So I mean, so toxic, or 2.0 really looks like more of an alternative financing space. So you know, the r&d credits our bread and butter, we've been really knocking it out of the park with employee retention credits, that's been another program that came out of this big PPP Cares Act package, which helping businesses with the lending. And then we just we get asked what next all the time from our customers. And that was actually really challenging for a long time to be like, I have all these people that want to buy things that we don't have things to sell to them. So now we're looking at all different types of funding sources out there that grant other incentives kind of marketplace. Very cool. So
Cory McKane 1:17:10
I'm excited. I have an interview right after this guy, one of my good buddies, Oklahoma buddy, or the group he I don't know if it's relevant, but he had a like a small exit to his like lending company. So maybe he'll like be able to talk to you about that kind of stuff. Yeah, but cool. This was awesome. I can't wait. Again. Tax taker.com You're gonna type in Why are you gonna tell people that you're gonna tell this? Why we strive? Yeah. My referral codes. No, don't worry about it. Awesome. Where can people reach you at
Unknown Speaker 1:17:41
just tax taker.com? Or if you want to email
Cory McKane 1:17:43
me? What happened last time, it
Unknown Speaker 1:17:45
still happens. Well, it's awesome. It's like almost 8pm And it's still summertime. I love it. Or you know, shoot me an email if you are like, I need to get this money now. I really easy name's Ari IRI tax taker. I still hand out my emails. There we go. Why not? Film sorry. This is so fun. Yeah. Thank you so much.
Cory McKane 1:18:10
Great episode. That's why we strive
Unknown Speaker 1:18:12
why we strive
Cory McKane 1:18:15
Unknown Speaker 1:18:16
That was so fun. I love that. Yeah.
Cory McKane 1:18:19
I want to thank you for not only tuning in to this why we thrive episode, but for watching all the way until the very end. I put a lot of time and effort in each and every episode to bring you influential and exciting people that tell amazing stories and hopefully you either laugh a little bit or you learn something from each episode. Be sure you head to why we stripe.com to learn more info about the show, check out future episodes, learn about our sponsors. And of course, subscribe. That's all I have for you. See you next week. And don't forget no matter what you're going through in life, keep striving
Transcribed by https://otter.ai