34 minutes | Nov 19th 2020

Eliot Buchanan Disrupts Normal Business Models with His Innovative Company Plastiq, Which Processes over $2 Billion Worth of Sales in Goods and Services Yearly

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Welcome to another episode of Action & Ambition with your host, Andrew Medal. Today’s Guest is Eliot Buchanan. 

Eliot Buchanan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Plastiq. Eliot is responsible for defining the strategic vision and industry-changing innovation at Plastiq. He is a creator of disruptive business model innovations and has been actively engaged in several ventures driven by that imperative. 

You’re going to love this episode. Let’s get to it!

How did Eliot get into FinTech? (0:40)

 

  • FinTech has become quite a trend in the business world. 
  • Admittedly, Eliot did not initially choose FinTech but instead chose a problem that he found interesting, and it so happened to be financial services. 

 

  • Eliot grew up in Canada and came to the US for school, and one of the problems he ran into was that he had no credit score. 
  • If you are new to the US, one way to establish a credit score is by getting a credit card. As a student, this is what Eliot did to build his score almost ten years ago. 
  • Credit cards had been around for over 60 years at the time, and so Eliot tried to pay his tuition payment and was very surprised when he was not allowed to pay that way.  
  • That was the lightbulb moment for Elliot and seeded Plastiq in his mind and excited Elliot to innovate within financial services. 

What obstacles did Eliot encounter during his journey? (4:11)

  • One thing Eliot experiences in financial services was that companies that were already successful often have compliments for the incumbents versus replacements. 
  • To compare it to say, the transportation industry, which has many pain points people wouldn’t argue with.
  • However, in the financial industry, some disruption needed to happen to the incumbent way of life in the financial sector. 
  • Most successful FinTech’s are not trying to replace the incumbents. They like the incumbents and getting along with the system. 
  • Like any industry, there is a lot of bureaucracy and red tape based on partnering with large organizations. 
  • Once partnered with a large organization, those incumbents help you grow your business instead of work against you. 

What are some things Eliot things are going to blow up in the next few years? (18:57)

  • There are several brands that consumers are loyal to in terms of their products and services.
  • A lot of these brands and products that people use daily are not traditional FinTechs. 
  • Looking at the larger tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google, customers willing and have a desire to run banking or their financial lives through the brands and services that they love, even though they weren’t historically a banking tech or in FinTech. 
  • Eliot believes there will come an exciting tipping point in what people look for in managing their finances.
  • This is because so many people complain about their banks, asking consumers which of the brands they use they trust the most, ranking from top to bottom, their bank would usually be one of the last names mentioned. 
  • There’s been a steadily increasing trend of people getting comfortable doing payments and banking from non-traditional banking methods. 

How does Eliot keep morale going in his team during the pandemic? (28:20)

  • Eliot said at the start of things he was trying to add too much for morale-boosting. 
  • They were doing happy ours, virtual lunch cat cafes, or virtual yogas, and people took advantage of those during COVID. 
  • He said he eventually just tried to make sure his employees were separating their home and work life and still taking their lunch breaks. 
  • He also enforced the first Fridays of every month where people would work only half days, and the rest of the time, they must not touch their work. 
  • So just trying to keep that normality and balance because if people are not happy at home, they are not going to be very useful at work. 

Plastiq

Plastiq is a service that lets individuals and businesses use debit or credit cards to pay vendors that don't otherwise accept those payment methods.

Plastiq facilitates one-time or recurring payments for bills such as rent, mortgage, utilities, daycare, homeowners association fees, and other expenses. You add a debit or credit card to your Plastiq account and charge it in the bill’s amount, and then Plastiq pays the company on your behalf via a method that the vendor accepts: ACH, wire transfer, or an old-fashioned paper check.

Resources

Connect with Eliot: LinkedIn

Plastiq: Website

Connect with Andrew: LinkedIn

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