Ben Katz, CEO and co-Founder ofCARD.com, is a serial entrepreneur. Prior toCARD.com, Ben worked at Green Dot forMoneyPak.com, foundedCoveroo.comand Ben Katz Productions. Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media, talks to Ben about what led him to becoming an entrepreneur, the Silicon Beach scene andCARD.com.
Erik Huberman: What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
Ben Katz: I became an entrepreneur because I really like to see whether or not my ideas are good. I found when I worked for a big company, a lot of times there would be a resistance to trying new things. When you run your own company, you get the opportunity to try the new things you think are fun. Not all of the things you try are good ideas, it turns out, but you get to see the ones that were and learn from that.
E: Tell me aboutCARD.com.
B:CARD.comis a personalized, mobile alternative to brand banks. We offer FDIC-insured checking accounts with personalized Visa debit cards that feature the world’s best brands. Instead of banking with Wells Fargo or Chase, you could bank with Sesame Street or The Walking Dead.
E: How isCARD.comchanging the world?
B: Banking is very expensive for the average person. People without high balances in their bank account pay monthly fees and people without high balances occasionally bounce checks and bounce check fees and NSF fees are very expensive. SoCARD.combuilt a fair and transparent alternative to brand banks that allows you to use a network of free ATMs nationally and has a cost structure that’s software based. We’re able to cut a lot of the cost of a brick and mortar bank without skimping on the utility.
E: What made you choose Santa Monica?
B: I’ve lived in LA for over 10 years and lived in Santa Monica for over four years. I want my daughters to go to Roosevelt Elementary and onwards through the public school system here. It’s a great community to raise a family.
E: What do you think of the Silicon Beach scene?
B: Silicon Beach is a total improvement to the Los Angeles startup community. 10 years ago when I started my first company, it was hard to find other entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. There’s so many in such a small area now and it allows for a cross-pollination of ideas, identification of the best talent, and creates a support network that’s necessary to build and scale a company.
E: Do you have one piece of advice for an entrepreneur starting their own business?
B: I’ve never seen a startup fail because of too much focus; stay focused.
E: What’s something you’d like to share with the local Santa Monica community?
B: If there’s anyone that works with a national cause or well known brand, we would love to work with those brands to help them let their fans express their passion, as well as, allow them to earn money for their cause or brand.