Everyone loves to share the founding story of their startup. It’s a little like telling the story about how you met your spouse. Usually funny, sometimes a little embarrassing, and no matter what, near and dear to your heart.
Since officially announcing Secure in November 2020, we have been holding back on one key piece of our founding story. Now, I am excited to finally introduce our entire founding team and tell the story of how Bassam and I worked together with Suze Orman to create Secure and introduce a new vision for how people will save for emergencies.
With a mission and vision for the future as big as Secure, Bassam and I felt like we had the ability and support to push the limit of opportunities. We felt very early on that our vision for emergency savings, and the positive impact our mission could have, was worth going all out for. Working with Pioneer Square Labs (PSL) through the spring and summer, with the pandemic as a constant backdrop, we pushed to think differently and maintain a limitless vision.
One day, while we continued to work on early exploration around our ideas, and before we had even formed a company, PSL asked if we wanted to meet Suze Orman to talk about our research into emergency savings.
Suze, a two-time Emmy award winner, has been one of the leading voices in the US and around the world on personal finance for over 25 years. Her hit CNBC show ran for 13 years, she has written 10 consecutive New York Times best-selling books, named twice as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, is the single most successful fundraiser for Public Television and has been spoofed on SNL four times as well once on the Simpson’s (my personal favorite) demonstrating her massive reach. Millions of people look to Suze for easy to understand, straight forward, helpful advice, and she has always been a staunch advocate for the importance of emergency savings.
We met late in the summer of 2020 after several emails back and forth. Suze’s longtime business partner and wife, KT, joined us. We spent over an hour talking about our vision for the company, her work in the space, even the name Secure, sharing thoughts on the product and visions for the business’s future. We immediately clicked, and it was apparent we were onto something special by joining forces. Suze spoke passionately about the need to help the everyday person. She told us that greatest financial lesson people have learned from the pandemic was an emergency fund is the key to financial survival.
Over the next several months, Bassam and I worked with Suze and KT to review the product, talk about go-to-market, engage people and employers, and think about the future. Suze will tell you that this is unlike any prior project she has done. She has never been part of a VC backed startup’s founding team and has never worked on a technology company this early. But with us, she has been part of the team, grinding it out behind the scenes, savoring the highs and trudging through the lows.
For Suze, like us, the pandemic was a call to action. It was also a time to think and build differently. The reality is that the number one source of stress the world over is money. A startlingly high number of Americans (even before the Pandemic) could not afford even a few hundred-dollar unplanned expenses but one year into the pandemic, almost everyone’s emergency fund has been totally depleted. Our whole team can tell you their personal stories of facing an unexpected expense and the stress of trying to handle it.
Suze always likes to remind us that the true goal of money is for you to be secure. People want security from the unknown, from the uncertain and the unplanned. An emergency is key to attain that goal. The problem is there has never been an easy incentivized way to do that, until now!
The solution is Secure. We make saving for emergencies easier, more automated, and increase the incentive to start and maintain the habit. This is a mission that Suze has been pushing for years and we are thrilled to have her as a part of our team to make this goal a reality.
In the weeks and months ahead, you will hear a lot more about our work, and we’re thrilled to have Suze become a more vocal part of what we are doing at Secure. Many exciting things lay ahead and we are looking forward to making our full vision for Secure a reality. Lastly, I am grateful to all our founding team members for joining us on this mission.