27. CJ MacDonald | Step (teen banking)

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CJ MacDonald is the Founder & CEO of Step.
CJ grew up in Bay area and always had the entrepreneurial itch. Whether it was his paper route or baseball card shop, he was always hustling and realized he loved building things, a characteristic that would serve him well throughout his career. After playing competitive hockey on the east coast during boarding school and college, he was ready to enter the business world and immediately gravitated towards startups. He spent time in the early stages at a couple of startups before founding Gyft, a digital solution for gift cards that he sold to First Data Corporation in 2014. After a few years at First Data and thinking about what could be next, he realized there was a major gap in the market for banking products that were designed for kids and families in the digital age. That was the initial spark for Step.
Today at Step, CJ and his team are revolutionizing banking and financial literacy for the next generation. Step was built specifically for teenagers so anyone 13 years and older is eligible to enroll. When a new user signs up (with proper parent approvals), they’ll receive access to a free FDIC insured bank account and Visa spending card. Step’s goal is to become the first step in the financial journey and not only provide easier access to send & receive money, but also educate the next generation on the fundamentals of personal finance. After a closed beta with rave reviews from early users, Step launched publicly a few weeks ago with support and endorsement from TikTok stars Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae and several others. Safe to say they are off to a fast start.
Tune in to hear CJ's story!
EPISODE TOPICS:

  • (2:32) Step snapshot today
  • (5:51) Background and founding story
  • (14:26) Gen Z demographic
  • (20:40) Product evolution and features
  • (27:59) Customer acquisition and marketing
  • (41:04) Future of financial services industry
  • (45:06) Hiring
  • (49:44) Investor lessons
  • (53:43) CJ's wellness stack
  • (1:02:32) CJ's startup manifesto
  • (1:05:37) CJ's founder nomination

Step - step.com

The Founder - www.thefounderpod.com

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