Jonathan Lewy

Co-founder, Grin Scooters and Partner, Investomex

Jonathan Lewy is a partner at Investomex and the co-founder of Grin Scooters, a micromobility company in Latin America that merged with Yellow to create Grow Mobility.

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Rohit: Hi, I’m Rohit. I’m the cofounder and CEO of Stilt and today we have Jonathan Lewy with us. Thank you for coming.

Jonathan: Thank you for the invitation. It’s an honor to be here.

Rohit: You were really busy!

Jonathan: The famous podcast.

Rohit: Thanks for joining us. Jonathan is a serial entrepreneur and investor. Jonathan’s first company was in 2002, called Wise Media Crew. And then another one in 2010 called MiOrden that was acquired by SinDelantal in 2011. And all of these companies were based in Mexico, right?

Jonathan: Yes.

Rohit: And then he started a seed stage fund called InvestoMex in 2012 with Sergio Romo, who we will talk about. And through InvestoMex, Jonathan has invested in more than 90 companies in the US, Mexico and a bunch of other countries.

Jonathan: Yeah. Mostly Latin and US. Some in Europe and Africa, but mostly Latin and US.

Rohit: So in 90 companies.

Jonathan: Yeah, roughly.

Rohit: And you’ve been doing it for the past 7 years.

Jonathan: Yes.

Rohit: And some of the companies that Jonathan has invested in include Rappi, which is the largest delivery company in Latin…

Jonathan: They just announced last week that they raised $1 billion.

Rohit: From SoftBank, right? I thought it wasn’t announced — okay! So it’s announced, interesting. So Rappi, Unbabel, [ph ‘Arcaz’ 02:10] and obviously — Stilt.

Jonathan: Most importantly!

Rohit: The most important one. Last year, Jonathan also started Grin Scooters, which is an electric scooter company for the Latin American market. Grin merged with Yellow a few months ago and is now known as Grow Mobility.

Jonathan: Yes.

Rohit: Grin has raised $150 million in equity funding and is the largest electric scooter company in Latin America with a 90% market share.

Jonathan: It’s going to be close now to $200 Million because we’re closing another round.

Rohit: Congratulations, that’s why you’ve been busy. But thanks for coming over, I really look forward to our conversation.

Jonathan: Me too. Thanks again for the invitation.

Rohit: No need. So tell me a little bit about your background. You are originally from Belgium, but you moved to Mexico 15 years ago.

Jonathan: Yeah. Real logic, you know?

Rohit: How did that happen?

Jonathan: Yeah, so I was born and raised in Belgium. Actually, my first company was during college. I took over the restaurants and cafeterias from the university where I was studying. It was the first time I kind of knew that I wanted to do businesses and be involved more than studying, actually. But yeah, I think that with some friends with whom I studied, we had the opportunity to start a business in outdoor advertising in Mexico. I never thought I would stay in Mexico. I thought — Let’s do a business, make some money and then we’ll go back. I actually like Mexico. I saw a lot of opportunity in Latin America. Big countries, a lot to do and the culture, and then obviously I got married to a Mexican woman. A Mexican son. So decided to stay a little longer. But seriously, I think that as I was pretty young and I saw a lot of opportunities and that’s why I decided to stay. And it has been a good experience.

Rohit: That’s cool. And you did that company for a few years — Wise Media Group, before you started your next one.

Jonathan: So I did a few things, I also had a few restaurants and then I met Sergio doing outdoor advertising. It was a moment where regulations changed, there were a lot of [ph ‘MNA’s’ 04:54], Sergio was a lawyer, so we decided to work together and we actually did a few [ph ‘MNA’s’ 05:01] between that industry. And then in 2010, Sergio lived for a while in Spain, and he saw the beginning of some food delivery companies there. And we thought it would be a good idea to build that in Mexico. So we co-founded our first company together. We had worked together, but that was our first company. That was called MiOrden. Then SinDelantal, Delivery Hero and Hellofood for marketing didn’t want it to come to the market, so we had an opportunity to sell to SinDelantal but continue being part of the journey, which we went on for a year and something, a year and half until it was bought by Just-Eat in the UK. And at that moment, we decided that it was a good moment for us to do something else. We were eager to start a new company. That was what we wanted to do. We were like — let’s build something new, but we didn’t know what. And we met somebody that was really important for us at the time, it’s an Angel investor from the Bay Area called Ariel Poler.

Rohit: You introduced me to him, yeah.

Jonathan: That’s a great guy. Very clever. And he told us something very important — he said, “If you don’t have something that you are really passionate about that you really want to build, maybe it’s time for you guys to just invest in little companies, take time and help other founders.” And so, we decided to do that and we started investing in a few companies. Obviously when you start a new business like investing, the first ones are not the best investments, but we kind of liked the idea of working with other founders.

Rohit: Got it and so that was the story of InvestoMex. How did you actually meet Sergio? Did someone introduce you? And how did you guys decide to work together?

Jonathan: So I was, at that time, organizing like a friendly poker game at my place — mainly with French-speaking French people, Belgian, Swiss people at my place. So it was mainly like Europeans living in Mexico City playing a friendly game. And Sergio was coming back, he studied in France, so he had some friends from France, so he was invited to the poker game and we both really like the game and we usually ended up being on the final table together. So we had time to get to know each other better and that’s how I knew he was a lawyer. And one day, while talking a bit more, we saw the opportunity of working together in a space that I knew about — outdoor advertising. So I invited him to work together on a project and that went pretty well, so from then on we started working more and more together.

Rohit: Got it, and that was like 2007, 2008?

Jonathan: That was probably around 2009, I think.

Rohit: So you have been working with Sergio for the past 10 years now, you did a company together, you did [ph ‘MNA’ 08:50] then you did a fund together and now you’re doing another company. As you think about other people starting businesses and they try to find cofounders. What initially attracted you to work with Sergio and maybe decide that you are ready to jump into business together with him. Sergio is very nice, by the way.

Jonathan: I think, to do one step back, it’s like any relationship. Before you get married, you like to know somebody. And I think that’s a little bit of what happened. We started working together without particularly building a company together. And when you go to watch the interviews, they always ask you — did you do a project together? Because that’s how you get to know somebody, working together. Which is not always the same as in friendship. The way I look at it is, if you studied together and you did a project during university, then you already know how the other person can be helpful to that. I think that’s really important. And I think we did it a little bit naturally. We did a couple of projects, it worked out well. We saw that we are complimenting each other. You know Sergio is a super clever guy.

Rohit: Yeah, he has also helped us with legal stuff initially.

Jonathan: And I think that that’s important, to see how you can compliment each other, how you can support it together. And I think that was the base of like, okay now we like working together. Let’s do something. It comes a little bit naturally, it’s not like forcing something. And I think that it’s the same with any relationship like — before getting married, I know that in media…. But to be honest, I think that it helps a lot when you have time to get to know each other and that you build something together. And then things come naturally. And when you have a good experience, then you want to build something new together and it continues. In our case, I think that we compliment each other pretty well, and most important — we built trust. So you kind of create a situation where you trust each other and I think that’s key for your relationship.

Rohit: That’s awesome. And those relationships also stay longer. What a lot of people also don’t realize, that startups tend to get tough at some point.

Jonathan: They will.

Rohit: It doesn’t matter if you’re growing fast or you’re not growing, or something else is just going on — you’ve just got to trust the cofounder at many different times, and you’ve got to be spending a lot of time together everyday. So that’s important. Cool. So you and Sergio have been working together and let’s talk about InvestoMex. You invested, over a period of 6-7 years, in about 90 companies. Which was your first investment? Do you remember? And how did that work out?

Jonathan: So let me try to remember what was the first one, but it doesn’t matter — the first few ones didn’t workout at all. And I think that it has a lot to do obviously with that when you start, you don’t really know what you’re looking for. And also you — it’s like any other industry that you need to learn how to do it and you’ve got to go through a period of learnings, but most important you don’t bring any value near. Because obviously you don’t really know what you’re doing. I think that the mistakes that made in the beginning is that we were writing 2 big cheques for us in too few companies and based more on the businesses than the people, and obviously we made mistakes but we learned from that. The good thing is that we started investing our own money. The bad thing is that it was my money. But I think that we accepted that and it was part of the learnings. We also understood very early that we needed to learn from people that for more time. That’s how we started coming to the Bay Area, to San Francisco. We wanted to invest in the next Unicorn, so we really wanted to invest in a company company with high potential. So that’s how we came to YC, and we came pretty early to YC Demo days. I would not even say that our intention was to invest. It was more about to learn. So our potential was now why would somebody take our money at that time, but I remember that one of the first investments that we did at YC was a company called Cambly.

Rohit: Yeah — Sameer Shariff and Kevin.

Jonathan: Yeah, good guys. And it was a really small cheque but the reason why they made us realize why we could bring value was because we knew a region where that could be very interesting for them. So that’s how we started understanding that maybe there is something that we can bring, especially that we know a quarter of that region. And from that, we made a bunch of other investments at YC, we started working with a lot of entrepreneurs. And at that time there were very few foreign companies at YC. I think the big change was Michael Seibel that really came with — I think when we met him, his role at YC was bringing diversity to YC. And I think that we felt that something would happen there. It was starting to open itself, from that time up around 2015 then, around that.. A lot of companies from India, from Africa, from South America started to come into YC. And we were lucky to be there and being able bring a lot of founders we discovered in latin America, helping them to get through interviews, connecting to other founders. You helped some of the companies we asked you kindly to help them. And that has been amazing. To be a part of that for us was a blessing, and I mean most of those companies, we never invested but it was a way to help them to get access and creating community. And that’s all about that.

Rohit: Got it, and you remember what the first year was that you came to attend?

Jonathan: I think it was 2013.

Rohit: And if you just go back a few years, how did you get in touch with YC or build a network in the Bay Area? I don’t know if the YC demo day around those days was invite-only — and how did you get invited to that? Because you would have to know other people to be able to attend YC demo days. To know founders and have them trust you that you are decent.

Jonathan: So at that time, obviously YC area was already big but not as big as today. At that time, if I remember well, there were 40 or 50 companies per batch. So it wasn’t already bigger but it was not like 200 companies — like now. We applied and got an invitation, came — we knew nobody. I could have a badge that said Mickey Mouse. But we were surprised how people actually were open towards us and I think that the first thing was making a few investments, small cheques, getting to know some entrepreneurs and then they present you to other entrepreneurs. I think also that we were lucky that some of those investments did okay, so they started raising more funds. So you got to know other investors in the same company. So you kind of build that also by going more and more to San Francisco, getting to know more entrepreneurs, you start to blend into the ecosystem. I think the most important is if you can actually help companies, because at that moment you become more than a cheque. You actually become — you start creating value for the founders, I hope we did.

Rohit: Yeah, let’s talk about that story. You created value for us, so I should be talking about it, but I want you to tell the story because you also have some background about what you were doing behind the scenes to help us. And that actually was the first big thing that happened to Stilt after YC because of you guys’s help. So I will set the context and you then I’ll let you tell what you did behind the scenes. So it was mid-2016. So we are a lending business and we are lending money. We got some money from [ph ‘Paul Kide 19:19] and some other people and we are consistently lending and drawing. And one month, we had promised some borrowers that we would lend them money but we ran out of dead capital around that time, and we were short $50,000 and gave you guys a call, like we are short $50,000 to meet our next month’s target, can you guys please help? Now you go from here.

Jonathan: So it was a situation where at that time $50,000 was still a big amount of money and obviously we started looking into our base and thinking about who might be interested to invest that as a loan. So we thought about one of our investors and set up a call in order to make it happen and the goal was that we actually practice together how we’re going o make it happen. And the goal was how to get to 50k. And something happened in the call that I think nobody expected, and was pretty cool: So at a certain point, the investor got so excited that he actually decided to put 50k in equity and put another million in debt — and yeah, at that moment I think that was something that helped a lot, still because it gave you the possibility to continue on. I would lie if I said that was the outcome we expected, but I think the main idea is at the end, the relationship still continues today. And that’s the most important for us, that the million dollars are still in the company two years later.

Rohit: Yeah, now it’s two years, I think that it was meant for two years and then we should go and get… But the money is still with the company and the investor gets interest payments every month.

Jonathan: And that’s the purpose of, at least for us, if we can create value for our companies and for our [ph ‘RPs’ 21:31] then we did a good job, and I think that this is a perfect example, I think, that we can bring value. We learned a lot and I thin that with the time, we have been really luck to work with guys like you. We learned so much from entrepreneurs and what I really enjoyed in our journey is to see a company like Stilt going from an idea, when we met — because Stilt was one of the companies that has little revenue at the time of demo day, but to see that the company has grown steadily month over month for the last few years — that’s impressive.

Rohit: Yeah, I sometimes look back myself and think about demo day. We still have the video from demo day presentation and saying we dispersed %75,000 in loans — that time, that was a big number to me until the investor gave us a million dollars. We thought we would reach a million dollars in two years until he gave us money, but last year we actually did $2 and a half million.

Jonathan: In a month.

Rohit: In a month! And that’s just fascinating that we went from doing $75,000 a month to literally almost 35-40 times over a period of 3 years, almost.

Jonathan: It’s a great job you guys are doing. And I think that the most difficult part when you investment is how you separate what you think about the business and what you think about the founders. And I remember that when Sergio spoke to you guys, I was not really excited about the business. Lending money, to be honest — lending money to immigrants, lending money as a company, it was not a sexy industry. Lending to immigrants, I was like — how big can that be? Until I met you guys, and I think that’s key. You meet people and you see the passion they have for the industry, and everything you said changed completely, and I came out of the meeting and I was really excited about the company. So I think we were one of your first cheques.

Rohit: Yeah, I think the very first cheque, it think within two days of demo day or something, it was decided. I think we me just twice in total and I remember I met Sergio at Crossroads Cafe in Delancey and we were like, okay — we are going to do this. You were not there, I think you were somewhere else, it was just Sergio, so I talked to Sergio and we just said yes to the deal at the time. It’s I think 3 years and 2 months ago.

Jonathan: We need to continue growing.

Rohit: Yeah, so you guys add value, obviously you had added a lot of value to Stilt as investors, especially early on when there was no other help available, and you must have done the same thing for many, many other companies. So as things are sort of going well, your portfolio company raising a billion dollars from SoftBank — how did you sort of decide to put it in the background and start a new company and jump right in?

Jonathan: I think that we kind of remember always that at the end, we started as operators. And the reason why we started to invest is because we didn’t have another project to do, until we looked at micro mobility and it was something that we were very excited about. And to go 2, 3 years back — Sergio already had a scooter.

Rohit: Oh, Sergio did? I didn’t know that.

Jonathan: He owned one. Old version. And I was actually making fun of him, because it was an amazing experience to ride it but owning it was a pain in the ass because you own the scooter and you drive at the office, and then you have no batteries, but the charger is at home — and so there was always an excuse why not to use the scooter — he had to call him wife, “Please send me the charger in an Uber so I can use the scooter.” And then the last time he used it was because he had a flat tyre and the tyre cost $3 but to bring it from China, it was $100.

Rohit: What!

Jonathan: Yeah taxes and stuff like that. So basically, the scooter stayed at the office, it became part of the furniture. And then we saw what happened with Bird in Santa Monica and it was that moment where we said, okay this can be huge because it’s the good part of there without the bad part of the scooter. So we already invested in another company doing micro mobility [ph ‘E-mob’ 27:26] at Mexico, because we saw that there is a need in micro mobility, and when we saw what was going on with scooters, we thought that could be huge. We tried to invest in a couple of companies, we knew Euwyn from Spin, we knew Sanjay from Skip — so we kind of got close to that, we tried to talk to everybody. But we also realized that this is a business that could be way bigger in Latin America, and we were very excited about how that can grow there. And there was nobody doing it. So we ended up speaking about scooters than about our next fund. And at that moment, we kind of looked at each other and said, “Maybe it’s a good moment to decide to do that.” And it’s been a crazy yeah.

Rohit: Yeah, and so you were just 1 year old at this time.

Jonathan: We started the company last year. We launched on the 15th of July.

Rohit: 2018.

Jonathan: 2018.

Rohit: Right, not even one year.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Rohit: And let’s talk about the growth — the super exponential growth of the company. So you launched, and you launched with huge funding rounds and thousands of thousands of scooters on the street. I remember talking to you on your demo day. You were showing me the [ph ‘Aveo live’ 29:00]. These scooters just went live there — these scooters and this many rides have been taken. I think those were single digit numbers, maybe 100-something scooters, and what kind of scale are we talking today? How fast have you guys grown?

Jonathan: It’s been really fast. It looks like it was 10 years ago. I also look 10 years older. But yeah, it went really fast. I think we were very lucky. The timing was perfect. Micro mobility was in its peak. I think that the story we told people was actually something that made sense, why micro mobility in Latin can be huge. And we got really lucky that we got funds to trust us, to invest and then the hard part — we had to deliver. We were able to hire the right people to scale fast. But in 10 months of operation, we are in 7 countries, 25 cities and we are now 2300 employees.

Rohit: What!

Jonathan: I was about to ask you how many employees — you have 2300 employees. In 10 months.

Rohit: Like 200-250 employees per month.

Jonathan: Something like that.

Rohit: You don’t remember anymore. Across 7 countries

Jonathan: A lot of the employees are people in the street. It’s not all office employees, but for us it’s important because we want to create quality jobs for people of low income neighborhoods — give them a decent job. It’s a different business model than Lime and Bird here, because we hire the people — like the streets, then we cover the scooters, they charge them — so it’s a lot of in-house, it’s actually paid employees, part of the company. We believe in that. We really want to create a company that has a huge impact in the society. So it’s not only about putting more scooters on the street, it’s about how you can impact the whole society. So we do a bunch of things completely different. So we work with Mom and Pop shops, restaurants, etc. That becomes what we call ‘Grin Zones’, which are places where you can drop the scooter and they are part of that. So they receive a scooter, the can charge them at night so we can pay them. Then we hire people from low-income neighborhoods so they can better jobs, work for a company — actually be officially hired and pay taxes and social security. Be part of the society, you know? We also treat them really well, so we don’t make any distinction between low income jobs and I think this is something that you don’t [ph ‘welcome to the better 32:15] and you understand that you need to create that in order for everybody to feel like a part of the same company. This is huge, because at the time — you can really build a moat. People coming from those neighborhoods are actually the ones protecting our assets. So they recover the scooters in their neighborhoods because they are part of that company, so they understand that it’s better to help the company than to steal the company because that’s how they’re going to make money on the long term. And they feel a part of it. So it has been a huge journey to find a way to implement that. We even work with the government. We have a fun fact that we gave 100 scooters to the city of Sao Paulo and we have policemen now tie scooters, and we trained them on how to use it. And it’s fun because we want the whole society to understand and to be a part of that, not just about putting scooters on the street.

Rohit: Got it. That’s definitely true, I think especially in Latin American countries and also India, if you can employ people and pay them enough wage so that they can live comfortably, it just has a huge impact on the community itself and on their families. And it doesn’t take much, they’re not Bay Area engineer salaries — but even the certainty of having money and food on the table on a monthly or daily basis just goes a really long way.

Jonathan: It’s something difficult to explain, I think, here in the US because people are biased by what they know and their experience. And here everything that has to do with hiring people is like a bad business. But if you look at emerging markets, actually — that’s the opportunity. If you take a company like Rappi — Rappi is a company that is successful because they can hire a lot of low income people and that’s why today in Latin America, you can order a Starbucks and pay $100 to get it to your office and it’s one paid job for the person that would bring it, and you’re happy because for a dollar more you can have it at your office. And it’s the same for us — we can scale the business because we can hire a lot of people — which for us, it’s low income, but for them it’s well paid. That’s the important part. When you think about it, the way that we thought in the beginning was like, let’s pay our senior management a little bit less and with that difference, we can pay them a little bit better. And just lowering a little bit on the senior management can help 5 or 10 people per month to have a better salary. And we compensate that, obviously, with equity. We are very generous with our early employees because that was the logic — like let’s pay really well, our basic employees, like the low-income. And we are not the best payer in the senior management, but they have equity which is now worth way more than…

Rohit: And money — senior management, because they already have savings, they can postpone salary for a longer period of time. For these people it’s just…

Jonathan: Let’s say that a $1000 difference would not make a huge difference for a senior manager, but $1000 divided by 10 is a $100 more per person — it’s a huge difference. It’s like a 20% difference and that makes the whole difference.

Rohit: Yeah, it changes people’s lives. Now I know more than I did before. So you’ve been doing it for the past 10 months and hopefully, you will just do it for the next 10 years and raise billions of dollars yourselves too. Let’s talk a little bit about working with entrepreneurs from Latin America and bringing them to the US. SO you mentioned that you help to introduce them to investors, help to introduce to founders here. How did that come about and what’s your philosophy on that?

Jonathan: So I think that one of the reasons that Silicon Valley is so important is the network. Once you get access to the right people, you can do amazing things. One of the big problems of emerging markets is you don’t have that access. You have very limited friends, very limited experiences. You don’t have many big companies. So it was really important at that time to help founders to get access to the right people here. One of the basic ways to do that was through YC. So helping them connect with other founders of YC, helping them with recommendations at YC, helping them with the interview — I think again, YC did an amazing job and specially Michael Seibel opening the program to international companies and I think then it’s becoming our responsibility to help founders to get access to that. What Latin America needed was some cases of success. And I think what happened in the last 4 years is correlated to that. We started having a couple of billion dollar companies, which didn’t exist before. Rappi a couple of years ago raised another billion dollars. Nubank, 99Taxi was a company like Uber in Latin America, it got sold to Didi for a billion dollars. So those kind of things were needed to grow. But I think an important fact is, okay — you’re a founder, you want to build something. What do you do? Where do you go for access? And I only feel that we could help a little bit — just putting them in touch with the right people, getting access to that, so we help the way we could by investing sometimes, other times just by putting them in contact, helping people to get in but the real credit is to YC, is to the investors, is to the founders themselves, they did an amazing job.

Rohit: That’s awesome and that just starts a chain reaction. 1 Rappi is going to bring 5 new Rappis.

Jonathan: To be honest, I don’t know if Grin would have been able to raise that kind of money without the previous success of a company like Rappi, because a lot funds missed out on Rappi, and now…

Rohit: The famous Silicon Valley [ph ‘firmol’ 39:50]. That’s great. As we come close to the end of the interview — two more questions. One is around investing in companies. So as you invested in 90 companies, what were the types of things you were looking for? What were the types of teams you were looking for when you were investing?

Jonathan: I think with time you get to know what you’re looking for. It’s like asking a young guy: What’s the type of woman you want to marry? It’s hard to know until you get a certain experience. I think that in our case, the more you invest, the more you start understanding that there are certain industries that you understand better than others, there are certain founders with whom you get along better than others — and it’s something you don’t want to force. So it’s okay to pass not it just because there is no good chemistry. And it’s also okay to invest in a company that might not be super successful, but that you can actually work together and learn because the most important is the relationship you build and how you can help. I think that with time, that’s becoming the success — the companies we have invested out of [ph ‘firmol’ 41:21], which we did, turned out to be really bad investments. And the companies we did like you guys, where it was not considered a hot deal at YC, but I’m really glad to be part of the journey. And I think this is important. To trust what you see and invest in those companies. I think the important thing is that it doesn’t have to be a big chunk. Invest something that is — like something that is already okay, like it’s not the amount — if you can do it with enough people, work with enough people, in the end a good company will end up raising more money, so your money will not make the difference. And if you can help them then that’s how you can build your reputation. You will have access to more deals, that’s the most important part. We see that the companies that we were able to help created a lot more opportunities in the future. In the deals that we just got opportunistic — yeah sometimes you can be lucky, but in the end it does not create a lot of value. Neither for the company your invest or for you in the future as reputation. I think that’s important to try to find what kind of company, what kind of founders that you feel you’d like to work — it doesn’t mean that you have to be on top of the founder all of the time asking a lot of questions, but just be there when they need you. It can be sometimes in bad moments, like when we got a call about $50,000.

Rohit: Those are the best moments we have. Those moments really shine, and I still remember that call. It was a 30 minute call. We were looking at each other on a video call and those things stick for a really, really long time. Cool. Last question: Now is the time for you to give advice to other founders who are primarily immigrant, maybe either from Latin America or India or other countries. And either thinking of moving to the US with the eventual goal of starting companies, or starting companies in their own countries. What’s your advice to them as they think about entrepreneurship, as they think about starting a company that’s going to define the next phase of their life?

Jonathan: I think opportunity, we have it everywhere — a lot. You don’t have to come to the US. I think you don’t need to come to the US for that. Do something that you’re really passionate about because it’s going to take 10 years.

Rohit: It’s not like Grow.

Jonathan: To be honest, I think that you may look at Grow like it’s 1 year. But in reality, I’ve been working with Sergio for 10 years. So it would not exist without the previous work. So we could argue that Grow has been… we were doing great — without even knowing it was a Grow. To be honest it’s an exception in the way it has been, but it was possible because of the hard work we’ve been doing for many years. And I think that whatever you do, it’s going to take a lot of time, so it has to be something that you’re really passionate about that you’re ready to make a lot of sacrifices for the next 5-10 years. If not, when you need $50,000 you would probably abandon it because you don’t have it. I think that’s really important and ideally if you can do it with people you respect, you want to work — it’s going to make your life a lot easier to have people you can rely on, and in that case they can rely on you. So I would recommend you try to find a good team. People with whom you see yourself working together for the next 10 years. I would say don’t rush it. Take the time until there is something you really want to do. There is nothing worse than working on something you were really not passionate about. Then once you start it, give 200%. Don’t do it to see if it’s going to work — like doing it on the side little by little, because it’s not going to work. It’s only going to work if you give 100% of what you have — and most importantly, don’t ask other people if it’s a good idea or not because if they say it’s a good idea, it’s probably too late.

Rohit: Fair enough.

Jonathan: And if they say it’s not a good idea, you’re probably not going to do it because everybody said it’s a bad idea. But remember that every good idea at a certain point was a bad idea. Generally speaking, when you start a company — there will be a lot of people telling you why you should not. When it’s successful, the same people will tell you why they always said they believed in you.

Rohit: That’s actually true.

Jonathan: Yeah. I think that’s the most important thing. You know, it’s really hard because it’s a tradeoff and you need to be really passionate about what you do in order to make those sacrifices. You probably could have a better — probably not now, it’s another phase of the company, but when you started, you could have had a great job, well paid with a good salary, probably a car and you decided to leave all of that behind and build your own company. Those tradeoffs may work, may not work — but you need to know why you’re doing that. If not — your wife, your parents, your friends will ask you why you’re doing that.

Rohit: My parents still do. My wife still does!

Jonathan: But I think this is important, that you know why you’re doing that and that you’re convinced and it’s going to take time but with time it’s going to be worth it.

Rohit: Very good advice and I think it’s a good point to end the interview, and thank you for your time.

Jonathan: Thanks for the invitation.

Rohit: And as you are super busy, best of luck with Grow Mobility for the next 10 years.

Jonathan: Thanks, and for Stilt.

Rohit: Yeah, thank you. Cool. Thanks Jonathan!

Jonathan: With pleasure. I hope that’s what you needed.

Rohit: Yeah, you actually — I was looking at the time and your answers are detailed in a way that people would want to listen. Packed with information, talking about Stilt’s story in between — that’s good too.

Jonathan: People like anecdotes.

Rohit: Yeah, thank you. Cool. Thanks Jonathan!

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