05 Oct 2022 · 43 min read

Christopher Sheehan on Paying Bills with Crypto and Spritz Finance | Ep. 162

In an exclusive interview with cryptonews.com, Christopher Sheehan, MIT Computer Scientist, repeat fintech entrepreneur, and Founder of Spritz Finance, talks about paying bills with crypto and more about on & off-chain finances.

About Christopher Sheehan

Christopher Sheehan is the Founder of Spritz Finance. He is an MIT Computer Scientist and repeat fintech entrepreneur. Chris's previous company, WorldCover, was an international insuretech funded by Y Combinator, Index Ventures, Greylock and other global VC investors. The company developed parametric insurance products and software, and its IP assets were acquired in 2021.

Sheehan gave a wide-ranging exclusive interview which you can see below, and we are happy for you to use for publication provided there is a credit to www.cryptonews.com

Highlights Of The Interview

  • Paying your bills with cryptocurrency 
  • Lessons learned from Y-Combinator – doing things that don’t scale and growing 7% every week 
  • Building on the Polygon Ecosystem - cheap and quick transactions
  • Creating a crypto lifestyle app - more than just technology and finance 
  • Bridging traditional finance (TradFi) and decentralized finance (DeFi)

 

 

Full Transcript Of The Interview

Matt Zahab
Ladies and gentlemen, we're back. We're buzzing. As always, I'm super pumped to have today's guest on the show. We have Christopher Sheehan, founder of Spritz Finance. Christopher is also an MIT computer scientist and repeat FinTech entrepreneur. Chris' previous company world cover was an international insure-tech company funded by Y-Combinator, Index Ventures Greylock, and other global VC investors. The company developed parametric insurance products and software and its IP assets were acquired last year in 2021. Without further ado, I'm very pleased to welcome Christopher Sheehan to the Cryptonews podcast. Chris, welcome to show my friend.

Christopher Sheehan
Hey, Matt, how are you? Excited to be here. 

Matt Zahab
I'm doing well and I'm pumped to have you on. In the bio, the one thing well, many things. But as a Y Combinator fan myself, I got to ask, what was that like? I've always wanted to sort of give that a whirl myself. I've got a couple of friends who've been through the world. I've heard mostly positive things. What was your take on YC? 

Christopher Sheehan
Great question, Matt. Yeah, I mean, YC sort of formed and sort of instilled in me so much of the startup philosophy that, you know, I'm even bringing to this web three, startup. It's a question I get a lot. And sometimes I joke that the answer is often correlated with how much money that particular project was able to raise after the program, you know, you raise a lot of money, awesome program, you don't, and maybe not so good. And we were actually we're fortunate enough to raise a nice round after YC. But I have to say it's sort of the community of YC, that just kind of keeps on giving, whether it's the forums and kind of the inside information that everybody shares to the events, and you know, in real life or virtual, and then the folks that have invested in my new company, as well. So, you know, I highly, highly recommend anybody consider YC. And it's just a great and growing group of people. And, you know, I'm also part of the Orange DAO now, which is kind of the, it wasn't affiliated but it's the DAO that a lot of the alumni sort of formed afterwards and have I've sort of seen that process start from just an idea to now there are funds there are, you know, three or four different committees, there's I went to the event in Amsterdam at Devconnect, hosted by orange DAO, they invested in Spritz. Amazing. And so it's cool to see that community, I think, quite naturally map from kind of traditional startups into web three as well through the orange DAO. So yeah, two thumbs up for YC. 

Matt Zahab
Wow, gotta love to hear that. What's something non-obvious that you took away? Not like, work hard? Or use your network? Or none of that classic shit? I'm talking about? Like, were there any, you know, under the table, tidbits of goals from Paul Graham or anyone else at YC? Where you were just like, holy shit, that is non-obvious, but absolutely incredible advice or an incredible takeaway?

Christopher Sheehan
Yeah, I mean, I think there's some big things and some small things. One big thing was, you know, do things that don't scale, which is, you know, pretty common advice. But YC, really, you know, you've got to hit that week-on-week grow 7%. And when you're, you know, you're like, Hey, I just walked in here with my co-founders, all we have is an idea. And they say, Well, how are you going to grow 7%? In seven days, like, well, what number are we even tracking? Well, you know, whatever that number is, just do the thing that grows the number. And it's sort of like these, these little itty bitty steps, kind of grinding it out. Even doing things like you know, just going to events and signing people up yourself. Right? That compounds, right. And the power of compounding is so powerful in startups. So do things that don't scale. YC is super into that. And then kind of a small thing that was interesting is around communicating ideas and presenting, you know, when you apply to YC, you have to describe your company, and I think 50 characters or less, I mean, it's you know, what is that? Nowadays? It's like a quarter of a tweet or, or less. 

Matt Zahab
It’s not even a one-liner.

Christopher Sheehan
Exactly. And then when you do, yeah. And then when you do demo day, it was at least in my time, it was a three-minute presentation. You know, your interview for YC is 10 minutes, when we're taught to present where you were taught to use, like 130 Point type. So how do you get your ideas into the most crisp, brief, clear, simple frame as possible is really a skill. And actually, I think it's a sign of a very thoughtful founding team to be able to do that. So that's kind of another thing that YC that I think was very surprising and a skill I think that I've really tried to absorb and, and put out into the world nowadays too.

Matt Zahab
So well worth it. In summation.

Christopher Sheehan
Yeah, I mean, soak it up. Why not? I'm someone who, you know, I like to just learn and get all the help I can. So I sort of soak this stuff up, you know, other folks maybe just want to go and build and be left alone. And that's cool, too. But, you know, I'm someone who loves the advice for sure. 

Matt Zahab
I gotta, I gotta ask you, let's go a little off topic here. Your camera. It's a little trippy. But I like it, though. Like, again, for those who aren't watching and are just listening, which I assume is most of you. Chris’ camera like sort of follows him but doesn't it's like it engages the viewer, like, you got to give a plug. What camera is this?

Christopher Sheehan
It's a little. The cameraman is a little inebriated. Sometimes people say the features called cameraman. It's another YC company called Lumina, L U M I N A, and it's a 4k camera. It's like 250 bucks. But they use AI to I mean, kind of just do the tracking. And do kind of the repackaging into a 1080p feed that looks great, but has the ability to kind of track and make adjustments because it's 4k. So I know sometimes I turned it on. Sometimes it turned it off. To be honest. If it's noticed, then I'll usually just turn it off.

Matt Zahab
No, no, it's not distracting. It's cool. It's just when I first was looking at you while you were speaking I was like, Is he like swiveling on a chair? Does he have I don't know it was

Christopher Sheehan
I'm doing that too, though. So yeah.

Matt Zahab
You're a multitasker. multitaskers so.

Christopher Sheehan
Yeah.

Matt Zahab
Let's go back to your bio for a second here. Also, MIT computer scientists is that as grueling as it sounds? Was that just an absolute? Like head down 18-hour days, you know, caffeine dripping in at all times. You know? What's, what are the other ones Ritalin, little Adderall, Concerta? That, then, 

Christopher Sheehan
Yeah, it was like, you know, my days is more like Coors Light. And then, you know, coffee, you know, at night, and then cheap coffee in the morning. That was part of the fraternity system to at MIT, which is a great kind of release valve, you know, including sports and everything. So yeah, I mean, MIT will knock you down, you know, I think one of my best sort of, I guess academic performances was scoring something like a 40% on one of my final exams and having that be an A plus because it was graded on a curve. So it's the type of place where you study the whole semester, you think you know, everything, and then you get to the exam, and you're literally wonder to yourself, Is this even the right exam I'm taking, because I don't recognize any of the problems. And you, so they're just stretching you at every opportunity. And it's so it's wonderful for kind of brain growth, I say, and not so wonderful for, you know, psychology and confidence and everything, which is, you know, I think something they've worked on over time, but it's, it's quite an experience for sure.

Matt Zahab
They haven't done your science 100%.

Christopher Sheehan
Yes.

Matt Zahab
Before we get into Spritz, which is the bread and butter of the show, besides yourself, I want to get in your head for a little bit. You seem like a very creative guy who loves to learn, I feel like you have a lust for learning, you're a bit of a sponge or a huge sponge for that matter. Walk me through your morning or nighttime routines. Do you have any sort of daily disciplines or daily habits that really help you move the needle and become a very efficient learning version of Chris?

Christopher Sheehan
Yeah, interesting. You know, maybe it's a surprise or not, but I actually try, I actually think one learns best, or at least one can learn quite effectively by actually leaving some space, some space in the day and some idle time, right? I mean, we all hear about the ideas in the shower, you know, that people have and I think it's often on the weekends when I'm just with my son, or just kind of taken a walk in the park or at the beach or something where I'm really starting to process all the random thoughts and impulses that have come in through the week, and then come up with  AHa! here's how, you know, I should tell the story, or here's the right solution to you know, combine these two products into you know, an interesting experience. So, yeah, I mean, you still need to read the articles on Twitter, of course, you know, Medium I watch too much YouTube, which is basically entertainment, of course, except when I'm watching, you know, streamers and gaming word, but, but that's basically what YouTube is, right? As supported edutainment and you know, even content like this, right, you could kind of say is, is in the category, podcasts and TikToks and all that. So, yeah, I just absorbed that, but I make sure not to kind of exhaust my brain to a place where I'm not absorbing anymore, right and then have leave that space to absorb it, whether it's just at night, or just going out for a walk or on the weekend.

Matt Zahab
Do you schedule that time? Like, do you block it off in the calendar?

Christopher Sheehan 
I do actually yes. So I can, I can shout out another product. I don't believe they're a YC company, but I use a tool called reclaim.ai. Sort about reclaiming your time. And you can say, hey, I want to read three times a week for an hour, during the day, it will pre-block off time in your calendar, but mark it as free. So it can still be scheduled over by other people. And then once it notices you're getting constrained in your time, it'll actually then mark it as busy and kind of freeze it in place. And you can set relative importances. So I'll put even things like a walk, obviously, my lunch, reading, and then time to work on say, whether it's BD or marketing or things like that throughout the week to make sure I've got that space. And but I'm not perfect. I'm a human. So you know, there are definitely times when that time block arrives. And I'm like, You know what, I'm just gonna keep go for a walk or watch it maybe a non-useful YouTube video

Matt Zahab
100% I want to get into products for a bit, you seem like a massive product guy as well. And here's me just literally generalizing you like, like, crazy. So my apologies if I'm over-generalizing here, but you just dropped a couple world-class products on me as well. Do you have like, you know, sort of my stack? Or are you a Product Hunt guy? Like, where do you find these products? And what are some of your favorite ones right now that you'd love for people to use?

Christopher Sheehan 
But I've named a few already. Yeah, products on interesting and Hacker News. At least me personally, I haven't been so active on but they really are, like YC adjacent places that have really interesting launches. So I will go there sometimes, just to cruise. You know, being I mean, talking about YC a lot. But I mean, there's been so many companies that have gone through the platform, they used to have 200 plus companies per batch. So I get these emails, I mean, once a week launching at YC. Right, you know, track your crypto taxes, better HR for international contractors, right? A lot of it's built for startups, or just wacky stuff about, you know, the health care or, you know, in products like that are kind of mindfulness apps. So actually, that's a huge amount for me. And then short podcasts, just kind of reading crypto news. I use Feedly to get like RSS, kind of old-school RSS feeds, because I feel like it's not an algorithm. It's me controlling what I see. It's not Twitter or TikTok telling me. And it's not so much you know, where I can't, it's not unless either I can feel like, Hey, I've checked this off. I've read what I need to read. So yeah, those variety of sources, and then obviously referrals, people mentioning stuff to me, I definitely write it down and pay attention.

Matt Zahab
And go from there. I love that. Crypto time. Your background, you founded. It's all like you we live it breathe a baby. So the show goes on. It never sleeps. After your insure tech company that was acquired congrats on that, by the way. Was it the no-brainer decision to start Spritz was this a classic started the company because of the need, which again, I'm a Canadian, I cannot wait until you guys come up here. Mind you, you know, we love putting massive volume on everything. So it probably could not even happen story for another day. But I would absolutely love to pay my Amex bill off with some tether or some circle. 

Christopher Sheehan
Yeah.

Matt Zahab
Was this, was that how the problem started? You were like, I want to be able to do this and created the solution. 

Christopher Sheehan
Yeah, and by the way, there was a mini question there about internationalization. And our team is very international. We actually, my head of marketing is up in Alberta, Canada. So we've got folks from Hawaii to Israel and South Africa. So and then my last company world cover was very global. So absolutely our intention to bring this globally but you know, bridging Trad fie into defies, for better for worse, very much a country at a time or region at a time sort of playbook just because of the kind of the regulations in the world. As it is today. I'm addressing your question. Yeah, after World covered well, Spritz was not, you know, I definitely went through a process and a time of transition, I think as every founder should do. You know, leaving behind a journey of six or seven years working on that company and pouring my life into it and then figuring out what's next, it's really important to slow down. There's a great book called literally transitions, that I think the author's name is Bridges, that talks about this process of leaving something behind, kind of having this no man's land in the middle where you're just kind of letting things come to you naturally. And then this new beginning, and so it took eight or nine months to really figure that out. So I knew in short that I wanted to do Something in crypto DeFi Web3, you know, I'm a finance, you know quant finance nerd by training. And by sort of, you know, hobby as well. So DeFi had already attracted me personally, I knew that my next startup would or should be something in FinTech and kind of work with and serve regular people, not just serve, like, you know, hedge funders or the super rich or something like that I'm really passionate about bringing finance and financial tools to the everyday person. And I said, Well, how could you? How could you build a FinTech company today and not integrate web three, it would just seem, It just sort of didn't, you know, I didn't have to think too hard about it. I just said that's not going to happen, at least here. But then when it came to what exactly should I build? I really, that's where I really benefited from slowing down. Just getting into the products myself putting myself in, well, I guess my own shoes. And, you know, what do I want to see in the world because I realized from world's cover my prior experience that you know, in year three, or year five, or year seven, of a startup journey, when things are really, really hard. You know, the last thing you want us to be working on something that isn't motivating you fundamentally, you know, even at that point, so you really want to choose something that is near and dear to you. So, yeah, that's kind of, in short, a little preview into my process and how I got around to Spritz which I can go into more detail.

Matt Zahab
Yeah, give me the 32nd elevator pitch, you'll do a hell of a better job than I will be explaining.

Christopher Sheehan  
Yeah, I mean, the way I tell it, and it's really my own story. You know, getting into DeFi was such a pleasure. And you know, people talk, they always say the word rabbit hole, but it really is this vortex that kind of sucks you in. And it's kind of both amazing and scary to be able to, you know, on a Friday night, you're watching Netflix having a beer, and moving around 10s of 1000s of dollars, potentially, you know, you can blow away your net worth right with one, one misclick. You know, again, on a Friday, Saturday night, and you know, incredibly empowering. And with that power comes a lot of kind of fear as well making mistakes. The problem is you sort of wake up on Monday go back to work. And you've got to pay your bills, you've got the mortgage, the car loan, student loans, maybe all this stuff coming out of your checking account, which is fed by your paycheck. And if you're in crypto land, that still world that doesn't go away, and you've got to manage it. And it's kind of a bummer. When you've just experienced all this power. You know, on your laptop, moving money around, it's kind of a bummer to get that banking experience. So yeah, with Spritz, that's really the core problem. And the core kind of dissonance and experience that DeFi users have that we want to address.

Matt Zahab 
And if it was a one liner with the current one liner would be almost paying your Amex.

Christopher Sheehan 
Pay your bills with crypto, yeah, pay your bills. Anything coming out of your checking account today? You no longer need your checking account for it. You can pay it straight from your, your self custodial wallet.

Matt Zahab 
And is this work for this worked for centralized exchanges as well? Or is it just from a self custody?

Christopher Sheehan 
Yeah, not yet, right? I mean, we were deciding who to build for and who's our key persona. And I went back to, you know, myself and my friends to who - Yeah, we all started on Coinbase. You know, I certainly did back in 2014, whenever, still have assets, they're great. It's a pretty good experience. But it's, you know, once sort of Ethereum got going, and then all the developers and daps were created. And then now all the layer twos, you know, that experience, just kind of becomes the next level. And I think sort of like once people taste that experience, again, the power at your fingertips, and now gaming, NFTS all that you sort of don't want to go back, necessarily. And so we said, hey, let's build if we're going to build for the future, let's build for the people who are self customizing their funds, or at least a large part of their funds. Because the UX is pretty tough for that for those use cases. And let's try to bridge those assets to the real world. So we haven't built a connection to Coinbase per se yet, but you can use the Coinbase wallet, which is actually self custody wallet with Spritz.

Matt Zahab 
How do you build sort of that hybrid Web to web three company that you and the team are building? Because again, you can't just be web three and no web two because banking rails are web two. 

Christopher Sheehan 
Yeah. 

Matt Zahab 
You need it's, it's, it's impossible it has to happen. You're almost building the web 2.5 company, you know, it's a cliche, but your version of

Christopher Sheehan 
A different Hi-Fi is another one. That I don't know if it will stick. But yeah,

Matt Zahab 
Your word of it is the hybrid Web2, slash Web3 company that bridges defined track five, how do you do that? Like what, you know, building through a bear market as well? What advice would you give to someone who's trying to build something similar to you, you must learn to shut down over the last a little bit.

Christopher Sheehan 
Yeah. Well, and also built upon what we learned at my last company, which was, which was purely web to in FinTech as well, right. So highly regulated in traditional markets. Not a lot of fun, but sort of a, I don't know if I'd say necessary evil, if all that regulation is necessary, but it is there. And so if you're going to operate in that world, you definitely need to understand it. But I think any great product, and then a great company starts with a great team. So it was really important for me to assemble a team of folks who understand both sides of those, those two worlds, right? So you want people there's so many people from web two and kind of traditional FinTech, who are, you know, DeFi diehards on the weekends and kind of dying to apply those skills in a web three way, but maybe they're not ready to just go work full time for a DAO, or just get into smart contract? Programming, you know, right away, but they have absolutely, you know, traditional software architecture skills, and they learn fast. And so that's where, why, when I was going out to recruit engineers, and designers, I looked for those types of individuals. And likely, like, likewise, find some people with the web three, playbook, honed, especially around marketing and growth community, who are looking to kind of find a project that maybe isn't so bleeding edge, or creative, or maybe controversial, but one that has, is kind of firmly rooted in the real world. And so, you know, being able to position spreads to both sides, those both communities, as a way to kind of bring their careers further has been really important. And now we've got a great team of people who can talk those languages and are getting better and better over time at both languages.

Matt Zahab 
That's huge. Can you walk me through some of the regulatory shows that you had to jump through? Like there must have been just some calls that were just absolute nightmare for you?

Christopher Sheehan
Yeah, I mean, well, as we all know, I think the term is a gray area, and you have like Mark Cuban, tweeting at Gary Gensler to just kind of, you know, everyone's begging, like, almost like, Please regulate me, like just write some rules, write something down, so that I don't have to interpret, you know, 100 year old, you know, precedents at various judges and litigate to fit right, just tell me what the rules are, and I'm happy to play the game, right, the intention there is absolutely to bring innovation forward in a healthy way, and not to, you know, dodge taxes or anything like that. So, you know, when I got started, I maybe made the unusual step of right out of the gate after raising our precede of hiring a law firm to advise us on regulatory issues, you know, on monthly retainer. And to really put front and center say, you know, I know how to build the product that I want to build, but if it's not, if it's going to be illegal, or you know, invite some issues down the line, then really, what's the point, right? It's not, I don't want this thing to come crashing down. And actually, so many are very early test customers and beta users. Were asking right off the bat, right? Is this real? Can you do this legally? Is this thing going to last? You know, people want to know, people actually want you to be regulated and be trusted. And so that was my approach. Now, of course, what came out of that approach wasn't necessarily, yeah, Chris, if you do A or B, you're good. If you do C, you're not good. That would have been nice, you know, for my MIT engineer brain, to kind of know is, here's the recipe, follow the recipe, you're good. But that just doesn't exist. And you'll have you know, some lawyers will say, you know, kind of, you can't do anything. Other lawyers will say do anything, and you have to really get into it yourself and kind of understand what the regulations are and then ultimately make a judgment call. But we're able to work with some folks that kind of gave us a narrow set of lanes that we could play in, which would still be regulated around money transmission, but would allow us to operate our business without, you know, an incredibly onerous licensing process. As that would, you know, cost millions and millions of dollars and take years and years. Right. And so, yeah, we've kind of found a way to navigate that that works for us right now. And then as we level up, you know we can, we can evolve.

Matt Zahab 
That must have been crazy. First big hire coming out of the funding gate is literally a law firm on retainer. 

Christopher Sheehan 
Yes. A little bit so

Matt Zahab 
Hefty five digits a month?

Christopher Sheehan 
Yeah, I mean, there abouts. Maybe not quite, but, you know, it's we raised about two and a half million dollars precede so we were able to, you know, My motto is sort of, you know, just move fast. But, but don't break things in some ways. So, you know, that felt like an expense that, that, that made a lot of sense for us. And then it was a relationship, we could scale up and scale down once we sort of had some answers. And we knew how we could build, we could scale that down. So they've been great partners.

Matt Zahab 
Interesting. Very, very interesting. Spritz Finance itself, from the customer standpoint, I sign up as an American citizen, which I'm not, but let's just say I was in your country.

Christopher Sheehan 
Actually, US residents. Citizenship is not really a test. Today, it's residence and even then, you know, you need to have us based liabilities and bills. So if you have an Amazon credit card from a US Bank, then you know, I believe you can still use Spritz. But yeah, anyway.

Matt Zahab 
So if I pass all those tests, on the workflow side of things, and the actual customer journey, I sign up for an account on spreads. I then send money aka crypto aka USDT, or polygon or Eth, or USDC from my custodial wallet, to you guys. And then you guys pay my AmEx, how does the workflow actually work?

Christopher Sheehan 
Yeah, more or less, right? So you sign up. And then you need to add bills, whatever you've got, right? So I mentioned beyond the AMEX, there's mortgages, if you have like a Rocket Mortgage, Amazon credit card, if you have student loans, if you have a car loan, I have a Volvo car loan that I pay through Spritz. So and then you can even add, you know, your newspaper like the Boston Globe is, is supported. So big or small. If you want to start with $10, or $10,000, you can do it right, we will find that users will start with a make a tiny payment to your AMEX you see that it goes through. Now let's make a bigger payment, let's maybe bring in the student loan or let's bring in the mortgage. So start small and scale up. So you just add bills. And we have a nifty way to surface those bills as part of KYC will actually get a list from our bill provider, we work with some partners, that kind of aggregate these billing services will actually get a list of some of the known bills that you might have. So if you have a mortgage that's out there, and you have an Amex gold card, then we'll actually be able to surface that and you can just click check, you know, add the bill, or you can do a search to find the bill that you want to add. It will then show up on the bill pain, which will show when it's due all the things that you might expect in a personal finance app. And then you can click the bill to make a payment. So you just hit pay $100, you'll choose which asset you want to use. So it could be USDC, USDT, but we're actually now releasing a functionality to pay with virtually any token. We could talk about how we do that technically, but you could play with Dogecoin. And then it generates a single blockchain transaction for you to transfer crypto from your wallet to Spritz’ wallet. When we see that blockchain transaction finalized, we issue out a payment right away to your biller over the Fiat banking rails. And it is going over the banking rails it's typically faster than if you did it yourself from your own bank, which might be three business days or so. So sometimes it's one or two business days for us but it's all trackable and you know we kind of track the payment the whole day and then it's credited to your account

Matt Zahab 
So cool. Folks are gonna take a quick break and give a massive shout out to our sponsor the show prime XBT you guys know that I love prime XBT is I've been using them for almost two years now. Why do I love them? Because they offer a robust trading system for both beginners and professional traders doesn't matter if you're a rookie or vet can easily design and customize your layouts and widgets to best fit your trading style. Prime XBT also running exclusive promo for listeners of the crypto news podcast. You can use the promo code crypto news five zero that is Cryptonews 50 To take advantage of the offer and you get 50% of your deposit credited to your trading account to download its cryptonews five, zero all one word to receive 50% of your deposit credited to your trading account. And now back to show with Chris. That was such an interesting point you brought up I'm wanna talk more about paying with different currencies. When you're paying with a stablecoin. Obviously, there's no volatility. But when you're paying with even ease, it's really not going to move, you know, more than 10 ticks in a day. But if you're paying for something like Doge, or an absolute shite coin that could literally go up up and down 50 ticks in one day, maybe 100 ticks. How do you guys deal with that? You guys have a trading team? On the back end, you use some algo? Like what's, what's the secret sauce there. 

Christopher Sheehan 
So the secret sauce is actually kind of out in the open, right? We can use dexus decentralized exchanges and compose those taxes with our transfer smart contracts, to ensure that you can put those in one side and out the other side Spritz get gets an amount of USTC, your stable point, right. So there's actually a swap that's done in transit, with your asset right up until the moment that you want to pay the bill. So yeah, there's lots of ways to deal with the issue. But we felt like this is the fairest, most transparent, in most cases, lowest cost way for you to get the best price, it's probably a true, you know, tools you're already using. And then for Spritz where we don't need to take the risk of warehousing and, you know, liquidating these assets, at other times, so yeah, it's been interesting, you know, that that's really where a lot of our smart contract work has gone to up until this point, of course, we're going to be adding some subscription services and ways to schedule auto pay and repeat payments in the future as well.

Matt Zahab 
That’s such a treat. Another very interesting point is you guys chose to build on the polygon ecosystem, which seems like almost a no-brainer. Everyone seems to be doing it at the moment for incredible reasons. Before we get into that. Did you see the news that broke today? Polygon Starbucks?

Christopher Sheehan 
I did. Yeah. And I read the news and tweeted about it because I saw you could buy collectibles. But I was wondering if you could buy coffee because that's the sort of what you do at Starbucks. But I think it's I mean, just to see those two logos together, that I think Sandy tweeted out was pretty astounding. So he's been doing, he and his whole team, actually, it's quite decentralized now have been doing amazing work, you know, over 2022 to get these partnerships.

Matt Zahab 
I think the most important part about those partnerships is the domino effect, where it's like, a bunch of you know, boardrooms at Fortune 500 Companies see that global shift Starbs is getting in maybe it's time for us to put our top dancing shoes on and, you know, get on the dance floor a little bit. I think that's it, just like you said, first thing I thought of wasn't buying coffee. It was like, you know, what, what's it going to be? And then that was later on down my thought process because it just said like digital stamps, pretty much so digital collectibles, and learning more about coffee, and in specific and unique clubs, which I get all that but again, at the end of the day, what are you going to Starbz? To get a cup of joe or a friggin breakfast sandwich? Right. Like, that's, that's what it's all about.

Christopher Sheehan 
So good. You know, I mean, I think these brands they like to, it's almost like they're warehousing the web three initiatives in kind of a skunkworks are separate. I don't want to touch the core operations, you know, you don't want to necessarily have a Bitcoin, you know, receiving phone next to your espresso machine, I guess yet, but that's coming. Right. So I don't know, maybe they think it'll break something.

Matt Zahab 
And what about you guys? What was the, was there another chain that potentially could have been the chain for Spritz? Or was it always just polygon from the gecko? 

Christopher Sheehan 
Well, yeah, I mean, Polygon. So this was really, some of our earliest customer development work was in November, December 2021, into earlier this year, it was just before kind of arbitrage them and Avalanche. We're kind of getting launched around that time. Polygon was already established. And so when I was talking to going back to kind of every day, Joe, who's into DeFi guess was getting expensive on Mainnet. So polygon was really the plurality of folks. I was talking to her on Polygon. But I met some people that, you know, the one thing I learned about web three and defi back then is that, like, there is no right answer. to kind of build on and there's no right answer for any given user. And if you really take you know, the customer's always right. It can be challenging to decide because I heard the first person would say, I'm only on Solana, if you don't support Solana, I will not use Spritz. Okay, you know, thank you very much. And next person says Solana is creepy just creeps me out, man. I don't know what's like what is that consensus mechanism. No, I'm not touching that with a 10-foot pole. You know, I'm on Terra, right? Like a lot of people are on Terra actually, you know, at the point at that point, and so, you know, and then you get people on Polygon, but really polygon I felt like was a really like anchored very well, grounded, had a lot of developers, the tooling was very similar to a lot of the other EVM chains. Were using alchemize tools and their API which supported polygon well. So it just felt like a really great place to start. And then I was able to actually get in contact with Sandeep while we were doing our precinct, he invested in our precinct as well. And their team has been fantastic. So, you know, it's been all great from there. Will we be polygon only forever? No. Is it a wonderful place to start? And are we happy with that decision? Absolutely. 

Matt Zahab 
And just like you mentioned earlier, as well, their biz dev team, absolutely world-class, fully decentralized team all over the world, they are a treat, I've worked with them in the past as well, they are an absolute treat to work with, they get shit done quickly, very transparent. Very helpful. It seems like they check off most of the boxes, whereas a lot of other chains are, you know, it's almost sort of like that Apple, Google, Facebook ask where it's like, you know, lights are on, but nobody's home. Right? 

Christopher Sheehan 
Yeah, totally. I think they're e super responsive. They're highly energized, they just want to help the ecosystem, you know, that's kind of their guiding light. And there's, there's a real sort of, you know, you get this kind of pay it forward mentality in, in crypto a lot. But I think the folks in the polygon ecosystem are especially, you know, I'm in a lot of the group chats, especially like that. So, of course, being decentralized, having separate teams for ecosystem for gaming, I know that there may be doing some things internally to reorganize. You know, it's not as you know, there's not like a Rolodex in a CRM, I think, like, you know, you'd have at that Google or Apple, like you're talking about, so you do get some of the negatives of that. But, you know, by and large, it's, it's pretty astounding, what they're able to do and, and the speed at which they're able to connect founders and projects together. 

Matt Zahab 
100% Talk about your roadmap, you gave us a little tidbit of what's next in regards to different coins and different Cryptos being accepted. What else is on your plate for the next couple of months? Perhaps years? 

Christopher Sheehan 
Yeah, I mean, well, today's Spritz’ you know, pay bills with crypto, so it's a very easy value proposition pay or mortgage with crypto pay or AMEX with crypto. Very simple and easy to understand. But the wider vision is really around a lifestyle app, right, a crypto lifestyle app, so people who are d phi d gens d phi diehards, living their lives, much of their financial lives in web three, maybe even earning even passively in web three, maybe they're freelancers or they're earning by, you know, by gaming. By yield farming. They're living a web three lifestyle, but how do you bridge that lifestyle to the real world? And we want Spritz to be the answer for you. So paying your bills is a major step, but it's certainly not everything, right? So how, what about just making others like, if you can't use crypto at Starbucks, then what about a card, a Spritz card to pay for something at Starbucks and actually use your assets in your web three wallets to pay those assets? Right? So anything you can do from self custody basis? What about getting paid and direct deposit instead of direct deposit into your bank account or direct deposit into your self-custody wallet? Right? What about on and off ramping directly from and to your self-custody wallet? Right? So we're really kind of skipping the bank, skipping sci-fi, and just allowing you to supercharge your web three wallet, your self-custody assets, and go about your real life. So it's those sorts of products and services that we want to bring under the spirits. Umbrella. And so you know, it's going much beyond much more beyond just kind of better bill pay and so forth, but kind of bringing in these lifestyle use cases to everybody. 

Matt Zahab 
Lifestyle app. I like that it's trendy, it's very trendy. Why the name? Why Spritz? 

Christopher Sheehan 
Yeah, you know, look, I came off the back of a very serious startup. You know, we were selling drought insurance to subsistence farmers in Africa, right? So very, very, very serious. You know, not to say what we're doing now isn't life-changing, right? But truly, this really life-changing before and you know, there's a lot of anxiety comes with that. A lot of you know, needing things to work. And I said, you know, for this next startup, I just want to I want to build something great. I want to have a great team and I just want to have fun. I want to bring joy to something even when it's serious and maybe even boring, right paying bills who want to spend more than a microsecond thinking about bills or like that's not what I'm attracted to? But how can we bring some fun in place, playfulness to that and then you know, the Spritz, the Aperol Spritz It's a I'm really into cocktails, really into travel, you know, not so much during COVID. I have a two-year-old at home now too. So now it's a bit more of a fantasy than reality. But you know, sitting on a beach and I don't know, Italy somewhere with an Aperol Spritz is the absolute image of, you know, you're relaxed, you're, you're feeling secure, you're feeling just calm, and like everything's taken care of. Right. And for us, that's kind of the image we want with your bills. And with your money, right, you're on the beach, relaxed, because your money is working for you elsewhere, right Spritz has taken and the whole theme of cocktails, the beach is just a wonderful place to play and Spritz is really easy. If I talk to you in a bar and say, Hey, we're Spritz finance. I hope you'll remember that versus saying something else. So yeah, we're really happy it was Dave was available and went with it. And our lead visual designer, Tammy, who's out in Hawaii has just done a fantastic job with the art direction, the app colors and I think it's, you know, sort of I get this little jolt of, of, I don't know, dopamine or something excitement, right when I see the app, and that's what I want our users to get to.

Matt Zahab 
It's great branding. That is a treat. It's a great name, it rolls off the tongue. Nice, you know, and eventually, I'm sure it will be referred to as Spritz and not Spritz finance, you know, like, 

Christopher Sheehan 
Yeah, I think so. Even in my early pitches, we were Spritz dot finance, I had the domain was like a part of it. I thought it was clever, but it's okay. Spritz finance, and then yeah, just Spritz. Spritz app. Like, like, revolute. You know, it's just, it's just revolute it's not revolute finance. So, you know, in some ways, I think there's some parallels to what they're doing to it to our end vision. 

Matt Zahab 
I feel you there. Chris, we're gonna hold tight for time. So a couple more questions here. It's been an absolute treat. By the way, let’s

Christopher Sheehan 
Likewise

Matt Zahab 
Let's put our shit-kicking boots on, let's jump in the hot tech factory, and I want to hear some hot tips from you. I feel like you got a bunch of them. It can be crypto-related life politics, nutrition, sports, you name it. But what's something that only Chris believes in that most other people do Not? 

Christopher Sheehan 
Oh, wow. I mean, you know, I'm really, I'm really passionate about the kind of, you know, bring your whole self to work saying, and there's been this backlash, like, bring your work self to work. You know, don't bring your whole self to work, right? And, you know, come back to the office. And I don't know, throughout my career, I've just, you know, had this it's a not-so-secret weapon anymore. But being able to hire someone anywhere in the world with, you know, who's a wonderful human being has an amazing brain, or skill, or, you know, artistic ability to them, is just, you know, I don't understand why companies would pass that up. And so I'm really vocal and a proponent of allowing people to kind of work where they want how they want and then, you know, get shit done in the meantime, but you know, life is short, Let's enjoy ourselves and create a positive environment for each other in the meantime, 

Matt Zahab 
Well done. Great friggin take. That's very 

Christopher Sheehan 
Thanks, man. It's, uh, you know, it's a hot take in one way, maybe not so much in another, but it is important to me. 

Matt Zahab 
Now that's good. Last one, you build two startups. One very successful got acquired the other route to becoming that biggest piece of advice. One takeaway from building startups.

Christopher Sheehan 
Yeah, man. And by the way, the former, you know, we sold the IP. So it was, you know, it wasn't a smashing success. But it was, in some ways, you know, one of the most amazing and productive journeys of my life. So, you know, another way is definitely a success, but definitely looking for both with Spritz. You know, I would say keep it simple. At least that's the advice I tell myself because I often don't keep it simple. But I find that the very best startups in the world if you were to just saying what do they do in three lines? In three words, you know, you'd be able to do that, right? You know, Uber, hails a taxi with an app, right? Apple, amazing hardware and software combined, you know, Google finds stuff online, right? It's like just anyone can do that. Whereas when we're describing our own startups, it's like, you know, here's the whole pitch and so just keep it simple. And that's the best way to succeed a lot of times, 

Matt Zahab  
I love that. Chris, you brought the noise man, thanks for coming on. This has been an absolute treat before we let you go, can you please let our listeners know where they can find you and Spritz online and on socials? 

Christopher Sheehan 
Yes, Spritz dot finance. Very easy. We're rolling out a new website in even a couple of weeks. We've got amazing content there around yield farming, security of self-custody, wallets, bill pay whatever. You can sign up for our waitlist as well, which we're still in closed beta, but we're bringing some people off. We've also got a wonderful discord with all that content. And I'm on Twitter at CT underscore Sheehan. CT and living in Connecticut and T is my middle name so CT underscores Sheehan on Twitter Spritz dot finance for the app. 

Matt Zahab 
And crypto Twitter as well. CT.

Christopher Sheehan 
Of course. Oh, that's right yeah, sure. 

Matt Zahab 
Another one at the party. Chris thanks so much man. This was a lot of fun learned a ton and root for you guys. Not that you'll need it but rooting for you can wait till it's available in Canada. I will be, send me an invite for the beta. Or even better the Alpha hit me up. But thanks again, man. Appreciate it and love to have you on for round two in the next couple of months. 

Christopher Sheehan 
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks so much, man. This is an absolute blast. So we'll catch you later. 

Matt Zahab 
Folks. What an episode with Christopher Sheehan from Spritz finance to learn about the startups he gave to you. Want to learn about DeFi and SciFi and TradFi and bridge those gaps? He gave it to you. A lot of knowledge bombs treat an episode first thanks them for coming on folks. If you enjoyed this one I hope you did please do subscribe. It would mean the world to my team and I. Speaking of the team love you guys, you are the goats. Thank you so much for everything. And to the listeners keep on growing those bags and keep on staying healthy, wealthy, and happy. Bye for now and we'll talk soon.