Shadrach Vaughn is an entrepreneur, innovator, and a finance enthusiast. He graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Cal State San Marcos. Shadrach co-founded Lite to educate users about personal finance and ultimately help them take charge of their financial well-being.
In this interview, Shadrach shares how Lite App came about and how his interest in finance drives him to impact other people's lives, especially those who've gone through financial crisis, debts and student loans. Shadrach's main goal is to help young people get smart when it comes to their finances and later improve their overall sense of financial well-being.
Keep reading to find out more about Lite and learn from Shadrach's journey as an entrepreneur. After you download his app and absorb his advice, be sure to follow Shadrach on Twitter!
How did you get started as an entrepreneur? When did you first get bit by the entrepreneurial bug?
Fortunately, my mother and father were both serial entrepreneurs. In my father’s lifetime he owned a pest control company and with my mother a real estate investment company. Growing up, I had the luxury of watching them work hard for something they are passionate about and be their own boss.
Early on, I knew I had the entrepreneurial mindset, just needed that extra push to get started. The entrepreneurial bug first bit me when I started working with my Co-Founder & friend Eddy Gramajo at a Big 4 Public Accounting Firm and we began to really take a major interest in financial literacy.
We would do lots of research and try to help friends and family as much as possible. Then, we realized what if there was a way to get this information to the world much easier. That’s when the idea of Lite App first sparked, a one-stop shop for financial literacy! Ultimately, we wanted to build a product that will help people help themselves!
What does Lite App do that makes it better than the rest? In other words, what is your competitive advantage and how did you find it?
Lite App will be successful because we start with the basics. We have found a way to make learning about personal finance super easy! Lite provides content in all mediums such as articles, videos, and blog posts!
Lite App customizes a list of financial topics and tailor it to your current financial situation. Spend your breaks brushing up on personal finance. Discover how to increase your credit score, how to read a credit report, and how interest and APR work. Learn about the fundamentals of investing through our stock trading, fund trading, and short selling Lite Lessons. Prepare for your financial future utilizing the resources provided by Lite!
There are a good amount of money management apps in the fintech app space, however most of them miss a major key component, and that is education. They are missing a whole target market of students and working professionals that want to learn about personal finance in a simple and engaging way.
We as Founders are millennials that know how stressful it can be to have to blindly search tons of financial topics with zero direction. We know how it feels to be going through financial struggles and to continue to make careless financial mistakes.
We went through it in our college years and we never want to see someone go through it again. We can relate to students taking out multiple college loans and have no idea what compounding interest is. We can relate to new grads entering their new career and having no idea what a 401K is.
That being said, we can relate to our target market better than anyone. We realized our competitive advantage when we noticed how many of our peers reached out for financial advice, and loved how we could relate to their struggles and how we were able to simplify the information.
Lite is a movement to spread knowledge that people need, and to help us all become financially fit together! We will continue to teach personal finance at high schools and colleges, and dedicate our time to helping millennials get smart about their money!
What does a typical day look like for you? Is there something you make a point to do each day?
The goal every morning is wake up at 5:45 am do some work for LITE App before I start my day job as a financial analyst. I usually get home from work between 5-6pm and I make sure to do a minimum 2+ hrs for Lite every evening. On the weekends I’m in full Lite mode.
Within that busy schedule, I make sure to incorporate some type of exercise 3-4 times a week. That usually consists going on a morning run, a nice workout at the gym, or a pick up game of basketball.
What is the biggest business mistake that taught you a powerful lesson? Would you mind sharing how it made you the person you are today?
The biggest business mistake I made was miscommunication. We almost set our beta launch back a couple weeks because of miscommunication with our developer. I have learned that it is very important to be super clear when explaining specifics that you want done for your business.
When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going? To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals.
Being a successful entrepreneur is a very intrinsic goal for me. As I said earlier, my parents were all about building something from scratch and being able to call it your own. Unfortunately, they are no longer with us today, they are now my guardian angels. I know they would want me to pursue my dreams and that is what keeps me going!
Also, to have the opportunity to help motivate a high school student at the age of 16 to start saving for his books for college. The opportunity to teach and motivate a college student to pay their student loan interest while still in school and to graduate with minimal debt.
Lastly, the ultimate goal is for Lite to help build a larger middle class. To help reduce the gap between low-income and high-income Americans, and we know it all starts with financial education!
What trait would you consider made you the best person and professional you are today?
I have always been a very social and adventurous individual. In college, I received a hardship scholarship to study abroad in Hong Kong. I went alone, met tons of amazing people, learned a lot about people’s cultures and backgrounds, and had the time of my life.
What are the top 3 success tips that you would give anyone starting a business in California?
- Do your research
- Have contracts created to protect yourself and the business
- Invest in a desk and get to work!
Are you using any apps that help you stay on track from day-to day?
Expensify helps us track our expenses. Medium helps me learn more about our industry. Mailchimp helps us keep track of our subscribers and email campaigns. Fabric helps us track our analytics for Lite App.
We use Instagram and Twitter to connect with partners, network with influencers, and increase our following for the app! We use Facebook to interact with our early adopters and supporters! Lastly, we use all platforms to inform our users of updates within the app!
What are your goals for the next 5 years?
To be working on Lite App full time. For Lite App to be used in high schools and colleges nationwide. The opportunity to travel around to multiple high schools and colleges and host financial literacy workshops. To hear from our users how Lite had a positive impact on their lives and helped them gain financial freedom. Lastly, to be a successful entrepreneur.
What advice would you give to our readers who want to start a business in California today? Where should they start?
Start to research successful competitors and learn how they got started. Reach out to friends and mentors for help, you would be surprised to see how many people want to help you get the ball rolling.
Start brainstorming an execution plan for the business. Take the time to build your network and make valuable connections. Become very familiar with the industry you are going into. Try to understand all aspects of the business. Lastly and most importantly, start!