Say Goodbye to Debt Shame with the Co-Founders of Debbie


Summary of Episode

#14: Frida Leibowitz and Rachel Lauren join Annaka and Ethan to discuss their startup Debbie, a company working to combat debt cycles by helping borrowers transition to wealth builders.  Frida and Rachel walk us through their personal stories dealing with debt, the process of using current psychological research to model product designs, the transition from a side project to a full-time company, and how they leveraged their network to fundraise a $1.2 million pre-seed round. 

Frida Leibowitz and Rachel Lauren are the founders of Debbie, a platform working to help users create a path towards debt freedom. Frida previously worked in credit risk and product development at Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Rachel formerly worked as a VC at BDMI. Both thought there needed to be better systems in place to help educate consumers about their debt and how to pay off debt. Together, along with their third cofounder Maxime, they have created an entirely remote team striving to fix the debt cycle that plagues far too many people. 

Full Episode Transcript

Podcast Episode Notes

The American debt cycle affects 40% of families [1:35]

Frida’s experience navigating debt and finding a path towards debt freedom [3:20]

Analyzing the debt payoff market and creating new ways to combat a recurring problem [6:10]

Prioritizing consumers rather than spreadsheet models — we do not always make rational financial choices [9:15]

Observe first then combine observations with your personal experience to get going [13:04]

Focusing on carrots not sticks — how Debbie leverages research in psychology and behavior change to make informed business decisions and product designs backed by data [19:15]

The booming tech scene in Miami [22:45]

Working with a team across the world and creating an identity as an all-remote company [27:10]

Focus on the problem not the solution. If you are enthusiastic about the problem, you can be open to see various ways to tackle it [32:03]

“Find the message that works,” Rachel’s advice for growing from 0 users to 11,000+  [36:20]

Who is Debbie? [41:05]

Building a founding team with a balanced skillset [43:38]

A methodical approach to building an initial concept for Debbie and making the jump from a standard job to working full time at Debbie [50:50]

Raising a $1.2 million pre-seed round of funding and using your own network to win additional support [56:05]

Building a better product to scale Debbie and continue to grow the customer base [1:00:55]

Rachel’s advice for entrepreneurs is to find a great cofounder [1:03:05] 

Frida’s advice — “Would you still be doing what you are doing if you were anonymous and got no credit?” Nobody really knows what you are doing, so you need to love it. [1:04:38]

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