Benjamin Miller’s fintech startup has taken on one of the biggest multi-trillion dollars markets, and they’ve already made incredible headway towards changing the status quo.
During our interview on the Dealmakers Podcast Ben Miller shared his inspiration for his startup, how they’ve raised over a billion dollars in equity, the foundation of what hyper successful, long living startups are really built on, and what it’s like taking on billion dollar giants that are deeply entrenched.
The Emperor’s Clothes
Ben Miller was born and grew up in Washington DC, where his current startup is also headquartered.
Like the McDonald’s brand really isn’t a food business, but a real estate business, Miller revealed that while many think Washington, DC is a political town, it is really all built on real estate.
He spent his life growing up in a real estate family, and has now seen the market go through at least three sizable crises. He saw his real estate entrepreneur father go through the savings and loan crisis of the early 90s. Then he lived through 2008, and now COVID.
He’s gained the big picture perspective and pattern recognition that comes along with this.
He’s seen the financial industry collapse more than once. The ulcers that can give you as a real estate entrepreneur, and how fast companies can go from being seen as unstoppable market makers to hundreds of millions in the red, and bankrupt. How when it hits the fan that the illusion of this strength and success can vaporize overnight, and these financial giants are revealed, like the emperor’s new clothes.
The fact that these big crises are also some of the biggest opportunities has also not been lost on him.
Crises like these seem to predictably come around every seven to ten years in real estate. Almost like clockwork, or by design.
Right after school Ben went into working in private equity, and then did some time in the family business.
He had the common view that working with big funds and institutions was the way to grow and scale your business.
The Foundation Of A Great Business
Ben says that if you are going to start a business, don’t think about it from the angle of a solution, or needing to begin with a solution. Instead, he says to just find a really big problem. If you do that, you will continue to find things to solve, and create something that outlasts your own lifetime.
His perception of the trillion dollar finance industry was that it was fundamentally flawed.
Not only are the big incumbents horrific at using and implementing technology, they just can’t get their brains around creating an economy based on the customer.
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