JC Carey's journey to $100M revenue & the BridgeCom exit

Posted by JC CareyShaun Gold | May 29, 2023

American entrepreneur JC Carey grew his telecom startup BridgeCom to $100M+ in revenue, then sold it in in 2004. Next, JC went on to build 3 more startups, including his current fintech Welspot. Today we discuss his founder journey so that you can better navigate your own.

: Okay, we're back. Another OpenVC exit interview, this time with the main man, JC Carey. JC, how are we doing?

JC: Doing great. How are you doing, Shaun?

Shaun: I'm doing well. Thanks for being here. I mean, full disclosure, you were the first founder to ever hire me to work for a startup.

JC: I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing for you.

Shaun: It was great. Most founders wanted to just give me equity and still do. And you were the first one to actually pay me not in coin, not in equity, not in goodwill, not in favors, but in actual money. So I appreciate that and helping me get started on my startup journey. So thank you for that and thank you for being here. The principle behind this is really simple. We're talking about your entrepreneurial adventure for about an hour without any slough, no sugar coating. We're going from startup to exit. The goal is to go beyond the press releases and the social media and really understand the secret sauce of your success in order to educate and inspire future entrepreneurs. With that being said, are you ready to rock?

JC: I don't think we need an hour. We might need a minute, but we are ready to rock.

Shaun: Alright, let's do it. So introduce yourself. Tell us about your background and your startup journey.

JC: Yeah, great. Well, my name is JC Carey, originally from New York, serial entrepreneur, startup specialist. I've pretty much started out of college, I think my first real business was doing party promotions and running Hampton houses and shares. I didn't have a lot of money, so that was the only way to get the ability to be out there and do the lifestyle that I wanted to live. So that was really my first business - party promotions and I guess South Hampton shares.

Shaun: Well, that was my first business too, party promotions.

JC: Just a different decade. Mine was in black and white.

Shaun: Yeah, your first party texts were on stone tablets.

JC: That's right. We had carrier pigeons sending the invites.

Shaun: Your first dinner party was the Last Supper.

JC: Exactly

"My first real business was doing party promotions"

Shaun: So you were doing party promotions and shares, then what? How did you decide to finish with the parties and really get into starting a company? I don't want to disparage party promoters, but let's do it. What made you get into starting a real company that could actually scale and be something that was beyond just hustling on the weekend and doing parties and shares?

JC: Well, it's interesting. I actually was in the insurance business and what I was doing was making a lot of money. However, it didn't fill my void of feeling passionate about building something and creating something. And I felt like I was an entrepreneur at heart and I was never owning my own business in this company. I could make a lot of money if I stayed there, but it wouldn't be mine. It wouldn't allow me to do the things I wanted to do. And I had a tough choice because I was making a lot of money at the time, and it was to start your own business from scratch. I started a telecom company out in New York City, and that was really my first real understanding of what having brass balls means. And, you know, you're either a hero or zero. So going into that endeavor was interesting because you don't know what you don't know. And at that time, it was a little bit different marketplace because you didn't have technology where it is today. So when I started my first company, I didn't have a lot of money to really invest in the company. And I had to learn, you know, we had to put the networking together. I had to learn how to network computers. We had to, you know, we couldn't afford a 24/7 building, so all of a sudden, the lights went out. I had to hide and stay in the building during the weekends to be able to answer phones. Twenty-four, seven. So it was just a different lifestyle of saying, hey, what are you really going to be prepared to do to start and run a business? Everyone says they want to be an entrepreneur, but how much effort, how much pain? How much are you willing to go up at what length to get what you want and do what you want to do to get success? And what does success actually mean? So I think when you don't know what you don't know, you'll do anything. And the interesting part was that I used to believe that working hard was like a badge of honor. And I was working at some point for probably three years, I think probably 90 to 120 hours a week.

Shaun: How many hours are there in a week?

JC: 168.

Shaun: Wow.

JC: Sleeping maybe like three, three and a half hours a day. And, you know, that was what was happening to really build a startup. And it was crazy because at the time, there were some of my best memories, as I told you. The interesting part was that it would be the middle of summer, no air conditioning. I'd have to lock myself in. There'd be gates coming down, and if there was a fire, I'd be locked in that building. I didn't have food. I didn't have a microwave. I didn't have anything. It was just really about hearing the rats on top of the ceiling, having your pretzels and some beverages, and then Monday morning, 09:00, the door opens, you see civilization and life. But the point was that you really learn what it is to work hard. And I think as an entrepreneur at the time, that was a great privilege to me to say, okay, I have my own business. I'm starting something, I'm building something. And we built something to scale, which I was very proud of. However, as I look back and reflect on the times, what I'm so interested in seeing is how much differently I would have done it, how much easier it would have been, how much deeper the thinking. I think that I was a doer, not a thinker. And after a lot of experience of learning the hard way, there's so many people out there that could share so many stories. There are so many books, there are so many podcasts of people showing you. It's almost like you have a map to success. They're trying to tell you what not to do. And then some people choose to go the hard way. So what I would say is that in my entrepreneurial journey, I worked really hard and I achieved a lot of success. I had a very successful exit, and it was a lot of luck, a lot of hard work, a lot of effort. And at the end of the day, I think I could have done three or four times as much with a lot less problems, headache, stress, and pain. And that would have been by working smarter, not harder. So that's the one lesson I would say, is to really look at working smarter, not harder.

"I was working at some point for three years probably 90 to 120 hours a week."

Shaun: Let me just take a step back for a second. You said you had rats in the ceiling. I mean, I have rats in my ceiling, but those are my neighbors. Are you talking about physical rats in the ceiling?

JC: Physical rats.

Shaun: You locked yourself into the building. There was no air conditioning, and essentially that's how you bootstrapped. Correct?

JC: Correct.

Shaun: Was this an entrepreneurship journey or was this a Diehard sequel? That's rough. But that's how you saved money, right? In the lean years, that's what you did. Instead of going to a real office and being able to afford it, you just did what you had to do. Correct?

JC: Correct. You have choices and then you have outcomes. I think the choices you make are going to have a heavy impact on the outcomes that happen. When you look at it, do you really need a nice office? I speak to a lot of guys now today, and they're telling me, "Oh, I want this space, that space. Who's doing your office? What do you actually need that office for? What do you need?" It goes back to what do you need and what do you want? A lot of it is serving the ego, not serving the business. When you have nothing, you really can't spend anything. So when you start having the money, that's when you start getting careless and things start to change. Because a lot of those things you don't actually need. They're there to flatter your ego or to give you a different opinion about how you perceive yourself or your business. So it's very interesting, the dynamics of that.

Shaun: So why telecom when you were doing this? Were you just interested in that space? You just thought there was an opportunity? It was quite a shift from partying to telecommunications.

JC: I love solving big problems with purpose. The interesting part was that at that time, there was heavy deregulation and a big opportunity, particularly with the long-distance market and what was happening with the local market. You could already see the trend and the pattern. The anticipation of it happening again was compelling - why not jump on the wave while you can? There was opportunity, so we jumped on it. That was really what we capitalized on.

Shaun: Not to make it sound old, but what year was this?

JC: 1997.

"The choices you make are going to have a heavy impact on the outcomes that happen."

Shaun: Okay, it's not that old. All right, this is the late nineties. Who was with you on your founding team?

JC: My partner, with whom I went to college and promoted parties, and did the Hampton houses with, was involved. This was our business that we went into. Our first real business that we went into.

Shaun: Okay, so there were two of you. Did he still work, or did he quit his job as well and went all in on this?

JC: We both went all in on it.

Shaun: What I always ask founders when they go all in and put everything on the line, is, what was your personal runway? And by personal runway, I mean, how long could you afford to pay rent? How did you live? How did you eat dinner and get your groceries? What was your budget just for surviving, as you put it all on the line?

JC: Well, it's interesting because we actually went back to doing party promotions on the weekends and doing certain things that would make ends meet because we believed so strongly in the business. However, we had to pay our sales people and we had to pay our rent, and we had to do these things. So if the income wasn't coming in initially and we had invested some of our money, we had to make it stretch. So we made it stretch really long with the limitation of knowing that you're not going to eat well, you're not going to date a lot, you're not going to do the things that allow you to have a lifestyle, in order to afford the future lifestyle that success could bring to your life if you're prepared to endure the storm. Part of a startup challenge is: Are you really prepared to endure the tough times without a real measurement tool that's going to tell you how long and how far you have to go, how deep and how much pain you have to endure, and what sacrifices you have to make? It's a tough answer because everyone says, "Oh, work hard." But do they really know what hard work and suffering are? What are they willing to forgo? What are they willing to eliminate out of their life? And that's a tough question to ask when you don't really understand how deep you might have to go and to what depths.

"Everyone says, "Oh, work hard." But do they really know what hard work and suffering are?"

Shaun: While you were doing this, did you have any outside capital, or did you guys just self fund this?

JC: Self fund.

Shaun: Initially, you self funded.

JC: We ended up getting investors, but it took a while before we got to that point.

Shaun: How many years until you got your first investor?

JC: Second year.

Shaun: Okay, so you bootstrapped it for two years. And was the investor a VC, an angel, or just a high net worth individual that you knew?

JC: Angel.

Shaun: And what was the investment he invested?

JC: I think 250,000 at the time.

Shaun: Was that your only first investment, or did you do additional rounds?

JC: Oh, we did multiple additional rounds. I mean, at the end of the company, we were doing about 100 million in revenue per year.

Shaun: Wow, 100 million. How many zeros is that for those paying attention?

JC: So we got up there, but it took a long time. And remember, the interesting part was, as an entrepreneur, you have the FOMO of what else is going on. So during that time, I told you it started in 1997. So in 2000, you had the dot-com boom, so you watched all these companies skyrocket in market caps and all of a sudden have these valuations that were just crazy. And you'd watch companies go from a 600, 700 million dollar valuation to, like, 14,

Shaun: $14 or 14 million?

JC: $14 million. But you saw a lot of these businesses that thought they were thriving, and you've seen this recently with Crypto. You've seen this with many different markets that are out there where they were inflated and then deflate down significantly, and people can lose a lot of money quickly. The two things I would say that are interesting is where do you actually aspire to become? What do you want this to be in the future state? And that's a tough question because everyone says, "I want to make a lot of money. I want to do something good. I want to give back." I mean, really, what do you want to do and how do you intend on getting there? Spend a lot of time thinking about those questions. I think the challenge most of the time is people don't have enough inner conversation about what they really want and why they want it and what that really means. That's always interesting, and I never was a deep thinker until each year I find out I know less and less. I've become very conscious about seeing things differently and looking at things from an alternative perspective. But the one thing that I would say, which is quite unique, that I've learned over time, is the same amount of effort that a person is going to exert into a business, it's their limiting spotlight that really is going to limit them. So if someone wants to open up a coffee shop and Howard Schultz wants to open up Starbucks, he's solving huge problems. The other person might not be solving big problems, but they're doing a lot of the similar things. You might realize that the amount of work and effort that you put into something can have significant impact. Why not you and why not now? And I think that a lot of times people limit their spotlight and say, "Oh, I don't have an MBA, I don't have this, I don't know that," and they limit themselves. But the reality is the amount of effort to do a billion-dollar business, a million-dollar business, or a lemonade stand is the same eight-hour work day, or the ten-hour work day, or twelve-hour work day of a person. So it's about solving a bigger problem and having a bigger purpose. And I think that's really some lessons that I've learned to be able to say, "How do I amplify my spotlight to be able to build bigger companies and solve bigger problems?"

"It is the same twelve-hour work day to do a billion-dollar business or a lemonade stand. So it's about solving a bigger problem and having a bigger purpose."

Shaun: So with that being the case, back to my original question. How did you eat when you were stuck with the rats? Was it vending machines? Did you have a girl that cooked for you because she felt sorry?

JC: I lived in the office. I literally was in the office 18 hours a day.

Shaun: Did you have a hotplate?

JC: Someone would get me food and at nighttime when the doors closed, it was pretzels and soda.

Shaun: That's what I want people to know, because there are people around the world wondering if they should pay themselves and if they are paying themselves. If they are paying themselves the ramen salary. And that's something that we always bring up in those lean years. Were you paying yourself or was it just no salary?

JC: No, no salary.

Shaun: So after you raised when your first angel came in, did you pay yourself anything or was it still no salary?

JC: No, then we started taking a salary, but a very meager salary.

Shaun: Do you remember what it was?

JC: Probably at that time it was 50…$75,000. I never took that much money until we started making real money.

Shaun: Okay, so you took a real salary, but the business was generating money. It had revenues and cash flows. And how many years were you doing this?

JC: It was seven years before I sold the entire business. We sold in 2004.

Shaun: Okay. And what was the name? Because I should have asked earlier, what was the name of the telecommunication company?

JC: BridgeCom, which is now Broadband Network. So it's been changed now so many different times.

"I literally was in the office 18 hours a day."

Shaun: But you heard it here first, you're the originator, the OG. So seven years was the entire journey. That was it. And did you find it getting easier as you raised more investment or did you find the pressure increasing on you as you brought in more outside capital?

: It's a great question. I feel like it's got to be divided out. So you have the human capital, and when you start a company, it's you and a couple of people. And the interesting part is to go through cycles. So the challenge there was you have a couple of people, everyone does everything, and you become family. It's a family, it's family, it's family. All of a sudden, you start hiring people, hiring people, and then when you get to 25 people, it starts to change the dynamics. So now you have a problem of, well, this person has been here the longest, but they don't know how to manage, but they want to be the manager. And because of hierarchy and because of relationships and because of all the efforts that were done in the beginning to get to a certain point, you'd have a lot of challenges with the human side of things to grow.

And then what's happening is you get 50 people, and you say, oh wow, we have a department for that. And then all of a sudden you're like, who's that person? And when you're over 100 people, it's tough to keep track. And so that side of it became a challenge to realize, to say people's trajectory and growth don't go at the same rate you grow at. So I would say that one statement that I would want to share with people would be people talk about wanting to have a family. I always look at it more like I want to have a team. A team recruits and retains the best talent to work together to deliver the best output. If a team has a person that's not performing well, they're going to get rid of that person. If a family has a person that's not performing well, they can't get rid of that person. There's a big difference in the dynamics. So I think that that side of it became a very big challenge. And my mental maturity and intellectual presence there was limited because I had a lot of this heart to say, I want to do the right thing as a person, but as a shareholder, I wasn't doing the right thing for them. And as an investor, I wasn't doing the right thing for them. As an owner, I wasn't doing the right thing for the business, but I want to do the right thing for the person. So that became a big struggle to me of the human persona and the feeling side of it as far as the scale and the growth.

I think as you start to scale, you need to have more and more vision over the future state of what that's going to be in the next years to come. And as a CEO, it's about leadership. So you want to recruit and retain the best talent, but you also want to have anticipation of where the business can go and where the business may have problems. So I think the scaling part is always a challenge of that dynamic of the supply and the demand or the ops to the sales. There's always a struggle somewhere and who are you pleasing? So I think you have to make that choice early on to say, are you pleasing your shareholders? Are you pleasing your employees, or are you pleasing your customers? One's got to be at the top. And if you pick that one, make sure it isn't a jellyfish that doesn't have a backbone. And change is good. But the bottom line is you can't, you have to be disciplined to have an approach and stick with that approach and believe in your approach and have the people believe in you. So I feel like a lot of times as a leader, the choices that you make, you might start questioning, and then you might want to revert back and you want to pedal. And I think that's one of the challenges I saw. Which scale was very challenging to know what's the right move without knowing what's behind doing number one, two or three?

Shaun: What was the total amount raised? If you remember.

JC: We were constantly raising money at the time, and then we went through debt financing factoring. As you start doing more money, you start becoming more creative with your money. So then my recommendation is understanding how much you can leverage debt. And people look at debt as a bad thing, but receivable financing or debt. If you could preserve equity and you know you're building proprietary technology, well, your valuation is heavily evaluated on the future exit and the more equity you can retain. I think equity is something everyone should hold onto dearly, but as well be very conscious of inviting the right people in to be partners in the business. So it's almost like, well, who gets the equity is really the selection process. So it's a very difficult question to say how do you raise money, when do you raise money, how much do you raise? But looking at this year to last year, I think that no one was going to predict it would be this tough and this difficult to get money today if they would have said twelve months ago because they were giving away money then. And most people say get the money while you can and then what do you give up? So it's almost like everyone wants to be a Monday morning quarterback. And to anyone out there starting a business, there's no right or wrong. I think everyone has to understand what they are giving to what they are getting? And really understanding how they are making the decision? Are they making a decision based on them today or the future tomorrow? And is it of them independently or the future state of the business? So there are a lot of different methods and exercises to actually understand the options that can be taken or considered. So I know you asked the question, and I'm not trying to be vague.

"Are you pleasing your shareholders, your employees, or your customers? One's got to be at the top."

Shaun: It's great information, but it was a lot, which is more than a little less than a ton. You're doing $100 million a year in revenue, right?

JC: Correct.

Shaun: Okay, so I'm sure you remember this, but what was the exit number? How much did you exit for?

JC: I don't want to talk about that.

Shaun: Okay. So again, it was a lot. It's fine if you don't want to say it, but we can say it was a significant exit.

JC: Correct.

Shaun: It was worth reflecting on it. It was worth the two years of eating pretzels and being in the office with the rats and just taking a seven-year journey from a job where you're making a lot of money to do this. You were pleased with the exit, correct?

JC: Absolutely.

Shaun: Okay, so that's what I was getting to with it. Now, you're a tech guy. You're a patent holder, right?

JC: Correct.

Shaun: How many?

JC: Five.

Shaun: Wow. Okay. So those patents were from that business specifically, or this was after the exit?

JC: After the exit.

Shaun: Okay. So I wanted to ask you because the exit right now is almost, and I don't want to make you feel old, but almost 20 years ago. Wow. I think I had a MySpace profile when you were having an exit. So you had an exit, and in the 20 years since, you've jumped back into being an entrepreneur. And one thing I ask everyone once they have an exit is why put yourself back into the shoes of creating something and solving a problem? And you've already done that. And you could simply lie on a beach, travel the world, watch all your favorite shows on your DVR and binge them, and not have to worry. Why come back and be an entrepreneur and found other companies?

JC: Well, I can speak for myself and I can speak for most other people who have gone through this journey. People get bored. The same beach has the same white sand and the same mojito and the same fun and action. It gets boring. And a creative person, a person is motivated and driven by doing something of purpose. That's not a purpose. That's not a life. That's an existence, a meager existence. And I think for me, it didn't do it. For me, my creative juices are to work no matter what. I'll never not work. There's no time for me never to not work because you want to keep the mind stimulated. I want to keep my mind stimulated. I want to challenge myself. I want to grow. I want to learn and I want to interact. I want to build experiences. I want to build relationships with people, with businesses. There's so much out there, and so much is changing. It's just to me, it's a great opportunity and privilege to be able to keep working. And I think the biggest thing is to do what you love. And if you don't feel like it's work, it's a great privilege. But every day it's a struggle. Work is not easy. There's no light switch that just says, "Okay, you go in and you just do this." And then it happens. And because you're successful in one thing doesn't mean you're successful in another. I mean, you could ask me about some of the challenges I've had after post-success.

"The same beach has the same white sand and the same mojito and the same fun and action. It gets boring."

Shaun: Oh, that's where I am going next. Well, people think that you have the exit and it's happily ever after, but you're one of the first interviews we were doing for the exit series. We've done others, and every single exited founder has just jumped back into a new company, a new project, being productive, joining another start-up. I guess I'm the only one that if I ever have an exit, I'm going to the beach. Okay, I'm done. I'm out. I'm out. That's it. I'll find something or someone to occupy my time. So you had the exit and we have this happily ever after. Okay, you're done. You're done. But you jump back in, you have your patents, and you started other companies, which proved to be challenging. So tell us about the companies that proved to be challenging and what your mindset was going into them, seeing as if you were coming from the standpoint of an exited founder. Did you think they were going to be easy? Did you think that it was going to be just something fun to do? Or did you think that you were going to have a moment when you went back to hiding in a closed office with nothing but the rats to keep you company and go, "How does it come to this after $100 million a year, please?"

JC: Sure, yeah, all the above. Check. You falsify yourself, and you think that you're invincible, and you think that you're super smart, and you think that everything's going to go great, and all of a sudden you get knocked on your ass again, which is great. It's very humbling. And I think for me, I was looking to solve a big problem. I wanted to transform transportation, and I was building out something that was going to revolutionize transportation. I had these great ideas that I thought, and at the time, they were innovative. And we started building an Uber before there was an Uber. And we were doing it for luxury transportation, and it was going really well. And then all of a sudden, this company Uber comes around, and it's like, what is this? And it basically did everything we did but times a gazillion, and with market share money, intellectual property. It was at a point where it was like, how could you even compete with this? So having an idea first doesn't mean anything. Being able to execute on the idea and be able to deliver is really the key. So then that was really challenging for me because no one wants to hear, "Oh, well, you were there first." It's like, well, like you said, you had a MySpace account, but how's that working for Facebook?

Shaun: Yeah, there's the old quote that pioneers get slaughtered and settlers prosper. So it's not always the first to market. It doesn't mean that you're going to be the only one in the market. Everybody wants to be the tallest, brightest flower in the garden until they get plucked. And I feel like founders just want to be successful and stay in the garden. You don't want to get plucked, and you also don't want to wither and decay. So yeah, I remember the Uber competitor because I was part of it. It was great. I remember making a very big contribution to that startup, mint Wintergreen lifesavers in every car. Excellent. It didn't do much to help, but that was my contribution. So that was a humbling, challenging experience. Tell us about another, if you're comfortable.

JC: Sure. Well, you talked about raising money, and I have a technology company that we do global media events worldwide. And we basically had the opportunity to look at the business and say, we need to get money. What's it going to cost to get this money? And we looked at the cost, and we said if we get to a certain point where we get profitable, our cost of money is going to be a lot less. So we made a dedicated choice to say, all right, let's just go ahead and make sure that we do everything in our power to achieve this result. And it was a calculated decision. We ended up doing it. And it was March right when COVID happened, and it was at the point where it was going to be our first profitable month. Have you ever seen the airlines when every flight gets canceled? Do you see the whole board go cancel against the country? Our whole sales funnel for the whole quarter that had us projected out, that we had VC lined up that they were ready to invest, and they said if you do all this stuff, we were ready to go. And at that point, COVID happened, and we're doing global meetings and events in person. That business didn't touch $1. It's just ramping back up now. So the timeliness that you could have a great idea and be at the wrong time. So it's always a struggle. You never know what to anticipate, and you can have a right decision and the wrong outcome happens. So it was a really interesting lesson. And the reality is, once you realize that you're an entrepreneur, you can't push me out, you can't punch me in the face, you can't do anything that's going to hurt me or surprise you. Because once you've been through it all, you just expect the worst and understand. When it's good, you really appreciate it. When it's bad, you say, "Alright, it's a puzzle. How do I solve the puzzle?" A puzzle is supposed to be fun because there's always going to be something, no matter who it is, no matter what it is, no matter how big it is.

"You could have a great idea and be at the wrong time. You can have a right decision and the wrong outcome happens."

Shaun: With that being said, I want to just add a minor thought experiment. What do you think would have happened if you would have had those challenges and a failure before the exit? How do you think that would have affected your mindset? Because it's one thing to be a successful entrepreneur and have a very sizable exit and then dive into something and have it not work out. But most entrepreneurs are never going to have an exit. They're just going to be constantly beaten up, and they might not have the mental fortitude or the capacity to jump back in because they've been chewed up before. What do you think would have happened in your case if the telecommunication company just was a complete failure? You ate all those pretzels and dealt with the rats for nothing, and now it's like, here's another opportunity to start something. Would you have been so eager to do it?

JC: I love that question. I think it's a great question. You only know until you're presented with the opportunity. The only thing I could say is that if I was going to tell myself at the time, is that you have to believe in yourself no matter what. And when you look at historically how many people have failed and how many people have gone through this stuff, the only words of encouragement I'd say is that believe in yourself and failure is good to a lot of people, even when I'm out there raising money right now. And a lot of people want to know just as much about the successes and the failures because you learn from them and you understand them. So I think that I would have, it's easy to say I would have now, but I don't know how quickly I would have been able to jump into it. And I think my ego and pride would have been very hurt and minimized to the fact of saying my confidence and self-doubt would have been compromised and challenged to say, "Hey, I didn't do it before. Why is it going to work this time? Why would I want to lose my money or waste this time? Maybe it shouldn't be me telling people what to do. Maybe I should just work for someone else." And I think it would have been a shame because the same person is the one that's going to win the gold one year and lose it the next, and vice versa. So I think just getting up there and playing in the game is really the key. And believing in yourself, and it's a tough thing to do when you get knocked down, beaten up, but everyone's getting it and doing it. It's just, I think when it comes to one's inner thought process of it, it can be very humbling and very disheartening. And I like your question a lot because I want to say yes, and I'd love to say yes, but only one would know until they had that situation happen to them.

Shaun: Understood. Well, with that being said, you're out again. You can't keep a good man down. Tell us what you're working on right now.

"Just getting up there and playing in the game is really the key."

JC: So I'm working on a fintech company, a mind-based fintech company called Welspot. And we're doing personalized subscription payment plans. So it's really helping doctor's offices have their patients who need financing for health and wellness, which is a huge problem today. And we're providing the affordability and accessibility for these people, which is a big problem that we're really excited to serve. And we believe that we will become the first next-generation wellness bank. So it's exciting stuff ahead, and we're a great team working hard to make this vision happen.

Shaun: Alright. And this is startup number four for you, correct?

JC: Yes, it is.

Shaun: So we're keeping track. We've got one sizable exit, one sizable failure, one that's hit or miss, right? That would be the third one that COVID shut down.

JC: Yeah, that one is still on the fence.

Shaun: Still on the fence. Okay. And now we have another one. The odds are, I hope they're ever in your favor because now you've got this track record. I mean, this is really interesting again because most people, they just have so many different pivots and so many different failures, and they just go back and do it and let's see what happens. So it's very commendable, and I respect it. And seeing as you're in Miami, I'm in Miami, the Silicon Swamp, as I call it, I want to ask you because you're originally from New York, correct?

JC: Correct.

Shaun: So do you think now, going into 2023, with Zoom and the ability to network virtually and have meetings virtually, do you think people need to be in a hub? Do people need to come to Miami? Do they need to be here to really grow? Do they need to be in New York? Do they need to be here to be at the right events and shake the right hands and meet the right people? What do you think?

JC: I think people need to know what they want to do. Once they understand their goals, it's less about where they are and more about what they're doing. I believe that people can succeed from anywhere if they're talented and creative. So while being in Miami or any specific location can provide great opportunities for networking and interaction, I don't think it's a limiting factor for success if someone can't be there. It's more about their skills and determination. But being around like-minded people and engaging in a vibrant ecosystem can be beneficial if one has the opportunity to do so.

Shaun: In my opinion, we have enough people in Miami. Stop coming here. You're driving up the rents, parking, and traffic.

JC: You said it. There you have it.

Shaun: Please go to Silicon Valley or go to Silicon Alley, but don't come to the swamp. The swamp is full. We have enough people here trying to be tech bros or VCs and all that. It's enough. There are plenty of other startup hubs in the world. So, anything else you want to tell our readers and viewers before we end now?

JC: I guess just really thinking through what you really want to be and what you really want to do and spending the appropriate time to have that in your head, to really map it out, is a key exercise that I can't emphasize enough. Once you understand that, I'd say keep challenging it, keep questioning it, because it's going to change. Wow, final thoughts that are profound from JC Carey. My man, thank you for joining us on the Open VC exit interview, and I wish you the best of luck with Welspot. I'm looking forward to seeing it come together. Take care, brother.

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