David Poritz – Co-Founder of Credijusto

We write down all our tasks and to-dos. It is amazing how something so simple can have so much impact! If you rely only on your memory, tasks can be forgotten or delayed.

David Poritz, 27, is the co-founder of Credijusto, a financial technology startup out to disrupt and change small business lending in Mexico and make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to raise money and thrive.

Credijusto is the second startup business Poritz has founded. While a student at Brown University, he started-up Equitable Origin, which created an innovative responsible certification program designed to promote higher social and environmental standards, greater transparency, and more accountability in oil and gas exploration and production. (Think of it as a Good Housekeeping seal of approval for the oil and gas industries).

David graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Brown and holds a Masters degree in Public Policy in Latin America from Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He is also a Henry David Thoreau Scholar and a Harry S. Truman Scholar. David was a subject of the 2014 PBS documentary film, “Oil & Water.”

Where did the idea for Credijusto come from?

After having lived and worked across many countries in Latin America, my co-founder Allan Apoj and I realized that small business lending was broken. It was hard to believe that a service so vital to the growth of emerging economies such as Mexico continued to function with no innovation.

Born and raised in Mexico, Allan had grown up seeing the terrible inefficiency and backwardness of banking. Everything from opening a simple bank account to getting a credit card was defined by dreadful customer service, slow approval times and little to no transparency. Having worked across Latin America for over ten years, I also experienced very similar challenges and had also seen how online lending platforms in the US and Europe were solving many of the same issues by offering fast and affordable financing solutions to consumers and small businesses.

Credijusto was born out of the desire to fix this broken industry. Allan and David decided to start in Mexico given its rapidly expanding middle class and the critical importance of small businesses to the entire economy.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

A typical day is divided between meetings with staff, clients, and new partners along with 2 – 3 hours of emailing. We try to limit our time spent on our computers given that we wish to stay in close touch with our clients and core business. As a high growth startup, we must stay in touch with our operations in order to evaluate if /when changes should be made.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We have new ideas on a daily basis. Therefore, it is critical to have a robust system to vet new concepts so as to only invest resources and time in those that seem most promising. Once Allan and I have discussed an idea internally we always leverage our key advisors to get their feedback on the concept. If we still feel confident after hearing from our external mentors, then we move toward creating a simple timeline and budget while beginning to assign the necessary resources to the project. This process enables us to bring new ideas to life with greater confidence that they will succeed.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

We are really excited that consumers in many emerging markets such as Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa are becoming increasingly comfortable with online technology as a tool to access financial resources. The numbers are really promising and show people gaining trust in these new online technologies that are disrupting traditional banks.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

We write down all our tasks and to-dos. It is amazing how something so simple can have so much impact! If you rely only on your memory, tasks can be forgotten or delayed.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Being a summer intern at a large investment bank taught Allan about the challenges of working in a bureaucratic environment and how one has to find allies within these large systems to efficiently move projects forward.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

At the start, we were fixated on getting the product and the idea 100% perfect. In retrospect, we needed to just launch and make tweaks to the business model once we went live. Making the beta product absolutely perfect is not where we should have focused our time. If we were to start again we would put more energy into quickly launching a commercially viable product and less time making it perfect.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

We maintain incredibly strong ties with our investors and advisors. Keeping them well informed and updated enables us to prevent mistakes from happening due to our lack of experience – these are people who have spent their lives building companies. Leverage your network and keep going back for advice and guidance.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

We have focused on low-cost customer acquisition channels primarily via online mechanisms which have enabled us to create a truly scalable model. We continually test new online tools and are seeing remarkable results.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

We initially thought to launch Credijusto with a focus on lending to public sector employees as well as to the employees of large companies, however quickly realized the significant challenges in gaining access to this client base. As a result, we refocused on small business lending where the market need was much greater and the customer acquisition easier.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

The growing immigrant population in the US is in need of easy, fair and transparent financial services products to send and receive funds to their relatives abroad. Although many remittances services do exist, there is still an important opportunity to offer higher quality financial products to this population.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently purchased two things that have made a major impact on my professional life. The first was a large Moleskin which I use for my planning sessions and leave on my desk and the second is upgrading my LinkedIn account to gain greater visibility into my professional network.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

We use the Microsoft 365 suite of tolls. They are great for scheduling meetings and for staying on top of tasks.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond is an important book that puts many modern day challenges into a historical context. The book helped me understand certain historical factors that created market deficiencies in many developing countries.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Vernon Hill the Founder of Metrobank has inspired many of our ideas for innovation in the banking sector and Muhammad Yunus has guided much of our thinking and emphasis on financial inclusion.


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