There’s nothing quite so affirming in these times as learning about companies that have set out to do genuine good for some portion of the population. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a number of entrepreneurs with missions to improve the lives and finances of others as much as their own, the latest being Ryan Clark, whose mission is improving your actual fortune.
Ryan is the CEO and cofounder of Qube Money, a Pleasant Grove, Utah-based firm with a new app aimed at helping people balance their budgets in a time when money can feel like an abstraction in the absence of cold, hard currency. (Personally, I have not used cash since March of 2020.)
Mary Juetten: When did you start?
Ryan Clark: After being in beta for six months, we officially launched the Qube Money App in January of 2021. However, the original idea and concept has been in the works since January of 2015.
Juetten: What problem are you solving?
Clark: As money has become digital, people have become disconnected from it. This has resulted in trillions of dollars of debt and people spending 17% more than they otherwise would with cash, as well as all sorts of social problems, including family disputes, divorce, and mental health.
Qube Money is budget-based banking or cash envelope banking. The envelope budgeting system is the most successful budgeting system ever because it causes real behavior change, easily. Our world has become almost cashless. Qube digitizes this system while restoring the power of cash to people and putting them in control again.
Juetten: Who are your customers and how do you find them?
Clark: Currently, our users are predominantly people who manage household budgets — married people with kids, but Qube Money works for anyone when it comes to saving money. Before the official launch, our customers found us primarily through word of mouth.
Juetten: How did past projects and/or experience help with this new project?
Clark: It’s actually all built upon itself. In 2015, I was writing my book, The Order of Wealth, and developing software to go with it. The idea grew out of frustration — I wanted something unique for cash flow. And, after seeing many clients fall off their budget plans, I knew there was a need for a platform to help simplify the process of achieving financial success and sticking to healthy financial behaviors.
Using the skills I gained during my time as a financial coach, I turned to this endeavor where I believed I could help more people than ever before.
Juetten: Who is on your team?
Clark: Shane Walker is my cofounder and the most humble and motivated person I know. We’ve been good friends since college where we sold pest control door-to-door. Shane has a talent with people. Before I roped him into Qube, he had already built a successful financial services company, so I knew he was the right fit to help us grow.
Jay Anderton is my COO and is incredible. He was the assistant to two army generals, a principal of a private school, and CEO of a startup which had an amazing exit.
Drew Porter is our Chief Product Officer and he makes us look really good. We’re proud of the modern and intuitive user interface he’s helped bring to life in the app and the brand.
Juetten: Did you raise money?
Clark: Funded by friends, family, and angel investors, we’ve raised $4M in funds without having to involve a venture capitalist. It has been an amazing blessing of support. Every dollar from these families and companies is a vote of support and responsibility. It’s an honor.
Juetten: Startups are an adventure — what’s your favorite startup story?
Clark: I recently read the start-up story of Lego. The guy (Ole Kirk Christiansen) had his shop burn down twice and he kept going. He put everything on the line for a big order producing many toys and then the buyer went bankrupt on him. Then he hit the street to sell the toys himself. I feel a lot like that with Qube. It takes grit to build something great, and you have to keep going!
Juetten: How do you measure success and what is your favorite success story?
Clark: The late Clayton Christiansen talks about how to measure success: “The only metrics that will truly matter to my life are the individuals whom I have been able to help, one by one, to become better people.”
This is true to who we are at Qube Money. With 80% of Americans in debt, we’re on a mission to help millions of people break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and eliminate debt.
Additionally, understanding the deep connection between relationships and money, we believe we can help couples collaborate and create transparency with money planning. With this in mind, we’ve set a goal to decrease the US divorce rate by 1%.
Juetten: Any tips to add for early-stage founders or CEOs in growth mode?
Clark: Make sure you’re prepared for the tough times and you have the ability to see the vision through. Great companies are built by people, not just great ideas. So, you must know your why.
Juetten: And of course, any IP challenges or horror stories to share?
Protect what you’ve built. Own your uniqueness. Never be afraid to proclaim to the world how amazing your product is even though it’s not at 100% of the full vision.
Juetten: What’s the long-term vision for your company?
Clark: We believe Qube is the beginning of banking 2.0. The power and control that people once enjoyed with cash have been eroded over time with digital currencies. Qube restores these controls and with them the ability for people to gain financial freedom. We believe that people want this control for themselves, their families, children, and companies. That’s where we’re headed.
Thank you to Ryan for his thoughts. Better budgeting is useful for all, not just families trying to work their way out of debt. #onwards.