Rekha Garapati: There Are a Ton of Resources in Texas as It Relates to Startups. We’ve Had the Opportunity to Mentor With Others

Rekha Garapati of SoshWallet.

Tell us about yourself?

I was born and raised in India in a family of strong women. I spent 19 years at IBM and had the opportunity to travel and live all over the world.

I had the experience of leading development, product management, hosting teams and specializing in data science which gave me the foundation and business skills for what I do now.

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you? 

To be patient. There are so many things personally where I am extremely patient but in business especially after leading large teams and working for large companies, tomorrow is too late.

But in the startup world, they take a lot longer. Even though we have control over what we want to design and build, it’s working with vendors who work off of schedules etc.

I have also learned the importance of marketing. You might have a great product, but you need to spend the time to market as early as possible.

Lastly, we were bootstrapped in the first 1.5 years, it’s really hard to continue innovation without the angel investors and funding early on, so I would’ve started sooner.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

This goes back to the lessons that I learned: 1. Pick strong partners/vendors 2. start raising much faster and earlier. 3. Dive deep into marketing from the beginning.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

It is hard….first two years were sleepless nights…..managing our global team and with Covid it made it even harder.

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

We started as friends with two very different backgrounds and growing up in different parts of the world. We met while working in the fintech industry and immediately thought we’ve known each other all of our lives.

Both of us were similar in our love of technology but different how we spent our corporate careers….one in product development, design and operations and the other in the cultures of people and companies.

We are both very social people and we found a need for organizing our friends around finances… whether it was for a group trip, a reunion or our kid’s school and sports activities…. we found that there was a gap in technology that helped groups financially interact.

We didn’t want money to be a sore topic between friends, families and colleagues; we wanted people to interact like they socially do with happiness and trust.

We thought if we could bring trust into how people interact financially, then we’ve solved “the people” part of the equation.

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

We help make your group’s money TRUSTED! It’s FREE for personal use, FDIC INSURED, built on blockchain, UBER ORGANIZED with unlimited number of accounts & only 1.5% for business’s and charities with no per transaction or platform fees

How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?

Sales is hard. We are one of a jillion apps out there especially in the payment space. Our advice would be to find your differentiators, narrow down your market and find where you market resides.

For us, our sweet spot, we believe are groups like Parent Teacher Organizations and College organizations.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?

Our biggest challenge is getting the word out to the right audience and getting them to download the app and use it.

What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in Texas over other states in the US?

There are a ton of resources in Texas as it relates to startups.

We’ve had the opportunity to mentor with others, and meet people who have helped us with sales.

Are there any disadvantages of operating our business in Texas?

None that we can think of.

Texas has a pretty diverse population. How have you found the quickly changing demographics have impacted your business? Have you got new opportunities? Managed to expand your business into new areas?

Our app is open to all demographics so not sure this question is as relevant. Our app is a U.S. Based app so can be used by anyone with a U.S phone #.

It is often reported that, in Texas, politics and business are intertwined. Have you noticed this? Has it impacted your business?

No it has not impacted our business but we could say that if politicians used our app for their political campaign funds, then we can show their donors where their money is being used. 🙂

With rising prices across Texas (and the US as a whole) have you been impacted? Do you have a plan for dealing with inflation going forward?

No. We set our fees to target those small businesses and charities that are looking to save money. We are staying the course to keep our fees competitive.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years with your business?

We want people to think of us as the solution for their group that shows where their money is going.

We hope that we become the builder of trust for all groups because as people have said….money can either make or break relationships and we want to be known as the builder of relationships versus the breaking down of them.

And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?

Give us a call 512-790-4633 or email me us at [email protected]. We work at all hours of the day so you never know when you will catch us. We would love anyone’s feedback.

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