Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Om Kundu, the founder and CEO of SaveAway®. Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Om! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing?
Om: Glad to be with you, Spiffy! For far too many, important purchases are either unaffordable or on the slippery slope of credit becoming debt. Why not "SaveAway® Now, Smile Later" to fulfill your important purchases memorably and affordably with your financial health and wellness at heart? And why not do this as part of an intelligently personalized plan that combines your auto-saving in installments with the support of friends, family, and best offers—all in ways that equally open up a wholly new channel for sellers to convert sales from customers they wouldn't have had otherwise? In this way, we can further a more perfect union where the path to prosperity becomes a human right. We can meld financial and social capital to ensure no goal is out of reach by #SavingForWhatMatters.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Om: Well, I noticed the striking contrasts between squalor and splendor that are evident in the sophistication of how wealth is managed versus how it is mismanaged by those who have very little of it to begin with and are left to their own devices. I also had firsthand experiences of the glass ceiling, and those are perhaps what catalyzed my abiding interest in innovating in ways that also make the world around us just. On a more personal note, my life experiences as an immigrant and entrepreneur have taught me lessons impossible to forget, including the importance of ensuring the promise of a vibrant future is democratized. Perhaps even more sobering is the sheer amount of grit, grace, and support I have seen pitched in for such goals to be collectively shared to improve lives.
Spiffy: How else are you and your team working towards a more equitable world?
Om: With SaveAway®’s patented technology, our social saving, retail, and e-commerce platform is empowering users with the ability to save up as part of an intelligent financial plan to fulfill important purchases without the need for credit or debt. In combination with the users’ own auto-saving and support from their extended friends and family network—both in the form of advice and gifting—this is translating into remarkably better purchasing decisions and the ability to fulfill goals sustainably sans unnecessary buyers' remorse, debt, or merchandise returns. This is opening up a wholly new channel for buyers to access underserved customer segments they would not have had otherwise.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make on your community or audience?
Om: On average, active SaveAway® users have more than two friends-and-family network members that have joined them on the SaveAway® platform, and our top power-users are more than ten times that figure. This, in part, follows from our design itself, which makes our users highly motivated to engage friends and family so they can benefit from context-sensitive advice to make remarkably better purchase decisions (harnessing our patented capability) as well as social gifting to enhance the users' own auto-saving to fulfill purchases they otherwise couldn’t. This makes SaveAway® equally compelling as a conversion tool for sellers.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?
Om: There have been dialogs with partners that have taken multiple quarters, feedback from capital allocators suggesting SaveAway®'s scope would be restricted to certain ethnic communities despite our data indicating otherwise, copycats that have infringed on our intellectual property, etc. Nevertheless, I am nothing if not humbled seeing the SaveAway® community’s abiding mission come to life. This is because of its passionate early user community, which has egged me on that much more in furthering the enterprise with an indefatigable drive to redraw our arc in ways that ultimately bend towards a more just world.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Om: SaveAway® has been described as radical in how it is empowering consumers, and it was named Top Fintech Forward Company To Watch. The #SaveForWhatMatters mission—in engendering a sustainable foundation for consumption—has been oft-cited across the industry, including with recognition as a presenting company at South by Southwest. It has also enjoyed critical acclaim from leading forums such as Finovate, and it was in the top 100 for Startup of the Year by the Consumer Technology Association and Tech.co. SaveAway® represents V-1.0 to fundamentally re-imagine commerce and financial wellness, furthering the path to prosperity as a human right.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Om—it’s been an honor!
Om Kundu is the founder and technical inventor of SaveAway®, a community with fervent members who believe in its abiding mission of making the path to prosperity a human right. For more than 15 years, Kundu has driven sustainable category-leading growth for leading institutions, including having profit-and-loss responsibility for over $40 billion and ten million customers. Kundu graduated with degrees in math and computational sciences with “Science, Technology, Society” honors from Stanford University. He has chaired several conferences and has served on boards of several organizations. (Nominated by Jing Herman of 28Muses. First published on the Ladderworks website on December 6, 2022.)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.