CEO Stories: Empowering Customers to Take Control of Their Digital Wallets
Young entrepreneur David Callis, Co-Founder and CEO of Hiatus, wants to put an end to the set it and forget it subscription model by giving consumers the right tools to better manage subscriptions and track bills.
Quick, how many services are you billed for online each month, how much do they cost, how does that compare to the average user, and how can you lower fees? Many people don’t know. When David Callis realized he didn’t know, he had an epiphany. There should be an app for that. Callis, who had been working in Washington, D.C., in global risk insurance, teamed up with enterprise software designer Todd Gower to make that idea a viable product. Gower focused on the technology while Callis focused on the business model.
A steady schedule of late nights and weekends helped create the Hiatus app for iOS devices in early 2016. Then came the hard part — making it a full-time company. Callis and Gower worked in a small D.C. studio apartment, seeking feedback from friends and family on how to improve the service. They contacted news outlets and bloggers, and released a survey revealing that 62% of consumers waste money on automatic-renewal subscriptions. Within a year of going live, Hiatus raised $1 million in seed funding.
Securing capital has allowed Callis and Gower to expand into an eight-person team and pursue technology that’s more accurate in helping consumers save money on everything from student loans to insurance. The long-term goal is to grow into a competitor to financial institutions such as Wells Fargo. Getting there requires new revenue streams and understanding how their corner of fintech fits into the venture capital landscape. That, and nudging consumers toward better financial decisions.
About the Series: Featured stories from the intersection of the free market and entrepreneurial success. Here we speak with leading CEOs, academics, philanthropists and up and comers on their contributions and perspectives on the American economy.
About Ray Hoffman: Ray Hoffman, a veteran business journalist, is highly-regarded for his news and analysis features and insightful CEO interviews. Representing BusinessWeek on air for twenty-one years, Mr. Hoffman was the morning business news voice on the ABC Radio Networks from 1995 to 2006. Mr. Hoffman also represented The Wall Street Journal, on air, for eleven years. His daily WCBS CEO Radio feature was recognized by the New York Press Club as best radio business news report in both 2012 and 2015. In this podcast, Mr. Hoffman invites some of America’s most dynamic CEOs to share their stories as business builders and perspectives on free enterprise.