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Blog calendar    May 23, 2024

Electrifying Growth Episode 23: Empowering People to Make the Best Financial Decisions with Dee Choubey

MoneyLion CEO Dee Choubey joins Managing Partner and host Chris Sugden for Episode 23 of Electrifying Growth.


"Prioritization and trust in your operators are pivotal for any CEO at a later stage, as they enable you to focus on the strategic tasks that really move the needle for your company." - Dee Choubey

As entrepreneurs and innovators continue to shape the future, the choice of an investment partner can dramatically affect the trajectory of a businesses growth and success. One key insight that emerges from successful partnerships is the significant role that the human aspect plays in nurturing and scaling a business. Dee Choubey, CEO and Co-Founder of MoneyLion, paints a vivid picture of the profound impact an empathetic, human-focused investor can have on a company.

Choubey spoke about his journey and experiences, shedding light not just on the technical and strategic facets of running a rapidly evolving fintech venture, but on the personal and human elements as well. For founders looking for the right investor, understanding the importance of these elements is paramount.

The Human Element in Growth Equity

While Choubey's narrative is rife with technical advancements and the push towards leveraging AI and machine learning, his emphasis on the need for discipline, trust, and prioritization in leadership roles underscores the necessity of a investment partner who doesn’t just back financially, but also supports the company’s human capital needs.

Here's what potential founders and business leaders can glean from the discussion:

Human-Centric Leadership and Growth: Choubey discusses the value of being a player-coach CEO, exemplifying the dual roles of leading and participating alongside his team. "You want to be a manager? Great. Manage yourself. You have the responsibility of being a player-coach, of teaching...but also have to do your own work." This kind of leadership not only accelerates problem-solving and innovation but also builds a company culture that values each member’s contribution. 

Balancing the Books and People: Choubey stresses the importance of balancing margin profiles with sustainable business growth. An investment partner that appreciates the importance of this balance can provide not just growth capital but also strategic advice that doesn’t sacrifice the company’s core values for profitability.

Building Trust Through Commitment: "A lot of people do a job because it's a job. But [you need] owner-operators: [people] who bought into the mission and are not going to wait for someone to put a post-it note on their desk to go do something." The distinction Choubey makes between “owner-operators” and mere job holders highlights the need for investors who invest in team dynamics and nurture leaders who are deeply committed to the business's vision. 

How a Well-Chosen Investment Partner Adds Value

The conversation effectively illustrates how Edison Partners has provided a nurturing ground for MoneyLion by understanding and aligning with its long-term goals, rather than just focusing on immediate gains.

A great investor goes beyond the checks and balances:

They Mentor and Guide: Through the highs and lows of a business lifecycle, having an investor who acts as a mentor can provide founders with much-needed perspectives often lost when deep in the grind. Choubey shares a story about an early MoneyLion investor who doubles as a mentor. He says, "We had an early investor who is still a big investor in MoneyLion, who I have a lot of respect for as a mentor to me. But he and I would get into these massive fights about the unit economics or the market structure of the wealth management space. From his vantage point, he clearly must have been thinking, 'this guy does not have a clue about what he's talking about.' And my view was, 'that's exactly why I think that I can get millions of people to use it. We're going to be on top of the changing mores of society!' ...That's where the naivete is sometimes helpful."

They Connect on a Deeper Level: Understanding the ethos of the team, their strengths, weaknesses, and motivations can help investors provide more targeted assistance and foster a supportive environment conducive to growth.

They Plan for Long-Term Success: As illustrated by MoneyLion’s story, the best investment partnerships look beyond the next quarter’s financials; they build for decades.

Enriching Your Journey with the Right Partner

Choosing an investment partner who appreciates and emphasizes the human elements of business—commitment, leadership, teamwork, and innovation—is crucial. For those embarking on this exciting, yet challenging, entrepreneurial journey, aligning with a partner who shares these values can very well determine the journey's enjoyment, fulfillment, and success.

Want to delve deeper into how these insights can be applied to your venture? Check out the full episode. It packs real-world lessons and strategic insights into a powerful narrative about growth, challenges, and visionary leadership. Whether you're an entrepreneur in the trenches or a business leader dreaming of the next big thing, my conversation with Dee Choubey adds essential colors to the canvas of business building you won't want to miss.

Chris is Managing Partner and Chairman of the firm's investment committee. He has been on both sides of the table as a successful entrepreneur. His experience includes leading sales, product, finance, business strategy and capital formation.