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Innovating in Fintech: Jason Hogg, CEO of Lending.com (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Dec 16th 2015

FinTech is hot these days. Jason has particular expertise in the segment, and he discusses his multiple ventures.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s go to the beginning of your personal story. Where were your born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Jason Hogg: I’m from New York originally and grew up just outside the city. My dad was actually the CEO of MasterCard, which was located in the city at that time. Before that, he had been with American Express and ran their international business. I ended up spending my early youth in England as well. I was born in the States, moved over to England for a few years, and then came back.

Sramana Mitra: After high school, what did you do in terms of further education?

Jason Hogg: I went to Colby College which is in Maine. I was a member of the student government there and also ended up being the Treasurer of the student body. I also played varsity football. I graduated in 1993 and went into MBNA America which was, at that time, a small credit card company in Delaware. I was one of the 22 members of their Management Development Program. I went through a very formal nine-month rotational program right out of school that took me through every major operating area of the bank. I got my Federal Lending Authority. I went through Marketing, Finance, and Communications courses.

Sramana Mitra: What year does that bring us up to?

Jason Hogg: That brings us up to 1994. When I graduated from the Management Development Program, I actually first became an intrapreneur before becoming an entrepreneur. When I was in MBNA until 1998, I started three businesses for them. I co-founded their sports marketing practice. We grew that to a $2 billion receivables business. Then I was rotated or fast-tracked to other areas of the bank. Then I founded their financial management services business called FMS Inc., which was a consumer credit counseling business that went on to become the largest consumer credit counseling business in the United States. After that at the end of 1996, I went up to Canada with two other individuals and we founded MBNA Canada and grew that to be a successful business. I was Chief Business Development Officer and ran all the marketing, customer service, and any of the customer contact points. We later sold MBNA Canada for roughly $7 billion or $8 billion to TD Bank.

Sramana Mitra: I have a question on theses intrapreneurial projects that you did. How were you compensated?

Jason Hogg: That was actually one of the reasons why I decided to become an entrepreneur versus remaining an intrapreneur. I was well-compensated through promotions. I was very rapidly promoted. I was one of the youngest Vice Presidents ever in the bank’s history. Predominantly, it was the salary and bonus structure. On occasions, I was given a performance-based incentive plan as well. From an equity standpoint, I started to grow major experiences. The best thing I got from it was the experience and not necessarily economic returns at that time.

Sramana Mitra: So you decided that it was time to leave and start something that you do have equity position in.

Jason Hogg: I did. The interesting thing though is I figured out very quickly that just because you’re a very good intrapreneur in a large company doesn’t mean you actually understand what it’s like to be an entrepreneur.

Sramana Mitra: Good point. When you have all this cash available, you don’t really know what it’s like to start completely from scratch.

Jason Hogg: In fact, you take it for granted. You get phenomenal experience, which is critical obviously, and you’ve learned a lot of formal skills. There’s the bootstrapping component that you’re not used to. You just give a presentation and if they like what you want to do, they’ll fund it. If you continue to hit your milestones, they’ll keep funding. That’s a lot different than having to go out and raise capital and make people believe in you and your idea. I wanted to go back to business school because I also realized that I was missing a couple of hard skills from a finance perspective. I got my MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Innovating in Fintech: Jason Hogg, CEO of Lending.com
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