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Thought Leaders in Financial Technology: OppFi CEO Jared Kaplan (Part 1)

Posted on Tuesday, Mar 2nd 2021
Profile photo of Jared Kaplan

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Consumer credit is getting destroyed at a furious pace. OppFi helps credit-challenged borrowers access credit and heal their credit scores.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s introduce OppFi and yourself to our audience.

Jared Kaplan: Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk to you today. We have built a financial technology platform for what we call the everyday American. I’m not sure that people understand what that means today. I’ll go there in a quick second, but first, I’ll give you a quick rundown on how I got here.

I started my career at Goldman Sachs as an analyst in their Technology, Media & Telecom group. It was a fantastic experience working with the most impressive people in the world like John Waldron and Stephen Scherr who are now at the top senior ranks at the bank. Omer Ismail was in my analyst class.

I remember feeling bad about myself walking through those walls. I thought about how amazing these people were and how much I had to learn. It was a perfect training ground.

After that, I moved over to the private equity world. It was an interesting private equity firm in that we tried to start businesses from the ground up. We would form the investment thesis and do a bunch of outbound research to figure out where you could build the business. We would then hire a team to execute the vision.

I fell into financial services with a heavy insurance focus. It was an eye-opening experience for me because I had never dreamed about being in insurance. It was obvious that some of these older industries are ripe for disruption.

At Goldman, I was exposed to some of the trendiest companies in the world, but it was some of these stone-age companies that proved to have great value creation potential. All that culminated in co-founding the insurance technology business. We didn’t call it insurance tech at that time. It was the first insurance brokerage for freelance businesses.

We saw that when small businesses went to go buy insurance, they often pitched coverage that was not in line with their risk profile. That was because the system was unbalanced. You had the traditional brick-and-mortar brokers who are incentivized to ensure businesses hire premium products. They get a percentage of the premium.

If you can move the whole transaction online and make it seamless and give the freelancer options, you could write a bunch of businesses at a lower cost. You can also generate outstanding loss ratios for the insurance carriers.

That company was called Insureon. I ended up joining the company on the operating side, because I believed a lot in the vision. I learned about the best-in-class mobile acquisitions, the importance of delivering profitable businesses for balance sheets, the importance of proprietary technology, and providing customer service in a way that people want to do business with you.

This can run the gamut from a straight-through process to the human interaction process. I was loving it there. We had a lot of success. We went from a couple of employees to 300 employees in four years. It was the fastest-growing insurance brokerage in the property and casualty space. 

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Financial Technology: OppFi CEO Jared Kaplan
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