Raleigh-based startup Global Data Consortium (GDC) was recently selected as one of 10 companies nationwide to participate in the Fall 2018 cohort of the Village Capital/PayPal FinTech Program. The program kicks off with four full days in Washington D.C. from Sept. 11-14, followed by four-day intensive stretches in San Francisco (Oct. 9-12) and New York (Nov. 13-16).
GDC is an electronic identity verification company with over 200 customers, including DHL eCommerce and Latin American e-commerce giant MercadoLibre, on a platform that currently operates in 50 countries. The company, which now has 10 fulltime employees in Raleigh, hopes to expand its platform to cover the top 100 countries ranked by GDP.
Given GDC’s growth plans, CEO Bill Spruill is particularly excited about PayPal’s involvement in the program. That involvement will include executives from PayPal’s product and corporate development teams working with the cohort’s companies as well as hosting one half-day of the San Francisco session at the PayPal offices.
“It’s a great way to engage more deeply with PayPal,” says Spruill. “We hope it will be forward-looking, for the emerging markets they’re planning to expand into, as well as helping us understand and address the verification issues they face in their current markets.”
The program is designed to connect the companies with potential partners, funders, and mentors in fintech. At the end of the 12 weeks, the 10 companies will vote for which two of their peers are the “most investable” and the D.C.-based Village Capital will invest then $100K in each, with the potential for follow-on investments.
GDC’s path to the program was totally by the book—specifically, the book The Innovation Blind Spot by Ross Baird, the president of Village Capital. Spruill read and enjoyed the tome, which has the self-explanatory subtitle of “Why We Back The Wrong Ideas—And What To Do About It,” and reached out blindly to Baird on LinkedIn. That led to an ongoing conversation with Baird and others at Village Capital, and ultimately to a spot in the program.
Moral of the story: Don’t be afraid to reach out to those you don’t know, especially to say that you’re a fan of something they did. You never know where it might lead.