Innovation is a one-way road to economic growth
It can be challenging to offer new ideas in this fast-paced society. Fortunately, The Greenhouse and the St. Pete community are dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs with impactful resources such as mentorship, community partnerships, workshops, and more.
For Tampa Bay Innovation Week, we are pleased to highlight entrepreneurs who have used their experiences to create a successful business through innovative problem-solving, like Xaviar Gray, founder and owner of Tech & Flow Ventures.
Innovators help drive our local economy by identifying problems, finding creative solutions, and creating jobs. This helps St. Pete grow as a community.
Meet Xaviar Gray with Tech & Flow Ventures
GH: Tell us a little about yourself and your business!
XG: My name is Xaviar Gray, I was born and raised right here in St. Pete. I was a very active kid that needed outlets, so my dad and uncle put me to work early. They were focused on teaching me the skill of hard work, wanted me to stay out of trouble, and put some money in my pocket. I believe that is where my entrepreneurial ambition was sparked.
However, what I wasnâ€™t taught was financial literacy. I can recall seeing my family lose jobs, have cars repossessed, and struggle to continue to grow at the same rate I saw other families. I wanted to learn more about economics, money management, and how to build the wealth that I saw around me. So, I decided the Financial Services world was for me. I joined a top 10 internship program where I quickly became one of the top 100 interns out of a few thousand and away my career went. Shortly after joining I launched a basketball company, worked with a couple of hundred athletes, and ran a league that NBA players played in. I bounced around a couple of other financial firms only to end at the firm I started with.
I spent 4 years building a Financial Planning practice only to realize I could do more and serve my community if I were to make the jump and start my own company. During the 4 years I built my practice I ended up working with several Software Engineers who became my best clients and friends. It was then that I realized technology was the answer.
Tech & Flow is building an innovative financial planning experience that helps young professionals build their first $250,000 by providing financial education & digital tools that empower.
GH: What inspired you to start your business?
XG: Over the last 10 years working in the finance industry, I identified gaps on both the consumer and company side. I realized that more and more people wanted to know where their money was going. How was it being invested? They wanted to understand all the jargon and rules within finance. Simply put, since 2008 the US has been in a financial revolution. However, there isnâ€™t a scalable solution to provide both the education and tools that the 90% need to change their financial life. The 90% need a leader so they can take back more of the wealth and become producers instead of consumers. Tech & Flow is that solution.
GH: Did your participation in St. Pete Pitch Night impact your business? If so, how?
XG: Yes, I believe St. Pete Pitch night is a fantastic opportunity for founders to practice their pitches in front of a supportive crowd. Several leaders in the community are always in attendance. Of course, if you win then adding a few dollars to your business is a good perk. Overall, it is a well-run event that will prepare founders for the larger stages where the checks are written that scale companies.
GH: What makes your business innovative?
XG: You can split financial services into three primary categories; retrospective (backward-looking), prospective (forward-looking), and education. Many tools provide one or two of these categories but not all three. We are creating a solution that will help users create financial goals (prospective), track their progress towards their goals by linking their accounts in one place (retrospective), and educate them on topics and strategies that are personalized to their needs. Best of all the user will be rewarded with points for making good decisions and learning that can be exchanged for free stock and crypto. Simply put, we are building a tool that meets our community where they are and provides instant gratification in a world where this does not exist.
GH: What do you think the City of St. Petersburg needs more of?
XG: The City of St. Petersburg needs more VCs and tech incubators/accelerators to create more high-paying jobs.
GH: What advice would you give to other business owners who want to become more innovative?
XG: Innovation requires thinking outside of the box and getting a bit uncomfortable. For me, having first experienced life within the traditional finance infrastructure enabled me to identify the areas that could be improved. I also understand that size always has a benefit – meaning it is harder for larger companies to pivot and adapt than for us to create the solution. In short, finding inefficiency and thinking of ways to solve it equals innovation.
MORE ABOUT TECH & FLOW VENTURES
Tech & Flow offers financial education, coaching, and resources for individuals and companies.
260 1st Avenue South, Suite #200, Box #14,
Saint Petersburg, FL 33701