Being a good entrepreneur means more than just earning money. It’s about working in and with integrity. In this episode, Dr. Patty Ann Tublin sits down with Darryl Hicks to discuss how he’s made it big in the business while upholding his morals. Darryl is the CEO of FlexPay, the leading payment authorization management solution in the market today. Darryl’s journey is an incredible and inspiring one. Join their conversation to learn more about how Darryl went from cleaning windows for his dad to having his own company at 18. Be inspired by his story and success in doing business the good way.
Listen to the podcast here
The Good Entrepreneur: Building Success In Integrity With Darryl Hicks
In this episode, we have an incredible man who personifies what I always say about all success being predicated upon the ability to create, nurture and sustain healthy relationships. Darryl Hicks is a serial entrepreneur who is the Founder of a company called FlexPay. I would never do all of his brilliance and share all of his histories with you. I could never give it justice. I am going to turn this right over to Darryl but I am telling you, put on your seatbelts folks because Darryl is going to take you for a ride. Darryl, thank you so much for agreeing to be on the show.
It’s a thrill. You and I have gotten to know each other better over the years. I’ve always enjoyed our conversations. When you invited me to do this, it was a hard yes for me. That’s for sure. Thanks for the chance.
Thank you. Let the audience know what an incredible person you are that happens to be an incredible entrepreneur. When I ask people to be a guest on my show, I ask them for a short bio and a long bio. That usually goes from short, meaning a paragraph, and long being two paragraphs. What does Darryl do which personifies who he is? Darryl sends me a fifteen-minute video describing his life. I was watching this and saying, “This is what we need to speak about.”
My point is that Darryl is the guy that will always over-deliver. You want someone like Darryl Hicks in your corner. Darryl, share and start wherever you want. I have to throw out that your mom is a member of Memphis, so now we know where you get your brains from. You can share anything that people will learn, wherever you want to start.
It might be fun to start at the beginning. One of the things that unfortunately happens with entrepreneurs in our society now is we end up putting them up on a pedestal. That can be gratifying to people’s egos to a certain extent but it’s very dangerous. I believe strongly that entrepreneurs were a small subset of society that’s always been there. Every generation, every time period and every era, there have been these rabble-rousers who get out there and say, “That doesn’t make any sense. I want to change this. I want to do that.”
If the whole world was filled with entrepreneurs, the world would be full of chaos because we like to break things. We’re just another form of the species running around this world. We fill a role. It’s a very important role, but there’s no need to take entrepreneurs and deify them the way that we have. As soon as you start to become separated from the rest of the population and you’ve become the other, it becomes too easy to start to cast stones or look down on people. There’s also a lot of that going on in our society, which is terrible. We all need to come together and work together, and celebrate the differences that we see in one another in order to work better together as a society.
For the audience, Darryl is a Canadian. It’s very much an American thing what you said as well. You’re right. We’re divided into tribes. When there’s the other, then if the other is different from us by definition, you can become judgmental and throw stones. Because of social media and the communication platforms that we have now, you can know so much about Elon Musk. Who knew what Albert Einstein ever thought about anything other than Quantum Physics?
There’s that old cliché that familiarity breeds contempt. That’s a whole rabbit hole in and of itself. Even though I was born and raised in Canada, the last several years of my entrepreneurial life have been primarily focused in the US. A significant portion of our staff is all based in the US, in San Francisco, Dallas, Texas, Washington State, Utah, Boston, New York, all around. We are the Canuck at heart, for sure. That’s a nice place to start. I don’t ever talk publicly too much about my background. For a while, I was almost embarrassed by it. It’s nice to put on the shiny veneer of the accolades, the businesses that you’ve built, the jobs that you’ve created, the exits that you’ve had, and the success you’ve created.
There have certainly been plenty of that where I came from, being raised out in New Brunswick. For those of you who don’t know geography as well, it’s Northeast of Maine. It’s way out there on the upper eastern tip of the North American continent. It’s a blue-collar, working-class community. Most of the economy up there is driven around by logging and fishing. The family that I grew up in, I would consider to be probably lower-middle class. If we saved hard, we could take a trip to Florida every three years but a lot of times, things were meager. I appreciated my parents and their transparency. It’s a value that has served me well. I’ve embedded it into relationships wherever I can. I only realized much later in life that being open and being willing to be vulnerable with people is an accelerant to creating trust in relationships.
We connected on your parents talked about the money or lack thereof. Now that you’re a man of means, you wanted to make sure that you could find a way to instill the values that you’re now going to share with everybody that you grew up with while sailing your boat.
When the interest rates in the mid-‘80s went up into double digits, my parents were on a variable rate mortgage. We had to make a deal with the bank that we would make payments only on the interest on the mortgage or else we were going to lose the house. It was a pretty scary time. I was only eleven years old at the time. That’s a lot for an eleven-year-old to carry. I’m the oldest of three kids. I have two younger sisters. To their credit, my parents were transparent about the situation that we were in and the stakes that we were up against. I came from a family of very strong faith. We’re active in our church community, and raised very much with traditional conservative values.
There was a lot of praying going on around the dinner table and looking for help from a higher power. My parents came up with the idea that maybe it would be good for me at eleven years old to help my dad in the business. My parents had a commercial cleaning business. It’s a small business with a few trucks and a few employees, doing office cleaning and cleaning pharmacies, dentists’ and lawyers’ offices and things like that. I went to work at eleven years old. After a full day of school, my dad would pick me up and I’d go to work emptying ashtrays and garbage cans, cleaning toilets and things like that. It’s basically doing janitorial work with him. I got paid because my parents said, “Maybe this is a great opportunity for you.”
My parents never believed in an allowance per se. We had a small allowance but the allowance went away as soon as I started working for my dad because then I could go and earn money. I got paid $2 an hour cleaning and I hated it. I did not like it at all. In retrospect, I realized what it taught me was grit and also the value of money. What happened is when I got to high school, I despised brown bag lunches. Maybe because I had too many of them that I’ve built an allergy and an aversion to it. I can’t stand cold sandwiches even to this day. It drives me up the wall. I would get it to go to school.
Being open and willing to be vulnerable with people is one of the precursors to building or it’s an accelerant to creating trusting relationships.
There was this other family with who we were friends. They were not well-off at all. Once in a while, the son who was in the same grade as me would come and he wouldn’t have lunch. I gladly give him my brown bag lunch. I would spoil myself once a week where I got to go across the street to the fast-food restaurant. I could order myself a cheeseburger and fries. It was glorious, this feeling of freedom.
That’s a big deal as a kid because I know we never had lunch money. We had the brown bags too. It was always the bologna, which is fake meat. It’s not even real meat but it was cheap.
That was my world too, bologna sandwiches.
White Wonder bread. Maybe you had mustard but you certainly have that lettuce and tomato with it. That was a big deal. You were starting to realize, “Money can buy me stuff I like.”
Freedom of options. I learned that lesson in a very visceral way. I didn’t have the words to put with it. What I realized at a young age is that money is freedom of options. I was also one of the only kids in my school to buy his own car and be able to drive the car to school, which gave me a big boost.
At what age is that, Darryl?
I was seventeen. I couldn’t buy the entire car but I had enough money saved up that I only needed a loan for about half of the cost of the car. The bank was willing to approve me. My parents walked me into our local credit union. The credit union was willing to give me an auto loan at seventeen. I started to build up my creditworthiness. I was able to get a credit card as well. That started helping to build a credit score. I’m like, “This is cool how this works.”
My mom had said to me, and I think maybe it was a tactic to keep me in the house for as long as possible, but I was having none of it. She said, “You’re not moving out of this house until you buy your own house because rent is flushing money down the toilet. You have to have your own company. You have to be making your own money.” I started a window cleaning company because of all the things that I did in my dad’s commercial cleaning, that was the thing that paid the most per hour. I calculated it all out on bond paper and wrote it out, and figured that was my highest ROI.
I enjoyed it as well and I bought a house. In Canada, as a first-time homeowner, you only have to pay 5% down. I bought this wartime, completely dilapidated, condemned, couldn’t live in it house for $50,000, $60,000 or something like that. I had a little bit of money saved up and my grandmother gave me a couple of thousand dollars, which helped. I bought this house. I was like, “That’s it. I’m out,” I was the youngest person in the history of the credit union to qualify for a mortgage and buy a house at eighteen, but I had my freedom.
At seventeen, you buy a car. At eighteen, you buy a house. That’s impressive.
I was driven and ambitious. As you probably know from talking to a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of entrepreneurs, when they start out on their entrepreneurial journey, they might have a certain amount inside of them. They have a natural propensity towards calculating risk, taking calculated risks, and having the patience for it, but there’s always something that’s pushing them. A lot of times, what’s pushing them is a necessity. Maybe they got a chip on their shoulder. Maybe they’re insecure. Maybe they feel like they’ve got something to prove to themselves or the people around them. All of those things were true in my case as a kid. I got bullied badly when I was in elementary school. I was always the kid that got picked on.
There were a lot of different reasons. Sometimes there’s a specific reason why it starts in grades 1 and 2, and you become the automatic kid. You fall into that victim mentality like getting your pants flushed down the toilet in gym class, getting beat up and chased with broken baseball bats. It was not an easy childhood. I had to learn how to fight and get my fists up, and defend myself and my sisters in school too. There are a lot of good things that came out of that, but all of that create baggage as well. It’s like I’m on a mission at eighteen. I’ve got something to prove and I don’t understand where it’s all coming from. I’m getting out there and doing it.
Eventually, I sold the house after doing some renovations and repairing it. I made some money on it. That became the seed capital that allowed me to move to Montreal because there was a lot more economic opportunity. I wanted a fresh start. I was looking at what all my friends who I grew up with in New Brunswick were doing. They were getting married at young ages. They didn’t seem to be particularly happy either. I feel like I want something more than this. Off I go to Montreal. One lucky thing that happened is my parents had a couple of good years in the business when I was about fourteen and they bought a computer. It was like a 286 with a 40 meg hard drive. It had the 5 1/4-inch floppy and the 3.5-inch floppy. It was super fancy.
It was state-of-the-art at the time.
Talk about a lucky thing, I was getting exposed to computers at a young age. The first thing I did like any normal teenage boy, I dismantled the whole thing and didn’t know how to put it back together. My parents were freaking out. They paid thousands of dollars for this brand-new computer for the business. It was a deductible expense. My mom walked me through all that deductible expenses and why we can afford this because if we save on taxes with the government. There were a lot of conversations and education about that.
When it was time to save to go on a vacation, my mom would take me to my dad’s den and say, “Here’s the money. We had rice and beans for dinner. It’s not what you guys wanted but we saved money on food, which we can now put towards our Florida fund to be able to go on a vacation. Here’s the money and it’s going in the piggy bank in dad’s office. I want you guys to understand how this all works. We make sacrifices and then we get rewards at the end of it.” That became totally engraved and branded into my brain, this understanding of how this all works.
Unless you’re the government, you have to live within your budget.
That’s a whole other rabbit hole. Having a computer when I was fourteen was phenomenal. There was this friend of the family who specialized in IT. Again, a very lucky thing. My parents imposed upon him to come over and rebuild the computer that I had dismantled. I’m peppering him with all these questions. He gets a little bit irritated with me and says, “You think you want to learn about computers, kid? Here.” He throws a 600-page book at me and says, “Read this, then you can ask me questions.” There was no for dummies book for computers back then. There was no user-friendly stuff. It was deep, technical, and not accessible, but I read the whole thing cover to cover. I loved it.
He came back and I started asking him intelligent questions. He was like, “Okay.” He let me intern for free with him building computers, working on computers, getting exposed to them. He pointed me to other books. I taught myself to code at a young age. We had a modem inside my parents’ computer so I could use that to connect to bulletin board services and connect to the school. I turned into a bit of a white-hat hacker hacking into the school systems and my mom’s account. It was all pretty innocent and there was no concept of security back then either. It was easy.
What percentage of the population was online or on the computer at that time anyway?
It was super small. This is pre-internet. We were using modems to connect into CompuServe and bulletin board services and stuff. I was super lucky to be there. The right person at the right time. This is a great quote from Chris Sacca, one of the most successful venture capitalists in the history of venture capital. He once said, “I may be lucky but it’s not an accident.”
Talk more about that because that’s so interesting.
I am lucky, and I know that, to be born as a White English-speaking male with slightly above average intelligence, and a penchant for systems thinking. I didn’t do anything about that. That was given to me as a gift. Being born in Canada is similar to America. It’s a free place where it’s a meritocracy and people are in free markets where you can get out and compete. I also had to bust my butt. I had to work hard. There were plenty of other kids who I grew up with who had the exact same privileges, maybe even more than me. They never ended up on an entrepreneurial journey, a serial entrepreneur and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, creating over a thousand jobs, and all these other things that I’ve been able to do. They didn’t do any of those things, but they had the exact same platform.
It is a combination of both. That’s where the Chris Sacca quote comes from, “I may be lucky but it wasn’t an accident.” I’ve created a degree of my own luck. I’ve had to work hard with the opportunities that have been presented to me to turn them into something. The lucky thing is my parents buy a computer when I’m fourteen. There were other kids around me who also had computers, even better ones than the ones my parents had. Some of them also did enter into IT fields and stuff like that.
There was something in getting access to that technology at a formative age saying, “I can do this with that. I can do that with that. I’m curious and I want to learn to code. I want to put the time in. I’m going to read this 600-page book. I’m going to take advantage of this great resource that my parents have available through our friend network, through our church group. I’m going to pepper him with questions. I’m going to ask for an internship. I want to put myself out there and do it.” You need to have both.
This is so important. You mentioned the word curiosity. There are two things that I want to know where it came from. Where did your curiosity come from? Where did your confidence come from that allowed you to act on the curiosity? Many people might be curious but they don’t have the confidence to get that curiosity addressed or to play it out.
The bigger the why, the easier the how.
Curiosity is closely linked to intelligence. All of us as human beings are curious to a degree anyway or at least it should be.
It’s why the species survived, or we would have been dead.
There are a couple of things that are drivers. When we’re making decisions, we’re either running away from something or we’re running towards something. It’s often a little bit of both. In my case, this has been a recurring theme all throughout my life. In some of the biggest and most important decisions that I made, if I’m honest with myself, I was running away from something. That was my driver, especially in the early stages of my entrepreneurial journey. I was running away from fear and scarcity. I was driven and ambitious. I wasn’t necessarily confident. I only had blinders on. There’s that cliché that says, “The bigger the why, the easier the how.”
If a mother sees her child trapped underneath a car in an accident, she doesn’t think, “How am I going to go over and save my child and move that car or do whatever it takes?” She’s not thinking like, “Let me pull out a spreadsheet and a notepad and calculate out all the things that I’m going to do.” No, you just act. You just do it. There was a lot of that going on with me. Where the confidence piece came in that started to bite me in the butt is when I moved to Montreal and started working in IT. I was good at it.
I’d been doing it from a very young age but I didn’t have any schooling. I’d never gone to college or university, and I started landing these big contracts. Nobody was imposing upon me like, “What are your credentials?” I would get the questions every once in a while, usually from a deeply insecure business manager. It was like, “Who is this punk kid coming in, sending up my networks, and making all this IT stuff work for me?”
When I moved to Montreal, I started working in network infrastructure, network architecture and cybersecurity, which was super fun for me. Networking was a big thing back then. Everybody wanted their computers to be networked. They wanted their offices to be networked. I was the kid and the punk that would walk in and do all this. I was charismatic. We’re talking the early ‘90s here, ‘93, ‘94, right around the beginning of the internet when it was starting to break out. I’d get these questions every once in a while. I didn’t have any credentials. I was just good at what I did. If you’re not a sociopath, at some point, you’ll start to struggle with imposter syndrome. Maybe they’re right. I know that I’m winging it here, trial and error, and figuring this stuff out on the fly.
It tells you a little bit of smoke and mirrors that goes on with the degree, especially from the more prestigious school. I don’t know how you got into that school. Maybe I should be impressed but maybe not. My joke is the people who graduated from the elite schools are not necessarily the smartest in the room, but they sure as hell think they are.
This is the whole street smarts versus book smarts. That imposter syndrome led me to reach out to one of my childhood friends from back home who had also gotten a computer at a young age, but he went to college and studied Computer Science. I wanted to grow my business in Montreal. I convinced him to move up to Montreal with me. I thought, “He’s going to be the one to help me level up.” What I realized is I had to teach him. I’m like, “You’ve got this degree but I had been in the real world.” There’s that great quote from Henry Ford, “School can’t teach you what the world is going to do next year.”
When I realized it, it was already when he had graduated with this degree in Computer Science. It was all this academic stuff. It does not have practical stuff like how to debug, how to troubleshoot, how to wire all of these things together, and work through problems and stuff. I had my guy who had the degree and all the letters after his name as my business partner, which made me feel okay to walk into bigger companies and land bigger contracts and work on things.
You hired into your weakness. You just didn’t know it.
It’s my perceived weakness too. It wasn’t actual. It’s the letters that I wanted.
It’s not so much that you wanted it. Especially back then, what the world wants give you that false sense of he must know something. The joke I have is BS is BS, MS is More S, and PhD is Piled High and Deep.
We know where you land on that. It was interesting though. One of the things that came out of that is that my cofounder partner left after a few months because he can’t handle the uncertainty of not knowing how much money there was going to be in his bank account every single week. He said, “I can’t handle the stress of this.” I said, “If you look back over the last six months and take the total amount of money that we’ve made in six months, and divide it out per month, look at how much money we’re making together.” He’s like, “There were times when we were taking cash advances off of our credit card to be able to buy groceries.” I said, “Yes, but then two weeks later, we landed this massive contract that we were ordering in pizzas and working until 2:00 in the morning, setting up these big networks.”
He’s like, “That was one contract and we don’t have another one. Now it’s another lean time.” “The contract is going to come. I know it. I don’t know where it’s going to come from but I know it’s going to come because we’re onto something cool.” I had that faith and I wanted to push. He wanted to go back to The Maritimes and take a job working for a Fortune 500 company because he wanted to know how many dollars and cents would be in his bank account every Thursday. That’s the way he put it.
He came from a place of scarcity and you came from a place of abundance.
Yes, which I didn’t have the words around that at the time. I’d had enough muscle memory now that I was building that I was in that place and I was rolling. I started from a place of fear, being pushed and motivated by my insecurities. Now, I’m in that transition where I’m like, “I’m good at this.” People are patting me on the back and they’re sending me thank you notes with pictures of Benjamin Franklin on it. This is all pretty cool, so off we go, scaling up. That led to me eventually trading up into contracts.
I’m curious. Are you still in touch with that first partner?
Anything we should know about where he is now so we’re not feeling bad for him?
I have a real source of pride out in this. The company that he went back to work for in The Maritimes eventually went into a major restructuring, Chapter 11, and he lost his job. He was also miserable with the managers that he was working for. He went out of desperation and created his own IT consultancy exactly like what we had done together in Montreal. He was stuck with no job, a wife, a house and a mortgage payment, “Now, what do I do?” He had that to fall back on.
The company came out of the restructuring and said they wanted to hire him back. He gave up on his IT consultancy and went back to work for them, but realized after a few months that he hated his manager all this other stuff. He had had the immediate contrast of working for them, “This isn’t as stable as I thought it would. I’m on my own and it’s starting to take off. Now, I’m back working with these people and I get the paycheck but I’m miserable. I’m working all these extra hours with no overtime.” Finally, he said, “I’m done.” He quit. He went back and he built his own IT consultancy and employees, landed contracts and built himself a nice little solopreneur lifestyle business with tons of freedom, top of his field. He’s doing great. I was very happy.
He lived happily ever after.
Meanwhile, on my journey in Montreal, I had an opportunity through some friends. There were a lot of bankruptcies happening in the late ‘90s in tech, the dot-com boom. Compaq and all these other big companies were going bankrupt. There were so many bankruptcies that the auction companies can’t keep up. You have these auctioneers who are specialized in commercial equipment, who now are landing contracts for IT. They walk in and look at these servers and they’re like, “I don’t know what’s the difference between a $600 server and a $6,000 server.” There was a big difference like, “We’re going to get taken.”
I ended up being the guy in their back pocket that could come in and tell all these guys, 20, 30 years older than me, what all this stuff is. I acted as the translator. I would sit there at the auctions and I would watch. Anybody who would be spending six digits and up at the auction, I made sure that I got to know them personally and kept in touch with them. This allowed me to start building a network. There are all these people, these fascinating businesses walking into all these bankrupt companies and buying up tons of stuff. It would literally be sold before they would leave the premises, they’re on cell phones and they’re emailing.
They’re like movers and shakers and they’re hustling. They’re working this stuff through. The name of the game was the business of pennies, “You could sell that for so much more.” I was like, “No, you don’t understand. It’s a hot potato. I’m buying it for $600 and then selling it for $660. That’s it. Maybe I’ll sell it for $620 if the guy even wants to meet me here.” They have people in the parking lot and they’re paying for the stuff that they’re buying from the bankruptcy and they’re selling it over here, and then it’s off and gone. That taught me some great lessons too, but I ended up building a great network.
I’m traveling all over the US to all these different places where these bankrupt companies had satellite offices and liquidating all their stuff and building a network, which I didn’t realize at the time. I’m the charismatic, scrappy kid who’s just hustling out there. I started to meet some interesting people that landed me a gig in the World Trade Centers in New York, working for Sprint and Verizon, working on network infrastructure, network architecture, firewalls and stuff, which was super fun and having to get security clearance. When I was working for my dad’s cleaning company, one of his contracts was cleaning the RCMP offices, which is the Federal police.
The amount of grilling that you do, the interviews, and the background checks, but then you get stamped and certified in this background system and the data gets shared between Canada and the US. All of a sudden, I’m in the World Trade Center and they’re looking at my profile. They’re like, “You used to work for the RCMP.” I’m like, “Yes, I did.” “Off you go.” Now you’re in. I’m working on these cool projects with an amazing caliber of talent.
“You can’t learn in school what the world is going to do next year.” – Henry Ford
This is a top security clearance?
Not top security, just enough to be the IT guy who goes in and works on the networks and stuff like that, and they trust not to be a terrorist. It was cool to get to go in there and work in the Twin Towers for a while. I had a lot of fun doing that in the ‘90s. Eventually, I met some interesting people through that.
Were you living downtown then? Where were you living when you worked at the World Trade Center?
Technically speaking, I was still carrying a Canadian passport. I was living back in Montreal but I would always stay at this hotel.
Which hotel? Manhattan?
Downtown in Wall Street. I’ll remember the name of it. There’s this hotel complex but it’s all apartments. It was for executives who would come in and they would meet. I had stayed there. The hotel still exists to this day but it’s not really a hotel. It’s like a short-term rental before Airbnb existed. You come in there and stay there. You would know the name of the place.
Did you enjoy living downtown? Did you enjoy being in the city?
A hundred percent.
We were joking earlier before we jumped on. I said to Darryl that people always ask me where I’m from. I say the center of the universe, meaning New York. That’s the real heart of the universe.
I started listening to a lot of Bloomberg because I wanted to understand, “What is this thing that I’m tapped into?” I’m just this kid who comes from a small town.
Bloomberg was new then too. You’re saying Bloomberg like everybody was listening to Bloomberg. It would not have been that many years old.
I would bump into people and I was constantly asking questions, striking up conversations. I’m interested in building relationships with these people. I’m like, “These people are cool. I want to know more about them. I want them to know me. I want them to like me. What do I do?” That has been a recurring theme throughout everything. If you act with integrity, you are a good moral person, and you are a giver more than a taker, doors get opened to you. You’ll be rewarded in society for that.
I have to ask you about that because I know that you are the salt of the earth. You’re brilliant. I’m not going to lie. As much as I love New York, it’s a dog-eat-dog world down on Wall Street. You’re young. There must have been a part of you that went, I don’t know what I would call this, but maybe this is me not giving you enough credit. There must have been some type of culture shock from that perspective.
The joke is if you want a friend on Wall Street, get a dog. Here you are, this innocent, brilliant guy that’s walking the talk, straight out of the rabbit hole or otherwise, they would press you like a bug. When you’re faced with that backstabbing, cutthroat Wall Street mentality, how did you handle that? How did you keep your integrity? You are of utmost, unquestionable integrity and character. I can feel it as we’re speaking now.
One of these things where I was lucky at is the way that I was raised and it’s still to this day. My faith is very important to me. I feel like when you take that seriously, you understand that you have accountability to something bigger than you, something outside of you. It’s not an option for you to compromise on your morals and integrity because even if it’s tempting and it seems expedient at the moment, it’s not an option for you. My analogy of it is like when you decide to run as an operating system when your computer Linux or Windows or Mac, there are advantages and disadvantages to each, but then there are certain apps that will not run. You can’t run a Windows version of an app on a Mac.
It does not compute.
I have an operating system that I was gifted by my parents. An operating system is a way to look at the world, the way to frame things, and the way to act in the world that was gifted to me. It gives me all kinds of advantages and strengths that are unavailable to other people. There are also some things that aren’t available to me. If I’m going to act with integrity, if I’m going to be true to that and take it seriously, that’s not an option for me to act in this way or be that way.
There’s a story and it addresses you doing the right thing. There’s no way I can even see that.
It’s not a story that I tell publicly. It’s weird for me. I’m banking on the fact that this show has millions of audiences out there but it’s okay. It’s totally fine. Some of the people I met when I was working in New York had this great eComm business. I landed a gig doing IT infrastructure for them in their offices in South Florida. Living in South Florida was great. I loved it down there. I convinced them that they had some blind spots in their business that I would be a good solution for. They decided to take a chance on me. We launched a new business as equal equity partners. This was my first time.
In my IT consultancy and doing cybersecurity, ultimately, I was still trading dollars for hours. It was very much active income but this was passive income because it’s all annuity-based. It’s monthly recurring subscriptions. Now, everything is a subscription. I was super early to subscriptions in 2001. I had a good brain for numbers and calculating things out. I was doing the math on this and I’m like, “This is going to have a long tail exponential return. This is huge.”
Those things are like having an intuition and a gut. I’m like, “This is going to be big. That’s going to be interesting.” I could never explain it but I would jump into it. We decided to layer in other cofounders. We started out with a group of 3, then it went to 5, then it went to 7. As the years transpired, some of the OG guys who are quite a bit older than us decided, “This is a nice little business that’s running on the side.” We started it all with $13,000 in credit cards and built it up to a business that was running over $30 million in revenue, great margins, providing great dividends for everybody in the company. It was great.
Some of the new partners that came in who were much younger and ambitious felt like the older guys weren’t pulling their weight. It was a fair complaint. They weren’t pulling their weight. We didn’t have a good shareholders agreement. We didn’t have a good way to part ways. I learned a good lesson about that and the importance of shareholders agreements. Choose good partners who act in integrity but also make sure that you dot all the I’s and cross the T’s because it’ll save your bacon. It has saved me since then.
Here we are, stuck with no shareholders agreement and these partners that are turning into dead weight. Some of the other younger, more ambitious partners decided, “What we’re going to do is we’re going to work with this private equity company who is going to come in. We’re going to reorganize the cap table and change the share class. We’re going to dilute these guys out and take over the business with a whole new source of capital, a new cap table and structure, and these guys are out.” It didn’t sit well with me at all. I’m like, “I understand there’s a problem here but that doesn’t seem like the right way to handle it.” I felt completely trapped.
It would have solved the problem but it wasn’t the right thing.
I remember feeling completely trapped. This was going to happen. I didn’t have enough votes to stop it. I felt very much like a victim going back to the days when I was being bullied in elementary school and I felt panicked. It was a tough time for me but I had this good friend and mentor who came straight out. He was getting fed up with my whining. At one point, he looked at me. He said, “Darryl, the only things that happened to us are the things that we allow.” That hit me like a 2×4 across the head. It’s not entirely true like people get cancer.
In this case, it was true. I had much more power than I was giving myself credit for. That was a huge moment in my growth as an entrepreneur and understanding I could do something about this. I went and talked to the partners who were about to be kicked out. I told them what was going to happen. I told them the whole plan. It was brilliant to see that shareholders’ meeting go down and how they handled it. The whole thing blew up but then, critically, I ended up playing the role. Now, everything’s broken. The Ning Vase has been shattered and I became the one to put it all back together.
I get to pick, “You’re good at this and you’re good at that. We’re going to carve up these assets and we’re going to put them over here.” One of the guys who was left floundering in the window, I said, “You and I are going to go together 50/50 with a shareholders’ agreement because I see value in you. I know you see value in me. We’re going to do some amazing things together.” We built a few businesses together that were wildly successful as 50/50 shareholders. We had 250 employees and all this proprietary tech. It was fun. I ended up acting in full integrity and in transparency, putting together a deal that everybody ended up being happy with, which was fun for me to do that.
The only things that happen to us are the things that we allow.
It got to the point that the architect of the underhanded deal, I found out later that he got a substance abuse problem, which explained some of the irrational behavior. He ended up launching his new business with the assets that we carved out, running afoul with the IRS. Regardless of how you feel about the government and stuff like that, I still do feel that we have an obligation to pay our taxes. If you don’t like it, go move somewhere else where you don’t have the same rules. Those are your options. You live here, have the advantages, and play by the rule.
You have to follow the law. If you don’t like the law, you find a way to change it, but that’s the law.
Entrepreneurs sometimes have this weakness where they feel like, “I’m breaking the rules all over the place and I’m creating new things all over the place. I can break these rules too.”
You don’t mess with the IRS.
When substance abuse comes into it and you start to feel like you’re more powerful than God, we ended up in trouble and he had to leave the country.
Not the company, the country.
Yes, the country. Years later, he came back to me. He’s like, “I’ve learned my lessons. I want to come back. I need to start making some money. I’m going to make everything right with the IRS. I want to come back and see my daughter before she forgets who I am.” His wife had left him and everything. He said, “Of all the people that I’ve come through, I know I can trust you to act in integrity and do the right thing. I want you to hold on to the money that I’m going to make. I want you to hold it in trust.” We had a simple one-page agreement, which I drafted.
I was the one that as he was putting deals together, making referrals, and getting paid commissions on different deals, I would hold all of his money and help him pay the IRS so that he could come back to the country, which eventually we were successful in doing. Unfortunately, the story had a tragic ending. He passed away.
Did he pass away before he could come back? Did he never get to see his daughter?
What did you do with the funds? Did you give it to his wife or the government?
His younger brother. There was another side of the story that you don’t know. There was a residual stream of funds that continues to roll to this day because if you have a lot of good business connections and you’re willing to make referrals, especially on sales with very valuable contracts. You can negotiate evergreen clauses where you get paid in perpetuity. Some of these commissions continue to be paid to this day, streaming into my account. I forward them over to his younger brother. His younger brother takes care of paying the ex-wife and paying the daughter and taking care of other things. I trust him to be a steward of those funds and take care of them. I’m doing my part and making sure that it continued to flow.
There are not that many people that you would trust your money with. That speaks volumes about you. I’m not surprised because I know you. There are family members people won’t give their money to let alone a stranger.
I’d like to think that we’re not as rare as we’re made out to believe with the media and stuff like that. I have plenty of people in my network that are genuinely good people.
In your network, because you like attracts like.
I’m also very careful of who I allow into my orbit because we all get affected by the people that we surround ourselves with, but I feel like it’s a spectrum. On that spectrum, I would rank high. I’m sensitive to energy vampires. I try to surround myself with people that have a growth mindset, that are not takers, that are primarily givers. There’s that great quote from Seth Godin. I remember listening to him in person in the Sony Theater in Toronto. There are 2,000 people in the room.
He said, “What would happen if all 2,000 people walked into this room? They were all on a mission that in every interaction they had in this room, they would give more than they took. Give more love, energy, gratitude, ideas, value, whatever it is. In every interaction in this room, they would give more than they take. If all 2,000 people in this room committed to that, you have to realize if you do the math, it would be fundamentally impossible for you to do that because everybody else is trying to interact with you and provide more value than you’re giving to them. Think about what that would do to the energy in this room. Think about the value that would be created if everybody was trying to give more than they take. We would all walk away as massive winners but everyone’s got to be willing to play that game.”
I’ll never forget that. For some reason, it resonated with me. I’m like, “I can create that in my life. I can surround myself with people that in all their interactions, they’re trying to give more than they take.” That doesn’t mean that I haven’t run into bad actors, but I’m very proud of the fact that after several years in business and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, over 1,000 jobs that I’ve been able to create, all the partners that I’ve had and things, the total number of times that I’ve been sued is zero. The total number of times that I’ve ever sued anyone is zero.
That doesn’t mean that I’d never been taken advantage of or that I haven’t been put in awkward situations. I do believe that sometimes we’re taking it on the chin, learning the lesson, and informing ourselves better about what kind of people we want to work with in the future. I’m a big fan of iron-clad contracts with like all the I’s and T’s dotted out. That’s one of the ways that you protect yourself.
All the attorneys are reaching out to you because they want to work for you. Darryl, tell the story that I’ve heard you tell that speaks to what you said. I want you to talk about your three Cs. First, tell the story about what you do with the best bottle of wine in your home. How do you drink that in your home that you’ve shared about when neighbors come over? I was so struck by that. You said that you break out the good wine when neighbors come over. Share that story because when I heard you tell that story, I was like, “This is a man I want to know better.” It speaks to your character and your integrity.
If we understand how to play the game of life, we’ll realize that we’re in a way self-serving when we do those things. There’s a lot of truth in that old adage that there’s more joy in giving than there is in receiving.
A lot of people talk. It’s platitudes for a lot of people.
It is true. If you live that life and go deep down that road, then you realize that old adage like, “A sunset is not a sunset unless you’re sharing it with someone.” Your joy in life and the beautiful things that we experienced. I love wine. I’m fortunate enough to have a nice collection of it and some bottles that have been aging for 12, 13 years. Some of that I bought at auction. I’m a wine aficionado. It was one of those things where the more you get into it, the less you realize that you know. I would never call myself a sommelier or anything like that. I’m an amateur in this stuff.
The best bottles of wine that I have I want to share with other people who I know are going to appreciate them, for sure. That’s a rule in our house. When I’m by myself and my wife, we don’t have bad wine in this house. Everything is subjective. I got this coaster that sits on my desk. It says, “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” It’s not like we’re suffering when we don’t have guests over but there’s a big difference in the wines that you drink.
I am so struck and I’m sure the audience are too. You are going to such great lengths to show such humility and an act of magnitude. It’s amazing to me.
The best things are always for the guests. That’s basically the idea. When you cook the steaks and as the guy is working on the grill, you know which ones are going to be the best, the juiciest, the most flavorful, those are the ones that go for the guests when they come off. The best bottles of wine always come out when the guests come over. That’s part of the rules of the way that our family works. That’s the way that I was raised. I saw that firsthand. It was deeply ingrained in me in my family that we would only have stakes in our house when we had very special guests coming over. It was a celebration for everybody at that point. The kids would be so excited about the fact that guests are coming over because it was going to be good for us too.
There’s this sense of communal sharing, breaking bread around the table, and having the best of the best, whatever you have available to you. That’s deeply ingrained into the DNA of our family now. You throw that stuff out there, not ever expecting anything back from it. It’s purely for the joy of sharing nice things with people that you love. Especially if you know it’s not something that they would be able to afford or do on their own, then you may even get a little bit more joy out of it.
You have much more power than you’re giving yourself credit for.
I was so struck by that story. I had to go home that day after I heard it and I told my husband. We were walking. We were both quiet for a moment, feeling it. You take it for granted. To you, it’s not such a big deal but it speaks so much volumes. A little teeny story when I was growing up and we had nothing. You would have been the rich kid on my block in Brooklyn. Our little railroad flat had burned down once. Next door to us were apartment buildings but we were in an attached two-family railroad flat house. As kids, what do we know?
We thought, “Oh.” We used to feel bad for the people living in the apartment buildings. Our house burnt down to the ground. I’ll never forget it. I can still cry telling this story. Mrs. Willinsky came over gave my mother a check for $25, which was a lot of money. My mother was crying and I’m like, “Mom, why are you crying?” I’m thinking like, “Where am I sleeping? What am I wearing?” I’m like, “We need this.” My mother’s like, “You don’t understand something. She’s on welfare. She has nothing.” I learned so much that many times the people that don’t have anything give the most.
I had goosebumps as you told that story. Holy cow.
I could go on and on but my point is to meet someone that has created such a great life that has kept those values, I get goosebumps. I’ve learned many brilliant things from you. I could sit and listen to you talk forever. I hesitated to share that story because I’m like, “Who the heck wants to listen to me when they could listen to you?” I’m not saying that say nice things about me but I mean it. I’m in Fairfield County, so the joke is the longer the driveway, the shorter the tip. That’s not who you are. Quite frankly, there are many entrepreneurs I know like you do that are so generous in their time and in everything. I feel, in some ways, maybe we’re the lucky ones.
There’s a great book that I read, Strangers in Paradise, that talks about how to keep those middle-class values that have served us so well, and make sure that we instill those in our children while also embracing the opportunities that material means can bring. How do you dance that dance? You said that you don’t end up falling into that paradigm of rags to riches to rags in three generations. That’s one of the things that keeps me up at night and worrying about that. I remember my wife and me flying down to Vegas once. It was a long flight. I wanted to fly business class because I’m 6’4″. It’s like squishy sardines airplanes. I want nice seats and I can afford them. We had the whole family of five in business class.
We’re flying back from this business conference that I brought my family down to. I’m watching all these executives who I’ve been networking with at cocktail parties and dinners. They’re all streaming by my entire family of five sitting in business class on this flight. I looked over at my wife and I said, “We’re ruining our kids.” We are like, “This is not normal. This is not kosher. We got to think through like what we’re doing about this and what we allow and what we don’t.” Maybe we are. Maybe we aren’t.
What did you do with that? Did you have a conversation with them?
The kids are too young at that age to understand. My wife and I had some real conversations at that point about what are we going to do and what we aren’t, what is right. If we have cleaners coming in to help us with housekeeping in order, do they clean the kids’ bedrooms? No. They do not put the kids’ toys away. They can clean the rooms but they don’t make the kids’ beds and put the kids’ toys away because they have to learn those lessons themselves and do that right.
Now, we’re leaning into homeschooling. We had the kids in great private schools and pulled them all out as we moved out here to the West Coast. We decided that we wanted to lean into homeschooling. Part of it is teaching the kids that accountability, and having the flexibility and the freedom, but also developing as early as possible the discipline to sit yourself down and do the hard work when nobody’s forcing you to do it. You have to learn how to do it yourself. We hire a tutor to come in and support them and help them along in stuff like that. That’s a whole other rabbit hole.
Isn’t that what they say that character is what you do when nobody is watching? You also said earlier about if you have so much. President Kennedy said, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Give them whatever way, that shows up. Speak to us about the three Cs that you talk about.
I’m a big fan of the PayPal mafia. There’s this whole momentum in the tech community that if we create great successful businesses, there are second-order and third-order benefits that come out of those successful businesses. These bright people that are given this great platform can now go out and do great things. The PayPal mafia, if you google it, are these thirteen executives that came out of PayPal that went on to do amazing things after they left. The creator of LinkedIn and YouTube, Elon Musk of Space X and Tesla. All these incredible businesses that have shaped so much of our world and society around us all came out of PayPal. What did they get when they came out of that? I like to call it the three Cs, Capital, Connections and Credibility.
The world was their oyster and it was open. I believe that you create the three Cs to a higher degree. You get more of the three Cs when you’re acting with integrity, when you are a genuine, sincere, straight and trustworthy person who acts and is committed. You’re not doing it for the outcome. You’re doing it because it’s a commitment that you have to yourself. It’s who you want to be in the way that you want to show up in the world. What I’ve seen is that there’s this huge benefit that comes out of it. When I started FlexPay, half of my advisory board came from masterminds that I’d been going to where these people would say, “You’re smart. I like you. I’m going to support you on this initiative.”
The other half came from people that I’d been doing business with for many years. The reason why they wanted to be on my advisory board and give up their time and money, and give all the support was because they recognized that a smart guy working on an important project and a big idea probably is going to be more successful, but also that they could trust me. I had built credibility and connections. I also had capital of my own from my previous businesses that I could put in the first few million dollars of capital that were required to start the business up because I understand from firsthand experience the power and the value of it. I look out to the world and I see other people, even maybe at a much greater scale than me, benefiting from the same thing.
I’m focused on that. It’s something I preach to all the people inside of my organizations. I say to all the people in my company when I hired them, “The greater the responsibility you can have within this organization, the more your DNA is stamped on it. The more your contribution is directly resulting in the success of the business, the more you’re going to build those three Cs, Capital, Connections and Credibility.”
The capital becomes the free market capitalistic society that a lot of people want to demonize and throw shade on it. There are a few things that it does well. One of them is it recognizes and rewards real value. When you create an ecosystem that’s a fair market, a fair level playing field, where it’s a true meritocracy and it’s inclusive, and you let people get out there and measure clearly who’s providing value, then they get outsized rewards on that. That’s the way that we built the business but you’re also getting connections and credibility. I’m happy to bring some of my key employees into board meetings or to bring them into other meetings with the investors, and to introduce them to people in my mastermind community so they can go out and start to build their own network.
I want other people to get to do the things that I did that helped me to be successful. For some of them, it’s not going to play out. It’s not going to work out well. For others, it’s going to transform their lives. In turn, transform the lives of others and the economy and society at large. This is the positive side of what comes out of entrepreneurialism.
We can create this flywheel effect in our society. How we transform our economies and solve a lot of the ills that we have is through good entrepreneurs, building great businesses, and creating a whole ecosystem of success and abundance around them. To the extent that I can play a small role in that, that’s my calling and duty. It’s my responsibility. It’s not what I have to do. It’s what I get to do. I love it.
You’re such a humble guy. Share with the audience some of your business success. We know you have character and integrity. If the world were more like you, it almost sounds like it could never happen but you never know.
We don’t want the world filled with all entrepreneurs because things would break.
I’m speaking to the essence of who you are and what you bring to the endeavor. At least do a little bit of bragging.
Before the bragging, I have to say that humility is not false humility. That’s why I like that Chris Sacca comment, “I may be lucky but it’s not an accident.” It pays homage to the fact that it’s both. The idea is in the morals that I hold dear at the core of my being didn’t come from me. They were people way wiser and smarter than me that were codifying these things and sharing them and installing them, but then you have to choose to partake and instill it.
You’re even going as far back to the ten commandments.
From a business perspective, I think there’s business success and that’s nice. The things that I’ve been most proud of and I hadn’t even thought of until you reminded me on this interview is some of the other people’s lives who I’ve touched and the businesses that they’ve been able to go on and create as a result. The confidence that I’ve been able to instill in them by being the right person at the right time to provide some advice and get them pushing forward because we all had that at some point. We all need that. As far as what I’ve done in my own business, FlexPay, technically, you would call it my eighth business if you consider the window washing business system when I was eighteen. I’ve had cofounders in most of them. In three of them, I’ve been sole proprietor.
FlexPay is the first business where I’ve ever brought in institutional capital. We are VC-backed. All my previous businesses were organically funded and bootstrapped. Almost maniacal focus on unit, economics, gross margin, lifetime value, all the different risk metrics and profit metrics that you need to measure. It’s something I’m proud of. I’m KPI-oriented. I have a gift of understanding what drives success in business and what doesn’t. I get a lot of joy out of advising.
I’m on multiple advisory boards. I’m also an Angel investor in a small handful of startups. I’m also a limited partner in several tech VC funds, which I think are investing in interesting businesses and exposing cap, bringing capital into businesses that need the help. Through that, I also get called in like I’m going to be jumping in on a call where we’re doing due diligence and being that voice of experience from technology as a self-taught coder and technologists to provide advice. That’s the stuff that lights me up. I have built a lot of businesses. I have created over 1,000 jobs. I have paid millions of dollars in taxes, payroll taxes, income taxes and capital gains taxes.
In Canada, right?
Also, in the US because we’ve always had US corporations as well that had to pay taxes. I do contribute more to the Canadian tax economy than I do the American, in fairness. I feel like both economies are winning. When I win, they also win. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that because not everybody has the platform or the opportunity, the ability. When you do, I feel like you’ve got a responsibility to play your role and get out there and do some good. I’m excited about the project that we’re working on now with FlexPay. It’s the biggest problem I’ve ever tackled.
Capital, connections, credibility.
We’re going to move the needle on the stuff that runs behind the scenes that makes people’s day-to-day lives that much easier and more frictionless. We’re creating more trust and transparency inside of the payment rails and working on hard problems to do it. I’m very grateful and blessed to have some wonderful financial institutions and technologists and VCs backed us with millions of dollars of capital to go and build this business. I had two exits out of businesses in the past. One in 2006 and in 2011. Those gave me the opportunity. In Silicon Valley, they talk about crossing the freedom line, or maybe you don’t have enough money to retire by your standards, or maybe you never want to retire but certainly, you’re at a point where you don’t have to do anything.
You do what you do because you want to. I often say to people that one of the greatest privileges of entrepreneurship that it affords to people is not just picking what you do, but who you do it with. I was very lucky to cross that freedom line in a small way in ’05, ’06, but certainly, firmly ensconced into the other side of the freedom line in 2011. I’m going to be working right up until I’m in my 80s. I know that for sure. I’m never going to give up and quit. I love business and solving these problems, the mentorship and guidance. It will probably look a little different than the 50, 60-hour workweeks that I’m pulling now being a dad.
There’s no doubt you’re passionate about it. I have two questions if I may before we go. What’s the one thing in life that you’ve learned that you want everyone to know?
I’m going to use a business lens because there are lots of other things we’ve talked about on the personal front and the importance of being a good actor and integrity. Those are far more profound lessons that are important. If we want to put a business lens on it first, it’s identifying and surrounding yourself with people smarter than you. One thing that has punched way above its weight in helping me along my journey is identifying and finding what problems you can solve for them, and bringing value to them in a very sincere way, not in a transactional way.
I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the man, husband, friend, father and entrepreneur that I am if it wasn’t for some of the masterminds that I’ve been blessed to join like the business masterminds. That’s how you and I met. Also, the business community that I’ve built. I’m putting myself out there, going to trade shows, networking, playing full out and showing up in a very real physical way, but also showing up in the way that the energy that you bring to interactions. As I say to startup entrepreneurs, the smartest thing I ever did was build an advisory board in FlexPay before I even generated any revenue.
These incredibly bright, highly specialized people, that’s a framework that I teach to entrepreneurs on how to build an advisory board but you don’t get to build that advisory board. It’s not going to be as world-class as it could be unless you’ve identified and brought those people into your orbit. Put yourself out there. People are incredibly generous, especially getting into the entrepreneurial community. We all want to help one another out.
It’s so true. Here’s my last question for you. If you could have a conversation with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be and why?
I have a lot of respect for Elon Musk and what he’s done. I would never want to be him, especially in this day and age. It’s a crazy time to be as successful as he is. It’s sad to see what’s happening there. When I think about entrepreneurs, I think about people that put themselves out there. They’re incredibly powerful and intelligent but humble and driven as well. I’m going to say Moses. I think of him as being an entrepreneur. I remember once through my YPO community. We get invited into US Congress. We get to sit in Congress, in the seats of the congressmen.
With all the lawmakers in the very first ones, on the way on the side is Moses. Moses is there. It’s a recognition within US Congress that here’s this person who created laws. He did incredible things. Regardless of where your belief is at, even if you believe that half the stories are fairytales. Even still, there’s a tremendous amount of integrity, character and intelligence, and wild stories of all kinds of lessons that only a small fraction of which have been written down and codified for us. Maybe it’s because that’s where I’m at in my personal Bible reading now. I’ve been reading a lot. That’s the first name that came to my mind. There would be so much wisdom that I could glean into that. I love to sit down and share a bottle of wine or two with that guy and have a long conversation. That would be amazing.
Moses did not get to go into the promised land. He just brought the people there. He did not get to drink the fruits of his labor.
That’s right but he was there as an enabler and incredibly humble. The way he shared the love and the wealth and all these advisers. There are so many stories. It’s a real life of sacrifice and service. Humans are at their finest and their most beautiful is when they do live a life of self-sacrifice. That doesn’t mean that you’re whipping yourself on the back and living a life and incredible scarcity. It’s quite the opposite. You still get to have a beautiful life and do great things, but it’s so much more fulfilling when you’re living that life of service and sacrifice. It’s beautiful.
Where would you like people to go to learn more about you?
You go on FlexPay. My email address is pretty easy. It’s [email protected]. My email inbox is completely flooded and overflowing but I do go through it personally. My EA also does some triage on it, but I do go through and personally read it. People can reach out to me that way. They can find me on LinkedIn as well. I’m not super active on LinkedIn but I am there. I go through my messages from time to time. That’s probably a good way as well.
Thank you so much, Darryl. This was incredible. I could talk to you forever. You are who you say you are. Some people have illusions of who they are. I feel so honored to have you, not only to this show but to have you in my little golden Rolodex. I hope I can be of service to you one day. For all the readers here, Darryl took you for a ride. He personified the mission of this show, restoring trust and enriching significant relationships. If you enjoy this episode and I don’t know how you couldn’t, make sure you like, subscribe, share and comment. We’ll see you next time.
- Strangers in Paradise
- [email protected]
- LinkedIn – Darryl Hicks
About Darryl Hicks
Darryl has been active as a successful serial entrepreneur and technology expert for more than 20 years. A pioneer in Card Not Present sales, Darryl has extensive experience in building and managing technologically complex online and offline Direct Marketing businesses. Darryl is currently the CEO of FlexPay.io, a new transaction processing tool that leverages machine learning to reduce failed payments, as well as performing transaction cost and risk arbitrage. FlexPay was born out of his necessity to optimize his own significant volume of credit card processing within his Marketing and e-commerce businesses, but is now available to solve similar problems for the public.
Darryl has founded or co-founded several successful B2C and B2B businesses in the past, servicing millions of consumer customers across 4 continents, successfully exiting from two of the larger companies (2006, 2011). He has also served on the advisory boards of multiple early stage companies, holds technology patents, and serves as an active advisor to many e-commerce and Direct Marketing entrepreneurs.