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This is Capitalism: Up Close, Inspired, Explained

Jul 1, 2021

Patricia O’Connell interviews Cher Grant, CEO and Founder of software development company Wazzio. They discuss how Wazzio was launched, how it serves schools and parents teaching at home, and how Cher became a technology provider after being a sales rep. Cher stresses the importance of financial literacy for children growing up in a world where spending happens on a keyboard.


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Key Takeaways:

[:27] Patricia O’Connell introduces Cher Grant, CEO and Founder of Wazzio, a software development company, and welcomes her to This is Capitalism CEO Stories.

[:48] Cher launched Wazzio in 2013 with cloud software services. Since 2013, the company has pivoted into the educational space to offer technology to help students.

[1:12] Their latest application is Wazzcards, an online virtual interactive classroom. A question is posed by teachers or parents on a card that appears on-screen. Students answer it in real-time as teachers or parents observe how the students answer. It can be used in class or remotely.

[2:07] Wazzcards has many subjects but one of the main purposes of the program is to encourage students as young as possible to learn about financial literacy. Wazzcards is intended for classes from Grade Three through Grade Eight. The subjects are Science, Math, English, Geography, History, and Financial Literacy.

[3:35] Cher talks about the extreme importance of financial literacy and why it should be taught in school. When you buy everything online, how do you keep track of how much money you are spending? It doesn’t even seem real if you don’t hold the cash in your hand.
[5:19] Cher wants children to learn now what happens when you borrow money, what debt means, what it does to your credit score, how interest works, and how debt follows you until you pay it off.

[5:47] Cher markets Wazzcards through social media, Google Ads, and existing partnerships with schools and other companies in the education sector. Wazzcards is marketed both to schools and parents teaching their children at home. The collaborative nature of the cards helps keep the attention and focus of children.

[6:48] Wazzcards presents a complete curriculum that parents can use for teaching at home. Parents select the decks they want to use for their children. Parents can apply motivational treats for the number of questions answered correctly.
[7:33] The pandemic gave parents access to how well their children were doing or how they were struggling in school.
[9:14] The technology industry is predominantly male-dominated. Cher has met some challenges throughout her career but her love for technology has kept her going. Technology is innovative and always changing. Solving business challenges for customers is what excites Cher about technology.

[9:48] Cher had learned in previous jobs to act like Teflon and not let sexist attitudes and comments stick to her. She eventually left being an employee when she found too many obstacles to innovation in the companies that employed her. She decided to launch a company where she could innovate to meet the needs she saw.
[11:05] Cher had always felt a “burning flame” to do something on her own. The fear factor of failing kept her working as an employee for years. When she launched Wazzio, it was profitable in its first year.

[12:00] Cher describes the role having passion for your work plays for people whether working for a company or as an entrepreneur. We don’t often hear the phrase, “I love my job. I love what I do.” Passion gets you up in the morning to push through the highs and lows of the day. An entrepreneur works many hours to succeed.

[13:34] With a Wazzcard subscription, a school has the opportunity to get a discount on Chromebook devices. So far, Wazzio has neither sought nor needed outside capitalization. They may look for funding later on for growth.

[14:55] By not relying on investors, Cher has been able to control the company as she wants. This has been an advantage so far.

[15:53] The most important thing when you partner with an investor is to align with an investor who has the same vision you have for the company. It’s almost like a marriage.

[16:33] Wazzio has also created a company called Riley in Canada as a market for small contractors in the beauty and household service industries. It may expand into the U.S.
[18:02] You can purchase a Wazzcards software subscription anywhere in the world. The Chromebook discount is only available in the U.S.
[18:35] Cher’s advice for female entrepreneurs going into technology fields is not to fear the tech but embrace it. We use it every day, all day. Don’t be afraid of getting into this space. There are huge opportunities in different tech areas for providing solutions and services to different businesses. Push forward and take a look at technology.

[19:23] Cher started in the tech space as a sales rep at large American companies. When she saw the possibilities in the technology field, she was very excited. She has stayed in technology ever since.
[20:37] Cher received a lot of great training in tech while she worked for those large companies. She received various certifications any time she saw an opportunity to learn more. She also researched to find as much as she could about technology she didn’t understand. As she went through different types of jobs, learning became easier for her.
[21:10] Cher became a cloud specialist when she saw the industry was moving into cloud technology. Learn while you are earning a salary, then apply your knowledge in a company you launch.

[22:01] Wazzcards is preparing an offering for the corporate space for corporations to teach their employees about the different solutions they offer.

[22:39] Patricia thanks Cheryl for sharing her story and telling us about Wazzio and Wazzcards.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Cher Grant