Dmitri Love pitched Bundil—an app that takes your spare change and invests in cryptocurrency—on Season 10 of Shark Tank. Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc..) and the blockchain technology that powers it, has created new opportunities for investors, startups, and professionals in a variety of industries.
Musician and philanthropist, Akon created his own: Akoin. Patientory CEO Chrissa McFarlane raised millions for her blockchain startup with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), and online communities like Wacoinda have developed to share news and financial information about the cryptocurrency market. Knowledge is power but wading through the deluge of news about digital assets can make investing in the speculative asset class daunting.
That’s why Dmitri Love created Bundil, to make it easier for everyday investors to add cryptocurrency to their portfolio. After his appearance on Shark Tank, Black Enterprise contributor Brandon Andrews sat down with Love for an interview about the show and his business.
Give us a quick overview of the crypto landscape. What is it and how does it work?
That’s a pretty loaded question. The crypto world is an ever-evolving space filled with prowess and ingenuity.
Let’s start with bitcoins because they are so well known. Bitcoin is like regular money and in a small way, stocks.
It’s like money in that it has value and you can use it to buy goods and services. It’s also like stock because the value fluctuates based on supply and demand. Bitcoin operates on technology called blockchain. Other crypto, like Ethereum, are using that same blockchain technology to allow people to rent out (and make money with) part of their computing power when they aren’t using it. It’s an exciting space that’s still in its infancy.
Why should I invest my spare change in crypto instead of saving it or using it for another opportunity?
You should do both! We always advocate diversifying your portfolio. Save some, invest some, repeat. We are actually in the works of adding a savings feature to our platform in coming weeks.
How did you build the Bundil app? What was your biggest challenge in the development process?
Well, lots of code and late nights, haha. We knew who we wanted to help build the system. I had some software friends in my hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas, who are absolutely brilliant. I can’t express enough how much we value them and what they have done for Bundil. The biggest challenge for us was mitigating risk management in the roundup investment process. We knew traditional roundups may provide poor monthly investments for those who don’t use their debit/credit cards often enough. We came up with the idea to add different round-up options so users can choose how much to round up based on their spending habits.
You appeared on Season 10 of Shark Tank! How did you connect with the show? Tell us the story.
It’s actually pretty crazy. We were contacted by a Shark Tank producer within two days of launching the initial iOS app back in April. My co-founder and I didn’t believe it at first, but after doing some research we learned that it was real. We were asked to send in a pitch video and shortly after I was flown out to LA to film. It’s still a little surreal.
You took the Sharks to crypto school, with a chalkboard and everything, how was that experience?
Comfortable. I thought I would be intimidated pitching our tiny startup to the Sharks, but once the pitch started, I felt like I was educating and explaining my business just like I would to anyone else. I used the chalkboard to show how complicated investing in Bitcoin and other crypto can be without using the Bundil app. I felt comfortable throughout the interaction.
Give us an update, what have you been working on since being on the show?
We’ve been working on scaling up and adding new features. We know that Bundil’s an amazing tool for the old and new members of the crypto community and we want to make sure we exceed our users’ expectations.
How do you plan to grow the business in 2018 and beyond?
The exposure from the show is going to give us great visibility, which is a good start. We want to show the world that crypto is nothing to be afraid of. I think our efforts in providing a secure, safe, and easy platform to invest in crypto will speak for itself. We also plan to continue engaging the investment community. In the coming weeks, we will provide other features to skyrocket their portfolios, and show them that investing is fun!
Why should African Americans be interested in crypto? Are their specific opportunities for black investors?
There are definitely opportunities for black investors. I think a lot of African Americans feel intimidated by investing in crypto or any other asset, because we often don’t have the same financial opportunities. We want to bridge that gap with Bundil. We also want to empower black investors with knowledge. You can invest no matter your background or economic status. That’s the core of why we built Bundil. To engage the people that don’t know where to start, and provide an easy and fun way to participate. No matter where they’re from, what their economic status is, or what they look like.