We continue the celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) month with another feature of an inspiring woman in this week's Fintech Female Friday series.
Puneet Thiara is the Co-founder and COO at Peach, a neobank with the mission to help people pay their debt easier. After graduating from Northwestern University, Puneet spent time working the asset management industry in portfolio analytics, research, diligence, and sales roles all along the West Coast. However, while she was passionate about finance and the markets, she realized she wanted to work with early stage companies, which led her to pursuing an MBA. Upon completion, she worked in IPO investment banking at Morgan Stanley and soon realized she wanted to work with companies on day 0, and be a part of their stories as they are still being written, leading her to founding Peach with the other co-founders whom she met during business school.
As Puneet and the other co-founders came together during the ideation and incubation phase, Puneet was lamenting about her student debt and having to manage multiple providers for each term of business school. That's when they realized they could help people understand their loans and effectively set up a repayment strategy without the hassle of managing multiple providers, and launched Peach mobile app. Today, they are helping 4300 users manage $70 million + in loans. Coming up in the pipeline is the ability to actually make payments through the Peach app!
Puneet and her co-founders are passionate about culture and in order to ensure a clear understanding and alignment on the culture they want to foster, they recently wrote their company values. "My co-founders and I are deeply focused on putting our customers
first and ourselves second. This alignment allows us to embody our other values like bias for
impact and moving the needle. As a company, we’ve prioritized being not just co-founders, but also friends. When we’re not grinding on the next product sprint or growth initiative, you can find us making up lame peach-related puns, jamming out to 2000s hip-hop, or exploring new Thai restaurants."
Puneet and her co-founder and empowering millions of people with the ability to manage and take ownership of their financial situations. Peach is rewriting credit and fighting the debt crisis for the 106 million Americans who are looking to climb out of debt. They are simplifying the consumer experience with debt so people can focus on how to pay it off sooner rather than expending energy trying to read the fine print. Puneet and her team believe that a dedicated debt management solution will lead to better outcomes for both borrowers and lenders over the long run.
More on Puneet
Where you currently live: New York City (UWS)
Hometown: Oakland, California
Favorite hobby: Big fan of golf, but still unclear if it’s a fan of me
Favorite part of your day: Getting lunch with my co-founders
Favorite show to binge: Parks & Rec
What's the best job decision you ever made? What's the worst job decision you ever made?
The best job decision I ever made was moving to New York this past October to work in-person with my co-founders. During the first six months of the Peach journey, all three of us were in different parts of the country, and while we were productive and effective, it didn’t hold a candle to what we got done when we were all three in the same place. At the same time, the worst job decision I made was not trying harder to convince my co-founders to move to San Francisco with me instead!
Do you have any productivity hacks? What keeps you motivated? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I am obsessed with routine. Having my day structured and predictable allows me to give attention to the things that actually matter rather than logistical minutiae.
What's a show/podcast/book that inspires you and why?
I rewatch Friday Night Lights quite often. Coach Taylor’s halftime pep talks lead to 28-point comebacks on the show, so imagine what it could do when the stakes are even higher!
5:45 am - Wake up, eat a banana, contemplate going back to sleep, and then finally go to the gym.
7:45 am - Make breakfast, pack my snacks for the day, and glam up.
8:45 am - Run to catch the C train. I know full well when that train gets to the station, and yet, I always seem to be in a situation where I’m sprinting to catch it right when it arrives.
9:30 am - Grab a glass of cold brew on tap and open up my computer. I usually start off by checking Slack for anything my co-founders might have gotten up to the night before and then switch over to emails.
10:30 am - Dedicated block for all things operations. Today, I reviewed payroll for the upcoming pay period, made outstanding payments to vendors, did bookkeeping, and finally, red-lined a contract we are negotiating with a vendor.
12:00 pm - My co-founders and I begin a debate about where we should go for lunch. This is my absolute favorite part of the day, because it’s the one time where we get to spend time together as friends, not just co-workers. One of our investors, Brickyard (hi Cam & Matt!), told us that we should prioritize breaking bread together and we’ve tried to embody that by always grabbing lunch as a team.
1:00 pm - We have our daily sync as a team where we recap what we’ve been working on, where we’re blocked, and what we’re hoping to knock out the rest of the day.
1:30 pm - Dedicated block for all things marketing. Today, I sent follow-up emails to financial wellness programs we’re partnering with, I scheduled some tweets for the week, and I started outreach to nonprofit programs we think would be interested in sharing Peach with their users.
3:15 pm - My co-founder and I play Harry Potter trivia.
3:30 pm - Jump on a Zoom with a compliance whiz who has spent time at more established fintech companies to better understand how we should think about compliance and fraud as we continue growing and scaling Peach.
4:00 pm - Once a week, our team will do a retro session on a specific topic to reflect on what we’ve done well and what we could do better. It’s a very constructive way for us to give each other feedback without creating a blame culture. This week we dived deep on product and if we could have pushed improvements forward even faster, AKA at the speed of light.
5:00 pm - We did some Spring Cleaning and tidied up our Notion and Trello so we can get focused and aligned on goals for the quarter.
6:45 pm - Spontaneously decided we should go to a Knicks game and began the mad dash up to MSG.
7:25 pm - Desperately attempting to buy tickets online now that we’ve already trekked up there.
7:33 pm - Tickets secured! We end up having the best time and a great night out. Peach out!
5:45 am - Wake up and work out. I find it’s much easier to get it out of the way early in the day rather than carry the burden with me the rest of the evening.
9:30 am - Arrive at the office and grab my cold brew. I’ve got a ton of meetings today and use this time to get organized and respond to urgent items on Slack and email.
10:30 am - Catch up with our support team at Plaid to explore some potential new products we might be able to use for new features we want to build.
11:00 am - Amazing conversation with a female investor focused on consumer fintech. We had an honest and vulnerable conversation about the lack of success in funding outcomes for teams with female founders.
12:00 pm - Grab Dos Toros with my co-founders (one of our favorites!) and bicker like siblings the entire walk there and back.
1:00 pm - Daily sync as a team. Once a week during one of our syncs, we’ll go through our Trello and ensure we have eyes on every outstanding item and also add new items as a team.
1:30 pm - Monthly sync with one of our angels (hi Kris!). He’s been extremely supportive in our Peach journey and has always been a helpful sounding board when we’re thinking about new ideas for product and growth.
2:00 pm - Monthly finance review with my co-founders where we review our spending for the prior month and our budget moving forward.
3:00 pm - Meet with another fintech company that also looks to serve consumers that have a lot of debt. Hoping we can find an opportunity for synergies and mutually share our services with one another’s user bases.
4:00 pm - Catch up on all missed emails and Slack messages from the day.
5:00 pm - Head over to a founder networking event in Midtown. We find these events to be so helpful because we can learn from the experiences of other founders, and also have a moment of camaraderie with people who understand life in the trenches of company-building.
7:30 pm - Grab a bowl of Cava before jumping on the subway. This is a public request to please open a Cava in the Upper West Side!
8:30 pm - Watch some Parks & Rec and send my sister memes.
9:30 pm - Get ready for bed, call my parents, and read a chapter of my book (currently reading Radical Compassion by Tara Brach).
10:30 pm - Lights out. Peach out!