The history of Marketplace Risk, the world's foremost trust & safety resource hub, featuring CEO & Founder Jeremy Gottschalk
Steve interviews Jeremy Gottschalk, Chief Executive Officer & CEO of Marketplace Risk
FEATURING: Jeremy Gottschalk, CEO & Founder of Marketplace Risk
In this episode, I interview Jeremey Gottschalk, Chief Executive Officer & Founder of the world's foremost resource for risk management, trust & safety, regulatory & compliance and legal strategy, Marketplace Risk.
Jeremy shares the history of Marketplace Risk and how marketplaces and digital platforms have evolved over the last decade. We discuss the growing importance of identity verification and why this year’s Marketplace Risk Management Conference will be the biggest and best show since the beginning of the organization.
Connecting with Jeremy Gottschalk
Marketplace Risk Platform Podcast: https://www.marketplacerisk.com/podcast
Marketplace Risk Management Conference: https://www.marketplacerisk.com/conference
Connect with Jeremy at the Marketplace Risk Management conference next month in San Francisco, May 16-18.
Subscribers to the PEAK IDV EXECUTIVE SERIES are eligible for 25% off the standard conference pass rate. Use code: PEAKIDV25
Marketplace Risk Global Summit: https://www.marketplacerisk.com/global-summit
Marketplace Risk: https://www.marketplacerisk.com/
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Steve Craig: Welcome to the PEAK IDV EXECUTIVE SERIES Video podcast. I'm your host, Steve Craig, Founder and Chief Enablement Officer at PEAK IDV. This is a video for series, where I interview thought leaders, change makers, innovators in the digital identity space.
Today's guest is Jeremy Gottschalk, CEO and Founder of Marketplace Risk. Marketplace risk is the go-to community and resource for marketplaces, digital platforms for them to learn to network, to exchange risk management, trust and safety, compliance, and regulatory and legal strategies. An attorney by trade, Jeremy built Marketplace Risk from the ground up, really in lockstep with the rise of marketplaces and digital platforms as they became foundational businesses that power our modern economy. I first met Jeremy several years ago when my past employer Mitek introduced face biometric capabilities for the marketplace ecosystem. So I'm super stoked to have Jeremy as a guest today on the podcast. Welcome Jeremy, thank you so much for being here. I'm pretty confident every person watching this or listening to this has heard of Marketplace Risk but I'd love to hear how you describe the organization. What's your elevator pitch when you're meeting someone new that might not have heard of what you do?
Jeremy Gottschalk: Sure. So it's evolved over time. So the elevator pitch, although the elevator pitch has stayed, stayed quite the same. Today we're a resource hub and as you mentioned, our goal is to provide resources, education, networking opportunities, and then that information exchange. All around risk management, trust and safety, compliance, regulatory, legal strategy. So all of the areas that kind of go unnoticed or not focused on particularly by early stage startups, founders, but also, you know, even, enterprise marketplaces.
Steve: Now, you, you're an attorney by trade, like your education was through law school and you started out in law firms. How did you get from being an attorney, billable hours to what, what looks like your first startup role was, is it SitterCity? Like how did that come about?
Jeremy: Yeah, that's right. Yeah, so I was an IP lawyer originally. And so that put me working, well, it doesn't necessarily, but it put me working with, technology, technology companies and startups.
And this is the early 2000s. So it was the first bubble, as well as the beginnings of marketplaces and digital. What we'll call kind of V1 of platforms. I started working with marketplaces somewhat fortuitously and end up growing like a pretty good client base.
And I was offered to go in-house and after about seven years in the law firm, it was a perfect time for me to switch the law firm life for the in-house life. So I joined SitterCity right after their series A, employee number 20 something.
Steve: What is SitterCity for those that might not be familiar with it?
Jeremy: SitterCity's a childcare platform where you can find babysitters and nannies. When I joined we were doing childcare, but also senior care and the largest platform in the world. One of the things that we did in SitterCity right out of the bat is we got a contract with the Department of Defense. So we worked with all four branches, active and reserve, providing a childcare resource. And as any working parent knows, any parent knows, childcare is probably one of the hardest things to find, to maintain. And particularly as your children grow and as you enter and leave the workforce, it becomes nearly impossible to juggle.
So, SitterCity's the first childcare platform and until recently it was on its own, but it was acquired by Bright Horizons, which is the largest childcare company.
Steve: Are you still active with SitterCity? Other than the connection to Marketplace Risk?
Jeremy: Yeah. So when I left in 2017, I actually joined their board and was on their board as their secretary and what we'll call a kind of a fractional general counsel.
So worked for them part-time, still getting Marketplace Risk off the ground. When it sold to Bright Horizons I started working with Bright Horizons and I still work with the team on a fractional basis, so I built a lot of the trust and safety and the risk management processes and function there.
So I'm intimately familiar with it. And so I'm, I love working with the team and have stayed connected with them.
Steve: I think about getting into the 2010s. Uber and Airbnb were in their infancy. I think Airbnb might have been 2008 and Uber 2009 in terms of when they were started, we're coming out of like a really bad recession. There's still a lot of uncertainty in the economy at that point in time. What was it like for you as a legal risk management professional navigating what was like new business models and that uncharted territory?
Jeremy: Well, one I didn't actually live through as an operator, the 2008, 2009, 2007, 2009.
So, luckily I was in a law firm. Then I joined after, so I would call it kind of the beginning of the next, towards the next summit. So for us, it was exciting because we didn't really have the hangover of the financial crisis much anymore. But also because we were in childcare, financial crisis, recession, bad economy or not, people always need child childcare and it's a problem that I hate to say we'll never get solved, but it's one of those, those issues that, it doesn't look like there's a solution on the horizon. And so being part of the solution was super exciting, particularly going in-house, working with a growth stage company. There's nothing more exciting than being able to kind of move fast and develop and create things. Real time.
Steve: And was it in that time I see Marketplace Risk was started at the end of 2014. Had you found that there was this gap in just general knowledge sharing? Like how did the organization start Marketplace Risk?
Jeremy: So, so it started actually a few years before that with a working group. When I went in-house in 2010. It was a little bit of the wild west of marketplaces, right? So, Craigslist, Craigslist and eBay are really the, the, probably the two remaining kind of foundational marketplaces. Uber, Airbnb were coming on the scene, but really hadn't taken off yet.
And so when I went in house, we were dealing with vulnerable populations, right? Children and seniors at the time. And I had to quickly figure out like, how do we protect the company from this inherent risk dealing with vulnerable populations? And how do you protect your community? Kind of more importantly, uh, there were no resources.
Consultants, law firms are super expensive. And when we had money because we raised it, but nobody budgeted, hundreds of thousands of dollars to figure out these problems with consultants or law firms. And so I kind of hit the pavement trying to find other childcare, childcare adjacent startups that we could share information, obviously not on development and customer acquisition and marketing and product, but more on kind of the risk, the trust and safety, what vendors are people are using, how are they solving some of these customer service issues.
And so with that, this working group was born. Over time, we invited in the coaching, the mentoring, the tutoring platforms, really anything related to children because we had this very unique problem to solve or this issue with a vulnerable population. And what's unique about childcare is you leave your child with somebody else, right?
So, it's not like another service. It's not like rideshare. It's not like home share. It's truly kind of unique on the risk spectrum. And so we started getting together quarterly just talking about all of these things and it proved super valuable just to bounce ideas, understand who was doing what and in large part, we created or understood what good practices were because we were creating them real time.
And so, you know, that's where it started. Over time other, what we'll call verticals started entering the fray. So ride share and pet care and different type services types and goods platforms. They heard about the group and they wanted in, we let them in. But as we went on, the group got bigger and bigger and bigger.
So at the end of 2014, we decided, let's kind of turn this working group into something that's going to be more valuable for all of the participants and I don't want to say return value, but really be more beneficial for all of those involved. And so then we, the, we launched the conference in early 2015.
Steve: Yeah, I was looking at your website in the history. You've got all the previous programs, and I see it's March 2015 and you were calling it, at that time the Risk Management, Compliance and Defense Strategies for Internet Marketplaces. It was poolside. I saw there was a nice poolside reception.
How many did you have at that first event? I was just imagining, you know, the group getting together and like what was the vibe of bringing all these distinct different platforms together?
Jeremy: Yeah, so the first one, I think we had under 30, I want to say like 24, 26 people there. And the idea was, people submitted issues or topics, right? And then my pitch was, I'll find the speakers. And so we brought in experts on various topics and we did it in Miami. I was going to business school and taking some classes down there. So that became the venue. The vibe was a continuation of this really productive working group.
Although we now had experts giving us guidance and telling us what is good or bad about what we're doing in real time and for the benefit of the entire group. So it was really efficient group learning. And then we have the immediate ability to implement and to change based on obviously being in startups.
So the vibe was, it was super exciting. We didn't know what we started, we just knew it was in Miami and we gave it a name just because we didn't want to invite people to come hang out in our hotel in Miami.
Steve: Well, not, not, not a bad draw. I imagine March in Miami is a great time to, to get people out there. But you quickly did another one. So that was in March and then November, you had an another session. I see there's another program. Had you realized after that Miami session, we have something and we need to do more of this and maybe start to grow it and bring in more speakers and more platforms.
Jeremy: I don't want take too much credit because the reality is, one thing that I didn't estimate properly is the amount of people in this space who are on the West Coast, right? So I knew that the people in our network would travel because they knew the value from coming together with other operators and founders.
When we invited others to attend so many are located on the West Coast and flying from San Francisco to Miami for a day or a day and a half just wasn't feasible. So the second event that year, I think resulted a little bit more out of kind of FOMO from people who were invited but couldn't attend.
So we said, Hey, we can redo this. Essentially. It was going to be different just in the fact that there were going to be different people there and somewhat different topics and speakers, but we can redo this in the fall and it doubled in size, just by doing it there. So that's the point at which I realized number one, the West coast, has just a high concentration of just tech, right? And so many of these marketplaces and digital platforms are started there, so it makes sense to be there. But also a lot of people when you're first selling on an idea, right, they're kind of wait and see. But I think once they learned how valuable and productive it was. They then wanted to participate. And that of course, meant that we did a second one that year.
Steve: And just within a few years, I saw the Marketplace Risk brand started to emerge. At what point in that journey between end of 2015 to the following did you put focused effort on giving it its current identity as an organization?
Jeremy: Yeah, one just when I left in 2017, by virtue of taking the show on the road, so to speak, I had to, you know, incorporate, create an entity. And so one of the things that we had talked about in really all of our working groups and the first couple conferences or the first couple events was around the combination between marketplaces and risk management.
And so not being that creative as a lawyer, I just thought, well, Marketplace Risk Management is going to be a good name for it. And then when it came time to create that conference, we thought, okay, some of the other titles that we had used or the naming conventions, it was just mouthful.
Not that Marketplace Risk Management falls off the tongue. But um, we, we kind of had refined the focus a little bit more and Marketplace Risk seemed to be the umbrella of much of the content that we intended to cover and really the audience that we were going after.
Steve: And around that time Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, Instacart, some of the really big known brands they started to get a lot of press because they were becoming unicorns. They were going global. What were some of the challenges you were seeing in those first shows as Marketplace Risk Management conference? What were the themes at that time?
Jeremy: So the one thing to keep in mind is when a lot of these platforms, Airbnbs and the Ubers of the world, when they're experiencing that hyper growth, right? That sometimes tends to be the one and only focus. So at the beginning we had quite a hard time even getting them to pay attention to what we were doing. Much of what we cover, it's often thought of or reserved for big enterprises. People don't really associate startups with risk management, now trust and safety is certainly part of the vernacular, but compliance and regulatory not as much.
So in order to get their attention, we were trying to evangelize topics that weren't really sexy or really that interesting because the goal was grow. Which, side note remains some of the problems with startups and the VC world. Is this growth at all costs when there are some other areas of focus that are good complements to growth. In any event, trying to get them involved at the outset what was difficult. As those organizations matured though, they have been some of the biggest supporters of Marketplace Risk in terms of speakers and sponsors and providing content, serving on the advisory board. So it feels like once they've got their footing and the organizations matured, they've really started contributing to the ecosystem quite a bit.
Steve: It was 2018 when I first got my exposure to the Marketplace Risk Management Conference, and it was one that I attended and I co-presented with one of your attorney connections, Debra Bernard, who's an expert in the biometrics field. And back during that time, identity verification really wasn't an important element. A lot of the programs, especially the trust and safety teams weren't really thinking about it in the way that regulated financial institutions about it, they have the whole KYC requirement in banking. How do you think IDV has started to permeate into the risk management processes of these companies in the past few years?
Jeremy: Yeah. So two things I think have gone, have grown in parallel. One is, this profession or this recognition of the value of trust and safety. And two, the, what I would say the foundation of trust and safety is identity. And so if you appreciate or care about trust and safety, particularly for your community, for the industry, the ecosystem, you have to understand that everything starts and I would argue ends with identity.
And back then imagine, I went in house 2010. This really got launched as a working group, 2012. When we were talking about identity, we were asking each other do you know any vendors or solution providers that do this? And back then there were just a few. And as the years have gone on, there have been more and more solution providers that have come on the scene.
In parallel, the technology has improved exponentially as well as the value and the focus on trust and safety. Back then it was a sparse crowd. I think there weren't that great of solutions. Now I think that there are a ton of good solutions out there and some really interesting technology that is catching up to, and in some cases I think surpassing the financial services industry. Just kind of based on the, as you mentioned, like biometrics and kind of different signals that that are being leveraged.
Steve: Absolutely. When I think about the evolution of this space, a lot of the initial identity techniques that were out there were, knowledge-based, people having to answer questions, and for marketplaces that were app native that were really focused on user growth they didn't want to pause that onboarding flow and then present some questions, that a person would answer. And it became all about like throughput. And then as platforms started to have rivals, it seemed like it was all about growth, growth, growth. And I think going into the next few years where maybe top line growth isn't the priority, where profitability and efficiency become more key, I expect more thought into that process, for sure.
Keeping on our chronological time conversation, I'd like to think about the impact the pandemic had on you as an organization hosting conferences and networking functions. Typically you did the show, you started doing the show in spring or around May in San Francisco, and suddenly March 2020 we all have this experience of the world locking down.
And no doubt you were probably planning for a great show, pandemic hits. It looks like all travels being halted. We have this major Black Swan event. And it might be painful, but can you take us back to that time for your organization and how you handled that?
Jeremy: Yeah, for sure. So, You have to, I guess, understand that this Marketplace Risk as it is today, the way it was started was as a side project. It was really for the benefit of myself and the others who were in this working group. And so the benefit, the value, excuse me, the goal has always been to kind of provide a benefit, resources to our colleagues, our peers. So from a business perspective, the pandemic caused us to obviously freak out and quickly have to pivot. But when we think of our mission, it is to provide resources and it actually turned out to be a really good, positive event be. Well, the pandemic wasn't a positive event, but what resulted was in that we took all of this content that was in the making and we decided to open it all up for free to really anybody.
We doubled the amount of content and instead of taking the conference and putting the conference online, which at the outset I knew nobody wants to sit in front of their computer for eight hours. It just wasn't tenable. We spread the content out over 30 days, so a month. We did live events during the middle of the week. Recorded events on Monday and Friday, on either end of the week, and we made it available for a couple years. It, it turned out for us as a platform to be a game changer because we were able to get in front of thousands of people who wouldn't have been able to attend our events even without a pandemic.
People who could consume this content who maybe didn't even know what it is or who we were. We were able to get in front of them and kind of sneak in how important some of this stuff was. So in retrospect, it was a very positive turning point. I think emotionally and financially it was a nightmare in the sense that you're in the middle of putting on an event, you've already spent a ton of money, and now everything comes to a screeching halt.
I will say though, our sponsors were fantastic. Everybody understood what, everyone was going through this real time. Everybody understood kinda the position we were in. And so we were then super creative to honor all of the sponsorships and participation for everybody in our community at future events and in other ways. So we were able to still give back to our sponsors and those who participated, but we were also able to grow the platform and grow the community pretty substantially just due to the fact that we had so much good content, there was no barrier to access it and it was all virtual.
Steve: You could have easily just folded up, right? You could have said, Hey, we can't do this show. But you turned that into something even more special. When I think about that time too, I was actually at one of the identity verification companies out in the market.
And there was a lot of focus, rightfully on first responders, medical staff, law enforcement, fire emergency teams. All of those folks were absolute heroes. But then there was like this unsung hero of gig and sharing economy providers that were supporting grocery delivery or food delivery or getting medical supplies.
Ride share drivers were putting their lives at risk. And it became, I felt like, an even more essential service where before it was, a lot of these platforms might have been like luxury alternatives, but it became lifelines. But through that, I think the risk environment changed because the exposure of those platforms, there were a lot of bad actors that evolved. Did you see around that time, let's say later in the year, more challenges with identity as a cornerstone? Like what, what were some of the things that came out of that for your marketplaces?
Jeremy: Yeah, so I, I think that part and parcel of the pandemic and just a huge growth of these platforms that ended up being lifelines for so many people, was fraud was bad actors, right? I think that there are certain number of people who are going to see that opportunity and seize it, even if it's for nefarious purposes. So certainly I think there was just a natural increase associated with bad actors, in response to, or in parallel to the growth of some of these platforms.
But I think that what that did was it put on a lot of people's radar if there are vulnerabilities on our platform or in our system, they've been exploited. Right? And you saw this exploitation at volume. And so I think the good side the silver lining here is that I think that along with this growth came a recognition of the need for stronger identity, the value of these trust and safety teams. As well as, the value of all of these platforms. So it was like this, this kind of parallel growth and consciousness around identity and trust and safety kind of all together.
Steve: We're now in 2023 and next month you're having what's going to be the biggest and best show since you started , May 16th through 18th in San Francisco. What are some of the key themes that you're seeing in, you just had a great LinkedIn post with all the sessions, but have you spotted some categories that are really standing out for next month's show?
Jeremy: Yeah. So, identity, the technology around identity continues to get more and more sophisticated. So I think that's a huge one. Fraud obviously. I think that the statistics coming out of, particularly the 2022 holiday season and the amount of fraud in digital commerce, in addition to the amount of enterprises that are developing marketplaces and digital platforms, is super interesting.
So we're starting to see a lot of these, the retail issues show up on, on platforms. And I think in terms of fraud, obviously, one of the big, big topics this time around is generative AI, right? And how can it be leveraged for good. But how it's being leveraged for bad. I think the moment that ChatGPT came out there were a million use cases on for bad and for good. And now of course there's so many competitors who are out with ChatGPT and, and all these different generative AI players. There's a lot of content focused around trust and safety around positive uses of it, obviously, nefarious uses of it. And then a lot has happened on the regulatory side.
We've got a ton of CLEs and different legal content, regulatory compliance content. That is evergreen in the sense that it's constantly evolving and changing. And then huge shout out we've got about a hundred, a little over a hundred speakers from a ton of platforms.
They've been really coming to this event with some of the most kind of groundbreaking content. And so when I say it's going to be the best show. We have the biggest numbers, we've got the most speakers, but the content is truly world class and you can't get it anywhere else. So we're really grateful to all of the sponsors and the participants and the speakers.
Steve: I'm really looking forward to this year show and thank you for letting me have a slot to speak with a few platforms about the different faces of identity verification. You also every year do, prior to this session, a bootcamp that is targeted or designed for platforms.
You, you don't allow vendors and other solution providers in there. Can you talk a little bit about the content of the bootcamp and what you go through in that?
How do you handle customer disputes, incidents, insurance claims? And I had all of this experience. And I would talk to people about it individually. I would talk at conferences and on podcasts and consult here and there. One thing I realized is there's a ton of experience that I gained trial by fire, but in-house as an operator that I think could benefit, early stage startups, but also just early stage marketplaces.
And so a few years ago, I decided to take pen to paper and outlined what I see as the biggest issues in kind of risk, compliance, legal, trust, and safety. It turned out to be about a four hour, what we dubbed a bootcamp. And it's, it's really all useful, actionable information. There's no theory, there's no time for theory. I really go through an entire organization, so it's not just the lawyers and the insurance folks or the trust and safety folks. It really is designed to be applicable to all functional areas and consumed by all functional areas in that, I had a seat at the table in-house and I had a perspective into everything we were doing, and so I've taken all that and put it into a bootcamp. And then, have invited a couple kind of special guests, yourself being one of them who are subject matter experts in areas, particularly areas that have evolved drastically since I was in-house and who are closer to the technology. So the idea is really to give a kind of a four hour crash course the goal, the outcome is to be able to spot issues and to know that I should call someone, we should think about some of these things because they could save us a lot of headache down the. The other, one thing I'll say about it is, goal is not to leave everybody with a BA in trust and safety.
The idea is more to give people the awareness, raise their consciousness about some of these topics enough so they have information to ask questions, and that's really all we're trying to do. We're not trying to brainwash people or give them more information than they consume. Rather it's to come out with a checklist that they can use in their kind of every day operating to make sure that they're avoiding just basic pitfalls and mitigating basic risks really.
Steve: It's such a powerful concept to take all of the years of experience you have doing that and having to have figured it out yourself and then packaging it up. What's really impressed, me about you, Jeremy, and hearing this story and knowing you from the market is just how much you give back to the community, just how much value you create out there.
I even saw a post, I think it was, not too long ago, maybe a few weeks ago, where you were offering, comped registrations for people who had been impacted by layoffs. So if, if you had lost your job is, is that still an offer outstanding?
Jeremy: Yeah, absolutely. So, so from the very beginning, the first four conferences, we didn't charge anybody. We had a few generous sponsors that really underwrote the event as it grew, as we had to start renting venues. We no longer got free space and we had to incur a lot more costs. Of course, we didn't have start charging and, so I've never wanted to make money off of startups or frankly even charge them.
You have to assign a value to it, and attrition and all of that. So we charge a nominal rate for startups as it is. And we've always maintained a scholarship program where if you're unfunded or bootstrapped or just wouldn't attend, but for support from us, you can attend for free.
One of the things you know, that we saw with these layoffs is, it really wasn't, it didn't discriminate. It was all types of platforms. It was all departments and so one of the things that we realized is this is a huge networking opportunity where hundreds of different platforms attend and they're all decision makers, whether it's in their functional area, whether they're the founder and so they're really great, these are really great networking opportunities. And so we thought if we can help transition people into new roles, many of these organizations that are attending, they have open roles and they just need to, you know, you need to shake someone's hand and meet them and or have a cup of coffee with them. The goal is really simple. It's to create a medium for a lot of folks to network. And in this specific instance, anybody who's been affected by layoffs, they can join as our guest and really make us of the content, but also the networking opportunities.
Steve: That's great. It's great that you're offering that to the community and as I've paid attention to the layoff waves that have happened, they're still coming. So there are probably more to come as the Fed is increasing rates and you're, we're seeing this era of free money go away. But the effect of that is companies are laying off experts in very important parts of their business. So in some cases, entire trust and safety teams, or the engineers or product folks that understand the solutions and how to solve these problems. I feel like we're going to see this, this rebound of fraud attacks because there's going to be gaps. What do you think about growth for the industry 2023 and beyond? Like, how do you think the dominoes will fall based on these layoffs and these changes?
Jeremy: Yeah, I mean, there's certainly going to be fallout, right? The macro economics such an situation is going to impact companies differently. I think these giant startups that we're hiring like crazy during the pandemic, they're starting to right size people are focused on profitability. It's not growth at all costs anymore which to be honest with you, I think is the mature way forward. Right. I think that growth at all costs doesn't last forever. And so creating a sustainable business is the smart way to operate. The thing I think that's really going come out of this, I, there may be additional fraud. I think what you're seeing, you know, on Twitter with the, the layoffs there as you're seeing kind of the content moderation go haywire and things like that.
So I think that's going to happen on platforms. But the thing that makes me optimistic about the result of all of this is there is a lot of institutional knowledge. There are a lot of smart, smart, sophisticated people who are forced to leave, but they're taking all of that knowledge with them, and I think what we're going to see are some really interesting startups come out of this as a result of these really great minds, great operators, great problem solvers, being forced to leverage their skills for their next chapter.
It's not all bad in the sense of, I know it's immediately, it's emotional and it's very hard both for people laying off and those getting laid off. But I think that there's blue skies ahead for a lot of people because as you mentioned, there's just a lot of really smart people with really good experience who got laid off.
And the result is going to be, I think, you know, more startups, more startups in this space in particular, which I think, is great for the industry and the ecosystem as a whole.
Steve: I agree. I'm excited about that too, because you have individuals that might have had too much of a financial incentive to stay at a Facebook or Meta, or Google or Amazon or Microsoft, all these big companies that they pay very well. And now they've forced the matter. They said, you're no longer employed here. But you have all of this expertise and knowledge, so I think we'll see startups, a lot of cross pollination. I've even seen people go from very large companies to smaller, and I think it's going to make those smaller companies stronger.
So phenomenal insight. We've got just a little bit of time left and if for the audience, if you watch or listen and I don't know if you've had a chance to take a look at a few episodes, Jeremy, but I'd like to go a little bit beyond, the main story. We talked a lot about Marketplace Risk. Looking at your LinkedIn profile. I see your, you're also President of a skincare company, Raw Materials Natural Skincare, which is completely different than, um, maybe there's a marketplace element to it, but that's different from your day job. Can you tell me more about that project and how that came about?
Jeremy: Yeah, so, um, it's certainly a curve ball. It's a direct to consumer natural skincare company. I worked with the founder, she is a super interesting kind of whip, smart ahead of her time, formulator of all these products. So she designed, men's skincare line, you know, arguably before men were starting to focus on their skin, she was replacing artificial and synthetic ingredients with natural ingredients.
I'll give you one example, or one of our products is it's an exfoliant that, you know, prior to, 2010, most were made with plastic beads, which are ending up in the water supply in our marine life, et cetera. She researched and formulated, essentially an exfoliant that uses crushed walnut shells and all natural ingredients, which hadn't been done really to that point.
So she developed this whole skincare line, great products, they're good for the earth, they go back into the water and the ground the same way they came and then after some years she kind of had to pivot in her life and she didn't, she couldn't focus on it anymore. So me and a bunch of other colleagues, former colleagues, we no longer work together, bought the company from her and really, the reason I was interested, one is I've worked with her for many years as her lawyer. Two, I think that she saw something that other people, I don't think did, which was, you know, people's, interest in the environment and plastics and all of that. But for me it was also this interest in just like digital commerce and the ability to compete against, large established brands, and frankly, almost easier because being a small company, we could pivot, you know, switch, et cetera.
So we actually manufacture all the products. So it's not a drop ship situation, it's truly, we, we own all the products, the formulas, the branding and everything. It started out as an experiment really to figure out if we could do this efficiently and profitably and really go after men who are interested in their skin, but also care about the environment, which is a interesting Venn diagram. But it's grown significantly over the last few years in particular.
Steve: That's great. Well, it's yet another example of giving back to the world, making world better with the skincare and the keeping the oceans free of it. Are they called parabens? Is that the thing that goes into little plastic?
Jeremy: Yeah, I mean there, there's, there's so many ingredients that, that, I mean, the plastic, the micro, microplastics are really some of the worst. When you see a, if you see any stories about, um, whales or uh, dolphins that wash up shore. They'll often autopsy them and they'll be full of plastics in their stomach, which by the way, we end up consuming. So the thing about, our waters and the earth and the environment is we end up consuming everything that we do by way of damage to the, to the environment.
Steve: Well that can be an entirely other episode that we can record at some point in the future. Um, well, we're at time, Jeremy. I really thank you for sharing the history of Marketplace Risk and your perspectives. Besides people attending the show, how can they get involved with the organization? Like what, what are the other, I know you have an international show as well. Can you describe some of the ways, that can get involved?
Jeremy: Yeah, so our we have a similar event hosted by Lloyd's in London in this year. It's October 30th through November 1st. Much the same content goes by a little bit different name, focus more on platform, formerly the sharing economy. But, much the same content and, and kind of speaker lineup. We've got a podcast which we call the Platform Podcast, which really focused on all aspects of marketplaces and digital platforms, both risk, but also tangential stories and interesting narratives. So you can catch us on all of your favorite podcasts, um, distribution, uh, channels, and then a blog where we try and push out top of mind kind of industry leading content on some of these topics that we cover in the events that we have, we've got a virtual event series, so we've really got a ton of content. We've developed recently a community for people to access all of the content from our conferences and summits. And so prior to this year, you couldn't access any of the content from the live in-person events. And so we've created an opportunity for people to do that by joining the community. We've got a lot of opportunities to learn to network with others in the industry and really to exchange information all in this kind of risk legal and compliance and trust and safety space.
Steve: Excellent. Well, I'll link to all of those resources, on executiveseries.peakidv.com. So I'll put links there, so if you're watching or listening, you can follow those. And thank you again, Jeremy, for being on the show.
Jeremy: Absolutely, thanks for having me.
Steve: I'll post this soon and I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco at the next show.
Jeremy: Awesome. See you soon.
Steve: All right. Thank you. Bye