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Exploring Life & Business with Laurence Sotsky of Incentify

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurence Sotsky.

Hi Laurence, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I had a revelation about five years ago. I’ve worked very hard my whole life, been very fortunate, and had a few high profile exits under my belt. I’ve acquired a lot of things that signify “you made it” in Los Angeles. I have the fancy house on the beach, the Plug-in Range Rover in the garage, and have some pretty powerful people that will take my call – not half bad for a kid from a working-class family on Long Island. And I know it is so played out to say what I am about to say but it really is true: Something was missing. I have a spectacular life and not that I was depressed or unhappy… it was just that something was missing. Through a bizarre series of events, about ten years ago I ended up at a fundraiser dinner with U2’s Bono. He happened to be at my small college, Claremont McKenna College, for an event on “giving back.” There are only 8 of us at the table.

Living in LA, I’ve certainly met my share of celebrities and they always had ended up being basically normal people – or certainly not oozing with star power in person I should say. Not Bono. Bono is full on Bono in person – even more Bono than Bono. Orange glasses, biggest rockstar on Earth. And at the end of the dinner, he puts his arm around me like I was his favorite nephew and says: “Laurence, you are incredibly talented but I feel you’ve got a lot more to give to this world. I want you to find a way and I want you to give it.” When Bono wraps his arm around your shoulder and tells you that you’ve got more to give, it doesn’t leave you quickly. So while I was looking for my next career move, Bono’s voice kept echoing in my head. I found myself challenging founders, investors, and most of all myself – I could see the profit but how would this company or that product give back to the world? I kind of shocked myself a number of times because I was turning down very lucrative CEO positions as Bono’s voice would not stop echoing in my head. And then I found Incentify.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Oh, I don’t know if such a thing as a smooth road exists for anybody. So for me specifically, raising three boys as a single dad while performing in high-pressure professional functions comes with tremendous struggles. 2020 alone has brought with it just about every struggle you could imagine. I guess the struggle I’ll bring up here goes along with the Bono story earlier – the struggle for meaning. I’m a very competitive high achiever type person by nature so I can get engrossed in trying to win at everything I’m working on – that’s not a bad thing or a good thing by the way. But the feeling of winning is not the same thing as living your purpose. The struggle there is in knowing yourself vs getting lost in the day to day grind – because there is so much noise in life that you can end up living a poorly photocopied version of your life rather than the one that is authentically, vibrantly yours.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
We bring tech to a very unique and very large asset class called tax credits and incentives (or C&I for short). From discovery and compliance to monetization and audit, Incentify perfects tax credits and incentives (C&I) on the corporate side. We launched our cloud-based platform officially last year and already have clients like ViacomCBS, Tyson Foods, Cargill, Kroger, Sony, International Paper and many many more. We have more than $30B worth of C&I on our system already and it’s growing every day. We are to C&I as Salesforce is to sales. So how does this all relate to giving back? Why does Incentify satisfy my mission to give back? Why would Bono be proud? The answers all lie in the understanding of C&I. C&I is a very complicated yet incredibly important component of macro-economic policy. C&I is the lynchpin asset. It is vital to Capitalism itself because C&I is how government can use the corporate machinery to move society forward.

To build new factories, create greener energy, life-saving drugs – when Obama said that he wanted to move us toward a greener future, he funded the ITC and PTC to drive the solar and wind industries forward…and it’s working! Remdesivir, one of the most effective COVID therapeutics, was developed through C&I intended to work against Ebola. C&I is this wonderful asset class which is both extraordinarily misunderstood in the public and extraordinarily under-technologized at the corporate level. There are literally billions of dollars available to corporations that can help main street America thrive, that aren’t being properly discovered, managed or monetized. I believe Incentify will be the most important fintech of the decade. I believe this not only because I think we can be so important to clients, but because we can be so important to society through our clients.

What were you like growing up?
Ambitious. Social. I was respectful but I also always liked to play around. I loved sports and acting and chess and getting good grades. I was voted most ambitious in high school. I also definitely have the hustler gene. Everyone says I got it from my grandfather who came from Germany, started at the bottom in the car industry and ended up owning ten dealerships in Florida. In college, I tutored kids in SAT prep, my best friend Jason Levien taught tennis. We pooled our money, put on parties and made 10x returns in a weekend. BTW, Jason went on to be a wildly successful sports agent and now owns multiple professional sports teams.

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