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Meet Rodney Williams of SoloFunds & LISNR

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rodney Williams.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Originally from Baltimore, I started my career in finance and marketing but most notably in Brand Management at P&G. I was instrumental in many of P&G’s 1st digital efforts in e-commerce, consumer engagement and social media alongside their largest brand. P&G was my proving ground for many of my digital endeavors which led to me co-founding my 1st technology company in LISNR.

Headquartered in Oakland and Cincinnati, OH, LISNR went on to raise $35M from investors like Visa and Intel as the leading ultrasonic platform for short-range contactless communication between retail and mobility commerce experiences.

Along the way, I had the opportunity to create SoLo Funds amongst some of my best friends. SoLo Funds launched in 2018 and is one the more fascinating innovations in consumer lending over the past ten years. Some investors have almost been dumfounded on the success we’ve experienced. Internally, we say SoLo is what the community bank should be. Simply said, we allow individuals to borrow on their own terms (amount, repayment, etc.) without an approval process and allow any other individual to lend to that particular borrower and reap the benefits. The lender can fund these to make money or make an impact meanwhile the borrower has access to the most affordable and accessible option for a personal loan. I would encourage all you Robinhood or Crypto traders to lend on SoLo. Things will go better for you.

I moved to LA a few years ago and its been an amazing choice. SoLo Funds also moved to LA in 2018 and is headquartered downtown LA. That brings me to today where I am the Commercial Officer of LISNR and Chairman at SoLo Funds alongside two incredible teams and leadership. I am fortunate that I am able to pursue my passions completely.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest challenge is working through the amount of personal sacrifice that is sometimes required to you fulfill your dreams. Its a feat of many entrepreneurs but I’m really referring to the individuals willing to sacrifice everything – family, love, even happiness, etc. for the greater dream. Fortunately, I am part of the latter. I say fortunately as its more important in this day and time for some us to sacrifice our personal gains for the greater the good of the community. Our community needs our wealth builders to look a bit different.

Overall, life is a collection of obstacles whether smooth or challenging. I strive to take all things that come my way as part of the process of being and creating the environment that I would like to thrive in. I’ve always had the energy and motivation to push through my darkest days.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am really proud of the team that has been brought together at LISNR by its CEO, Eric Allen and SoLo Funds by its Co-Founder and CEO Travis Holoway. Additionally, with SoLo in particular, it’s being supported by a few top innovators in fin-tech ever and the key leaders in our community. I am very thankful for their support. I can’t announce any names yet, but just know.

What were you like growing up?
I’ve always been interested in business. I would watch the Rich & Famous and say that there weren’t any athletes or entertainers on this show, only business owners. I wanted a ‘big business’. There also weren’t any small business owners. I realized this at a very young age.

I played sports and spent some time at Baltimore’s School for the Arts. I ran track and played football and Calvert Hall HS in Baltimore. I was better in football than track but only ran track at West Virginia University.

Personality-wise, I was my own person. I actually failed the 1st grade because “I didn’t feel like doing the work”. The teachers took this as sign of immaturity and recommended that I repeat the level regardless of my actual grades. I wasn’t being understood. I followed that failure with consecutive years of an A average from that point to post-graduate education. To prove a point and get that year back, I completed two undergraduate degrees in just four years simultaneously in undergraduate and two graduate degrees in two years simultaneously from two different universities.

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Image Credit:

Lennox Photography

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