Wharton FinTech
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Wharton FinTech

Adam Nash, CEO of Daffy — Making Giving a Habit

In today’s episode, I’m joined by Adam Nash, CEO of Daffy, a not-for-profit organization built around the simple idea that everyone should put something aside for those less fortunate than themselves. If you’re interested in signing up for Daffy, you can use this promo code to claim $25 for a charity of your choice.

Adam and I cover a range of topics, including:

Being a Top Product Leader:
Adam is passionate about product management and product leadership. When he first started his career, Adam noticed that there was not a lot of thought leadership around product management and started blogging about his experiences. As he became more experienced through his time at eBay and LinkedIn, he frequently shared his learnings. Adam has seen successful product managers come from a number of backgrounds — including technical, design, and strategy backgrounds — as long as the individual takes responsibility for the product. You can hear Adam talk more about being a great product leader here.

Adam’s Work at Wealthfront:
Adam was an early customer at Wealthfront, signing up only a few weeks after the first product launch in 2011. Adam remembers talking with Andy Rachleff about the company’s growth early on, particularly about the importance of scaling AUM. Adam remembers being concerned early on that customers may be slow to trust computers to manage their money — a far cry from where the industry is now. Adam took over as President and CEO of Wealthfront in 2013.

Founding Daffy:
While working at Greylock, Adam kept a list of different financial products that had not been reinvented yet, including a donor-advised fund. Adam had a donor-advised fund of his own at the time but realized that most people didn’t know about this product. Based on his time at Wealthfront, his time on the board of Acorns, and his time at Greylock, Adam started asking himself:

“What if those same features, all that behavioral finance, all those clever ways that we figured out how to get people to trust software with money, what if instead of just helping people to spend or helping people to save, what if we helped them to give?”

This is exactly what Adam set out to do with Daffy.

Daffy’s Business Model:
Adam aims to make Daffy available to as many people as possible. He notes how other competitors require significant minimums to open donor-advised funds ($25K to open and 60 BPS in one notable case). Daffy is free to open if investing under $100 and charges only $3/month if investing over $100. Adam is a firm believer that the AUM model is bad for donor-advised funds and bad for the industry overall. Through Daffy, Adam hopes to make giving a habit. He believes that if he can automate giving, the industry would see a similar transformation as the retirement savings space. Further, he cites research showing that giving increases by 32% if there is a level of pre-commitment from the user.

Trends in Fintech:
Adam highlights the following three trends in fintech as ones he is particularly excited to see play out:

  • Target audience: Early fintech companies struggled to find users that were tech-forward enough to adopt their product. The pandemic changed this mindset and now fintech’s customer base has increased across all age groups.
  • The use of “multi-player” games: Adam believes that we will see more investment in financial applications that involve multiple people, including the financial problems of roommates and group savings products.
  • Unique financial applications: Adam believes that the next era of fintech applications won’t only take existing financial products online, but develop entirely new products that do not exist right now.

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Adam Nash:
Adam is a proven advocate for development of products that go beyond utility to delight customers. At Dropbox, he led the teams responsible for growth, product strategy, product management & product analytics for a platform with over 600 million registered users with responsibility for all of Dropbox self-service revenue (~90% of all company revenue in 2019).

Before Dropbox, Adam served as the President & CEO of Wealthfront, where for four years he championed the creation of a new category of automated investment services. While Adam was at Wealthfront, the company grew its client base by over 60x, and grew assets under management 45x from less than $100m to over $4 billion. During his tenure, Wealthfront delivered industry-leading innovations including Direct Indexing, the Single-Stock Diversification Service, and the first automated 529 College Savings Plan.

Prior to joining Wealthfront, Adam was Vice President of Product Management at LinkedIn. Adam led LinkedIn’s Platform & Mobile products, including the launch of LinkedIn’s open developer platform and their highly successful native applications and mobile web experiences. Adam was the founder and architect of LinkedIn Hackdays, a seminal program for driving the innovation culture at the company. He also was responsible for leading LinkedIn’s search & cloud efforts, as well as forming and leading their user experience & design team.

Prior to joining LinkedIn, Adam held a number of leadership roles at eBay, including Director of eBay Express, an innovative new site focused on new, fixed-price products. Previously, Adam also held strategic and technical roles at Atlas Venture, Preview Systems and Apple.

Adam holds an MBA from Harvard Business School as well as BS and MS degrees in Computer Science with a focus on Human Computer Interaction from Stanford University.

Adam was born and raised in Silicon Valley where he lives with his wife, four children and a golden retriever.

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About the Author:
Anirudh Singh is a second-year MBA Candidate at The Wharton School, where he is part of the Wharton FinTech Podcast team. He has a passion for economic development, venture capital, financial services, and all things FinTech. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, comments, feedback, and opportunities at singhan@wharton.upenn.edu.

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We are FinTech thought leaders connecting innovators, academics, and investors with the ideas and products that are reinventing global financial services.

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Anirudh Singh

Anirudh Singh

Wharton MBA Candidate, Fintech Enthusiast, Early Stage Investing

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