Good News (GN) – First, tell me a little about your company.
Elias Janetis (EJ) – Squeeze is a company that helps you compare bills. If you’ve ever bought a travel ticket on Expedia or Travelocity, it’s a comparison program. You go on there, you say, “I need this, this and that,” and you see what the providers are offering. It helps you cut down on a lot of research. What Squeeze has done is built a platform, kind of a one-stop-shopping platform, to get a better deal on all your big monthly recurring bills. The bills we can currently Squeeze are your cell phone bill, your cable bill, your internet bill, mortgages, home equity lines of credit, personal loans, student loans, credit cards, homeowner’s and renter’s insurance and auto insurance. If you think about these recurring bills in your life – a lot of people go to Amazon to save 50 cents on a pack of underwear, right? But you are overpaying probably about $25 per month on your cable bill and $25 to $30 a month on your cell phone bill, how much on a better rate on a financial product or saving $100 or $50 a month on auto insurance. That compounds, so what we save you, we save you every single month.
A lot of these companies are on promotional offers. We show you the current promotional offers, and when that promotional offer expires, we can help you find that next best deal. It’s free for consumers – what we call Squeezers. These are people who are trying to squeeze the most out of their money. The working class and the middle class in this country are being squeezed. How do you squeeze back? You squeeze back by knowledge and empowerment and understanding your options. And we empower consumers to squeeze the most out of their money.
GN – It’s free to consumers, so where does the funding come from?
EJ – We make money like a market place. Just like Expedia doesn’t charge you to compare, they show you the marketplace and then they get paid a fee for being that matchmaker. The brand pays us.
This is our core business and this is how big of an opportunity it is. If you take a travel comparison, there’s multiple multi-billion dollar market cap companies. Travel is three percent of America’s household budget. Squeeze tackles 70 percent. Think about it. When you are done paying your mortgage, your car payment, your credit card bill, your cell phone, your Comcast, Geico – when you’re done paying those bills, how much do you have left?
GN – The only thing left would be food and clothing. If you could wrap that in, you’d have it cornered.
EJ – Well we do. We have a deal section too. You can go there and search any product or any company you’re looking for, and we’ll show you all the digital coupons that are available. There are about 100,000 digital deals you can find.
GN – You are an alumnus and supporter of Lifework Leadership. Tell me why you felt this was important.
EJ – Lifework was impactful for me. I met some really good people there. I developed friendships there. I heard some dynamic speakers. I was challenged to grow in areas of being a leader, understanding what it means to be a servant leader. I’ve always been financially generous in my community, and it also made me aware of some really good programs in the community that I wanted to get behind. After going through the program myself, I volunteered. I coached for two years.
As a business guy, I think it just clicked with me. I enjoyed being around other peers. And for me it was a good opportunity… My first year of coaching, I met a key employee I ended up hiring in my company. Now he’s my COO. I went through lifework with and now I’m hiring my new CTO, my chief technology officer. So I just naturally met people that ended up being key employees of my business, and knowing that we have this same worldview was important.
GN – Does Squeeze support certain nonprofits?
EJ – Well Squeeze doesn’t yet because we’re just launching, but I personally sponsor Lifework Leadership under the name of my company. I got visibility to and we ended up becoming supporters of 4KIDS, First Priority and Taylor’s Closet. To each one we donated $25,000. But we give matching grants. I tell them, I’ll give you $25,000 but you have to go find new people to support your organization to match that 25. …If you’re going to turn my 25 into 50 and through that effort you are going to expose a whole bunch more new givers to your organization as well, hopefully there’s a lasting impact beyond the money.
I really want to help support kids. My wife and I have four children, ages 13, 9, 7 and 5. We help kids from birth in the foster care program 4KIDS. We help middle school and high school kids through First Priority. And we help support the George Snow Scholarship Fund that helps get poor kids into college. Then on my mission side, my wife and I built six churches through ICM, International Cooperating Ministries out of Virginia.
GN – Did going through Lifework change your view in some way?
EJ – I think God just used Lifework in a transition season in my life. In that transition before Lifework I thought I was going into retirement, and after Lifework God was like no, you’re going to start another business, and here I am. I’m not on the 18th fairway right now, but I’m hoping this is the last hurrah. But look at Wayne Huizenga. He built three huge companies: Blockbuster, Waste Management and Auto Nation.
GN – What would you say to somebody thinking about Lifework?
EJ – Do it.
GN – Anybody?
EJ – Anybody that wants a better life. What I mean is that you’re going to learn skills about not just how to be a better employee, but also how to be a better spouse… You’re going to have fun. You’re going to gain access to world class speakers. You’re going to gain knowledge. You’re going to learn how to be a better leader in your community. You’re going to have fun. You’re going to make friends. They feed you well. What else can you do that you’re going to walk away with all those benefits after nine months?
GN – Is there anything else you’d like to add?
EJ – I’ll just wrap up with please visit Squeeze.com and see where we can help you save.
GN – I can see where Squeeze could help a lot of people, especially those trying to get out of debt.
EJ – At the end of the day, the divorce rate in the church is the same as in the world, and the number one reason for divorce is financial stress – top of the list. If I can help people save money, make their money go further, perhaps we alleviate some stress out there.