Michelle Scharfstein ’15, FamZoo

Michelle-ScharfsteinFor my Princeternship, I spent three days with Princeton alum Bill Dwight ’84.  After working for a variety of companies, Mr. Dwight’s passion for teaching his own children how to manage their finances led him to form the company FamZoo.com, which is an online virtual bank that helps kids learn good money habits.  He is the CEO and runs the company with his former Princeton roommate, Chris Beaufort.

During my first day, Mr. Dwight explained to me his background, how he started the company, and what he and Mr. Beaufort hope to accomplish.  He gave me many insights into the business world and showed me the many different aspects that go into creating a successful company.  I was introduced to the different programs Mr. Dwight and Mr. Beaufort use to analyze data from their website, for accounting, and to keep track of any correspondences with each other, partners, or customers.  Mr. Dwight also explained to me the different channels through which FamZoo (and other companies) can acquire customers and revenue, and their respective costs of customer acquisition.  These channels include organic subscriptions (customers who randomly find FamZoo through Google, ads, or word of mouth), affiliate subscriptions (customers who read about FamZoo through affiliates who sponsor and promote the company’s products), and partner editions of the product (slightly modified versions that credit unions and banks can promote to their own customers).  FamZoo will soon open another channel of revenue through its newly formed partnership with a prepaid card company, TransCard.  FamZoo and TransCard will offer new Prepaid Card Family Packs, which will allow transactions to and from the children’s cards to be made much more easily and directly.

With this new exciting product being produced soon, my job was to estimate future revenue and profits through Excel models.  I started with a simple original model that only included the organic channel of revenue and then, with Mr. Dwight’s guidance, added to it to include the other channels.  Finally, I also created a model for the amount FamZoo will have to pay TransCard every month given the number of active subscribers using the Family Pack cards.  Creating these models helped me understand the importance of debugging and double-checking everything – with the amount of various costs complicating the process, it was easy to forget a detail or two.  While I was creating these models, Mr. Dwight kept me updated with any new developments and continually showed me more and more of the processes involved in running the company.

Thanks to Mr. Dwight, this week’s work was a great learning experience but was also a lot of fun.  While Mr. Dwight was always efficiently working, he never failed to explain his thought processes to me and he even made sure to throw in a few fun breaks, including a quick photo shoot and nice bike rides to lunch!

Scharfstein multi photosThis Princeternship helped me understand so much more about entrepreneurship, and gave me valuable experience in the field.  I would definitely recommend participating in the Princeternship program to any students who want to learn about a field and have fun doing so!