Chris Jewell is the CEO of Zepto. For those who are curious, said company is best-known because of a Australia-based platform that allows for account-to-account merchant payments to happen in real time. Very recently, Zepto has been in the news because it has managed to raise $25 million in Series A funding for the purpose of improving its infrastructure.
1. Based Out of Byron Bay, New South Wales
Jewell is based out of Byron Bay, which is a beach town that can be found in Australia’s New South Wales. The place has seen a number of industries come and go over the course of its existence. For example, Byron Bay has been home to both cedar logging and gold mining. Similarly, it has been home to meat-works, dairy-works, and even whaling. Nowadays, Byron Bay is a very popular destination for artists, tourists, and multi-millionaires.
2. Went to RMIT University
For his education, Jewell went to RMIT University. Chances are good that interested individuals can guess that said name is an acronym. To be exact, RMIT stands for Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, so it should come as no surprise to learn that RMIT University is based out of Melbourne, Australia. The school is interesting in that it has both higher education students and vocational education students. Furthermore, RMIT University has an excellent reputation when it comes to art and design, so much so that it can claim a high rank in this regard even on the international stage.
3. Studied Finance and Accounting
On a related note, Jewell majored in finance and accounting. Those two are very different fields. However, it isn’t uncommon for people to study both of them because of their natural synergies out in the real world. After all, people can’t make good financial decisions unless they are capable of making sense of the financial information that has been provided to them.
4. Went On to Work in Finance
Upon graduating, Jewell went on to work in finance. He started out at Goldman Sachs where he remained for the better part of a decade. After which, Jewell went on to work for Credit Suisse and then Citi. It seems safe to say that he picked up a lot of managerial experience in that time. Towards the end, Jewell was holding positions such as the Director of the Fixed Income Division for Credit Suisse’s Australian clients and the Head of Institutional Sales for Citi’s Australian and New Zealand clients. Presumably, those positions did a great deal to prepare him for his current of CEO of Zepto.
5. Not One of Zepto’s Cofounders
Often-times, a start-up is headed up by either its founder or one of its co-founders in the position of CEO. However, Jewell doesn’t seem to have been one of Zepto’s four co-founders. Instead, he became involved at a later point in time, presumably because he offered expertise, experience, and other resources that were useful for the relevant decision-makers. This can be seen in how Zepto started up in 2018. Meanwhile, Jewell joined up as the CEO in July of 2020.
6. Leads a Company Founded to Solve Problems For the Tourism Industry
It is very common for companies to have been founded for the purpose of solving a problem that the founder or co-founders have run into. In Zepto’s case, the co-founders have talked about their backgrounds as merchants having provided them with a better understanding of what merchants needed. Specifically, the company was founded for the purpose of helping out skydiving companies with their payments. In any case, it seems reasonable to speculate that Jewell’s banking expertise and experience was one of the reasons that he was brought on, thus making the company even better-prepared to handle challenges by providing its top leadership with a more rounded skill-set.
7. Leads a Company Named For a Unit of Measurement
Speaking of which, it is interesting to note that Zepto wasn’t always named Zepto. Instead, it received a rename at a later point in time, which was meant as a reference to a unit of measurement. For those who are curious, a zeptosecond is a very small fraction of a second, so much so that there are 20 zeroes between the decimal point and the one. This makes it the shortest unit of time that has been measured so far, though it remains to be seen when that record will be broken. Unsurprisingly, Zepto was named thus to borrow some of those connotations of speed and responsiveness.
8. Says that Now Is the Time For Payments to See a Change
Unsurprisingly, Jewell has said that now is the time for the way that payments work to see a change. As he tells it, merchants used to be hampered by legacy infrastructure, which was very difficult to change because of the immense barriers to entry to interested parties. Now, technological factors, regulatory factors, and even the conditions of the market itself are aligning in a way to make change possible. Jewell’s stated position makes sense considering his position. Even so, it should be remembered that it isn’t coincidence that so many fintech companies are popping up now.
9. His Company Is the First Non-Bank to Receive Permission to Use the NPP
Australia has something called the NPP, which stands for new payments platform. Like the name says, the NPP is open-access infrastructure used to make fast payments, which is used by banks, credit unions, and other organizations. Jewell’s company has the distinction of being the first non-bank to be granted permission to use it. As such, Zepto clients will be able to use the PayTo service that is expected to become available in mid 2022.
10. His Company Has Been Seeing Incredible Revenue Growth
Zepto’s successful fundraising would make sense if its claims about its 10 times year-over-year revenue growth since its launch in 2018 are true. Besides this, the company has tossed out other pieces of information to support its rapid growth, with an excellent example being the claim that it is expecting to process more than $50 million AUD in payments in 2022.