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Finance Entrepreneur Says Tech is Essential, But So Are People Skills

Finance Entrepreneur Says Tech is Essential, But So Are People Skills
Finance expert Michael Levenson is the founder of cash gift registry service Present Value. / Credit: Michael Levenson

When couples build their wedding registries, they typically ask their friends and family members to purchase practical household goods like dish sets, appliances and bed sheets — most of which the couple probably already owns. What they really need is cash, but there's no easy or tasteful way to ask loved ones for monetary gifts.

Finance expert Michael Levenson set out to solve this issue when he founded Present Value, a cash gift registry system that allows engaged couples and parents-to-be to register for financially oriented goals, such as paying off student debt or making a down payment on a home.

"We believe a financial gift makes a lasting impression on a couple in a way a blender could never do," said Levenson, who serves as CEO of his company. "We want to change the way people think about asking for and giving gifts for the moments that matter most in life." [The Best Personal Finance Software]

Like most entrepreneurs today, Levenson relies on technology to help keep his business running. He shared his tech thoughts with Business News Daily:

BND: What technology has most made your business possible?

Michael Levenson: The ability to process credit cards and transfer funds online has been crucial for our business. We have integrated a credit card processor into our site seamlessly, as well as a database-backed system that allows us to transfer funds directly into our users' accounts.


BND: What technology can't you live without?

ML: The whole suite of Google products makes life for a startup so much simpler. We use Google Analytics constantly, and products like Google Drive and Google Hangouts have also proven to be vital in running a small business.


BND: If you could hire one extra person right now, what would you have them do?

ML: I would have them help on the user experience side of the business. Ultimately, the more we can do on the site to provide our users with a fantastic experience, the better off we will be. There are always ways to make user experience improvements, and having another person on board focusing on that would absolutely help.


BND: What app are you relying on most right now?

ML: The Google Analytics app is great for being able to monitor site traffic when I am away from a computer.


BND: What technology do you think is most overrated?

ML: Some people may call me crazy, but I think it has to be the iPhone. It no doubt changed the mobile game when it first came to market. However, I think it has been passed at this point by competitors like the Galaxy and HTC One. I personally have a Galaxy, which has been great for being able to get real work done from my phone.


BND: What's the most valuable non-tech skill an entrepreneur needs?

ML: The ability to network and be professional when talking to or in front of people. When you are an entrepreneur, you have to go out into the world, put partnerships in place and be proactive about making your business successful. It is a skill that only gets better the more you put yourself out there.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Nicole Fallon

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. Nicole served as the site's managing editor until January 2018, and briefly ran Business.com's copy and production team. Follow her on Twitter.