Washington University in St. Louis alumni Jim McKelvey is co-founder of Square, founder of LaunchCode and serves as deputy chair of the St. Louis Federal Reserve. Recently, he was interviewed by C.J. Prince in Chief Executive about the pandemic fallout, restarting the economy and why “innovation stack” companies fare best in volatile times.
Here is an excerpt:
As the co-founder of Square, a company famous for retail point-of-sale software, Jim McKelvey is more attuned than most to the small-business carnage wrought by coronavirus.
“It’s really bad,” says McKelvey, who also serves as deputy chair of the St. Louis Fed. “What we are seeing now is unprecedented and absolutely terrifying — not just to businesses, but to people. We are seeing the disruption of lives at the most vulnerable levels.”
After much delay, Square and the other fintechs, including PayPal and Intuit, were finally given the green light last week to participate in the government’s Paycheck Protection Program. That would have allowed funds to get into businesses’ hands more quickly—but the approval came just before funds ran out, says McKelvey, who, in his role on the Fed, spoke with bankers this morning. “[They said] that all of the $350 million has been paid out, so the PPP program is currently without funding.”
In the interview, McKelvey goes on to explain what the “innovation stack” is and and why companies who have it fare better in times of upheaval.