Interviews and Reviews

Interview with Steve Streit, Founder and Lead Partner of SWS Venture Capital

Steve Streit is a renowned entrepreneur with a diverse portfolio of accomplishments. He is the visionary behind Green Dot Corporation, a pioneer in the prepaid debit card industry, which began as a small endeavor at his dining room table and eventually made its way to the New York Stock Exchange. 

Additionally, he is the driving force behind SWS Venture Capital, the founder of the Patti’s Way Charitable Foundation, and a retired board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Los Angeles Branch.

We recently interviewed Steve to learn more about his experiences and to hear what advice he has for emerging entrepreneurs.

#1: What are three skills that you possess that entrepreneurs should learn?

  • Intellectual Curiosity: Entrepreneurs must possess a genuine curiosity about how things work and the mindset to understand consumer perspectives. I think it’s critical to take the time to really listen to and learn from experts in a given field. This will contribute to the entrepreneur’s vision of “what’s out there, what matters and what’s possible.”
  • Disciplined Objective-Setting: I think it’s really important to set clear, time-bound objectives and diligently work toward them. I believe that careful planning and execution are key predictors of entrepreneurial success.
  • Empathy and Connection: Building strong relationships is paramount in business. I always advise entrepreneurs to connect with people by understanding their aspirations and desires, whether they are partners, customers, employees, or regulators. I have found that truly knowing a person, and having that person be able to know you, makes for strong relationships that create the bonds of success.

#2: What lasting impact do you think the pandemic has had on the types of companies that you invest in?

The pandemic has pulled forward years of digitization in almost every imaginable industry and category. And this has exposed millions of new customers to all sorts of new virtual products, services, and opportunities.  

I believe that the pandemic has also given many of us the time to pause and take stock of our true goals and desires. And perhaps taking a prolonged “time out” from our hectic day-to-day lives has been a silver lining to the otherwise dark cloud of the pandemic. 

At SWS, we believe that the most successful companies will be those that master the art of virtual offerings while designing deliverables that meet the needs of the new “post-pandemic” American consumer.

#3: In the elevator, a young aspiring entrepreneur asks you what business trend most excites and inspires you. What do you tell her?

Perhaps I would share that never in history has there been a time when things have changed so quickly and so dramatically. This means that essentially every existing industry is trying to adapt and that many ones are emerging — like artificial intelligence, clean energy generation, electric vehicles, digital medicine, modern logistics, digital financial services, and many more. It’s almost like the industrial and technology revolutions are taking place simultaneously. I would advise the entrepreneur to pursue an idea that aligns with the trends and needs of tomorrow’s consumer. I’d emphasize that change can be a significant advantage for startups.

#4: What has been the most satisfying moment in your career thus far?

I’d say that the most satisfying aspect so far has been the rewarding relationships I’ve forged with numerous people throughout my career. So many former employees, investors, board members, and business partners still reach out to me regularly with kind words and a genuine desire for meaningful connection. Frankly, that makes me feel great.

#5:  Is there anything you wish you would have known when you first started your business?

I wish I’d placed more value on work-life balance. When I was younger, I was overly consumed by business matters. Now, I realize how important it is to spend quality time with family and take time for myself. Also, I would have focused less on day-to-day operations and more on reading and networking to gain a broader perspective and explore new possibilities.

#6: Do you have more information to share with our readers today?

I’d like to add that SWS Venture Capital is committed to partnering with innovative entrepreneurs who have the passion and expertise to disrupt their industries. If you’re an entrepreneur with groundbreaking products or platforms, I invite you to connect with SWS Venture Capital at


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