The Ethical Spending Revolution with Karma Wallet

Imagine aligning every dollar you spend with your deepest values and contributing to a better world with each swipe of your debit card. This isn’t a dream—it’s the innovative vision of Kedar, co-founder of Karma Wallet, our esteemed guest who guides us through the creation of a FinTech platform that’s revolutionizing ethical consumerism. His journey from evolutionary biology to the forefront of sustainable finance reveals how Karma Wallet measures the social and environmental outcomes of our purchases, enabling us to make impactful choices that resonate with our personal ethos.

As we peel back the layers of consumer transparency and trust, Karma Wallet emerges as a beacon for ethical brands and the conscious consumers of today—especially Gen Z, who crave authenticity. We delve into how Karma Wallet’s platform provides a transparent stage for brands to communicate their sustainable narratives, supported by robust data and credible sources. This fosters a deep connection between consumers and companies, with every transaction reiterating the paradigm that money can indeed be a powerful tool for societal transformation.

The curtain closes with a call to action, inviting listeners to join the Karma Wallet community and use their financial power for positive change. Discover how you can suggest new brands and learn about Karma Wallet’s commitment as a B Corp and a member of 1% for the Planet. By engaging with Karma Wallet’s mission on social media or simply by staying informed about their membership and debit card launch, you become part of a collective movement that wields every financial decision as a catalyst for a greener, more equitable world.


Karma Wallet

How to join the community:

  1. Create an account with your email address. 
  2. Set up your account.
  3. Link a card you use often.
  4. Spend with your card and watch your impact! 

Join the waitlist to stay in the know when the Karma Wallet Card launches in early Spring 2024! You can learn more here, Karma Debit Card & App. The referral program will be coming soon. 

Get in touch with the Karma Wallet Team

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([00:01].081)
And can you state your name, your pronouns, your position in your company? This is for internal reasons.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([00:08].766)
Yes, my name is Kaydar. I’m the co-founder of Karma Wallet. My pronouns are he, him. I think that was all the questions.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([00:18].229)
That was all the questions. Great job. Okay, so now this will be public facing recording. Hi, Kadar, welcome to Responsibly Different. To get us started, I’m thinking, because I actually wasn’t familiar with Karma Wallet before I reached out to you all, can you share what your 30 second pitch is for our audience?

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([00:41].366)
Gladly. Yeah. So Karma Wallet, we are, we think of ourselves as a sustainable or impact fintech company. And for us, what that means is we see that every, we believe that every dollar that we spend as consumers is really an opportunity to change the world around us by sort of

choosing ethical and sustainable companies, applying pressure to corporations, which ultimately have more impact over society and the environment. So we’ve built an infrastructure and a system so that consumers can measure the social and environmental impact of every dollar that they spend. And we do that primarily through a membership that comes with a debit card where when you spend, you can see

you know, what are the companies that you’re spending with actually doing it?

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([01:39].469)
Mm, so cool. Okay, love it. Okay, so before we like dive too far into this conversation, I do want our guests to learn a little bit more about you, who you are, you as a person. And I think your background will really help people understand your point of view for this conversation. So what unique skills and perspectives are you bringing to the table and how have those skills and perspectives helped you to create Karma Wallet?

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([02:10].926)
Yeah, it’s a good question. So my background is very varied. I’m actually a scientist by training. So I have a PhD in biology. I studied evolutionary biology, some genetics, some computational biology, and took that and ended up being a data scientist for a little bit, working at a venture capital firm. So we worked with a lot of early stage companies on building…

algorithms, dealing with large, large data sets. And then after that, I spent a little bit of time doing market research. So sort of looking at what are some of the emerging trends and technologies that startups are building. How all of that is related to Karma Wallet is, I mean, essentially I started the company and I co-founded it with my father, who’s been an entrepreneur in the past.

I started the company because I was just frustrated as a consumer, frankly. I believe we started it right after the global climate week in 2019. And personally, I was seeing a lot of news about, you know, all these government officials are getting together and looking at new regulations and, you know, of course that’s important because regulations apply pressure to corporations.

But I think I just felt frustrated that things are not changing and they’re not changing fast enough. And at the end of the day, companies respond to consumer demands and pressure. And I wished that I could know what my own money was doing in the world. So like I think of myself at least as trying to be an ethical consumer or just a good person in general. But frankly, like other than

for each of us, other than our jobs, I think where we spend our money is one of the biggest ways we actually create change in the world. But I just had no idea, right? I spend money at a brand, I’m like, what did that actually do? So that’s why we started the companies, can we give some insight into how are you actually influencing the world? And I think, you know, some of my data skills and data science skills and market research skills applied.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([04:15].291)

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([04:40].19)
I love your thinking here and I love what you’re saying because, yeah, I mean, coming from this world of we’re all consumers in our personal lives, as well as our business lives, yeah, we all are hoping that we’re making real change. So I love that point of view. Thanks for sharing that. So I guess, to be frank, I’m wondering.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([04:58].656)
Yeah, go ahead.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([05:05].145)
have you all been successful in this mission? And what are your members doing? Are they helping move the mission forward?

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([05:15].126)
That’s a good question. So initially, when we started the company, our vision was to actually not to offer a direct consumer product. We wanted to just meet consumers where they are, meaning that if you have an existing financial institution that you have a relationship with, we would work with them and basically embed the data in your existing app.

For a number of reasons, on the business side, that’s just a bit of a slower moving machine, working with large, large financial institutions. And I think we really wanted to offer something to consumers, to humans, that would be available sooner and is more actionable. So yeah, that’s where the membership and the debit card offering is coming from. Before we launched that,

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([06:10].897)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([06:12].79)
We tested just a pilot, you know, free product where you could go to our website, connect your existing credit and debit cards and just see like, what is the social and environmental impact of my purchases? And we did see a lot of interest and we saw some meaningful behavioral change. So people were actually spending less at companies that were not as good and spending a bit more at companies that.

we’re doing better. So I have some of the details around that. I can share it, but I don’t want to get too data-driven here.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([06:50].201)
Yeah, no, I mean, if you got some high level data, great. Also people can look in the show notes and see all the data too there.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([06:57].886)
Yeah, I can share just a few stats. So one of the things we do is we calculate for each person. So we can dive into this later as well. We basically take a bunch of third party sources. So we try not to be like, we try not to make the decision about whether a company is good or not. We pull all the data that’s out there together and just give you a view of what does this mean. Using those data points.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([07:17].454)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([07:26].198)
we can then calculate what we call a karma score for each person. So based on the companies that you spend with, what’s your score essentially. And so we saw that, I think over the course of a year or so, people’s karma scores went up by like 12% on average. So some meaningful change. And then I think the other interesting thing is, and this is interesting for brands as well, right? There’s a lot of talk about people,

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([07:44].857)
Really cool. Yeah.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([07:55].606)
may spend more or are willing to spend more with brands that match their personal values. And what we saw is that people actually spend 30 to 50% more on companies that align with their values. Now, of course, this isn’t, you know, by any means incentivizing consumerism, but I think what we’re seeing is just that the spending that people are doing.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([08:02].641)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([08:24].074)
when they see the data around it, around the impact of their spending, they start to shift that towards better companies.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([08:33].569)
You know, that’s really reassuring to hear. So thanks for sharing that. And I mean, like I’m giggling, but like truthfully, it’s important to have this data and it’s important that we have numbers that back up how we’re feeling so that we can also like go to big business, to CEOs that are at Walmart and say like, no, this does matter. And here’s some numbers that prove it. So.

Um, thank you for doing this research too, and collecting this data because the numbers is, is often what moves and makes decisions. So I want to back up for a second and I jumped in and I said members and then you piggybacked off me and said membership. So I’m just, I want to back up and say, um, can you share what does it mean to be a member of Karma Wallet? What does that look like? You mentioned the debit card.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([09:30].482)
Yeah. So at the end of the day, what we’re doing is building a community. Right. So when you’re a member of Carmel Wallet, you’re not just a cardholder. Like you would be at, you know, another bank, perhaps. It’s really like we want people to join who want to be a part of something bigger. Want to be a part of a movement of consumers that are, you know, we know that everyone’s, you can’t change your habits overnight. And at

end of the day, like even I sometimes I need something the next day and I just kind of have to order it off Amazon. But just, I know.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([10:06].201)
and you cringe every time you do. Hey, I do it too. I needed something really quick and I was like, oh no, I’m gonna have to use Amazon. I died a little inside.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([10:17].95)
Yeah. But I think just taking the step of saying like, what is my impact? What does that look like? Can I make tiny little changes? And then, you know, one of the things we do is we realize that it takes a lot of effort to do those things. So we create incentives to make it easier. We, with the debit card as a member, you get access to exclusive deals from ethical and sustainable.

companies and a lot of times these are, you know, can be well-known companies. Some of your favorite brands are included in there. So we’re really setting up a structure. We don’t offer it now, but we’ll also offer points and then you can redeem those for rewards when you buy from ethical and sustainable brands. So, um, you know, say being a member is being a part of a community that wants to create change and then having access to ways where it’s easier to do that change.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([11:18].101)
saw actually one of the companies that you all work with is Ancestors and I’ve had Ancestors on the podcast before. So I was like, a little bit, I was like, oh, I must be interviewing good people if Carmelon has them on their website. So you gave me a little bit of reassurance there, so thanks. Okay. So a little while ago, you spoke at the Sustainable Brands Conference that was out in San Diego. And I read that your presentation.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([11:34].594)
That’s good to hear.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([11:47].061)
was focused on why digital natives favor brand values over sustainability claims. And just so everybody knows, I’m using the term digital natives to mean a person who has grown up in the information age. And I’m wondering, can you give us a little bit more of the why, why you think, why you believe digital natives are favoring brand values?

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([12:13].438)
Yeah, absolutely. Um, yeah, so I was out in San Diego, um, at the sustainable branch conferences, where a lot of leaders from brands that are sustainable or want to be sustainable come to figure out what do consumers want, how do we respond to that? And just as a little bit of background, if you will, I think a lot of the data and research that has been done around sustainable purchasing is focused on

claims and a lot of times like packaging labeling. So the concept is you’re walking through a supermarket and you see some sort of sustainable labeling on a package. Will you spend more or are you more likely to buy it? I think that helps. Certainly it matters for a little bit of an older generation. I think those people are willing to take that at face value. What happens, what has happened.

with people that have grown up on the internet, is they’re so used to checking or going to social media or like so much information is available at their fingertips that seeing just a claim or packaging may not hold as much weight for them. And so what we’ve learned and what we’ve seen is that, especially Gen Z, but again, digital natives in general, I think…

increasingly understand that brands, companies are made up of humans. Humans aren’t perfect. And so making these like bold claims isn’t really the necessarily the best way to go about it. It’s more about like, here are the values that we care about as a brand. Here’s what we’re working towards. We’re not going to be perfect. Um, but here’s, here’s what we’re doing. And I think that tends to create more trust.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([13:57].826)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([14:06].858)
more authenticity, more connection with the brand.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([14:08].325)
Hmm. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So when brands are doing this, we’re hoping that then they see this meaningful growth that hopefully leads to a larger company and keeps them around. But I’m wondering, what’s the role that you see for these ethical companies to exist and

And how can companies better showcase their ethical practices for consumers to be able to see that?

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([14:44].854)
That’s a good, two good questions.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([14:48].537)
You’re making it too easy.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([14:52].625)
The first one about the role for ethical companies, I personally, and I think this is a lot of the ethos behind Karma Wallet, believe that…

that money is really just a tool for change. First and foremost, it’s a tool for change in our own lives personally, for having a home to live in or feeding your family or the basics. And then beyond that, it’s a tool for change in society and the world. So I think the role of ethical companies, frankly, is that every company should be an ethical company, right? That you should view money not as

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([15:12].639)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([15:37].266)
an end goal in itself, but a tool. That’s my personal view. The second question was about like how, how can they communicate this? Right. So I think there’s a number of ways, right? As a company, there’s so much you can do from PR and communications and the way you tell your story and your website and through your social media. I’m not going to get into all that here because I’m not a PR.

branding expert. But what I will talk about is that at Karma Wallet, we’re creating almost like a, we’re creating a space for brands to tell that story. So on our website, and this is publicly freely available to everyone, and it will also be available on our app that will be released next year. We basically have what we call company profiles. And these profiles,

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([16:20].56)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([16:35].078)
much like you might see an employer’s rating on Glassdoor or somebody’s profile on Facebook. It has information about the company. It has ratings about the company. It has recent news articles. It has our sort of synthesized analysis of the company. If you want a quick takeaway of how we feel like this company is doing. And then it also will

in the future, offer a space for those brands to create, to sort of show some content of their own. So we like to think of these company profiles as a, a space separate from your website that you can show what you’re doing. We vet and validate everything that the brand says. So the consumer creates a little bit more trust because I know personally

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([17:13].795)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([17:33].474)
When I go to, you know, like Nike’s website, I’m sure they have a sustainability section and I’m sure it looks awesome, but I’m also like, they’re the ones crafting the story, right? How much of it can I really believe? So we wanna create a bit of like a safe space for consumers to have that trust with brands also to communicate.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([17:45].23)
Right, right.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([17:52].709)
Hmm. Yeah, no, I, I love that this is kind of the direction that you went in, because I do want to take a moment to just really understand how you’re getting all of this data. And I believe that some of it’s coming from the UNSDGs. So I’m wondering if we can just kind of talk about how you’re crafting this webpage and, and where you’re getting the information.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([18:22].346)
Yeah, sure. So, you know, I mentioned earlier that we do our best not to act as any sort of decision maker about whether a brand is good or bad or impactful or not. There’s so many amazing organizations out there doing this kind of work. So we rely primarily on those. And so we think of ourselves as an aggregator and a synthesizer and a communicator. We work with nearly 40 different.

data partners. So those are nonprofits, ratings agencies, certificates to basically, yeah, pull that data together, make it easy to understand as a consumer, and then show that on the company profile. In addition to that, we also do a fair amount of essentially accessing and scraping of publicly available information.

So any information that’s on a company’s website, on its sustainability report is in the news. We pull that in and we show that to you and we always show a link, right? So we never, we try to be transparent throughout the whole process. We show where data comes from. We give you a link directly to the article or the company’s website. And then moving forward, one of the challenges is that all of these approaches I talked about,

work really well for larger brands that have the resources to go and pay for certificates, work with ratings agencies, do a bunch of PR or get press coverage. For some of the smaller or even mid-sized brands, they just don’t have the budget for that a lot of times. And so we are going to start working directly with them to essentially acquire or…

get survey data from them about what they’re doing and then show that. So that’ll all be done through, you know, with the help of sustainability experts. And we’ll be transparent about how we collect the data, what questions we’re asking, what it means. I think you mentioned the UNSGGs. What we do with all of the data that we collect is we map it to the sustainable development goals. So,

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([20:23].525)

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([20:40].232)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([20:48].926)
Again, in an effort to say, in an effort to basically say, we’re not really the ones making the decision, like the UN and all of the partners have done an amazing job coming up with these development goals. Then there’s all this data about companies out there. Let’s take all that data, sort of map it to those goals and then show you where the brands you care about are doing well or doing not so well.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([21:14].225)
Hmm. Really cool. And just a little side story here, if people in the audience don’t know what the UNSDGs are, go all the way back in the show in the podcast back to January, last January and Ben and Ben and I did a great series on the UNSDG. So you can learn more information back there.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([21:41].413)
How often are you adding new brands to your portfolio?

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([21:48].63)
Yeah, so currently we do it every month. And that’s not just adding new brands, but also updating the data for existing brands. So everything is updated every month. We do plan to do it more real time in the future, but that’s kind of what we can manage right now. You’ll notice that company scores change a little bit every month. If you sign up, you’ll see that your personal data changes a little bit every month. So…

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([21:56].471)
Oh, cool.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([22:05].318)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([22:16].414)
Sometimes that’s a reflection of you and your purchasing behavior. Sometimes that’s a reflection of the company behavior. And we try to just communicate that as best we can.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([22:26].093)
Yeah, that makes sense. And let’s say that I’m a member and my favorite brand is not in your portfolio and I just need it there. Is there a way for me as a member to submit a new brand?

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([22:42].942)
Yeah, there is. I think right now the best way would be to send us an email. We have info at, and we’ll get on that right away. We will have a button in the future, essentially. So if you see a brand that you don’t, that’s, if you see a brand you’ve bought from that we don’t have data on, you can ask us to add it. But just for…

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([22:49].987)

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([23:05].742)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([23:10].41)
everyone’s contacts or for everyone’s information, we’re always going through the companies we don’t have data on to add them. So for example, every month we look at, okay, here, all of the purchases that our members have made and here are the companies that have had the most purchases that we don’t have data for. And then we go, we basically prioritize and work our way through that list. So hopefully over time, more and more of the companies that you buy from will have data.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([23:29].681)

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([23:39].861)
Yeah, very cool. That’s a really neat feature. Okay, so I absolutely love joining this. Karma Wallet is a B1, which means that you are a B Corp and a 1% for the Planet member, just like Dirgo, which there’s not many of us out there in the world, so we got to stick together. But I would love to hear kind of from you as like the founder of Karma Wallet, like what are the benefits that you see

in both of these membership certifications, because they do look different and I’m not looking for you to explain the difference, but just why does Carmel Wallet keep pursuing them?

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([24:21].726)
Yeah, it’s a great question. You know, we talked about brand values earlier as it relates to certificates. I think certificates do still have some value when it comes to consumers or individuals. But frankly, I think a lot of the benefit that we see as a business is aside from that third party validation that we’re, you know, acting ethically.

Um, it’s a really great community of companies and of brands that are all aligned in the same direction. And so it, it makes it a lot simpler and easier to develop relationships, partnerships, um, just meet really great people working on great causes. So that’s, I think for me, that’s probably.

but I get the most out of it.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([25:22].381)
Mm, mm, love that. All right, and I’m just gonna warn you, this last question is a doozy. So I’m gonna ask you the whole thing and then I can repeat some of the questions back. So I’m curious how you make sure that your purpose, Karma Wallet’s purpose, drips through your marketing strategy. And I’m specifically looking to understand how are you…

communicating your purpose to your customers and your stakeholders? And is there some sort of a process that you go through to make sure that your marketing, your products and your service all align with your overall purpose?

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([26:12].638)
Yeah, that’s quite the question. That’s like the million dollar question for every company, I think.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([26:22].282)
I think first and foremost, it’s always an ongoing process. Like it’s an iterative process as humans were always changing, as companies were always changing. So that’s the first thing. And then I think the second piece would be, and I actually talked about this at the Sustainable Brands Conference, that when you think about brand values and the fact that especially digital natives understand humans are the ones behind.

companies. And when you think about social media and people, you know,

People don’t spend hours and hours on TikTok looking at, I don’t know, landscape imagery, right? It’s humans that there’s videos of people doing funny stuff a lot of the time. I think what I’m getting at is that increasingly, personally I’m realizing that.

We will always try to put our humans first in a way that even as a company, for example, being on this podcast, right? It’s an opportunity for me to just show people who I am and who somebody behind the company is. So, you know, when we think about values, I think it starts from what are the values of the founders, what are the values of the rest of our team?

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([27:39].298)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([27:50].914)
How does that turn into company values? And then let’s just communicate that like, like humans talking to other humans. And I don’t know if that’s like the expert marketing wisdom you were looking for, but that’s what I’ve got.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([27:58].84)

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([28:10].145)
Well, you already told me that you’re not the marketing guru behind the operation. So you’re fine. Um, all right, Juliet, feel free to type in the chat. If you think there’s something that could are missed that you want me to make sure I ask them, but, um, could are a little bit earlier in the recording. And obviously this, I will cut out of the podcast. Um, you, I asked you, or you said the app is going to be released next year. Um,

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([28:12].686)

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([28:39].813)
Technically this podcast is gonna be aired in January. So, no, you’re fine. So can you just say the app is going to be released in and then say a month or a season and then I’ll go back and put that back in so that it doesn’t sound like it’s coming out in 2025.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([28:43].411)
Oh, sure, yeah.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([29:01].878)

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([29:07].146)
I think I’ll just say like the app is, will be released very soon. Something like, um, should I just say that sentence basically? Okay. And the app will be released very soon.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([29:08].835)
Yeah, yeah.


Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([29:23].013)
Perfect. Okay, and Juliet’s saying that you did great. You covered everything that she wanted you to cover. Was there anything else that you wanted to cover that I didn’t ask you?

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([29:34].914)

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([29:42].425)
We talked about in the prep call, you may be teasing out a promo. No hard feelings if you don’t wanna do that. But I would love for you to explain that if you did. But again, no pressure from me. Those were in my notes. Okay, great.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([29:58].918)
Yeah, I don’t think we’re ready for that internally, but I’m trying to think of anything else I want to talk about.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([30:07].865)
Juliet’s saying maybe do a call to action to follow you guys all on social. Stay tuned and join the community on social.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([30:23].474)
Yeah, I can do that. Maybe you can ask me a question about, like what should people do now?

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([30:29].274)
Sure. I love how straightforward you are. You’re really easygoing, it’s great. Okay, stop laughing.

Well, Kadar, thank you so much for being on the show today. I love your personal perspective. I love what Karma Wallet stands for. As we leave, as our audience leaves us, I’m just wondering, are there next steps that they should do? How can they get in touch with you?

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([31:00].254)
Absolutely. So I would say the first thing of course is go and follow us on our socials. Um, I think they’ll be linked in the show notes. So that’ll be the easiest thing. Stay tuned for the release of our debit card and membership. We will have a referral program. So if you have friends or family that, you know, would like to create a better

future, create a better world with their dollars. We will give you some incentives for letting them know. And I think that’s it for now. Just stay up to date with what we’re doing. We feel like there’s a huge opportunity here to bring people together for a good cause and use money the way that it can be and the way that it should be.

Brittany Angelo (she/her) ([31:56].229)
Hmm. I love that. And of course, we will update our audience on all the exciting things as they happen for you all. So thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time and educating our audience. So we will talk with you soon.

Kedar (Karma Wallet) ([32:11].922)
Awesome. Thanks, Brittany.