Alumni Interview: TaxBit Co-Founder Bobby Clayson

We had the opportunity to catch up with Bobby Clayson, V School graduate and co-founder of TaxBit — a cryptocurrency tax software company based here in Utah. We talked about his journey into the tech industry and what it’s been like co-founding a tech company after completing V School.

VS: What career path did you think you’d follow when you got out of high school?

Bobby: Honestly, I had absolutely no idea. And frankly that terrified me. I knew that I hated school, but I loved learning and that formal academia was just not the place for me.

I have wanted to be an entrepreneur for over ten years, but wasn’t sure how to get started in that direction. I considered the military, particularly the Air Force, but decided against that based on my views of the current wars. I felt like a boat adrift on the ocean for a long time. I went through several careers in Wildland firefighting and sales before finding tech.

VS: When was the first time you considered a career in tech?

Bobby: I first considered a career in tech while working as a B2B sales rep for a tech startup called SpinGo. I was the eighth employee and most of the engineering team was hired at around the same time.

Being at a startup allowed me to really interface with software engineers for the first time in my life. I became fascinated with what they did and the idea of building something tons of people would use and I also noticed some personality similarities between myself and the team.

I became fascinated with the idea of learning to code but had no real way of knowing where to start. Then one day I had a conversation with a friend and he was telling me how he had just spoken at a “coding bootcamp.” I became intrigued and started asking him questions and that’s how I learned about V School and eventually decided to take the plunge.

VS: How did your prior life experience help you in your schooling and career in tech?

Bobby: Spending four years in sales has been remarkably beneficial. Communication is a critical element of being able to take a product vision in a specialized domain and cleanly map it to the appropriate software solutions.

VS: How did you get involved in TaxBit and how’s it been going so far?

Bobby: I had been interested in blockchain tech since before I became an engineer and developed a technical knowledge of it after becoming an engineer to the point that I was frequently asked to present to meetups and investment groups on the subject.

I had given a few presentations to a cryptocurrency investment meetup about blockchain tech and Smart Contracts and their ability to enable peer-to-peer financial contracts.

One of the members I had become friends with, Austin Woodward, who is a CPA, approached me about two years ago about his idea for a startup to solve the cryptocurrency tax reporting problem and asked me to join him as a co-founder.

Things are going very well, we’ve raised over $6M in funding over the last 24 months and we’ve grown to about 14 employees and plan on further expansion throughout the rest of this year.

We serve 10s of thousands of users and are rapidly expanding and we are the leading experts on crypto tax reporting with both a CPA and Tax Attorney as co-founders.

VS: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

Bobby: I wish I would’ve had a logical, progressive curriculum to follow to build on what I learned at V School. Instead I just sort of meandered around randomly trying to figure out what I needed to know. That worked well enough, but something more structured would’ve been useful.

VS: What advice would you give those aspiring to build a career in tech?

Bobby: The most important things to know are:

  1. No one knows everything, so it’s okay for you to not know something, Be patient with yourself and your progress. BUT…
  2. The more you know the better, so always be learning new things, at least at a high level. The best thing I did nearly every night for the first 18 months of my career (and at least several nights a week since) was learn something. It might’ve been a 5 minute tutorial on closures in JavaScript, or it could’ve been a 3 hour explanation of SQL query optimizations, but either way I have been adding to my knowledge and competency outside of the direct demands of the workplace continually.