Skip to main content

Uncaged with Paul Karrlsson-Willis

By April 4, 2022July 7th, 2022No Comments

Profile of JUSTLY CEO Paul Karrlsson-Willis

Paul Karrlsson-Willis shares his background in the financial services industry, his expertise in building and growing businesses by listening and working closely with clients, and his philosophy of building alliances and developing business partnerships in order to formulate and execute business strategies- especially in the the evolving ESG and impact investment market landscape.

Connect With Paul Linked In

Video Transcript


welcome to uncaged a show that

celebrates thought leadership from

today’s top business leaders the program

provides a voice to amazing executives

from around the globe who are shaping

the world of business today and mapping

the path to the commerce of tomorrow

today we’re speaking with paul carlson


paul it’s great to have you on the show

i probably should spell that last name

to make sure that everyone includes all

the r’s all the s’s in it but it’s great

to have you on the show

uh thanks ben and uh if it’s easier you

can call me pkw which is what most

people end up doing within like two or

three seconds so

so feel free to use that excellent well

paul is the ceo of justly markets and

justly is a financial services company

that is working on some great ideas of

really helping people invest principal

with principal discovering vetted

opportunities so you as an investor can

confidently invest in the people and

causes you believe in and so we’ll go

further into justly in a second but

before we get there paul tell us a

little bit about yourself and your


uh yeah um so i’ve been in the financial

services business now for

38 years uh started at 17 in the uk

uh i was part of maggie’s army so back

then um there was

a lot of unemployment so the government


basically played for internships in

various companies so i was lucky enough


uh get into

a broker dealer in london and uh what

was even luckier is the manager i had

laurier genie

um just was

excellent took me everything from soup

to nuts

and i think that’s a key thing uh my

career is where it is today thanks to

having a manager like that um

and so basically i work my way up i

run various tasks

uh spent a lot of my career in fidelity

spent 23 24 years of fidelity both in

the uk

uh and here in the us that’s where i

ended up uh in the us

uh so i spent a lot of time in boston

big boss and sports fan except for the

pats i’m a dolphins fan sorry

um but um yeah so basically i’ve run

global trading desks

uh run global broker networks so i’ve

traded in virtually every country in the

world it’s so great i mean i’m listening

to this i hear all of the the different

iterations we’ve seen in the financial

services space and you’ve always been

connected with all the always the new


and and i really think that you know

what you’re doing here with justly is so

of the moment so uh tell me more about

what’s going on at justly yes so justly

justly zoned by uh ideonomics which is

an ev company listed on nasdaq


the idea behind the broker dealer is we

want to make we’re an impact broker

dealer so we’re focused on um

getting companies looking private equity

companies looking for funding um using

this has all come out of the jobs act as

as you and i discussed earlier from uh


so the idea behind the jobs act was to

enable private equity companies to

access funding from traditional

retail clients and that’s how

crowdfunding come along and then reggae


uh and and red deal has always been


so we have a focus on on esg companies

um and that’s everything from

environmental social and governance

we do look at it across the board we

don’t just look at it for for one angle

we do have deals or we’ll have deals on

our platform that are not esg

um the idea behind that is that again

they can still be a good investment even

if they’re not in the esg space a lot of

that will be pharmaceutical companies we

have a couple in the pipeline that’s got


hopefully got a solution for childhood

cancer for instance so we’re talking

about them um on those sales we actually

give 20 of our net profit to a

non-profit that focuses on esg so

therefore anyone who invests through us

will be making an impact


how we link to ideonomics because it

seems kind of strange that you have an

electronic vehicle group and a broker

dealer um is that we have a lot of

companies come to us

uh looking to raise money that are in

the ev space their power generation and

so forth we can we can reflect those in

to ideonomics so ideonomics gets the

first look vice versa we’ve just had a

situation where a

company out of

croatia has reached out to ideonomics

has an eb bus that they

they can produce cheaper it’s

a lot lighter

um ideonomics has looked at it doesn’t

really suit their ecosystem so now we’re

working with that company to see if we

can help them raise money so that’s how

the the uh that’s how we work closely

with ideonomics um and uh we’re finding

right now we have we’ve only been go as

you mentioned we’re new we’ve only been

going now for

six months i started in august of last

year we’ve really only had the platform

up for two months we have somewhere in

the region of 30 or 40 issuers that

we’re talking to of which

90 of them fall into the esg category oh

wow i mean the esg category in general

has been

the center of

so much discussion over the last several

years and certainly continues to be and

and will be a driving force tell me more

about what you’re seeing uh as the kind

of opportunity and maybe some of the

challenges that investors are facing in

that esg space

yeah i would say

the opportunities is

new technology right this is a space

where a lot of people are looking at and

and trying to find various solutions to

a lot of various issues out there right

across the board especially when you

start looking at the environment as i

say ev vehicles but i think the hardest

thing and i think this is probably the

more important thing the hardest thing

right now

for the investor is

what is esg

because if you speak to blackrock they

have their criteria you speak to goldman

they have their criteria as you so which

is a non-profit have their criteria just

capital have their criteria and i think

that’s the biggest conversation that’s

going on right now is

what is it because

everyone believes that there needs to be

an impact everyone believes certain

things need to be done

but there is there is no standard out

there right now where everyone goes okay

we know what the rule is we know how to

manage it

um and there’s a lot of questions being

asked right there’s a lot of companies

out there right now going hey we’re

going to be carbon neutral by the year

2080 okay have you started yet you know

when are you gonna start so

there’s a lot of that going around and

as i say as you so focus on that it’s a

yeah i think it’s a great challenge it’s

a big challenge to get kind of a common

definition and really kind of a common

measurement or or kind of a get a sense


you can’t really have a leaderboard

unless you don’t if you know how

everyone’s scoring right you know so if

everyone’s playing different games it’s

impossible so

yeah and as you know the financial

services business is uh one of those

businesses that is always looking for an

angle and you know some of its

opportunity some of it’s good and and so

forth but

one of the problems there is that the

financial services different companies

will change the criteria

because of the deal they have in front

of them on that given day


you’re not seeing

you’re not seeing the weight of the

financial services industry necessarily


for an agreed upon criteria because as

soon as you get that it doesn’t give you

the flexibility you need to put this is

green or this is esg

on on an etf or whatever it may be so

that’s that’s going to be the hardest

thing and that’s the hardest thing for

investors and well i mean i i remember

the first time i kind of explored the

esg space and i and i was kind of like

how did the e and the s get connected

with the g

because it

you know

governance has been one of these things

that’s been there forever right and

suddenly it’s bundled and i just i feel

like uh they’re kind of universes of

their own you know it’s it’s a kind of a

probably three measures are needed you


yeah and then and it’s interesting

because if you take a solar company

right everyone would say oh solar

company that’s esg

well yes it could be

but what is their social and their


right so they could they could have a

solution for cleaner power

but the way they run the company is not

ticking the s box or the g box

and again that’s what a lot of people

miss right they’ll be like solar company

yep that’s good this company that’s good

because of these measures and that’s

that’s why you’ve got as a as i say the

as you sews the just capitals out there

who are non-profits

saying hey you need to look at the the

whole equation rather than just

necessarily the product that they’re



well let’s shift gears a little bit and

talk about the last couple of years tell

me how

the pandemic moment has really played

out for justly and you know really i’m

more focused on kind of the insights and

opportunities that you guys have pulled

from this

um yeah i think i i think there’s

there’s two things one on the justly



we we have a small office in new york

but everybody is scattered around the


and that therefore enables us to hire

better you know it doesn’t matter where

the person lives as long as you know

they fit our culture and and have the

expertise so i think that’s been uh

something that

companies have got a lot more used to

in being able i one used to in the sense

of i remember when i was first

looking at uh this is years ago when i

used to run best from all over the world

and everyone’s like oh you know i had to

do that and a lot of it was trust right

you have to trust your employees that

they’re doing a good job i think

the pandemic has has forced companies to

do that or find ways of managing that

and it’s a lot different way of managing

i think the second element on on the

employee side of things is most

employees um certainly that

we’re interacting with now are a lot


um in most cases

they don’t want to be in the office they

want to be at home

they want to be able to take their kids

to school um

you know we’re kind of lucky at just

like we’re not

we’re not a nine to five company we’re


even though we’re a broken dealer we’re

not relying on the stock exchange and

when the opens when it closes you know

the days where i used to be glued to a

screen for

10 hours to thank goodness is gone so

we’re enabling the employees to have

more of a um

as i say life work balance uh work-life

balance and

therefore you i i found that people were

engaged more uh yeah the employees are

engaged more and they actually like it

because again you’re kind of saying we

trust you i can’t see you i can’t come

and tap you on the shoulder um we trust

you and i think you know the big thing

with any employee you want to be trusted

so i think that element has been a major

plus um and then the other element as

far as the business side and the private

equity side i think a lot of people

have taken the opportunity over the last

few years of

because they’ve been forced to be at


because they’ve been forced to use


um and and in some cases sadly laid off

they’ve they’ve founded their own


right they’ve actually done something

they probably wouldn’t necessarily have

looked at or or considered or took the

risk right uh do i leave my job or do i

try this and i think yeah i think that

is part of it as well i think um that’s

the exciting element that’s come from it

um then i think there are a lot of

businesses out there that may not have

started if it wasn’t wasn’t full code

yeah no i i completely agree and i i

love i love your insights there it’s

interesting because i think that there’s

probably certain sectors that have a bit

of a jump on this new era and yours

might be one of them where you know i


financial services companies have been a

little bit savvy you know more savvy in

terms of how they kind of have teams all

over the place and certainly justly is

leading the pack so we can all learn

from you in that regard but tell me paul

about 2022 i you know here we are uh in

the future we’re living in the

sustainable future if we have a future

this is it uh so tell me tell me what

what the plans are for this year

um i think i think the biggest plan

as i say we started in august last year

so the biggest thing um

from my experience a bit of building

businesses you need to you need to make

sure you’re building from a good

platform and a good place so we spent a

lot of time on our technology we spent a

lot of time on compliance as you can

imagine the broker dealer space

compliance is huge uh especially in this

space because it’s continually growing

the sec and finra are continually

looking at it um social media and how uh

broker dealers and platforms like

ourselves are using social media so

we’ve had to make sure that we we had

all that bolted down

um so now we’re in that exciting phase

we’re able to um as i say we’ve got a

pipeline of 30 or 40 companies coming in

the exciting thing about that is these

are companies and industries i’ve never

looked at uh or understood as much as as

i do now

and um it’s really great every morning

getting up speaking to a ceo

who’s who’s passionate about what

they’re building

and passionate about with the difference

that that company can make um

and and that’s refreshing um and so

that’s very lucky for me um i think also

with the team i have i mean i’m learning

every day from my team

this was a new venture for me um i liked

it because of what it stood for and

being an impact broker dealer

but i’m certainly not a private equity


i’m definitely more of your traditional

equity global trader

so i’m learning an awful lot from the

great people i have around me and again

that’s always nice it’s nice getting up

every morning knowing that you’re gonna

learn know what you’re going to do with

passionate people

um so what does 20

20 22 have in store for us i hope that

we’re going to make the impact that we

believe we can yeah um

you know we’re going to put the effort

in um you know we we believe we have the

right vision um


certainly seem to be

getting the buy-in from a lot of people

in the industry there’s a lot of people

very interested in what we’re doing and

how we’re doing it and as i say

the amount of issues that have found us

without us actually going out and

advertising and and hunting down uh

companies requiring uh

looking to raise money

is is exciting it’s an exciting i i i

love the tagline invest your principle

with principal

i think you’ve nailed it paul uh it’s

been great talking with you we’ve been

speaking with paul carlson willis he is

the ceo

of justly markets we’ve been talking to

him about what justly is up to it’s a

company that allows you to discover

vetted opportunities so you can

confidently invest in the people and

causes you believe in paul if someone

wanted to learn more about what you’re

up to where should they find you

uh invest is a great place to

go which is the website and you can

register there uh you’ll also be able to

see the various uh companies looking to

raise money uh on the platform that are

there and then again you know the

typical linkedin and twitter you’ll find

both justly and myself active on those

uh a lot of the stuff that we do do on

those is we’re talking about other

people we’re talking about the flutie

foundation uh jones crazy socks um so we

believe we’re part of an ecosystem and

uh hopefully we’ll be a bigger part of

it than we are today but we are

definitely uh making sure that

we are doing as much as we can to make

that impact

yeah i love it well paul thank you so

much for being on cage day and we look

forward to having you back excellent

thanks very much ben all right cheers