Meet Nick Bencivenga, CEO and Co-Founder of AND
I’ve always loved talking to people. Learning tidbits about things previously unknown, sharing experiences, bonding, problem-solving, negotiating, joking, debating, all of it – I absolutely love talking to people. I got good grades in school, but teachers were regularly frustrated with my inability to keep my mouth closed. I’ve gotten better, I swear! But I still love to talk. I think it’s what has driven me towards sales-based roles throughout my career. I just find it easy to slip into conversation with just about anyone. I’m certainly not a “neutral” guy – I have plenty of opinions – but at the same time, I enjoy talking with everyone I meet. I love having conversations that are seemingly surface level, but also give the feeling of deep connection. Truly feeling their story, their pain, their joy. Understanding what they’ve gone through, or just hearing a sad story. There’s something unique about phone calls, in particular. People are more vulnerable, as they aren’t looking at you in the face. They’re willing to share a bit more, be themselves a bit more, and be honest. I’ve had 2-hour calls with people that I had no intention of selling to, and they had no intention of buying. We were just enjoying each other’s company and having a great phone conversation. I relish those calls – they leave me absolutely beaming for hours. True human connection with an absolute stranger, what an experience.
In addition to being a talker, I also love the outdoors. I was born in Southern California, but moved to the Northern Virginia area when I was 6, where I stayed until I graduated college (go Hokies!) and moved back to the west coast. My mother regularly took me hiking, and we’d visit Great Falls park as often as possible. I loved it, and still do. To this day, I can’t help but be outside on a regular basis. Biking and off-road motorcycles are my other two outdoor passions. Hiking, well, I’ve done that my whole life and it’s always been an activity I deeply enjoy. I could hike all day long and be happy the whole time doing it. Bike riding, however – that love was developed later in life, by my best friend (and co-founder of AND) Derek Jarrett. In our early 20s, he picked up mountain biking during his free time and was boasting about how strong it was making him. After getting a road-bike and putting a few thousand miles on it, he convinced me to try my hand (foot?) in biking. It didn’t take long, I was hooked. Within a few months, Derek and I were riding centuries (that’s 100-mile rides for you non-riders!) and getting sillier and sillier with how much riding we could do. A common theme in our friendship would be to find an activity and really do it to death! Biking was no different. We ended up doing century rides in multiple cities, our longest ride was over 160 miles in a single day, a round-trip route from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. We haven’t attempted that ride since, but bicycle riding is a big part of my life now. Motorcycling came later, but was also inspired by Derek.
After seeing how much fun he was having exploring on his motorcycle, I couldn’t resist. I purchased a very well-traveled bike (1988 Kawasaki KLR 650) and Derek and I took a road trip across the country. We almost made it back before the old beater died. It was thousands of miles worth of fun, though. There’s nothing like trail-fixes, true middle-of-nowhere-frustration, and seeing the raw, untouched beauty of nature with your own eyes, on your own terms. Exploring on 2 wheels is an experience unlike any other.
Much of my life now revolves around my little family. My wife and 3-year old daughter are central to my day, and I’m blessed to work in a career that allows me to be at home with my family on a regular basis. I get to break away for walks outside with my kiddo, lunches, playtimes etc – It’s great! We also have a small French bulldog named Hubert, who’s now 8 years old. Definitely an integral part of the family, Hubert is a playful little guy who is regularly involved with family gatherings and work events. The four of us are a happy unit together! Both my wife and daughter are huge sources of inspiration for me, and we all love working on projects and building things together. I’m a big proponent of “getting your hands dirty” so we are often playing outside in the grass, throwing a ball, reading a book or learning a new activity. I’m blessed to have a partner who can cook far better than I (and enjoys it, too!) so family meals with lots of talking and laughing are an integral part of our day.
There’s something about me that just loves to tinker and play. Working in the shop, garden, or garage… just anything that allows me to get my hands dirty. Any kind of project where I can take it apart and put it back together, well, count me in! My wife would probably call me stir-crazy, but I just can’t really sit still for long. I like to “do” and as such, I’ll find a project in pretty much anything. Blessing and a curse? Possibly. But, this personality trait has allowed me to foray into so many activities. Wood-working, auto and motorcycle repair, computer building, 3d Printing, EMT training, gardening, the list goes on. Some may call me “easily inspired” as I can get hooked on most anything! I love a good rabbit hole, and I really love figuring out puzzles. This inherent curiosity has served me well when working in the merchant services industry – customer service issues are often intensely complicated and require a true “dive in” to understand the complexities of any given situation. As such, it bodes well to be driven by a desire to learn, understand, and improve processes. I’ve found that the more I wish to “understand”, the better I serve my clients!
We wrote separately about why we started AND here. So I won’t rehash too much, but I will say that part of the impetus was to provide truly personal customer service. We want to know our clients. I want to know who you are, and I hope you want to know who we are, too. We’re here to provide unparalleled customer service to our merchants and get them the lowest possible rates. That’s a given. But we’re also here to be your advocate and business consultant. We help you make decisions that can have a big financial impact, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly! Our goal is to be accessible to all our clients, to ensure that your needs are met and that we’re doing the best job we possibly can. I know that part of starting up means making mistakes and learning from them. That’s what we intend to do – learn from our mistakes as quickly as possible, so we can become the best versions of ourselves that we can. So, I encourage anyone to reach out to me, at any time, to talk to me about anything. If I haven’t made it clear…
I like to talk!