Rodney Williams, a cofounder of SoLo Funds.
Courtesy of Rodney Williams
Rodney Williams cofounded SoLo Funds, a marketplace where consumers can borrow from each other.
Users can borrow up to $1,000 each time, and they have the option to tip the lender and SoLo Funds.
In their pitch deck, the team emphasizes the relatable problem and how their solution is different.
In 2015, Rodney Williams and Travis Holoway realized after a visit to see family and friends that people living on tight budgets had nowhere to turn for emergency funds. The entrepreneurs decided to launch SoLo Funds, a fintech marketplace that allows consumers to lend and borrow from each other, to solve this problem.
At the time, Williams was the CEO and a cofounder of the Bluetooth alternative LISNR, and Holoway was a director of training and development at Northwestern Mutual. Jarrel Carter, who focuses on strategic partnerships, and Taylor Conophy, who oversees design, joined the team. They’d meet at Williams’ office at 6 p.m., have dinner together, and brainstorm ideas until 11 p.m.
They landed on an app where someone could borrow between $50 and $1,000 from another person in the United States. “The transaction is not between the people and SoLo Funds. It’s between Mike from Idaho and Tommy from Texas,” Williams told Insider.
The borrower has up to 35 days to pay back the interest-free loan with the option of paying two fees — an administration donation to SoLo Funds and a tip to the lender — or they can choose not to pay any fees and borrow the money for free. SoLo Funds only makes a profit when the administration donation is added to the transaction.
Because the borrowed funds are intended to help cover emergency bills, the whole experience needs to be fast. “A user can make a request on our platform and get funding in less than 15 minutes,” Williams said. “We don’t approve or deny. Anyone with a bank account can sign up and make a request.” Each borrower is given a SoLo Score, which is based on their banking history.
SoLo Funds officially launched in 2017, and Holoway quit his job that March to work on it full time, while Williams remained at LISNR. They signed up for accelerators in Ohio and Kansas so they could boost their plans and make connections. In Ohio, Seth Metcalfe, the former deputy treasurer of Ohio who became one of the company’s …read more
Source:: Business Insider