Demetrius Curry has been chasing dreams for the last few years.
His startup, College Cash, allows businesses to ask users to create marketing content for photos and videos that highlight their products and services, but the creator of the content get paid from the company in the form of credit that directly leads to the repayment of the college loan. This model provides the companies involved with goodwill and tax benefits.
Dallas-based founder Curry came up with the idea of tackling the tuition loan debt problem when he heard that his daughter would eventually pay back her tuition loan debt. Curry then spent two years building a new platform, hunting for partners, and using accelerator programs to patiently seek out investors to attract users and bet on his vision.
College Cash has raised $ 105,000 so far, and is aiming to raise $ 1 million in seed rounds in the end.
Raising funds in this round has been a unique challenge for Mr. Curry, who has often struggled to find opportunities, even with historically high levels of capital flowing into the startup ecosystem. Discrimination against black entrepreneurs, who still account for a small percentage of VC investments, has been less noticeable so far. In the aftermath of police protests in the summer of 2020, many venture capital firms have released a statement promising to condemn institutional racism and support more underprivileged entrepreneurs. , Launched a new program for diverse entrepreneurs.
Curry says he understands the scale of the problem and the good intentions of the person making the statement, but the venture capital network still needs to learn about the definition of a “not well-served” founder. I think there are many, and many of the existing efforts feel like “lip service” to him.
Silicon Valley continues to worship dropouts from prestigious universities, but invests in recognizing the achievements of founders who have fought in poverty and who have found opportunities in areas with few opportunities. People’s interest is low, Curry said.
“If you’re looking for the same place, you can’t find anything different,” Curry told TechCrunch. “When we look at the topic of’the underprivileged founder’, it’s not just about the color of the skin, it’s about where the person came from and what they’ve experienced.”
According to Curry, investors can be frustrated when competing for early stage opportunities if they don’t try to adjust their parameters properly. Curry is particularly dissatisfied with the need to seek “warm referrals” even to participate in diverse founder programs, and with “underprivileged” founders. Even if you apply for the early stage program, you will be told that you are not eligible to apply.
“Think about how hard it took us to get this far,” Curry said. “I’ve sold blood to pay for web hosting. Nothing can stop me.”
College Cash’s mission to extend repayment opportunities to those suffering from tuition debt is nothing else for Curry, who has experienced a life turnaround by returning to school.
Curry, who had just retired from the army decades ago, said he had a random conversation with a stranger while eating at Hardee’s. Discussing what he wants more in life, this debate is for him to return to school and pass the General Educational Development (GED) and later earn a business degree. It was a boost. After that, he gained a career in the financial industry and eventually founded College Cash to pursue his entrepreneurial goals.
College Cash is clearly an early venture at the moment, but Curry has great ambitions for the future. His next effort is to integrate College Cash’s chip capabilities with the gig economy platform. The purpose is to allow the user company to give tips to the workers’ students and to create a mechanism that allows them to spend money directly on the repayment of their tuition loans.
According to Curry, the College Cash team has worked with a “national gig economy platform” to pilot this integration, and companies that have learned that the money will be used to repay tuition loans will tip. It is said that it has a focus group that shows that it is more likely to pay.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.