IgniteHQ Weekly Vlog
Check out this weeks vlog by Jacqueline Thomas. She touches on some tips on how to save money, especially with the holidays coming up!
VNDE Poised to Disrupt Educational Financial Aid Industry
At a time when rising tuition costs have become a problem so large it is debated on the national stage, IgniteHQ member Kyle Cornelius is utilizing data to develop a solution. Kyle’s startup VNDE is a debt free, pay-it-forward system spring boarded by grantors and sustained by income sharing agreements amongst its beneficiaries.
What is VNDE
VNDE is in essence a service company providing a financial service in a revolutionary way. “We are leveraging big data to better understand customers and therefore better manage the risk from money providers,” explained Kyle. Unlike the traditional credit sector, VNDE focuses on both the borrower and the capitol making sure to match investors and students accordingly.
How it Works
VNDE’s services differ from other financial aid entities because “borrowers” receive funds for college and then promise to “pay forward” those funds once in the workforce. Each recipient enters into an Income Sharing Agreement (ISA) which will determine how much and how often to pay depending on earned income. The VNDE model depends on grants from initial grant makers and a tested algorithm determining the conditions of recipients’ Income Sharing Agreement (ISA).
VNDE’s website explains students can select between short & long term ISA options which promise to be affordable and interest and fee free. Kyle says its VNDE’s algorithm, which is based on collected data, that ensures his program will save students between 15% – 75% financing their education.
The company emphasizes that recipients never share more of their income than the amount of wherewithal afforded to them.
Inspired by Purdue
Kyle says it was his own experience paying for college that inspired him to find a solution to the growing problem of affordability. “While paying off my own student loans I realized I was just a grain of sand in this vast desert of student debt,” said Kyle. “I was lucky enough to have parents that helped me, but I understand many high school graduates don’t have that support. Student debt can seriously hinder one’s personal ambitions. Many can’t even afford a higher education.”
Kyle later read about a new funding concept initiated at Purdue University which involved ISAs. Purdue’s “Back A Boiler” program was initiated by the Purdue Research Foundation and offered an Income Share Agreement (ISA). The concept was new and the funding limited at first, but the system promised paid-for education with the commitment of students to pay a fixed percentage of income for a fixed number of years back to the fund.
“After reading about Purdue, I just knew I could turn this concept into a startup. My experience is in big data and how to leverage data. I saw a fit here,” explained Kyle.
Plans for the Future
VNDE is focused on helping to fund undergraduate degrees at public universities and is currently accepting applications for Spring 2020. According to Kyle, VNDE will be prepared to help 500 students this spring, giving $28,000 per undergraduate degree and $3500 per associate degree.
As far as the company’s growth, Kyle says he is working on establishing trust with grantors and is building his board of advisors to include people who can help him navigate the grant maker ecosystem.
For more information on VNDE visit: www.vnde.org
IgniteHQ mentor Tricia Whitlock is plugged into Atlanta’s entrepreneurial scene. Throughout her startup world tenure, Whitlock has penned more than 600 articles showcasing technology, entrepreneurship and innovation in Georgia, reported on Atlanta’s tech and startup sector for WSB-TV, and marketed the area’s top incubators and entrepreneurial spaces.
It’s no wonder Atlanta’s startup world begs for Tricia’s attention. Her resume boasts an impressive portfolio of universities, billion-dollar corporations and incubators – all entities she enhanced through her passion for bolstering other people’s startup dreams.
With her vast knowledge of startups in Metro Atlanta, Tricia points to the culture as something that is most special.
“The openness and friendliness of the people in Atlanta’s startup scene is exceptional,” said Tricia. “This is an incredibly welcoming and inclusive place.”
From Build to Improve
Currently, Tricia is spearheading marketing, public relations and operations at Startup Genome, a company dedicated to enhancing startup success by catalyzing the startup ecosystem in forward looking regions.
While she is directing her attention to other cities, Tricia remains proudly engaged in Atlanta.
“My job with Startup Genome has me working in startup scenes all over the world, but there’s no place like home! To stay in touch with the local ecosystem, I’m serving as Founding Co-chair of GSU’s Entrepreneurial Alumni Network.”
An IgniteHQ Asset
Tricia has been supporting IgniteHQ since it opened its doors off of the Marietta Square in 2017. She first worked to build IgniteHQ; now she helps its members do the same.
“IgniteHQ’s mix of members and tenants showcase the Atlanta area’s wide variety of talent and focus – creative agencies, social enterprises, high tech startups, religious groups, venture capitalists, students – there’s so much under one roof.”
Get to know Tricia and book time with her today! Email Tricia at Tricia@startupgenome.com to connect about startup ecosystem building and getting plugged into the local technology scene.