There is a total of $ 807 billion in US credit card debt. The average American family has credit card debt of $ 6,270, and families with the lowest quartile of net worth (median net worth of $ 310) have an average of $ 4,830 in credit card debt.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented loss of 22.1 million jobs between January and April 2020, Americans have struggled to tackle consumer debt. To help American workers manage their debt at such an unusual time, founders Jason Saltzman, Bryan Okeke, and Ram Berroue have teamed up to develop the Relief app.
Relief App is an application that eliminates credit card debt. The app uses AI and collective bargaining to reduce balances and help users get off debt faster. The app’s personalized, technology-driven approach automatically analyzes a user’s finances and negotiates directly with creditors to halve or more the user’s principal balance on behalf of the user – for free.
“Over twenty years ago, I started my first business, a business that helped people get rid of their credit card debt. I loved helping people and families get out of toxic debt, but the industry needed a change, and at the time, I didn’t have access to the technology, capital or network to disrupt the industry, ”says Jason Saltzman. A few years later, he closed the business, but Jason went on to start several businesses, including a co-working incubator, Alley. After a nationwide partnership with Verizon, he decided to move from CEO to President. Soon after, the pandemic began and Jason found himself contacted by close friends and family to help them manage their debt. “After helping about 15 people manually, I started to wonder why there wasn’t an app that did all of this? He asked. He pitched his idea to two of the brightest developers he knew, and they built the schematic plans that would become Relief App.
“We spent almost a year learning everything we could about the industry. We have studied debt collection, debt settlement, debt buying, credit issuance and other heights in the industry. The more we learned, the more empowered we felt to create appropriate solutions that made sense, ”says Saltzman. So they put their heart and soul into devising blueprints for an easy-to-use system that would allow people to get out of debt for free.
After just three weeks of fundraising, Relief App has raised an oversubscribed fundraiser led by Collaborative Fund. They raised so much capital that they had to decline investment offers to make room for strategic partners. The Relief app has garnered a lot of attention, such as being voted number one app on Product Hunt and featured in major publications. While they plan to wait to launch the app in app stores, they have decided to integrate those who need help into a rapidly growing waiting list for their pre-launch.
Relief App is a product that serves underserved communities. If you look at the data, toxic debt is greatest in areas of underserved communities. 42% of borrowers in predominantly non-white areas have debt in collection, according to the National Center for Consumer Law. The Relief app uses these statistics for the benefit of individual users through collective bargaining power when dealing with creditors. This means that the more people who register with these communities, the better the results will be for each user. Historically speaking, wealthy people have been negotiating debt for years. In contrast, underserved people did not have access to debt negotiation. Relief App was designed to take that luxury which has only been accessible by a small number of masses.
The founders of Relief App envision a world where everyone has access to quality banking services. “When it comes to banking in America, you should never have to be treated like a second-rate citizen just because you come from an underserved community,” says Saltzman. Whatever your background or whatever mistakes you have made in the past, the founders of Relief App are more than certain that in 5 years, Relief App will have a suite of products and services that will empower 99% of the country to have access to large bank. “We start with the toxic debt problem because it is the biggest systemic problem crippling the American Dream for millions of people across the country.”
Their advice to other founders and aspiring entrepreneurs?
• Think less about making money and think more about the value you create for customers
• As a startup, you have the unique opportunity to create a culture from scratch, so take this responsibility seriously.
• Have an agile mindset to view failure as an opportunity for growth