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Student Loan Genius Joins Inaugural U.S. Class of BBVA Program for Social Entrepreneurs

Student Loan Genius will join 19 other startups in the inaugural U.S. class of BBVA’s training program for social entrepreneurs, BBVA Momentum. The program, in existence since 2011, has helped more than 100 companies with “high social impact” in Spain, Mexico, and Peru. This year, BBVA Momentum has opened the doors to its seven-month training program to U.S. companies “who want to change the world through their work.”

“We saw a lot of passion and innovative approaches to some of our most stubborn issues,” BBVA Compass Director of Corporate Responsibility and one of the program judges, Reymundo Ocañas said.  “We scrutinized the organizations to determine which ones had the most sustainable business models and the highest social impact.” Through the program, BBVA Compass seeks to help startups “scale up so they can change even more lives,” Ocañas explained.

Pictured: Co-founders Tony Aguilar (CEO) and Emiliano Villareal (Chuck Norris of Product) demonstrating Student Loan Genius at FinovateSpring 2016.

Student Loan Genius leverages employer’s existing participation in their employees’ 401(k) plans to provide a unique student loan repayment benefit. Because paying off student loans tends to delay a young worker’s ability to begin saving for the future, Student Loan Genius enables employees to focus on repaying their student loan debt while employers make pre-tax contributions to their employee’s retirement account based on the amount of debt repayment. “We tell the story all the time: young people need to start investing as early as possible, but we can’t afford to do it because of our student loan debt,” Student Loan Genius CEO and co-founder Tony Aguilar explained during his company’s demo at FinovateSpring last year. “With (our platform) we can now make this a reality,” he said.

As part of the BBVA Momentum program, entrepreneurs will get seven-months of training, both online and in-person. In-person training will take place at UT-Austin’s McCombs School of Business. The Corporate Learning Alliance, a joint project between the Financial Times and Spain’s IE Business School, will manage the online portion of the training. The program will also feature networking opportunities with previous BBVA Momentum companies and investors. A select number of entrepreneurs – based on the sustainability and social impact of their solutions – will be eligible for what BBVA called “further investment opportunities.”

Also participating in the program are:

  • A Caring Safe Place Inc.
  • Cafe Momentum
  • Capital Plus Financial
  • Chicks with Class
  • Community Loan Center of Texas
  • E4 Youth
  • Education Opens Doors
  • Ensosoft
  • Give More HUGS
  • Go Rings
  • IDEA Public Schools
  • JUST
  • LOHAS Capital
  • LynxGRC
  • Magpies & Peacocks
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul
  • The Giving Field
  • Upswing

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, Student Loan Genius demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2016. Last fall, the company announced that HVAC manufacturer Mestek would offer its employees the Student Loan Genius benefit through a partnership with Prudential. Student Loan Genius powers loan benefit programs for workers at Pinterest, Spredfast, and fellow Finovate alum, Twilio, among others. The company has raised $3 million in funding, courtesy of a seed round in early 2016 led by Gibraltar Ventures and featuring participation from Capital Factory, Fenway Summer Ventures, Kapor Capital, VilCap Investments, and Village Capital. Read our profile of the company from last summer.