Lesa Mitchell stood in the teller line at her bank as a young man and his grandmother explained his plight.
His payday loan to cover a bus pass had ballooned out of control. He needed $200 to get out of a financial mess.
“I literally wrote him a check,” Mitchell said, and extracted a promise that he’d stay away from payday loans.
She also began a hunt for a viable alternative to high-cost short-term debt that can trap consumers who have even a small financial need.
After weighing several candidates, Mitchell thinks she found the answer in SoLo Funds, a project she brought to the Techstars Kansas City Accelerator, which she leads as managing director.
SoLo Funds — which comes from social loans — is a peer-to-peer lending app co-founded by Travis Holoway, who grew up in Cleveland but came to Kansas City from Los Angeles. SoLo doesn’t make loans. It connects people who need a quick bit of cash with other people willing to provide it.
“He’s created something nobody’s done,” Mitchell said.
SoLo Funds debuted in April, launching in part with early financial backing. The site currently accepts donations from borrowers, and lenders soon will see a donation option, too.
Read the full story at The Kansas City Star.