Students who make it to their junior, senior year in undergrad, and are five or ten thousand short of becoming an engineer, of finishing pre-med education. Some of those students already have a job lined up. Another story that hit me was this French student who was at Columbia University, and had a job lined up in an investment bank, making six figures out of a quick grad degree, and no one would lend to him. S..
ABERMAN: This business strikes me very much as what I would call a fintech business. I think of you, I think of SoFi out on the West Coast, approaching slightly differently. Why did you locate the company here, and not go to California, like I’m sure many people told you to?
And no one would lend to her, despite her credit history, her background, her potential as a hot shot lawyer
SMADJA: D.C.resonates very strongly with what we do with our mission. You know, in 2010, I was based in Brussels, and I was working a lot in sub-Saharan Africa. I thought, where do I personally want to be in the world? And I considered https://getbadcreditloan.com/payday-loans-pa/lebanon/ Tokyo, Singapore, where I’d spent some time, considered moving to Paris where I’m originally from, considered a lot of different places. D.C. struck me as, potentially, the one place in the world where everyone you stop in the street wants to distort the planet in a positive way. And I thought, there was such a strong admission there that said so much about the people in D.C. that this is where I wanted to live, personally.
And then the same question happened again in 2014. The business MPOWER had been created in early 2014, by mid to late 2014 things were picking up. We started to hire employees, we were starting to get traction with students, and we thought, well, should we go to San Francisco? Some the VCs are telling us, hey, go to the West Coast. This is where it’s happening. But then we thought about it. And we thought, D.C. is a place that has the biggest lender to students overall, in the federal government, that has the biggest private student lender, Sallie Mae, that has an incredible source of analytical talent and financial services, with Capital One just on the other side of the river, and then that has a lot of really highly educated folks that are passionate about making a positive impact on the world.
Why in the world would we go anywhere else? So, that’s why we decided to stay, and it’s been really good. We’re very happy to be happy with the folks that have joined our team over time, and we’re really happy about being in D.C..
There are an awful lot of them revolutionizing different parts of the credit industry
ABERMAN: Well, I’m really happy that you took the time to come in and share your story with us today, Manu. It’s great to hear of your progress. Congratulations.
She received death threats, and from one day to the other, she had to flee the country. Let go of her job, let go of her car, let go of her apartment, let go of her friends and family, and just flee the country for her life. She decided that the easiest way for her to make it to the U.S., and make something out of time away from Venezuela, was to continue her education. So she enrolled at an LLM program at the University of Miami. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the financials, she didn’t have the 20, 30, 40, 50,000 dollars it can cost for a year’s worth of tuition at one of these schools. No one would lend to her. So, she turned to MPOWER, and we were able to lend to here, and she was able to complete her education. We have hundreds of stories like that.