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Meet the SVC Finalist: EDUrain

Sydney Everett (Staff)
April 16, 2021

On April 26, 2021, finalists will compete for $22,500 in awards in the Spring 2021 Skandalaris Venture Competition. In anticipation of the SVC finals, we are publishing a Q&A series with the finalists. Today's featured team is EDUrain. 

EDUrain is a one-stop shop for financing higher ed. 

Industry: Education

Number of Employees: 13

Total Funding (as of March 2021): $63,000

What problem are you solving?

Each year, 43% of high school seniors don’t even fill out their FAFSA because it’s too time-consuming and complicated. On top of that, billions of dollars in external scholarship aid go unclaimed every year due to them being scattered across the web. The result is that students graduate with an average of over 30,000 in debt. An additional contribution to this debt is that students find it very difficult to move to cheaper off-campus housing, which can save them an average of $7,500 over their college career.

How do you solve this problem?

We’ve designed an all-in-one platform to better meet the financial needs of college-bound students by providing a FAFSA filing software to shorten the process down to just minutes, a scholarship search with 20k external scholarships to match students with relevant scholarships, and a housing search platform along with a gap loan to cover the financial gap between when leases start and when government money is disbursed.

About the founding team:

CEO Bryon Pierson left home at 15 and self-funded his college education by taking on $50K in debt. He has spent the last six years researching the college financial process, minority student enrollment, and student retention practices— conducting over 2,600 interviews with people on all sides of the matter—, and in that time has worked on many iterations of the current EDUrain model. He has spoken at colleges about positive student identity development, leading to a position at Boys Hope, Girls Hope, who recently signed a letter of intent to use the EDUrain beta with their students.
Co-founder Arron Zheng is a Washington University Engineering student that previously founded advertising company Lansing Sales & Marketing. He met Bryon Pierson 1 year ago and joined the team.

What is the biggest lesson you've learned since starting your venture?

When you run into a seemingly insurmountable problem, don't give up. Bryon has shown me on numerous occasions that persistence and dedication can open up possibilities to solve the problem at hand.

What do you love about being an entrepreneur?

The adventure and fulfillment from building something myself. I have the rest of my life to find a corporate job and be told what to do but while I'm young and can afford to take risks, I'm going to take my own path and see where it leads me.

What words of advice do you have for those starting a business?

You're likely going to fail many many times before things start looking up, but anything worthwhile is difficult to do.

What is your must-read book?

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

What is your favorite entrepreneurial news source?

I don't follow entrepreneurial news avidly, but I read biographies of many successful entrepreneurs.