Advisors, while unlikely to note it on their own, could start seeing members of the Plaid “mafia” landing at or starting other fintechs; that according to a TechCrunch report. The first startup of this group with an advisory connection is Summer, where John Whitfield has landed as head of engineering. He is the former VP of engineering at Quovo, the wealth management-focused data aggregator acquired by Plaid in early 2019.
Summer is a public benefit corporation designed to act as a “trusted advisor” to student loan borrowers. It offers users a full view of their current student loan situation and suggests options for repaying it as financially efficiently as possible. It raised $10 million in Series A funding last September, led by QED Investors, according to AlleyWatch.
Just as financial advisors help clients manage their wealth, Summer is trying to help its clients manage their student loans, said Will Sealy, co-founder and CEO of the firm. “We’re trying to create the software that democratizes [student loan] expertise,” he told TechCrunch, “[getting] the expertise into the hands of the end consumer, who might not be able to afford an accountant that doesn’t even unfortunately exist in the student loan space at this current moment.”
Summer has helped 10,000 borrowers since launching three years ago, he said, and has helped users save $8 million since the start of the year. It targets post-grads, as opposed to tools like College Aid Pro, which help advisors predict their clients’ college costs before clients’ children even start submitting applications. Summers reaches users through enterprise contracts and as a workplace benefit.
Whitfield will help oversee software development designed to actually execute student loan payments, instead of just offering recommendations for efficient loan repayment.