CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article mispelled Deepak Rao's name in a quote attribution. The spelling of his name has been updated. Additionally, the article incorrectly stated why the Thrivecash team is focusing on spreading primarily to the East Coast and Midwest schools. The are focusing on this because it was faster to start operating in those regions because the price is so low and they allow businesses who don’t charge high rates to go to market faster. The article has been updated with the correct information. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the errors.
This semester, some students have noticed flyers advertising an app called Thrivecash posted in their classrooms. The flyers simply say “borrow cash in school, pay back when you start working.” They promise students loans that can be unlocked with proof of an internship or job offer and no hidden fees.
Thrivecash was designed to be easy to use and the story behind its creation is anything but ordinary.
“The app is extremely simple,” said co-founder Deepak Rao. “If you’re a college student that has either an upcoming internship lined up, or an upcoming full-time job lined up, you can borrow 25 percent of your internship salary or 25 percent of your first three months’ salary after graduation, today during the school year. You don’t have to pay back a single dollar until you get your first paycheck.”
Rao and his co-founder, Siddharth Batra, worked at Twitter after it acquired their first company, Mine, which was an e-commerce startup. They left Twitter in September of 2017 to start Thrivecash. The Thrivecash team raised most of its first seed round funding from Rao and Batra’s former bosses at Twitter.
“We raised a seed round of $2 million. In the preliminary stages, when we launched last year, we were only using that money,” Roa said. “Now, after seeing some success we raised another round of funding for eight million dollars.”
He said most of the seed round funding goes to the day-to-day operation of the business, and the company works with banks to fund the actual loans.
“The current financial system requires a young person to have a credit history, proof of income and often a cosigner just to take out money, but with Thrive all you need is to submit proof of a job offer letter,” said brand ambassador and UNC student Luke Durham. “Thrive understands that with a job offer, students will be making money soon enough and shouldn’t have it miss out on experiences now.”
Rao grew up in India and came to the United States to study computer science at Stanford University.
“It was actually at Stanford where we came up with the idea behind Thrivecash because I was an international student back in the day, and it was just extremely hard to get access to funding for anything that was not related to tuition,” he said.
Thrivecash originally launched at New York University and Columbia University in New York, and has since spread to 30 colleges. The 10-person full-time team is based out of San Francisco, but is focusing on spreading Thrivecash primarily to East Coast and Midwestern schools because it was faster to start operating in those regions as the price is so low, and they allow businesses who don’t charge high rates to go to market faster.
The California-based Thrivecash team uses student ambassadors to advertise the app on campuses.
“The fee charged for borrowing is pretty small and the app is extremely easy to follow, keeping in mind the requirements of the target audience,” said brand ambassador and UNC student Anushkaa Jain. “Overall, I think the product speaks for itself. I believe the app has the potential to alleviate one's college experience, which is something I can stand behind.”
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