The Story of Varsad

 

In year 2011 my brother was planning to attend graduate school in United States and I was helping him navigate the application process and the student loan process. The student loan process seamed pretty complicated to me. Also, the customer service I received was not great. In fact, there were not a lot of options when it comes to student loans and all banks were offering pretty much the same service at slightly different prices. My brother chose a variable interest loan whose interest rate was based on LIBOR index and was recalculated every quarter. It was hard for me to understand why would student loans interest rate depend on LIBOR and it seemed unfair that a student did not have much control over the interest rate charged to him/her.

 

By the time my brother graduated in 2013, he had a huge student debt to pay. This led me to think that there may not be a way for student to control the rising cost of education. However, there might be a way for student to control his/her cost of borrowing. This led to the inception of Varsad.

 

In October 2014, I participated in the Silicon beach pitch competition under the name of pupil.loans. Varsad did make to the second round of the competition and one of the judges was really impressed by my idea and gave me his business card and said, “We will talk later”. Later that year in December, Varsad was accepted into the NSF i-corps ZAP program, which future strengthened my conviction to pursue this idea.

 

 

In December 2014, Varsad got accepted as a resident company in the USC Incubator program. In early December I had changed the name from pupil.loans to tuitionmicroloans, but then eventually renamed the company to ‘Varsad’ in Feb 2015. USC Incubator was an amazing opportunity for myself and for Varsad. USC Incubator is an experimented accelerator program directed by Paul Orlando. Paul’s mentorship is the main reason why Varsad is no longer just an idea but a real business.  I am extremely grateful to Paul and Simon for their support and mentorship.

 

A lot of progress happened during the first 6 months of 2015, I was able to find Aman Rai, our first student and build the very first version of our web site www.varsad.com, thanks to Marlon, our web developer.

 

We are now asking funders to make micro-loans of as little as $100 to Aman for tuition expense, if this pilot is successful, it would mean Varsad can help many more students just like Aman by reducing their student loan debt. 

 

 

 

 

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You can e-mail me at: saurabh.ajmera.2017@marshall.usc.edu