When their lack of credit prevented them from living off-campus, University of Maryland students David Potter and Abb Kapoor made it their mission to prevent other young students from sharing the same fate.
Fast forward just a few years later, Potter and Kapoor launched Curu, a website and mobile application that assesses users’ spending habits and offers step-by-step guidance to help them optimize their credit score.
"We’re looking to provide a path to financial wellness for those without one,” says Kapoor, co-founder and COO of Curu. “Our platform replaces lenders' traditional rejection emails with an approval dashboard where applicants can see where they fell short and follow customized steps toward eligibility.”
Recently, Curu announced the close of a $3 million seed round led by Vestigo Ventures, a Boston-based fintech firm. The funds will go toward scaling the company and producing partnerships with banks, credit unions, and online lenders across North America.
Curu also received commitments from Harlem Capital, Matchstick Ventures, Carolina Fintech Ventures, Techstars Ventures, Holt Accelerator, Chingona Ventures and Upscale Fund. Working with these groups is incredibly appealing, Potter says, because of how their values and goals align.
"We are beyond excited to close this round and partner with our new investors,” says Potter, co-founder and CEO of Curu. “Each has unique expertise that complements Curu's business objectives and goal to become the standard lead recovery solution for all lenders."
For Kapoor and Potter, this investment serves as further validation they are on the right track. In 2017, Curu took home the $15,000 grand prize at the Pitch Dingman finals. Potter, then a Bill Gates Scholar and finance and marketing junior at Maryland Smith, and Kapoor, an electrical and electronics engineering junior at the A. James Clark School of Engineering, left the University of Maryland to dedicate themselves full time to Curu. To them, Pitch Dingman was their graduation and a sign that they needed to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations, Potter says.
“We fell in love with solving this problem and the competition enabled us to shape a story around the business to help our families better understand what we were working on,” says Kapoor. “They got to experience our passion for Curu and how much we believed in ourselves to see our idea come to fruition.”
Ultimately, Potter and Kapoor hope their work eliminates rejections young people face with credit-based decisions like buying a car, taking out a loan or financing a house. Their success in the recent seed round gets them one step closer to that goal, Potter says.
Potter credits his time spent at the University of Maryland for giving him the opportunities and resources to help this vision come to fruition.
“Programs such as the Dingman Center, Startup Shell, Business Society & Economy Scholars, and Hinman CEO’s allowed us to dive deeply into tech entrepreneurship from the start at the University of Maryland,” says Potter. “As long as we were hard at work, there were plenty of mentors and resources available for us to push our fearless idea forward.”
As for their personal ambitions, Potter and Kapoor have their sights set on one day naming a building on campus—potentially a residence hall, Potter says.
“I like to think back to when David and I met as randomly assigned roommates in a flex triple in Cambridge Hall before it was renovated,” Kapoor says.
“Hopefully, one day we'll get the opportunity to pay back the university for enabling us to meet each other. Until then, we look forward to working with other ambitious Terps who share the same passion for solving problems in the world with their fearless ideas.”