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Meet Summer: Our Portfolio Company Changing The Student Loan Landscape

Melody Koh
September 26, 2019 · 2  min.

Student loan is a generational crisis – there are 45 million borrowers in the U.S. on the hook for $1.6 trillion in student loan debt, tripled in the last 10 years. When we think about money in the context of everyday living for the next generation of consumers, it’s impossible to ignore the weight of the student loan burden. 

Unlike many other aspects of personal finance, student loan is incredibly complex. An average borrower has eight loans outstanding with different interest rates, maturity dates, and policies around loan forgiveness and defaults. Existing ecosystem players (schools, loan servicers, refi providers, and the government) are either un-incentivized or unequipped to properly guide borrowers to minimize their debt. As a result, many student loan borrowers are struggling to manage a repayment process that’s largely setting them up for failure.

When I first met Will Sealy, co-founder and CEO of Summer, two things jumped out to me – his knowledge and his passion. It quickly became clear that Will has the necessary expertise and network to build a company that addresses this generational crisis from his days working at the CFPB and advising Elizabeth Warren on student loan policies. More importantly, Will is relentlessly focused on building a solution for ALL borrowers, not just a slice of the borrower population because they’re the easiest to serve. 

We led Summer’s seed round earlier last year when they had just a deck and a prototype, along with our friends at General Catalyst, Greycroft, and Story Ventures. Will and his co-founders Paul Joo and Vincent Tran honed in on a segment of the student loan market that has a huge, unaddressed need – providing customized recommendations for loan forgiveness opportunities. Leveraging Will’s deep understanding of the landscape, the team was able to quickly launch a product that truly resonated with both borrowers and partners. In just a few months post-launch, Summer has already provided loan guidances to over 10,000 borrowers and helped them save more than $8 million on their student loans. Following that early traction, we were joined by Matt Risley at QED Investors in a Series A round, which Summer announced today

Student loan is a daunting barrier that’s standing between millions of consumers and their financial goals, and I believe there is a tremendous opportunity for Summer to become the trusted advisor for all student loan borrowers. I’m excited for Will and the team for what’s ahead, and I could not be happier to be a part of the next chapter of this team’s enduring journey.


Author
Melody Koh
Partner

Melody is a Partner at NextView Ventures based in its New York office. She has spent her entire career working with technology and Internet startups as an entrepreneur, operator, and investor.