I am a second-generation entrepreneur. My grandfather owned a gas station in east Cleveland for many years and endured being an African American entrepreneur during the civil rights movement. Four years ago, I left my job as an architect to pursue an idea I fell in love with, social lending. The idea was sparked when a friend from college called me in 2015 and asked me for $200. He insisted he would pay me back in just a few days with $40 attached. I admired the courage and vulnerability it took to ask for help. I didn't need the additional money because the feeling of helping another person was a large enough return for me, but here Is where I realized there was an opportunity to create something for others.
The first attempt at building an app was a failure. I spent all of my money, I was without a job, $15,000 in debt, and I went into a mild-depression. Although after three years, I picked myself up with the help of my wife, Ariana Williams, launched two small apps to prove that I had learned from my previous failure and married my biggest supporter and co-founder. Together we formed a new company. Thus, The Halo App was born.
The Halo App is a private, peer lending community that connects people for loans up to $1,000.
Our community has the power to level the playing field. We save our users hundreds of dollars per loan by choosing to receive money from a backer instead of a predatory financial institution. We save our users hundreds of dollars per loan by teaching team to pay back their loans under six months, instead of using predatory credit systems.
Through backing, The Halo App is also creating an entirely new generation of investors. This allows you to help people while making money. This community is where we talk about the financial future, how to earn wealth and where we see more money being used that used to sit in a savings account.
Today, we are experiencing unprecedented times. In this time of need for so many, when income and hours are being cut short, people are looking for short-term loans to help them survive. People are making decisions out of fear that could negatively affect their future. In response to COVID-19, The Halo App is proud to now offer $1 million in fee-free loans. We are excited to forgo our earnings and pass them along to those in need. People over profit, that’s who we are. While leaders talk about solutions, people are drowning every day. And we all know problems are solved on a local level by people taking care of people — neighbors taking care of neighbors.
All of my experiences have made me stronger; it has made the app stronger. I couldn’t stop because the vision was greater than the pain I was experiencing building it. I wanted to change the ways people were treated by financial institutions and the way people lived because I wanted those things in my life. I wanted to transform and rebrand how people spoke about money. I wanted to birth a new generation of investors — backers. I wanted people to have access to money in times of need without unfairness and negativity. I wanted to create a peer lending platform that was more about building community than lending money. And, so we have, and it available for us all to share. I have experienced hate, judgment and discrimination my entire life. Our users will never feel those emotions. This community removed all bias. By not showing faces, age, race, sex, or name, users are unable to make decisions based on bias, or any other series of ‘isms.’ We allow users to connect via personality and financial profile.
This vision is greater than the pain I’ve experienced building this. The impact of The Halo App will be felt everywhere. This is bigger than all of us.
Taylor Simpson, CEO at The Halo App. Founder, published author and philanthropist. The Halo App is a private, peer lending community that connects people for loans up to $1,000.