Make It in Brooklyn: Edquity
Field: Edtech / fintech
HQ: 370 Jay Street
Edquity – a startup based in the NYU Tandon Future Labs incubator – seeks to narrow equity gaps and facilitate social mobility by building tools to distribute emergency financial aid and resources to students in need. Founded in 2016 by lifelong Brooklynite David Helene, the company has helped disburse more than $2.5M in emergency grant funding to date and has raised over $4M in seed funding from investment and philanthropic partners such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and Wells Fargo.
Tech for Good
Recognizing that many college students struggle with financial challenges that jeopardize graduation, Edquity first sought to improve students’ money management skills before shifting to providing direct financial support to students. The startup’s mobile app and web platform are currently used by more than a dozen colleges and universities across the United States, including Dallas County Community College District and Utah’s Western Governors University, to quickly and efficiently distribute cash grants and match students with wraparound resources for housing, food, healthcare, and childcare.
Emergency Aid for Students in Need
The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the need for student financial aid and Edquity is rapidly scaling up to meet new demand from college students and schools. The team, which more than doubled in size over the past six months, is expediting onboarding for partner schools and exploring how to expand the ways student users engage with the platform. Earlier this year, Edquity also launched the COVID College Support digital guide, with resources to help students navigate financial emergencies during the pandemic. Recent expansion puts the team a year ahead of anticipated growth, and the firm is currently closing a bridge round to continue hiring and product development.
Hiring with Purpose
Edquity’s leadership places strong emphasis on core values to promote equity in outcomes that inform their work as they recruit new talent for their growing team. The startup looks for staff members who practice empathy, are curious and open to constant learning, and are committed to anti-racism in both behavior and product development. Moreover, the company believes in the value of lived experience and prioritizes individuals with personal perspective on the challenges facing the communities they serve.
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