CommonBond isn’t headquartered in Philadelphia, but much of the MBA crowdfunding platform’s impact has been right here in our city.
Based in Brooklyn and cofounded by Wharton MBA alums Michael Taormina and David Klein, CommonBond connects alumni investors with students who need MBA loans. Students pay a lower, fixed interest rate and investors earn an annual return of more than four percent, according to CommonBond. After raising $3.5 million, the startup launched its service at Wharton last fall, giving out $2.5 million in MBA loans. It aims to expand nationally this spring.
CommonBond’s other mission is a strictly social one: in every partner city, the startup will fund a financial literacy program for students. It’s piloting the program at KIPP West Philadelphia charter school and is currently finalizing the size of its contribution to the school. Several Wharton students will also volunteer for the program, said spokeswoman Molly Dince.
CommonBond has seven employees. Its cofounders, Taormina, 29, and Klein, 32, live in Brooklyn.
The venture sits between disrupting the process for student loans, which are famously burdensome, and trying to create a stable financial product. But what might be the most interesting part is how a pair of Wharton grads joined the robust Penn presence in the New York tech scene to then launch the effort back on Locust Walk.
Updated 2/21/13 2:05 p.m. to reflect that CommonBond cofounders are Wharton alumns, meaning they are currently on leave from Wharton. They have not graduated yet, as the story previously stated.-30-