CommonBond has come a long way since its beginnings in 2011. At the time, CEO and co-founder, David Klein, was an MBA student at Wharton Business School in Philadelphia, and like most of his peers, he was dealing with the overcomplicated and expensive student loan process to finance his education.
"The rates were unnecessarily high," says Klein. "The process was unnecessarily complex, and the level of service that was provided throughout the process was quite poor."
Klein teamed up with his classmates Michael Taormina and Jessup Shean to launch CommonBond, a student lending platform that would provide lower rates, a simple online experience and exceptional customer service. CommonBond saves its borrowers more than $10,000, on average, over the life of the loan.
Perhaps most important, though, is what CommonBond calls its "Social Promise." Partnering with the organization Pencils of Promise, which provides education to underserved students in developing countries, CommonBond funds a year of schooling for a child abroad for every degree fully funded through its platform. In 2014, the company's first full calendar year, this meant $50,000 went to its social promise. In 2015, CommonBond expects to donate $250,000.
"Business can and should have a positive impact on social change," says Klein.