Bay Area Startup Expands to Youngstown to Battle the Student Loan Debt Crisis

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Spinwheel helps students get out of debt faster by creating an easy-to-use data platform for debt management apps

Bay Area startup Spinwheel Solutions is expanding to a new home in northeast Ohio, where they plan to use Ohio talent to combat student loan debt across the country. The student loan debt crisis is one of the biggest problems Americans face, reaching a staggering record of $1.6 trillion in debt in 2020. Spinwheel sees Ohio as a breeding ground for innovation and a valuable asset to continue the development of their product and expand their services nationwide.

“In Ohio, there are strong connections between people, resources, universities and companies that are emerging in the area,” said Tomás Campos, CEO and Co-Founder of Spinwheel. “Americans who are struggling with debt live everywhere, not just on the coast, which is what really fueled us to look at Ohio for solutions. Ohio borrowers have a direct relationship with these types of debt categories, and they can influence the way we’re building our product. We want to engage with Ohio universities, their students and recent graduates, because they are the population that we are serving and are experiencing the student debt problem first hand.”

Campos and co-founder Tushar Varish were inspired to create debt management solutions for their loved ones and the millions of other Americans who struggle to repay student loans. Campos’ niece graduated from college with $30,000 in loans, and he set out to help similar people manage their debt. Initially, Spinwheel aimed to create a software product directly for those borrowers. But the company pivoted to become a platform that provides student loan debt information for other companies to improve their own debt management apps and services, a method Campos said could make an even larger impact. Partners on the platform use Spinwheel’s APIs and modules to empower their own product without having to fully understand the intricacies of student debt data and connectivity, where Campos and his team are the experts.

“We provide the building blocks for our partners to better understand different types of student loan debt and make their existing products better,” said Campos. “There weren’t any adequate management solutions in this space, and we realized we could create the underlying infrastructure for other companies. We use application programming interface connections, which allow partner companies to access our platform of embedded debt information. Spinwheel partners can use the platform as a resource to create products from inception to launch or to use no-code drop-in modules to simplify product design.”

Spinwheel’s technology improves existing products like employer benefits programs and student loan repayment platforms. Other partners have created new solutions that allow borrowers to apply loyalty, cashback and points programs to student loan debt payments. Spinwheel’s ingenuity and relevance caught the eye of the Youngstown Business Incubator, which has been working with Spinwheel and providing critical support as they go to market and help build their team in northeast Ohio.

“We feel very lucky to be exposed to opportunities through the Youngstown Business Incubator,” said Campos. “YBI has provided substantial financial support, and has expanded our network to talent across Ohio. We’ve connected with schools like Youngstown State University and Kent State University to build a team of strong and diverse perspectives and create the best product possible. More and more people are building companies in Ohio, so we are seeing the competition heat up and are thrilled with the resources we’ve received.”

Spinwheel sees building its new northeast Ohio team as a way to expand their database and broaden applications to other debt solutions. They plan to tap into the innovative pool of talent in Ohio to grow their customer support, marketing and software capabilities. And with a mission they say saves the average borrower $200 a year on their loan, Spinwheel hopes its Ohio expansion is the next step toward lowering the country’s student loan debt.

“I’ve had so many conversations where people say, ‘Everybody is connected to Ohio somewhere,’ and ‘All roads lead to Ohio,’” said Campos. “We want to be known as the company that transformed the consumer debt landscape in the US, and it seems like people from all different parts of the country have connections to Ohio. We want to tap into those connections and the knowledge from the northeast Ohio universities so that we can help the American borrower. There is a crisis with consumer debt, and most Americans have more debt than they do savings. We want to provide the right tools, so that we can improve the lives of Americans and help alleviate their burden from debt.”

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