Kogod School of Business alum Kaben Clauson has a new entrepreneurial venture—an innovative family-and-friends lending platform.
Kogod School of Business alum Kaben Clauson has a new entrepreneurial venture. This innovative family-and-friends lending platform takes the awkwardness (and risk) out of an all-too-familiar (and familial) financial relationship.
Pigeon Loans, founded by Clauson and Brian Bristol, makes lending to one’s loved ones a financially seamless process by incorporating a contract, a payment plan, and friendly reminders in a one-stop-shop platform. The Miami, Florida-based startup has already raised $2.5 million from Y Combinator, FundersClub, Kleiner Perkins Scout Fund, Sovereign’s Capital, Goodwater Capital, SaxeCap, Pareto Holdings, True Culture Fund, Magic Fund, Legal Tech Fund, Mentors Fund, Ascendo Venture Capital, and various angel investors.
We asked Kaben about this exciting new platform and to share tips for other young entrepreneurs like him.
Kogod School of Business: Can you tell us about Pigeon Loans?
Kaben Clausen: Pigeon Loans is a tool that makes it easy for friends and family to lend to one another. We built this software to remove the awkwardness that often comes with these types of loans.
We are bridging the gap between money and relationships. Our platform makes it easier to raise funds needed to start a business, go back to school, or pay for emergencies.”
As income inequality has skyrocketed across America, we’re seeing an exploding need for tools that allow people to help one another financially.
In the US, roughly $200B in personal loans are made each year—often through a ‘handshake’ deal that can go badly financially and interpersonally. Through Pigeon Loans, any two people can easily create a loan agreement that includes a contract, payment plan, and friendly reminders. Getting financial help from those who care for you most is the best path for many to get low-interest rates on favorable terms. We make this easy for the world.
How did you come up with the idea for this venture?
As the founders of Pigeon Loans, Brian Bristol and I have first-hand experience with the subject of borrowing and lending from those we know.
During the 2008 financial crisis, I witnessed the power of the community coming together to help each other. My family was in a tough spot, and loans were the only way out. Even back then, I realized that it made little sense that most of these loans were done without the help of any software.
As the pandemic began to rage, I saw many friends in need. It’s the balance between wanting to help and keeping the relationship from getting awkward.”
No one wants to send or receive those monthly payment reminders among friends.
Can you please share how your time at Kogod shaped your entrepreneurial journey?
Kogod is the place where I finally decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I had no idea how I would do it or even what I would build. The classes I took highlighted real problems in the world. I was motivated by the fact that so much of our planet is still broken and that there was no guarantee any other person would fix them.
The best thing about Kogod is the students—everyone brings a unique global perspective. I was in the minority as an American-born citizen in many of my classes. A global perspective is key because so much of our worldview gets stuck in the country we were raised in. This global atmosphere provides a deeper context for thinking about the problems that technology can solve.
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
I know how hard it can be to break into the technology industry, especially as someone who didn’t have connections in the space from the start. Making that ‘breakthrough’ a little easier for the next generation of Kogod students is a goal of mine.
My main advice for budding entrepreneurs is twofold. First, have a ‘learner’s mindset’ about everything.