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Arbol is a platform that enables low income students to get financial support from online sponsors.

Favio Osorio

  • Project Description

    Colleges struggle with serving low income and first generation students. While 60% of the wealthiest students complete their studies and graduate, only 16% of low income college students graduate, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Low income students cannot afford to sustain themselves on financial aid alone. 7 of 10 college students juggle working a full time job while striving to keep up with their schoolwork – inevitably hurting their grades, causing burn out and resulting in dropouts. Sponsors make contributions of time and money towards low income students but efforts have not proven to be effective. Help is typically localized and limited to alumni and students at a single university. And contributions are funneled into endowments rather than disbursed directly to students of need. Sponsors prefer a direct P2P model that gives them greater visibility into who is receiving the funds, how they are using them and the impact they are having on the students’ ability to achieve their goals. Arbol is a market network that helps low income college students raise funds to cover their life expenses, build their network and get advice by connecting them with sponsors. By integrating crowdfunding and social networking in a single platform, Arbol rewards sponsors, enabling them to contribute directly to students and develop a personal connection to the people they are helping while earning contribution credits to enhance their giving power.
  • Why is the timing right for your idea?

    There are two market forces converging that makes the timing right for Arbol: 1) Shift to Online Giving: COVID-19 was a black swan event that accelerated a shift from traditional giving to online giving. It is estimated that online giving in the US grew nearly 40% in 2021 and is expected to reach $100BN by 2022. Overall, charitable giving is a $450BN market in the US, 14% of which goes towards the second most popular giving category – education. 2) Rise in low income college student enrollment: As of the 2015-16 academic year, about 20MM students were enrolled in undergraduate education, up from 16.7MM in 1995-96. Of those enrolled in 2015-16, 47% were nonwhite and 31% were in poverty, up from 29% and 21%, respectively, 20 years earlier.

  • What is your competitive advantage?

    Unlike most crowdfunding platforms that cater to the largest possible audience, and where relationships start and end with a campaign and a contribution, Arbol connects low income college students with their biggest supporters, enabling them to exchange value that is mutually rewarding. By leveraging our superior design, and zeroing in on deep customer understanding, students are able to obtain funding, seek advice and gain access to their sponsors’ network. While sponsors obtain transparency, proof of impact, and get rewarded by sharing in the students’ journeys. Thereby driving engagement up, encouraging positive network effects while diminishing negative ones, and causing the platform to scale rapidly.

  • What will you do with $10,000?

    The $10K will contribute to our fundraising goal of $100K. We plan to finish the development of our product, release a beta and bring on our engineering staff full-time. Based on our current burn forecast, with no revenue, this initial $100K will give Arbol 10+ months of runway with 2 full-time developers and 1 full-time UI/UX designer.