When the Relief app announced that it had received $2 million in seed funding via a press release, people beleaguered with the burden of credit card debt breathed a sigh of relief. Led by Collaborative Ventures with participation from such prestigious investors as Brand Foundry Ventures, Interplay Ventures, Necessary Ventures, and The Fund, as well as backing from notable angel investors including Twitch founder Justin Kan, Elliot Tebele, and Ben Kaplan of Jerry Media, the Relief app is poised to usher in a new era of debt, well, relief.
For co-founder Jason Saltzman, however, the focus is not necessarily on the debt relief itself, but on creating a holistic environment that benefits all users.
“I consider myself a social impact entrepreneur who is deeply motivated to help as many people as I can,” he told AfroTech. “I am an adjunct professor at FIU in Miami where I also sit on the foundational board of directors as the Vice-Chair of Enterprise Growth. My latest venture, Relief, is a free app that helps people eliminate credit card debt. I am proud to say that my two co-founders, Ram Barrouet and Bryan Okeke, are African American, making Relief a majority minority-owned business.”
Positing itself as the personal finance app committed to helping people access debt relief and financial freedom through innovative and scalable technology, the Relief app works by uniquely leveraging advanced machine learning technology and collective bargaining to bridge the knowledge and action gap when it comes to debt relief. The app’s personalized, technology-driven approach to negotiating debt seamlessly analyzes a user’s personal finances and negotiates directly with creditors to cut credit card debt in half or more on behalf of the user — for free.
“Our aim is to do two main things: help as many people as possible get out of debt and destigmatize the issue of toxic debt that plagues millions of everyday people,” he said. “Our waitlist is live and it is where people that need help can sign up for free. To further incentivize folks we are going to give them 50 dollars toward their debt just for signing up early. We also want to encourage people to share with friends and family so if they do we will give them additional money toward their debt just for sharing.”
Though it’s fully scheduled to launch in the fall of 2021, the Relief app is still offering promise to those who have been the hardest hit by the current COVID-19 based financial crisis — especially those whose debt keeps piling higher in the pandemic fallout.
For Saltzman, though, success in both business and in eliminating credit card debt boils down to one thing: having the right people around you.
“That saying that you are the sum of the closest four people you have around you is very real. If you are surrounded by people that are negative they are going to more than likely spread emotions such as doubt which can be your worst enemy,” he said. “If you are around people that are positive and have a winners mentality, you can grow ideas together and feed off of the positive energy. My success has come from my ability to be surrounded by amazing people.”
Editorial note: Portions of this interview have been edited and condensed for clarity.