113: Kiley Summers (SpenDebt)

Kiley Summers on Innovation City

“Before you make any big life decisions, get the people around you, the people you’re going to affect the most by your decisions, to buy in and understand what you want to do.” — Kiley Summers

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Kiley Summers, Founder & CEO of SpenDebt. SpenDebt is a financial technology company designed to assist people to payoff debt leveraging micropayments through every day transactions. Kiley joins the team to discuss taking his “year of faith” and how he became debt free, how SpenDebt can help people with their debts, his startup challenges and how he is overcoming them, the St. Louis innovation ecosystem, the importance of getting your loved one’s support for your new ventures, and much more!

They discuss:

  • Going from the corporate world to the startup world
  • Taking a “year of faith” to pay of debt and start a new journey
  • SpenDebt allows users to choose how much their micropayment is (over $0.50)
    • Many other similar services only allow you to round up to the nearest dollar
  • There are no other companies in the spend and pay category that do it like SpenDebt
  • When he and his wife were paying off their debts after college, they had to do everything manually
  • SpenDebt is the product Kiley wish he had when he was fresh out of college
  • Being successful using this type of product is all about your mindset
  • Future version of the app would allow you to do the “snowball” technique
  • One of his biggest challenges was knowing when to ask for help
  • Reaching out to different banks for partnership with the app
  • Capital One liked the app idea and agreed to be the banking processor for SpenDebt
  • Challenges SpenDebt is working through right now:
    • Obtaining more capital
    • Trying to scale up through different partnerships
    • Technology advancement within the app
  • SpenDebt makes money through a monthly user fee for the service
  • The app is looking to release another new feature soon – date TBD
  • The app should be used as a partner for people through their financial health journeys
    • SpenDebt can help set the pace for people to pay off their debt
  • Kiley came back to St. Louis from Houston for his startup because of the resources available and better innovation ecosystem for SpenDebt to grow
  • Arch Grants and Capital Innovators have been big supports for SpenDebt
  • St. Louis has changed a lot from when Kiley was growing up in the city
  • The innovation community still has some room to grow and expand into other communities within St. Louis (i.e. North County & South City)
  • Kiley wants to advocate for meeting innovators where they are (geographically) instead of them having to come to the innovation hubs
  • To Kiley, St. Louis is doing innovation right and winning
  • His wife’s support to start a new venture and leave corporate America, was what gave him the final push of courage to actually do it
  • The importance of getting your loved ones on board with the big life decisions you want to make
  • Reach out to Kiley on Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Connect with SpenDebt on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, & Instagram