Student Ventures: Iesha Magallanes and Daniel Jimenez, Founders of Debtly

Author: Lillian Piz

Iesha Magallanes and Daniel Jimenez

What do design, accounting, anthropology, and computer science all have in common? A surprisingly harmonious combination of these disciplines was integral in influencing the creation of Debtly, a centralized, simple, and user-friendly app-based platform which helps you manage all components of your personal finances. Co-founders and Notre Dame Seniors Iesha Magallanes (computer science and design double major with a minor in anthropology) and Daniel Jimenez, (accounting major and entrepreneurship and innovation minor) have drawn from a unique combination of skills to deliver a personal finance app that matches users with more affordable refinancing options and helps them manage all their debt in one place.

Debtly is unlike other personal finance apps because of its unique risk. Daniel explains. “Most credit risk models rely on traditional sources of income, debt-income ratios, and credit scores. For those who don’t have these traditional variables – students, recent grads, freelancers – there is a need for an alternative credit risk assessment model. We use other, untraditional variables, such as education, grades, and job prospects, in determining your credit eligibility.”

“We both come from minority and low-income families. We want to promote financial literacy and give people the same opportunities we’ve had here,” adds Iesha. Daniel agrees. “That’s our main mantra. We want to educate people to a point where they never fall into [serious debt] again.”

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In reflecting upon their experience working with the IDEA Center, they insist, “the IDEA Center has been everything for us. It’s difficult to start a company from scratch with no guidance. At the IDEA Center, mentors were willing to sit down with us and walk through all the steps and help us come up with the idea that we will eventually release.” Thanks to the help of these mentors, including their venture coach Sam Cowdery (ESTEEM ‘20), Iesha and Daniel entered and pitched their idea to the Student Pipeline and received funding to help launch their app, which is set to be released in late Spring. Debtly will also be one of the IDEA Center’s Race to Revenue ventures where participants have the opportunity to build their business idea into a mature early-stage startup over the course of a single summer.

From their classes to their internships and everything in between, the number of opportunities these co-founders took advantage of during their time at Notre Dame is something they described as being central to the formation as entrepreneurs. With Debtly, they were brave enough to take the plunge and pursue entrepreneurship full time post-graduation, putting job offers on hold. With Daniel and Iesha it’s clear that their friendship and trust they have in one another will be essential to carry them through launching their first venture. “We are very passionate people. We’re always around each other building ideas off one another but we felt that this one was really impactful.”

You can sign up to be put on the Debtly waitlist!