By Jailene Adorno
Once Christian Zimmerman graduated from Georgia State University and entered into his first post-grad job, he noticed that a great deal of his paycheck was being used to pay off his student loans. He tried using a few different money saving platforms but didn’t find them to work as well as he had hoped. So he decided to be innovative and take matters into his own hands.
With the help of Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Nate Washington, Zimmerman founded and is now the Chief Executive Officer of Qoins. Qoins is an app that helps users “become debt-free with your spare change.”
So how does it work?
First, connect the debit or credit card you use for everyday purchases as well as your checking account to fund payments towards your loans. Lastly, choose where your spare change will be going. From there, you can start using your card as you normally would. With each purchase made, Qoins will round the amount spent to the nearest dollar.
“Debt is a growing issue that, if dealt with properly, can actually save you more money, long term,” says Zimmerman.
Whether you’re in debt because of credit cards or student loans, Qoins can help. For instance, if you spend $20.39 at the pharmacy, Qoins will round that up to $21 and sixty-one cents will go towards paying off your debt. The change is then sent to your Qoins savings account where the money is held until the designated date of payment. What sets Qoins apart from other apps is that it’s not only helping you save money, but it’s also sending your money so that you don’t have to worry about it. With a monthly service fee $1.99, your “qoins” will add up so that you can start paying off your debt.
“It’s very humbling to help people pay off their debt and help people get back on track,” says Zimmerman
“As someone with a lot of debt, seeing how much impact [Qoins] has, [I know] I’m really making an impact on someone’s life,” says Washington.
Zimmerman and Washington met via CoFoundersLab, a website that brings entrepreneurs together. Prior to Qoins, Zimmerman worked in marketing for Hirewire, a startup that helps people find jobs right away. Washington founded CodeLess Academy, which helps people build websites without having to learn how to code.
As men of color in the tech industry, they’re well aware of the challenges set against them, but they have that millennial mindset that drives them forward in all that they do. While they are proud to be a part of Generation Y because of the many opportunities around them, they also feel that they have a sense of responsibility that has been passed down from older generations to pave the way for future generations.
“Everybody is fascinated by millennials—we’re the iPhone generation,” says Washington. “There’s a big gap there because of how fast technology has evolved.”
“Our definition of work is different,” says Zimmerman. “We do know what hard work is, but it’s different between the two different generations.”
Their advice to their younger selves is quite endearing:
“Be patient,” Zimmerman says. “Slow down and really think about things first. Listen before taking action.”
“You definitely don’t know it all,” says Washington with a chuckle, “So listen to what other people are telling you.”
Qoins has mostly been funded by Zimmerman and Washington themselves. However, recently when they were accepted into the Queen City Fintech Accelerator program in Charlotte, NC, they received additional funding. At the rate that the company is growing, they’ve also had the opportunity to talk with investors.
In the coming years, Zimmerman and Washington hope to make a name for themselves and the company through an acquisition.