Two years ago, I set out to build a company that would help 45M Americans get out of student loan debt. Our team built the largest challenger student loan app in the US and helped borrowers manage over $500M worth of student loans. Everything was going according to plan until March. Covid-19 hit and Congress suspended student loan payments and reduced interest rates to 0%. This relief, though necessary for millions of borrowers during trying times, effectively shut down the market we operated in.
It quickly became clear to me that the student loan market had been fundamentally altered. Although our business had traction and was helping people, I realized our original product would not survive as a standalone company in the long-run. So, our team went back to the drawing board. One idea consistently rose to the top of all the criteria we considered. And today, I'm excited to introduce this new idea, the new Pillar, to all of you. In the same way we previously helped people tackle their most-pressing financial obligations, we’re now helping families better protect and care for their aging loved ones.
Why this space? Over 50M Americans act as an informal family caregiver to an older loved one. These people - daughters, sons, wives, husbands, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and more - take on a wide range of responsibilities like scheduling doctors appointments and making medical decisions to managing household finances and organizing legal affairs. They all want to support their older loved ones, but they often feel overwhelmed balancing these responsibilities against the needs of their own children, partners, and jobs.
I've been there myself. In 2017, my mom was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. My siblings and I became informal caregivers and immediately experienced the difficulties so many caregivers face. What medications was she taking? What was the login for her bank account? Was her life insurance policy up to date? It was difficult to know what I needed to do and to balance this change with everything else in life. Thankfully, my mom is doing better, but we still grapple with these issues on a regular basis.
Eldercare is a $300B market that is growing fast but is drastically underserved. Almost everyone has an older loved one that they care about, but most caregivers don’t have the tools or resources they need to be effective. Covid-19 has dramatically accelerated this trend. Americans are connecting with and caring for their older relatives more than ever before. Family caregiving has gone from an invisible struggle to the center of the spotlight. It’s now normal to see kids or grandparents in the background of Zoom calls during work as Covid-19 has forced multiple generations under one roof. As families become closer and more connected, family caregivers are shouldering this extra responsibility on their own.
Our team is building Pillar to fix this problem for ourselves and the millions of other families that struggle with this daily. Pillar is now working to help families better protect and care for their aging loved ones by building a suite of tools that make caregiving easier. Our first product lets people effortlessly organize and store all their most important information like medical records, legal documents, and financial accounts in one place so their family has everything they need if the unexpected happens. In addition, Pillar provides personalized guidance on what to do as loved ones get older; secure collaboration with trusted family members & other caregivers; and fraud monitoring tools to prevent common scams & financial elder abuse.
Our mission is to build the essential tool that every family uses to protect and care for their loved ones. We’re starting with caregivers, but already have hundreds of families that are using Pillar to make family life easier to manage for themselves, parents, partners, children, and more.
If you or a loved one wants to bring your family closer together and make family life easier to manage, sign up today and try Pillar free for 14-days.
Founder & CEO, Pillar