Alright, let’s spill some tea.
Whether you have asked to borrow some money to start your dream business, or have lent your brother cash to buy a new car, you are probably familiar with all the pains of creating a loan with friends, family members or loved ones. It’s exhausting having to deal with the questions that come up like “When am I going to get paid back?”, “How much money do you need?”, “What are your feelings about including an interest rate?”, or “How do I prove I repaid all of my debts?”
As we are all well aware, instead of dealing with these headaches, we often just give up on the loan process, send our distant cousin thrice-removed money, and hope for the best. After dealing with this agonizing process and not having a viable solution to navigate it, the Pigeon founders decided it was time to create a platform that would make sending Johnny that $2,000 for his new half restaurant — half art studio in Bermuda a whole lot easier.
The concept of Pigeon was born out of heightened frustration and fortunate timing. The unique and strange times surrounding COVID-19 allowed many people the opportunity to start projects they have always wanted to try but didn’t have the time nor resources to start them. The internet saw thousands of slices of baked banana bread, needle stitching crafts, and push-up challenges. Some people even decided to start extensive DIY home remodeling projects. If you are going to be confined to the four walls of your house, you might as well make them look pretty, right?
With all this happening and with too much time on his hands, Pigeon Founder & CTO, Brian, had an idea. One afternoon, he was sitting around the house listening to an episode of The Investor’s Podcast, guest-starring Jim Mckelvey, the co-founder of Square. The podcast episode titled The Innovation Stack explained that successful companies are built by normal people who experienced a problem, saw a solution, and took the risk to solve it by any means necessary. Jim implied that true innovation comes from wanting to correct an existing need within society, not simply copying an idea and putting a new twist on it. Brian, sitting around his house on that particular afternoon, realized that he was just a normal guy who experienced an incredibly frustrating process most of his adult life. He believed, like Jim at the beginnings of Square, other people around the world were likely experiencing this same problem of wanting but not being able to create a loan with someone they trust.
On numerous occasions, Brian has lent his mother some money. Brian would send his mother the money she needed. No matter how much his mother promised to restore her debts, Brian knew full well he would probably never get those funds back. Many loans were forgiven, and ultimately he lost track of how much money he had sent his mother over the years. With each passing loan, Brian’s frustration grew and ultimately morphed into a dream, one in which he could use a service that would simplify, provide structure, and make it easier for him to get at least some of his money back.
I can’t think of a good reason as to why people who want to start a project, build a house, enroll in college, or open a bakery should not have access to a simple platform that allows them to seek funding from a loved one. There is no reason why loans have to be terrifying, stressful, inaccessible, or confusing. Listening to Jim Mckelvey speak on T.I.P, helped Brian realize that he could turn his dream into a reality and build a tool that would help simplify life.
After spending a few weeks conceptualizing the platform, Brian quickly brought on a co-founder, Tilly, to help out with Pigeon. While he leveraged his software engineering background to build Pigeon from scratch, Tilly tackled the business, legal and operational side of Pigeon. The co-founders worked quickly, understanding that Pigeon might be helpful to people experiencing financial trouble due to COVID-19, but more importantly, the founders were excited to build something that would hopefully make people just a little bit happier.
And with that, three months into a global pandemic, Pigeon was born.