New company Pave offers alternative to traditional loans to achieve college, career goals

Pave pairs teams of experienced professionals with prospects who have big ideas for success

A start up company is helping pave the way for people to pursue new career ventures, college goals and other aspirations by creating teams of experienced people to help them succeed.

Pave began in December connecting prospects like Evan Perri with backers.

"I don't think i could live without playing," said Perri.

Perri is a gypsy jazz guitarist from metro Detroit who wants to go back to school but still continue his jazz career by writing and performing his music.

"I have tons of music awards and accolades and things of that nature, but to me, I want to be out there playing and traveling and being able to sustain a living doing that, up until now, it's been so far so good," said Perri.

Perri, 33, is founder of the gypsy jazz band Hot Club of Detroit.  The group tours the country and has released  four albums, with two making the top 10 jazz charts.

"The band is doing great and I basically teach guitar, play guitar, everything guitar," said Perri.

With the band's success, Perri left Wayne State University, but he wants to return and finish his degree.  Instead of getting a traditional loan to achieve that goal, Perri connected with Pave.

"Sometimes you just need that support to help push you in the next level," said Perri.

Pave said on its website that it's a community where people unlock the potential of young careers through a social-financial agreement.

"It gives people the opportunity to take risks without the worry of failure," said Carlo Salerno, the head of growth for Pave.

Prospects like Perri pitch their career plans and connect with backers; people with experience and success who can invest in their plans and act as mentors.   Prospects accept a one time payment from their backers and agree to pay a percentage of their income over 10 years.

The prospects are not required to pay back their loans.   The percentage they pay over 10 years differs based on how much a prospect is expected to earn, their career choice, academic background and location, but prospects can never give more than 10 per cent of their income.

"Over the course of the life of a contract you may end up providing your backers back less than the amount of money you fundraised and that's ok and alternatively you may actually provide your backers back more than you were originally given," said Salerno.

"Not only do they get the financial resources to do the things that they want to do today, but they also have a team of potentially great people behind them who can support them in ways you simply don't get when you go out and just simply raise debt financing for example," said Salerno.

Perri's team is one of eight that is up and running since the company started in December.  Currently about 80 prospects and 100 backers are going through he system to develop future teams.

"It's more than just the money, it's having support, and mentoring and you can't get that from a loan," said Perri. "They can provide mentoring and possibly, you know, opportunities that I wouldn't normally have been able to access on my own living here in Detroit or whatever."

Perri is fully funded with 10 backers providing him with $20,000. Salerno is one of Perri's backers.

"I think he embodies everything that we wanted to build the pave platform for," said Salerno.  "He has a great deal of talent. He is clearly dedicated to what he does and I've heard him play and I think the world needs more people like Evan Perri."

Perri plans to use the money to finish school, pay down some old loans and buy new instruments.

"I highly recommend it to anybody," said Perri.

"My long term goals is really just to continue to writing, continue playing and bettering myself in the industry, you know, as much as I can trying to continue to be diverse.  I don't necessarily want to tour and  play guitar the rest of my life."

In fact, Perri doesn't rule out teaching more in the future.  He sees it as a way of paying it forward in his industry.

Pave said prospects and backers are allies and both share in the failures and successes.

For more information on Pave click here.

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