aPay co-founders with Ramsey Solutions

Owen Brady (left) and Blake Wood (right)

Ramsey Solutions acquired a Charlotte, N.C.-based fintech startup earlier this week according to a news release.

The pre-seed financial services tech company, aPay Financial, was founded in May 2019 by former Bank of America executives Blake Wood and Owen Brady. The latter has served as vice president of data analysis for the last seven months of his nearly five years there and the former was a vice president and senior project manager for the last nine months of almost six years there. They designed the aPay mobile app to help students better manage and understand the structure of their student loans. The startup’s pre-seed funding round raised at least $65,000 prior to the buyout.

“Student loans are an issue a lot of young folks deal with, and we felt like there wasn’t a great solution out there like you find with traditional budgeting tools,” said Wood. “A goal, as it relates to our product, is that we want to help people understand their student loans, keep track of their progress and ultimately save money.”

They expect Ramsey Solutions’ acquisition of aPay to widely proliferate their platform, and both Wood and Brady now join the Ramsey team themselves — Wood as a digital product manager and Brady a software developer.

This comes less than a month after Ramsey Solutions released Borrowed Future: How Student Loans Are Killing the American Dream, a documentary produced by Dave Ramsey himself and premiered on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Google Play as Oct. 14, 2021. Upon its release, Ramsey Solutions also offered all teachers in the U.S. free access to the documentary. Personal finance guru Dave Ramsey positions the film around the argument that student loans are to be avoided.

“Student loans are not the only way to get a degree,” Ramsey said in a separate release for the documentary in mid-October. “Young people need to know all their options instead of settling for student loans because it’s ‘normal.’ Normal is broke.”

The acquisition furthers his company’s ability to cut into the student debt crisis from an alternate angle: liberating those who have already gotten into the loan debt cycle.

“We’re always looking to add technology, products and people to our team that empower others in all areas of their lives,” said Brendan Wovchko, senior technology officer at Ramsey Solutions.