Francisco Cervera: Modernizing the Money Pool

The concept of a money pool has been around for centuries, but when underprivileged communities needed a better and more efficient way to track their money pools while simultaneously building their credit, there was  nowhere to go.

Brothers Francisco and Luis Cervera saw the need for this modernization of the money pool and decided to start their own business to help those who needed a simpler way to manage their money pools. We were able to talk with Francisco to discuss starting his own business, collaboration in start-ups, and what’s in store for the future of eMoneyPool. 

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Words by Nerds: What is eMoneyPool, and what is a money pool in general?

Francisco Cervera: eMoneyPool is a micro-finance company leveraged from models called money pools.

Money pools have traditionally been used by under-served communities as a way to access capital when they can’t go to a bank for a loan, or if they have trouble saving towards a specific goal.

A money pool really is a group of friends that come together, agree to make a certain amount of payments into a common fund and each take turns accessing that lump sum. For example, if I wanted to go on vacation in July, and I always have trouble going on vacation, I can go into a money pool and I can choose my particular lump sum to be awarded to me in July so I’m able to go on vacation when I want to. It’s a really a need-based system to have access to the lump sum when you need it.

WBN: How long have money pools been around? How are they used today?

FC: This model has been used by cultures all over the world for over 1,000 years and has over 200 different names. We actually grew up around it, and our entire family still does it to this day. The original model is very very tedious — there’s a lot of footwork involved: driving around, picking up money, dropping off money, texting people to meet in different locations — so we decided to modernize it.

When we modernized it, we connected it to banks and a credit bureau, so as people make payments they’re able to establish or reestablish their credit with one of four credit bureaus; eventually we’ll have all four of them.

We not only made the model efficient by linking it to banks, which removes all the leg work, but we’ve also added the value of establishing your credit. We just improved the overall model; the platform is really giving it the ability to continue into the 21st century–right now it’s really time consuming.

61% of US blue collar minorities use money pools today, in the in-person format, 61% is a huge, huge number. So there’s a very big need for it, it’s serving a special need for these individuals.

WBN: What got you into finance?

FC: Every since I was a little kid I was a math whiz. I was the kid that would fall asleep in my calculus class and would always get an A, so I was also the kid that would mess up the curve! I knew early on that I was gifted with math, plus, my family has worked in real estate finance since I was a little kid, so it was just a natural fit for me to continue in what I could do well.

WBN: What is your favorite thing about working in a growing phoenix business landscape?

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FC: I love the community. Being involved in Seed Spot really gave me a taste into what’s it’s like to do it with people. Before [we were] involved in Seed Spot we were doing it by ourselves, in our own office.

We  had our own office, but we didn’t know that many people. At Seed Spot we loved just being able to see other entrepreneurs who were stuck with the same challenges and trying to overcome their obstacles. It just makes my life that much easier as I look to my left and I look to my right and there’s 10 other entrepreneurs running around.

WBN: Why do you think it’s important for someone who’s starting their own business to look into collaboration?

FC: It’s very mentally challenging. When you’re doing things by yourself, you really have to have a strong will and a strong mind to carry you through the ups and downs. You have to be able to talk yourself through and say I’m down right now, but it’s not going to be down like this forever. I’m high right now, but I know it’s not going to be high forever. It’s really a roller coaster and if you’re strong enough to deal with that roller coaster on your own, good for you.

I find that being around people has really helped me with that. It’s helped to even out the roller coaster. If I’m having a bad day I can go to someone who says, “you know what, I was dealing with that last week and here’s what I did.” Just being around people and being able to talk about it and really vent in a certain way is really helpful.

WBN: What do you nerd out about?

FC: I love creating algorithms. I don’t know at what point I started getting really good at it but I can pull data from a website and actually derive an algorithm. The last time I did it was four days ago and I was stuck with a really, really challenging one. It got to the point where it gave me a headache but I just kept at it. I don’t know why I get a kick out of doing that, whether it’s the challenge of being able to do something so difficult and knowing that I can do it and accomplishing it saying, “yes I did it,” but it gives a certain amount of satisfaction when I complete it, it’s correct, I test it and I say, “yep! Still got it!”

WBN: What’s in store for the future of eMoneyPool?

FC: We’re at the point where we’ve outgrown our website and are developing the new one.

The new site is going to be the latest and greatest and will include everything that we’ve learned up to this point — everything that’s good while removing everything that’s not so good. Everything we’ve learned throughout the process from our customers is going to be included into this website which is due out early October. I’m really excited for that to come and for everybody to see it.

We’re integrating with Facebook, with Gmail and Yahoo to make it easier to invite your friends. We’re also going to add a referral program. In terms of functionality and aesthetics, it’s really going to be a new website from A to Z.