Chipper CEO Tony Aguilar

Tony Aguilar is an entrepreneur and founder of Chipper, a company dedicated to helping people manage and pay off their student loan debt.

Aguilar's journey to founding Chipper began in his small hometown of Pecos, Texas, where his parents instilled in him the belief that anything was possible. He then set off to college in Indiana, taking over a hundred thousand dollars in student loans to finance his education.

After graduating, Aguilar moved to Austin and began his career in financial advising, where he quickly noticed the immense burden that student loan debt was putting on people. This experience ultimately led to the creation of his first company, Student Loan Genius, which pioneered the student loan benefit.

A few years later, Aguilar founded Chipper. Chipper is a finance app that utilizes micro-investing to chip away at student loan debt. The app also guides users on the best repayment and loan forgiveness programs they are eligible for automatic enrollment.

The timing of Chipper's launch could not have been better, as the pandemic hit the United States in March 2020, causing an economic recession and a significant increase in student loan debt. Chipper's unique approach to student loan repayment has increased it, with over 8,000 users and a total loan balance of over $50 million.

Aguilar is passionate about giving back to underserved communities and helping entrepreneurs succeed. He has mentored Hispanic founders in Austin and beyond, providing guidance and connections to help them advance their businesses.

"I love to say, every single rung that I'm going up or every level of that mountain, I'm trying to bring the entire community with me," Aguilar said.

Aguilar has seen the immense growth of Austin's tech and startup ecosystem, which has created opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs in the city. The talent competition has increased significantly with the influx of large corporations, such as Oracle, Amazon, and Tesla. However, Aguilar believes this growth has also allowed more venture capital to flow into the city, providing more startup opportunities.

As Austin's tech ecosystem grows, Aguilar is dedicated to helping minority and women founders succeed. He encourages the collective "we" to continue to invest in the future of education and technology, such as artificial intelligence.

"I'm hoping we can move to more of a virtual online educational system," Aguilar said. "We've seen tuition skyrocket 7% a year almost consistently over the last 15 years. I'm hoping that that will get pulled back because people don't have to take a lot of electives and additional classes."

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