Kerry Baldwin makes personal loans more structured
1993 alumna leads online platform called LendAmi
Two simple words — trust me — can lead to a world of problems. When loans are made between family members or friends, the parties often eschew formal loan structures because they feel awkward — don’t you trust me? — only to learn it’s much worse to argue over money. Kerry Cullen Baldwin ’93 offers an alternative.
LendAmi is an online platform helping people securely lend and borrow. The borrower and lender use the app to set the terms of the loan — monthly payment amount, date of payment, interest rate — and the money is withdrawn each month from the borrower’s bank account. No more asking, “Hey, when are you going to pay me back?”
“This has been a tough year for a lot of people,” Baldwin says. “They are out of work or underemployed, or have unexpected car repairs or medical payments. At the end of the day, we love to help each other. LendAmi is a way to encourage that. We’ve made it safer for both parties.”
LendAmi launched in the fall of 2019. Baldwin’s group is aggressively marketing the platform and expects it will take off through strategic partnerships as well as word of mouth. She has the track record to make LendAmi a success, having come to the venture after retiring from Web.com, where she was vice president of product development.
Web.com is a leading do-it-yourself website building platform for small business. Baldwin built the company’s Google search programs, then moved into social media marketing and search engine optimization before playing major roles in the company’s expansion into the United Kingdom and Latin America.
“My various roles during my time at Web.com were like having startups within a well-funded company,” Baldwin says. “It was a blast being able to build products from the ground up. I enjoyed figuring out what the market needs were, how to fill the gaps and what the sales team wanted to sell.”
Baldwin finds that sense of fun in another current venture — advising on Agentz, a digital receptionist powered by artificial intelligence that creates a better customer experience and quicker sales. A chat on Agentz is pre-loaded with answers to frequently asked questions and steers customers toward a particular product or service the business wants to push.
“When chat first came out, it required a human on the other end,” Baldwin says. “If you couldn’t man the chat, you had to outsource it. That’s pricey and the vendor doesn’t know your business the way you do, so the customer service is worse. The whole idea is to get people to convert. It’s a bit like: ‘What can I do to get you into the car today?’ We’re the shopkeeper that says: ‘Welcome to our store. How can we help you today?’”