Evansville student awarded for financial literacy startup
Kerry Ao is a senior at Signature School in Evansville and is already making waves for the startup he co-founded designed to boost financial literacy among students. The company, Intertwined Finance LLC, has created a software program that is being piloted in 14 states and has gained interest from other parts of the U.S. and internationally. Ao also recently won Student Entrepreneur of the Year at the TechPoint Mira Awards.
Speaking with Gerry Dick at the Mira Awards ceremony, Ao said the startup has created adaptive assessments using AI to support student learning.
“For example, we’re immersing the student in a real life financial scenario [and] they are budgeting a bi-weekly paycheck, and they get a question wrong. Well, instead of having to move on to the next question, we want to ensure that the student gets that foundation before advancing to other topics,” Ao said. “So, we use the AI to reword the question in perhaps in a different phrase, different terms used, the student gets it right, and it clicks for them. That’s what we want to do.”
Since launching Intertwined Finance in January 2022, Ao and his co-founders, Cooper Croslyn and Naina Muvva, have raised $36,000 in pre-seed capital. The trio also re-invested the $3,000 they won in the 2022 Innovate WithIN Regional Finals into the company, according to TechPoint.
After raising the funds and piloting the software, Ao said the startup is gaining traction.
“We’ve got interest from educators across 25 states now, some interest internationally as well, a university in Scotland, a school in Brazil and China,” he said. “And we raised some venture capital, built an [minimum viable product], and now we’re in our preorder sales cycle.”
The startup also won the 2022 High School Changemaker Challenge from the University of Evansville, earning Ao and Muvva full-tuition scholarships to UE. However, Ao has opted to attend the Kelley School of Business on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University.
“Being immersed in such an entrepreneurial community, I think I have a lot to learn and just soak in all the knowledge from community there,” he said.
Ao noted his experience at Signature School has prepared him for his young entrepreneurial journey.
“It’s so complex. I’ve learned to manage my time so efficiently at this point that I can still maintain my grades and my classes there while working on this part time outside of school.”
Looking forward, Ao says the Intertwined platform has the ability to expand and scale into other subjects, including literature, history and psychology.
You can learn more about Ao and Intertwined Finance from TechPoint by clicking here.