I am sure that most can attest that financial literacy is something they wish they had more training and education in during their school years. With little to no idea how to manage the money we’re making or what decisions are best for us, we often fall short of what we can accomplish in our financial goals.
Chrissy Earl and Wheeler Flemming decided to solve this problem with their company VicTree Financial, LLC (or VicTreeFi for short). VicTreeFi helps students of all ages learn how to manage money and schools become leaders in financial education. The duo makes the perfect team with Chrissy heading their marketing and public relations efforts, while Wheeler manages the coding portions of their online software.
Currently, they are working with seven colleges and 60 Girl Scout Troops, aiding university students and youth in their journey to financial literacy by teaching them how to manage, save, and invest their money.
The newest development in the VicTreeFi story is their NIL Compliance Software. NIL stands for name, image, and likeness, or in other words, a personal brand. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 Board of Directors approved an interim name, image and likeness (NIL) policy allowing all NCAA D1, D2 and D3 student-athletes to be compensated for their NIL starting July 1, 2021. If you aren’t well-acquainted with college sports, think of online influencers, but for collegiate athletes leveraging their athletic skills and fan-following for sponsorships.
NIL legislation changes frequently and varies depending on the state, the conference, and even the school. Individual athletes are responsible for checking with their athletic compliance departments as well as keeping up with state and conference legislation changes. As a result, these collegiate athletes are easily overwhelmed and uncertain of which partnerships and sponsorship opportunities are permitted, which is where VicTreeFi’s software comes into play.
VicTreeFi already had financial literacy training partnerships at universities in states including Georgia, Florida, and Alabama so it was easier for them to introduce their new software. They also started calling schools, introducing themselves, and immediately began growing. To ensure that they were building software that would be truly beneficial, Chrissy and Wheeler sat down with college representatives and lawyers to discuss the implications and regulations of NIL legislation and learn about the students who wished to participate. Through their relationships and conversations, the two found that universities on the whole need assistance keeping athletes informed and updated, and the athletes at smaller universities especially need help. Why? These athletes often do not work with an agent or representative, and therefore need even more guidance on legislation.
The software aims to make managing the NIL program easy and accessible for all student-athletes and the universities for which they play. The VicTreeFi NIL compliance web application allows a student-athlete who enters into a contract for compensation to disclose the contract to the postsecondary educational institution through the app. Within the platform, there is a survey that the students can quickly answer, even from their phones. All the athlete needs to do is describe their contract, upload it, and let the school review the contract for compliance.
On the financial literacy side of things, VicTreeFi offers programming to educate and support student-athletes on financial management. This is accomplished through courses, personalized financial tools, and case studies to help student-athletes learn how to manage money and time.
VicTreeFi is currently building a platform to connect student-athletes with businesses that are in their program so that athletes are able to better promote themselves to potential partners. Chrissy and Wheeler described it as a “LinkedIn-style page,” which they aim to release by January 2022. Athletes can include the link to this new platform in their Instagram bios. “It’s a landing page with the athlete’s profile to show who they are, where they go to school, where they grew up, and what they’re interested in doing or promoting,” explained Wheeler.
Phase two of this platform in development will allow businesses to pay student-athletes through an online checkout process that is processed through the school’s compliance department for approval before the transaction can be completed.
Another exciting journey that Wheeler and Chrissy have begun is their podcast called “Name, Image, Likeness” during which they interview athletic directors, student-athletes, and compliance officers.
With so much to tackle, the day-to-day responsibilities seem as though they would take the full 24 hours of the day. To help with their workload, they do have contract workers and partners across the country who assist with programming, including teams in Virginia and Michigan.
“Every day we’re learning something new about running a business, and we get a whole new challenge, but it’s been pretty fun. It’s kind of addicting.” Wheeler and Chrissy shared.
Moving forward VicTreeFi is looking to move its software into Tennessee starting January 2022. Tennessee is set to pass its legislation in January, which will allow VicTreeFi to tackle its regulations and enter Tennessee universities.
VicTreeFi is an educational technology company, focused on financial education. We partner with schools and community organizations to promote financial wellness. Our mission is to introduce our users to financial concepts prior to graduation and entrance into the workforce. We want your students to learn how to manage money and we want your organization to become a leader in financial education.