Caryle Blondell has never been one to shy away from an opportunity — especially one packaged as a challenge.
After completing his MBA at the University of Louisville in 2020, Blondell decided to add a third degree from the school and enrolled in the Master’s of Business Analytics program that same year.
“I didn’t know anything about coding, but I was just like, it sounds interesting,” Blondell said. “And it’s only a year. And so I was like, ‘Why not? I’ll do one more for good measure.’”
That good measure turned into a career pivot for Blondell, who is now the founder, president and CEO of Statcode and its artificial intelligence (AI)-driven Monay Coach financial literacy platform.
Powered by IBM Watson, Monay Coach — whose clientele currently consists of HR administrators at small-sized companies who provide access to their employees after signing a multi-year contract — works by giving financial advice in a simple way.
A user types in a question and receives an answer back, giving resources and calculations based on the information provided by the user, which is wiped from the system after a few weeks in the interest of cybersecurity and privacy.
“Monay is just really [about] educating people,” said Blondell, who runs the operation by himself with a small collection of freelancers. “It’s really just spreading the word as wide as possible so that people could start recognizing that they are in the ‘land of milk and honey’… and start leveraging where they live and really start getting their money in the game.”
Blondell said that one key component to his platform’s financial coaching is that there is no judgment given from the AI technology, compared to one might face while speaking with a traditional financial adviser.
“One of my friends has over $50,000 in credit card debt,” he said. “She went to a financial adviser, and she was depressed for a week afterwards because they’re basically telling you what you’re doing wrong, but never really tell you what to do right to get out of it.”
When the platform first got off the ground in August, Blondell said there was a learning period when determining the best way to deliver the product to customers. Now, the platform is available through the Statcode website as well as Microsoft Teams and Slack — allowing him the capacity to scale up and serve more (and larger-sized) clients.
Blondell launched Statcode in the summer of 2021 with five classmates from the business analytics program at the UofL. When it came to launching an actual business through Statcode, all of those friends opted to focus on their day jobs, leaving Blondell left to carry the project.
Knowing that he needed more support, he reached out to IBM (NYSE: IBM) for help assembling the AI model of what would become the Monay Coach platform. After playing phone tag for months, he eventually spoke with someone who told him the exact parameters he needed to follow to carry through with his model.
“Along the path, I was able to partner with other organizations [who were] doing similar things, and that created what we see today as well,” said Blondell, who also gained partnerships with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Arrow and Inatigo.
Blondell first made his way to Louisville as a college freshman from his native Trinidad, a Caribbean island part of the Trinidad and Tobago dual-island nation.
At 17, his life would be forever changed after breaking the Olympic national record in the 100-meter freestyle that had stood for close to a decade of 52 seconds set by George Bovell III.
Shortly thereafter, Blondell became a professional swimmer and began traveling the world for competitions. Bovell had been a teammate on the multinational-title-winning men’s swim team at Auburn University with Ryan Wochomurka, who at the time was an assistant coach at the UofL. Bovell urged Wochomurka to put Blondell on scholarship.
As a three-time All-American on the UofL swim team during a career that spanned from 2011 to 2016, Blondell had earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2017. After a year trying his hand in a traditional engineering role, he knew that something was missing.
Whatever he was searching for, he found it in the business tech space. After enrolling in the program, Blondell immersed himself in coding languages. Then Covid rocked the world, resulting in the Great Resignation and a string of other issues.
“As soon as I started in that program, that’s where all the pieces [started to] come together,” he said. “There were just tons of problems that were popping up, left, right and center in the world,” he said. “And I was just like, ‘Well, you know, pick a problem and solve it.’”
In August 2021, he decided to attend the annual conference for the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management. He quickly found a kinship with those he met, and would soon accept the volunteer position of programming chair, which he still has.
Although he looks forward to gaining more revenue through Coach Monay, he also actively looks to keep open the philanthropic arm of his operation through Statcode, which he uses as a way to provide free digital resources for local nonprofits by offering services, such as organizing data and forming an overall digital strategy.
Going forward, Blondell said that one of his biggest interests was helping city-based nonprofits maintain the proper amount of “digital hygiene,” especially in light of the governmental requirements that have been established for an organization wishing to partner with a governmental agency.
“As a Black individual, I feel for Louisville and I feel for West Louisville as well,” he said. “So I try to help as much as I can … adding value there and uplifting the community as much as possible.”
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