Home / Blog /

The Inspiration Behind Rain: Rain CEO's Personal Motivation

Growing up experiencing financial struggles firsthand, Alex Bradford made it his mission to create financial access for millions by founding Rain.
February 14, 2024

Growing up in the 80s, raised by a single mom, our life was a constant juggle of finances. We lived paycheck to paycheck as most Americans do.

At age 12, (yes, that young…), I stepped into the world of hourly work.  My jobs over the next several years ranged from local retail positions to working in small businesses.  Each role, no matter how small, taught me the value of hard work and the stark realities of our financial system.

As an adult, I saw firsthand how the system often fails to serve the needs of the many, particularly those working tirelessly to make ends meet.  Those jobs taught me a lot, especially:

1. The financial system serves most people quite terribly.
2. But with hard work and a bit of luck, people can overcome it.

I wanted to help fix what was broken.  But had no idea how.

I found my answer in the concept of Social Entrepreneurship – the idea of 'Doing Good Better.’ This path wasn't just about building a business.  It was about creating solutions that could have a meaningful impact on people's lives.

I dove headfirst into this world during college, even creating and teaching a course called “Social Innovation” in my final year.

This experience made me realize that the greatest social innovations tend to happen in the private sector - in particular in tech - and if I wanted to maximize social impact, I’d need to build innovative solutions to deliver real-world value.

After getting some raw experience in the business world, I founded 3 tech startups - each with a mission to address systemic issues.

But something was missing.  I hadn't connected those missions to my personal story, to the experiences that shaped me.

I needed a mission that is deeply personal.

Fast forward to 2018.  I was hearing about emerging startups offering different types of employee financial services through employers.  I thought, “wow,” this is a new category (“employee financial services”) that will be huge one day.  But at the time the category had only a handful of small startups each focusing on one product (e.g. earned-wage access, student loan products, credit products, savings products, financial literacy products, and others).

This sparked an idea.  What if there was a platform offering a range of financial services all in one place?  Such a platform could help millions of people on their journeys to financial freedom.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it, especially as I remembered what it was like growing up and how my mom and I would have benefited from something like this if it existed.

That was it...  This was personal.  This was exciting.  This company had to be built.

—Alex Bradford, Rain Co-Founder, CEO

See more posts