11:42 AM

Barahona helps Proseeds grow roots

Barahona helps Proseeds grow roots

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

If you’re going to grow a start-up business, it’s important to have a good root system.

With software developer Gio Barahona laying out a solid root structure, a new fundraising endeavor, Proseeds is ready to sprout in Omaha. Proseeds (www.giveproseeds.com) works like AmazonSmile, but on a local level. You sign up, indicate what causes you wish to support, and register your credit card. Whenever you go to a participating merchant, they’ll donate five percent of your purchase to the cause that you care about.

“The idea is that you’re going to choose merchant A over merchant B because they give back to your community,” Barahona explained.

SONY DSCBarahona, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Bellevue University in 2011, receives rave reviews from his fellow partners in the Proseeds venture, Jared Bakewell and Josh Kelley.

“When we took the idea to Gio, he got it instantly. He understood the technical challenges that we’d be facing to make our idea a reality. He joined the team as a partner in our venture and helped us build it into what it is now,” said Bakewell. “Gio built the system from the ground up. Without him we would not have been able to do it.”

Kelley echoed those thoughts.

“Gio is an amazing person to work with and just a really genuine guy all around. He really cares about people and making good quality work,” Kelley said. “We would tell him ideas for building the system. He was not only able to execute those ideas perfectly He would add things on that we didn’t even think about.”

Originally from El Salvador, Barahona immigrated to Los Angeles with his family when he was around nine years old. The family moved to Omaha when he was about 15 to take advantage of the lower cost of living. Barahona graduated from Omaha Bryan High School before earning an associate’s degree in graphic design at Metro Community College.

A friendly credit transfer policy made Barahona’s decision on where to pursue his bachelor’s degree an easy one.

“By going to Bellevue I wouldn’t lose the credits that I had already earned. It made a lot of sense,” he said.

While he is passionate about Proseeds, Barahona works full-time as a programmer for Nelnet. He helps write and maintain the cashiering system.

“When students go up to pay their tuition or pay for books. The person behind the counter, the system they’re using, that’s what I build,” he said.

At both Nelnet and Proseeds, Barahona’s Bellevue University education is paying off.

“It’s changed my life. Without that degree…,” Barahona said. “Without getting the degree I’m not sure Proseeds would necessarily be a thing. We’re going to reach the point where it is going to be a game changer for a lot of people.”