Alex Dalton has a passion for all aspects of finance.
The California University of Pennsylvania student also feels he was born to lead.
It’s a combination that’s served him well.
“Leadership is important to me,” Dalton said. “I’ve always felt like a natural born leader. That’s why I started my own business and I try to take control of things as much as possible.”
That business is FINFO Inc. a company which he said provides the “Financial Info You Need.”
Dalton, 20, from McKeesport, is the CEO and founder of the business. He said the idea stemmed from 2 1/2 years of research on the best practices and policies for young people to learn about financial literacy, how to act on it and retain it for their lives
“It’s the financial literacy platform that’s currently being used at Cal U, Clarion and Edinboro to educate our students on financial literacy,” Dalton said. “I’ve seen unreal success.”
FINFO is a mobile app and website with information to help users learn anything from understanding credit card debt to more advanced stock analysis.
“Everything financial literacy is in one spot for young people to go to,” Dalton said. “I’ve created a platform for people to socialize around the idea of financial literacy. It’s almost like a social network of students for young people who are my age to be connected with people who know financial literacy.”
Dalton’s initially hoped to attend New York University or Emory College in Atlanta, but felt the cost was too high. He then went to Cal U on a baseball scholarship.
“Two weeks in, I realized I was spending 40-50 hours a week playing baseball when my goal in the long term was to be a business owner,” Dalton said. “I saw the opportunity to get started in real estate with one of my friends and felt I had to take that opportunity. I started working at a factory overnight from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and going to class and doing nothing but educating myself about business.”
He has been busy in the business world, graduating in July from the prestigious Founder Institute, the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator. Dalton said he was one of just four to graduate from 35 who started the program.
“It was amazing,” Dalton said. “I’ve learned so much, not just about financial literacy, but about building businesses, the startup process and investments, just so many different things.”
Dr. Mark Lennon is an associate professor of management and director for the center of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship at Cal U. He considers Dalton one of the best students he’s ever had in one of his classes.
“He’s an amazing student,” Lennon said. “He’s a shining star. He benefits from the theory that he learned at the university and by putting it profitably into practice.”
Dalton entered the education platform plan for FINFO into the State System Startup Challenge in 2020. The challenge is sponsored by Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.
He placed second, and in turn, received $5,000 toward his business.
Lennon said he took Dalton and some other students to Shippensburg University for a three-day start-up weekend. That’s where he said the idea for FINFO came about.
“I helped him develop it and it turned into a viable business plan,” Lennon said. “I knew it was going to be a winner from day one. It’s one of the best ideas I’ve seen in my 15 years of teaching. Financial literacy is a much needed skill, especially among our young people. Alex can communicate with his peers in a way that is more effective than any faculty can. This kid is going places.”
Dalton credits his father, John Dalton, who owns Grand Central Pizza in Elizabeth Township, with helping him with each step he’s taken in his first two decades.
“He’s been a big influence on me,” Dalton said. “He has helped me a lot through my journey.
And quite a journey it has been.
“It’s been a wild ride,” Dalton said. “It’s been fun.”