Good money habits. For life.
Raised to Date: Raised: $106,983
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At time of publication, April 2, FInnest had raised $49K surpassing its $10K minimum
Did you know that almost half of Americans don’t even have enough money in savings to cover a $400 emergency expense, according to the Federal Reserve? It’s not surprising when you consider that over 57% of Americans aren’t considered financially literate. Which begs the question, “If we don’t teach our children how to be financially literate, how can we ever expect them to be responsible with their money?” That is the question several startup are beginning to try and answer honestly.
The answer is, “We can’t.” The solution is to start engaging children in a financial dialogue and empowering them to learn how to spend their own money from an early age. It’s a $6 BILLION dollar opportunity to help service 10 million families that represent over 24 million potential cardholding children on a yearly basis, with a solution tailored for the parent-child money management relationship.
The digital age of money is obviously upon us, and cash allowances are dying. Parents who experienced the financial recession first hand know that teaching their kids how to manage their money sooner rather than later is incredibly important. That’s why they are turning to mobile app empowered bank and debit card accounts that engage parents and children in financial discussions to teach good spending behavior.
They are essentially gamifying the banking experience for children, so they can quickly learn about spending habits, how to save, and how to manage a budget. These types of fundamentals are incredibly valuable, and powerful for teaching children between 8 and 18 years old how to be smart with their money. And on a more basic level, the allowance which has existed since the 50’s, can now be managed via mobile banking like the rest of our financial lives. This empowers children to be a part of the new age of banking, rather than be stuck in the pre-mobile banking age.
Why We Like it
- Strong Early Market Signals: Two startups are already showing that there is an immense pent up demand for a solution to engage children in building their financial lives from an early age.
- Those two startups are, Current, which has raised $6M to date from investors including the likes of QED investors, and Fifth Third Capital. Greenlight,has raised $23M to date including a $16M Series A in February 2018, that included the likes of NEA and Social Capital. This was after posting a strong year of growth where they went from 10K to 75K paying customers.
- Differentiated: Finnest is focused on differentiating by focusing not only on the facilitation of spending, but also on building financial literacy knowhow. By providing tools to help children and teens save and set savings goals, they are gamifying the financial management experience for children.
- Early entrant: Finnest is entering a budding industry that is only in its infancy as our banking lives become mobile. With just 2 other startups to date in the space the opportunity to build a $6 BILLION industry is wide open. With a product that has received approval from their issuing bank, and a growing waitlist, Finnest is ready for market liftoff.
- 2 pronged monetization: Finnest charges $5 per family per month. In the age of subscriptions, this is a no brainer for parents. At a low cost they can provide an allowance, monitor / control their children’s spending habits, and teach them how to be money savvy. In addition, Finnest will also charge industry standard card fees. Needless to say, the dollars add up on this opportunity.
Clemens Grave, has an intriguing background having worked in the automobile industry for a handful of years after graduating from university in Vienna. Since then he has been at Brown University getting a Master’s degree, and honing his entrepreneurial focus, where he is an entrepreneur in residence. Joe St.
Germain is the CFO and 20 year vet, having worked across the startup ecosystem in finance and accounting positions. He is also joined by Andi Pollinger, Interim CMO who has 30+ years experience working for some of the largest financial institutions, including Fidelity and Cambridge Associates.
On the whole, we love the market opportunity that Finnest is entering. It is one that is beckoning with demand, and waiting for services to fill it. Early signals point to lots of investment flooding this space, which bode well for future rounds of raising. With a focus on in-app financial education, Finnest is uniquely differentiated to serve a large portion of customers, that know that education above all else is crucial to children building good money habits.
We also love that they are a part of the DCU Fintech Center and Brown University, which enables the the team to lean on some powerful resources to grow the business. Customer traction we think will be swift based on other startup success, and with an energetic young CEO, and a seasoned team of professionals around him, Finnest seems poised to be able to capitalize on the opportunity at hand. We call this one a Top Deal!!
Founder Profile: The 27 Year Old Reinventing The Way Parents and Kids Learn About MoneyImagine yourself as an 8 year old once again, trying to understand the new realities of our financial system. It’s no longer just about the few dollars you’ve made from your lemonade stand though; foreign concepts like credit cards, Venmo, and Bitcoin seem like pits of money that adults use to transfer some arbitrary values from a piece of plastic or their smartphones. From where do we actually derive this value?
Part of this, of course, is just the first chapter in personal finance education that kids will learn and develop with practice. It is true, however, that we are becoming increasingly disconnected from the real value of our money as we develop more convenient ways of spending it. This, then, is not just a learning opportunity for the 2nd grader wanting a new bike, but for every participant in our consumer economy.
Clemens Grave, CEO and founder of Finnest, saw this opportunity a mile away. His app allows parents to financially connect with their kids—they can add allowances, track purchases, and maintain card security completely remotely. It has its practical benefits, clearly, but developing healthy personal finance habits, both for kids and parents alike, seems to be Finnest’s top priority.