Jun 22, 2020

PayPal, Valar Ventures, Founders Fund & more invest in Even

Evelyn Howat
3 min
PayPal, Valar Ventures, Founders Fund, and more Invest in Even
Backing the American Workforce: PayPal Ventures, Valar Ventures, Founders Fund, and Marc Benioff announced a new round of strategic investment in Even...

Designed to improve both the financial wellness of employees and the financial performance of employers, Even is the only employer benefit that combines on-demand pay (InstapayTM) with engaging budgeting and savings tools necessary to ensure long-term financial stability. It is also the only on-demand pay provider that operates on a subscription model. Members pay a flat monthly fee, which employers can subsidize, for access to all of Even’s features, including InstapayTM, meaning Even never profits from a member’s cashflow emergency and is truly incentivized to help them become financially well.

For employers, those improvements in employee financial stability are directly linked not only to improved satisfaction and productivity, but dramatically increased retention and reduction in the heavy costs associated with turnover.

“Even’s holistic budgeting and saving tools differentiate it from others in the on-demand pay space. Its success with Walmart, including engagement rates on par with social media, is undeniable proof that this model works. PayPal and Even share a commitment to leveraging technology to enable financial wellness. We are proud to invest in this team as it aims to expand into every major employer in the U.S.” - Jay Ganatra, Partner, PayPal Ventures

Even now has more than 500,000 monthly active users, with more than 50% using the app every day. At Walmart, where Even is now offered for free to more than 1.5 million associates, it is the third most widely used benefit behind only healthcare and 401k. Even’s savings feature also helps the average user go from $0 to $160+ in savings in just three months, saving a total of more than $10 million since it was introduced in 2019.

Even is offered as an employer benefit to workers through a monthly subscription. A critical differentiator in the growing market of earned wage access providers, Even’s subscription means that there are no predatory fees tied to the use of Instapay. This ensures that Even’s success as a business is entirely dependent on users becoming more financially secure, saving more money, and continuing to subscribe and benefit from the Even subscription.

“For more than a decade, average Americans have been living paycheck to paycheck, with no money in the bank, stuck in a cycle of dependence on loans and credit. It should be no surprise, then, that closing the economy and taking away paychecks has been disastrous for so many. Living on the financial edge isn’t just unhealthy for families - it’s also bad for business, because it leaves people searching for a new employer that might lead to a better life. The good news is that forward-thinking employers are starting to do their part to help, by empowering their employees with immediate access to their pay, and delivering that benefit responsibly with the tools people need to save for their future.” - Jon Schlossberg, CEO and Co-Founder of Even 

About Even

Even is a mission-driven technology company working to even the playing field for creating a better life. The company’s technology integrates with attendance, payroll, and banking systems to create innovative products that address the core components of financial health. By combining earned wage access with intuitive budgeting and savings tools, Even helps users safely resolve cash flow emergencies in the short-term while simultaneously helping them build long-term financial stability. It is also the only on-demand pay provider that operates on a subscription model with no transactional fees, which ensures members can access their pay when they need it without getting trapped in a cycle of borrowing. The company was founded by former Instagram and Google engineers, and is headquartered in Oakland, California.

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Jun 10, 2021

FIVE things fintechs must do to keep investors onboard

Fintech
Investment
venturecapital
AI
Brandon Rembe, CPO, Envestnet...
4 min
Fintech innovations drew in first-time investors who reshaped the markets. What new advancements will help them continue their rise?

New investors flocked to the stock market during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-eight percent of investors said they had never had a brokerage or similar account before opening one in 2020.

Low or no-fee trading options have helped accelerate the trend – nearly half of new investors said they accessed their account primarily through a mobile app. As FinTechs, how do we create the trust needed to keep new investors in the market and create a fruitful customer experience for them?

The financial industry does a disservice to individual investors if we merely offer tools that focus on making money quickly, an approach that usually backfires. Instead, the surge of interest presents an enormous opportunity for those who want to help more consumers use financial technology to educate them on responsible spending, saving, and investing in order to achieve financial wellness current fintech tools have welcomed individual investors in the door.

Now, it’s time to focus on education and improving their experience going forward. There are several ways those of us in fintech can step up to shape the future of retail investing so that it works better for everyone, starting with the following areas.

Equal access to financial wellness education

Financial health should be available to everyone — but today, not everyone has the educational resources to achieve it. One study shows that only 3.9% of students from low-income schools were required to take a personal finance class. What they aren’t learning in school or from family members, fintech companies can provide on their platforms.

The companies should move from solely offering financial services to a more responsible model of education, advice, and prescriptive choices to help consumers develop better habits and make wiser financial decisions. Not only can they empower consumers and bridge historical wealth divides, but they can also stimulate growth by opening up new consumer segments.

More personalisation

Just as we’ve come to expect that our fitness routines are tailored to our individual bodies, we’re also ready for finance tools that go beyond one-size-fits-all solutions. But only six percent of financial institutions say they’re using the kind of technology that allows them to deliver a deeply personalized experience. Fintech tools need to reflect that financial success looks different for each of us.

For one consumer, it may mean providing guidance on how to pay off student loans early; for another, it may mean prescriptive actions that enable them to stick to a budget for the first time; for a third, it could look like prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments, so that her portfolio aligns with her political beliefs.

Now, we are seeing financial technology beginning to meet the demands of personalized finance in a substantial and meaningful way.

The rise of AI-Powered Advice

Big-picture advice and predictive guidance used to be a feature of high-end financial advisory firms — a perk only available to those who could afford it. But thanks to rapid advancements in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), that kind of holistic advice is now more accessible than ever. AI-driven robo-advisors can parse many different streams of financial information, delivering customized answers to key questions: Is it time to buy a home, or is it smarter to keep renting? Can I afford to take out another student loan?

Intelligent connectivity powered by AI can anticipate consumers’ needs and next steps, making proactive suggestions that guide them along the path to financial wellbeing. Fintech companies can also help consumers identify when their financial picture becomes too complex for a robo-advisor, and help them find a human financial advisor to meet their needs. 

Focus on financial mental health

New investors are quickly finding that the market can be overwhelming. That’s not surprising, financial anxiety is common and studies show that financial stress can have an impact on mental health for some.

It’s not enough for fintech companies to give retail investors access; they also must provide the guidance and support that help consumers manage their financial well-being. Educational tools can ensure that consumers are well informed about their options.

Predictive analytics can anticipate consumers’ questions, serving them key information and insights before they ask. Features that emphasize a comprehensive notion of financial well-being, rather than short-term wins and losses, can also help ensure that consumers are keeping their eyes on the bigger picture.

Gamification for good

The surge of gamification apps has done an impressive job making investing as engaging as playing a video game or joining a social media platform.

Much of the current use of gamification emphasizes short-term thinking, but there’s also an opportunity to help consumers think more broadly about their overall financial picture. One example is peer benchmarking, a feature that enables help consumers to see how their financial habits compare to those of friends and fellow consumers.

Gamification can also be used to incentivize making smaller, smarter choices — for example, rewarding saving over making an impulse buy.

The future of fintech is about more than just broadening access to the markets. It’s about making sure more individuals have access to the tools that can help improve their financial well-being—in the ways that suit their own circumstances and needs. The potential to act within their own set of individual priorities, with their long-term financial wellness in mind is much more empowering to a consumer than simply relying on short-term, high-risk investments.

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