Investment App Stash Grabs Financial Literacy Platform PayGrade

Investment App Stash Grabs Financial Literacy Platform PayGrade

Along with the fanfare surrounding so-called meme stocks and the “power of the individual trader” last year, there was a dark side. Investing and trading platforms that had embraced gamification were being accused of not fully preparing their customers for the dangers involved in stock trading – especially in volatile, illiquid stocks. Critics demanded that these platforms spend more time – and money, if necessary – educating their customers for their own benefit as well as for the good of the investing and trading industry, which has recovered impressively since the dot.com bust 20 years ago.

This is the spirit in which we take the news that Stash, a New York-based, mobile-first investment platform that made its Finovate debut in 2017, has acquired financial literacy platform PayGrade. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition marks Stash’s first acquisition and its biggest fintech news headline since a whopping $125 million Series G fundraising back in February.

Brandon Kreig, CEO and co-founder of Stash said that the acquisition was an example of the company’s mission to “empower everyday Americans to invest for the future.” He noted that personal finance education is not emphasized in American schools – with 43 out of 50 states not requiring coursework in personal financial management – and that an overwhelming number of American adults – as much as 80% – live “paycheck to paycheck.”

“With PayGrade,” Kreig explained, “Stash will provide teachers, parents, and children with interactive tools to learn effective money management skills that will last a lifetime.”

Stash enables users to begin investing on its platform with as little as $1 a month. The company’s “Stash Beginner” program allows investing – including fractional share investing – as well as banking, portfolio recommendations, savings strategies, and a Stock-Back card that helps users earn stock every time they use the card for shopping. Stash also offers Growth and Plus plans that add features such as portfolios for children, premium research, and enhanced bonuses for using the Stash Stock-Back card.

Purchasing PayGrade is not the only way that Stash will support the cause of financial literacy this year. Stash’s acquisition news arrived just a few days before the company announced that it was partnering with the Suh Family Foundation and the Big Yard Foundation to launch a financial literacy program over the summer. Dubbed the Stash101 Summer School, the program will be conducted in partnership with Portland Public Schools and will give 160 middle school students an introduction to vital money management and wealth building.

“From investing and banking to education and retirement planning, we believe everyone has the power to achieve greater financial freedom—one step at a time.” Krieg said. “We’re thrilled to deepen our commitment to childhood education through Stash101 and this special summer school program in Portland with the Suhs and Big Yard. It’s going to be a tremendous four weeks for the kids.”

Stash101 is part of the Portland Interscholastic League Trajectory Math Program, which provides additional learning resources for historically underserved students. The course will include a simulated economy experience in which the students will complete tasks like renting desks, while earning a salary and learning about the difference between savings and credit. The classes will be held between July 6 and July 27 at a pair of schools in the Portland School system.


Photo by Anna Nekrashevich from Pexels

Stash Raises $125 Million

Stash Raises $125 Million

Investment platform Stash announced a new round of financing today. The $125 million Series G round boosts the company’s total funding to over $427 million.

Eldridge led the round, which received additional funding from new and existing investors, including Owl Ventures, funds advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Goodwater Capital, Entree Capital, and others.

The funding comes after a year of record growth for Stash, which was founded in 2015. Last year, the New York-based company saw a 100% increase in account openings. It now has five million customers and $2.5 billion in assets under management. Fueling this increase was the boost in automated deposits; Stash reported a 50% increase in the number of customers automating their investments last year.

Stash’s investment platform democratizes long-term investing by making the process easier and more affordable. “We believe in tried and tested principles of regular, long-term, and balanced investing as the key to building wealth. We therefore built Stash to make diversified investing easy, affordable and accessible, backed by personalized advice and accessible education—in order to avoid the pitfalls of short-term speculation and day-trading,” said Stash Co-Founder and CEO Brandon Krieg. “This new round of funding enables us to take this mission to millions more Americans.”

Stash’s newest upcoming product, Smart Portfolios, helps customers build long-term, diversified portfolios that are fully managed by Stash. The new offering is made for users who want to invest, but don’t know where to start. To keep things simple, Stash uses a subscription model instead of charging fees based on portfolio size. The Smart Portfolios product is included in Stash’s Growth and Plus subscription plans, which cost $3 per month and $9 per month, respectively.


Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Finovate Alums Take Top Honors at Lendit Fintech Awards

Finovate Alums Take Top Honors at Lendit Fintech Awards

Lendit Fintech announced the winners of its fourth annual Lendit Finitech Industry Awards this week. And out of the 500+ entries competing for awards in 13 different categories, Finovate alums left the stage with nearly half of them.

Taking the highest honor as Fintech Innovator of the Year was Stash. The New York-based mobile-first investment platform made its Finovate debut at FinovateFall 2017, demonstrating its Stash Retire solution. This year marks the second year in a row that Stash has picked up Lendit’s top prize in this category. Fellow Finovate alum Marqeta was among the category’s finalists.

Also winning award categories were:

  • Plaid for Innovations in Digital Banking
  • Urjanet and Equifax for Most Promising Partnership
  • Visa for Top Service Provider
  • Blend for Top Technology Service Provider.
  • CircleUp for Top Small Business Lending Platform

“Our purpose at Lendit Fintech is to elevate and celebrate the achievements of others,” co-founder and CEO of Lendit Fintech Bo Brustkern explained in a statement. “This year has been a hard year for many bank and fintechs, and the many enterprises that support them. Now more than ever we need a reason to come together – even if it’s virtually – to recognize and applaud excellence in these circumstances.”

Other companies earning awards were Upstart for Top Consumer Lending Platform, PeerStreet for Top Real Estate Platform, BlockFi for Emerging Lending Platform of the Year, Orrick for Top Law Firm, and Branch for Excellence in Financial Inclusion. Two individuals were also recognized: Colin Walsh, founder and CEO of Varo Money, as Executive of the Year and Nicky Goulimis, COO and co-founder of Nova Credit, as Fintech Woman of the Year.

A number of other Finovate alums earned finalist spots in this year’s competition. Both Lending Club and SoFi competed as finalists in the Consumer Lending Platform category. And BlueVine provided a strong Finovate alum showing in the Small Business Lending Platform group.

Credit is also due to Finovate alum Mambu as a finalist (along with Stash) in the Innovations in Digital Banking category, and to both Finicity and Ocrolus, which competed in the finals of the Top Technology Service Provider category.


Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

Micro Investment Platform Stash Secures $112 Million

Micro Investment Platform Stash Secures $112 Million
Photo by Burak K from Pexels

In a round featuring participation from LendingTree and T. Rowe Price, personal finance and investing app Stash has locked in $112 million in Series F funding. The round, which also involved existing investors Union Square Ventures, Breyer Capital, Goodwater Capital, and Greenspring Associates, gives the company $300+ million in total capital and boosts the firm’s valuation to more than $800 million.

“We are very fortunate to bring together world class investors to help accelerate Stash’s goal of bringing digital banking, investing plus financial education and advice to the millions of middle class Americans working hard every day to make ends meet,” company CEO Brandon Krieg said.

Stash’s $112 million fundraising arrives just over a year after the company’s last financing – a $65 million Series E led by an unnamed, private investor. That investment also accompanied the launch of Stash’s Stock-Back rewards program that gives users fractional shares of stock when they use their Stash debit card for qualified purchases at publicly-held companies like Amazon and Chipotle.

Stash offers a mobile-first, micro-investment and PFM solution that enables investors to build a portfolio starting with as little as $5. Users can invest in both stocks and funds without having to pay add-on trading fees, as well as make fractional share investments with smaller dollar amounts. In addition to being an investment platform, Stash also provides online banking services including an early paycheck feature for those who set up direct deposit, a Stash debit card, and no overdraft, monthly maintenance, or minimum balance fees. Billpay, mobile check deposit, and PFM functionality are also part of the platform.

Stash provides users with three tiered plans with monthly costs of $1, $3, and $9. The company’s premium offering, Stash+, provides two additional investing accounts for youth, and a metal card with double Stock-Back rewards, as well as the platform’s standard features.

The funding announcement also comes on the heels of a major milestone reached by the company earlier this year. In February, Stash reported that it topped $1 billion in assets under management on its platform. What’s all the more remarkable about this accomplishment is that the average per customer deposit at Stash is just $28.

“(Middle class Americans have) attempted to make financial progress within a system that simply does not serve their best interests or meet their needs,” Krieg said. “It’s time for them to reconsider the current financial services industry as the ‘status quo’ and take control of their financial life with the customer-obsessed solutions we provide at Stash.”

With more than four million members – 86% of whom are first-time investors – STASH demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall in 2017. The company is headquartered in New York City.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • BlueVine and GovQuote Team Up to Fund SMEs.
  • Bpm’online Focuses on Customization, Clean Data in Latest Update.

Around the web

  • Sberbank Croatia chooses Token for PSD2 compliance.
  • Silicon Canals highlights Meniga in its list of 10 Cool Icelandic Tech Startups to Work for in 2019.
  • MX wins a 2019 Utah Genius award.
  • U.Today features Stash and Crealogix in its roundup of Top 12 FinTech Companies to Watch in 2019.
  • Xignite earns spot on the WealthTech 100.
  • Lendio franchise opens in Erie to expand access to capital for local businesses
  • InComm’s Alder API wins award from the Innovative Payments Association.
  • BioCatch’s behavioral biometrics-based digital identity solution now available on the ForgeRock Marketplace.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Stash Scores $65 Million; Launches Stock-Back Rewards

Stash Scores $65 Million; Launches Stock-Back Rewards

With the stock market in rally mode and up significantly from the Christmas Eve lows, micro-investing fintech startup Stash is celebrating the occasion with a $65 million fundraising.

The Series E was led by an unnamed private institutional investor and featured participation from current investors including Union Square Ventures and Breyer Capital. The new capital takes Stash’s total funding to $181.3 million. The company said it will use it to drive product growth as well as marketing.

Stash also announced this week that it was launching a new rewards program, leveraging its Stash debit card, that will provide users with fractional shares of stock whenever qualified purchases at publicly-held companies are made. The Stock-Back rewards program gives consumers a micro-investment in companies like Amazon and Chipotle every time they shop using the Stash card. For privately-held companies that do not have stock available, consumers will get their Stock-Back rewards in the form of fractional shares in a broad-based, global equity exchange-traded fund (ETF).

“During the testing period, we saw an overwhelming positive response from users as they pay ordinary bills like Netflix, and in returned received Netflix stock as well as access to dividends, educational resources and financial advice,” Stash co-founder and president Ed Robinson said.

Stash demonstrated the Stash Retire feature of its mobile-first, micro-investing platform at FinovateFall 2017. Stash Retire offers users a low-fee, self-directed Roth IRA account that can be invested in for as little as $100 to start. Users of Stash Retire can take advantage of all of the options available in their Stash Invest accounts, such as auto-invest and $5 investment minimums.

Named to the Forbes Fintech 50 last month and honored by the FinTech Breakthrough Awards in the Best Robo Advisory Platform category last spring, Stash was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in New York City.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Stash Scores $65 Million; Launches Stock-Back Rewards.
  • TickSmith Teams Up with CanDeal to Power DataVault Innovations.
  • First Wave of Demoing Companies for FinovateSpring Revealed.

Around the web

  • Aerospike launches suite of add-on modules, Aerospike Connect, to make it easier for businesses to integrate the company’s database.
  • Identitii renews its partnership with HSBC Global Services (UK).
  • Onfido appointed to the FIDO Alliance Board of Directors.
  • ACI Worldwide announces the extension of its partnership with South Africa’s Capitec Bank.
  • IdentityMind Global to support Koi Trading’s AML Compliance-as-a-Service offering.
  • Gusto appoints Square’s former Head of Information Security Fredrick Lee as its new Chief Security Officer.
  • PayPal adds instant transfer feature for bank accounts.
  • Insuritas and ReliaQuote partner to offer ID theft protection to 10 million consumers.
  • Fenergo enables financial firms to digitally visualize risk in fight against financial crime.
  • GroundFloor partners with Dwolla to make payments more efficient for borrowers and investors.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Fiserv Helps NationalLink Maximize Smart Safe Technology.
  • Mastercard to Acquire Digital Commerce Fraud Fighter Ethoca.

Around the web

  • Carsharing firm HyreCar leverages identity verification technology from Mitek for its mobile onboarding app.
  • PayPal invests $750 million in Argentina’s e-commerce company, MercadoLibre.
  • Tinkoff Bank reports 2018 highlights including launch of new mortgage app, a joint P2P money transfer offering with Sberbank, and more than 2.7 million new active credit customers.
  • Best of Show winner Voleo chosen to participate in Netherlands-based fintech research program.
  • ThreatMetrix teams up with Blue Turtle Technologies to help market its fraud prevention solution to customers in Africa.
  • ArthaYantra wins Fintech of the Year (India) at The Asset Triple A Digital Awards.
  • Stash launches Stock-Back, a rewards program to bridge banking and investing.
  • Jack Henry to collaborate with the Zelle Network to launch JHA PayCenter.
  • InComm expands into lottery industry with Linq3 Technologies acquisition.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alums Shine in 2019 Forbes Fintech 50 Roster

Finovate Alums Shine in 2019 Forbes Fintech 50 Roster

A baker’s dozen of Finovate alums has been honored this week with spots on the 2019 Forbes Fintech 50, an annual aggregation of what the editors called “the most innovative companies in fintech.”

Here are the Finovate alums that made the cut. Read the full list.

“Recognition as a leading innovator in fintech is tremendous validation for the hard work we’ve done at Marqeta to open the industry up to the possibilities and opportunities of modern card issuing,” company CEO and founder Jason Gardner said. Marqeta is among the 20 companies to make its first appearance on the Forbes Fintech 50 roster.

Also earning their first appearances on Forbes Fintech 50 roster are New York based mobile investment platform Stash and San Francisco supply chain payments innovator Tradeshift.

“Very excited to be included in the 2019 Forbes Fintech 50!,” Stash tweeted once the news was released at the start of the week, “Monday = made.”

“We made the list!” Tradeshift tweeted this morning.

Summarizing this year’s selection of top fintechs, the editors noted that while 19 out of the 50 fintechs featured are unicorns with valuations of more than $1 billion, a nearly equal amount – 20 startups – are making their first showing on Forbes top fintech list. The two areas where newcomers were more prevalent, according to the editors, were payments technology and startups serving the un- and underbanked.

Finovate Alums Take Top Honors at FinTech Breakthrough Awards

Dedicated to recognizing “the top companies and products in the financial services and technology industry today,” FinTech Breakthrough has announced its FinTech Breakthrough Award Winners for 2018. This marks the second year the independent organization has sponsored the fintech awards event, recognizing fintech startups and veterans from a wide variety of categories including payments, lending, investing, and regtech.

“The FinTech Breakthrough Awards serve as a testament to the passion, skill and vision of individuals and teams that are truly setting the standard for innovation in the global FinTech industry,” Managing Director for FinTech Breakthrough James Johnson said in 2017 during the Awards’ inaugural year. “We are thrilled to recognize all of the FinTech Breakthrough Award winners for their well-deserved industry recognition as they drive the global FinTech market forward.”

This year featured 20 Finovate alums earning top honors from FinTech Breakthrough. The names and Finovate demo dates for each winning alum – as well as the category they won – are featured below. For a complete list of 2018 FinTech Breakthrough Award Winners, visit the company’s awards announcement page.

Leadership

Consumer Lending

  • Innovation Award for Consumer Lending – Text for Credit by Experian (FF17)

Business Lending

Wealth Management

Payments

Investments

Consumer Banking

Financial Research and Data

Fraud Prevention and Transaction Security

This marks the second time both eMoney Advisor and ThreatMetrix have been honored by the FinTech Breakthrough Awards. Among last year’s winners were a significant number of Finovate alums including: Sindeo, BizFi, DriveWealth, Quovo, Jumio, Trulioo, Qumram, and Xero.

Stash Teams with Green Dot to Become a Challenger Bank

Stash Teams with Green Dot to Become a Challenger Bank

 

Mobile financial services company Stash first revealed its plans to launch banking services in October of last year, positioning itself as a challenger bank with mobile-centric investment and retirement capabilities. And, as with all U.S.-based challenger banks, Stash will house the funds at a traditional bank. Today, the New York-based company announced it has selected Green Dot and its subsidiary bank, Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, to keep user’s funds safe.

Through the partnership with Green Dot, Stash will deliver debit cards with no overdraft fees and provide access to a network of free ATMs across the U.S. The app will also share insight into clients’ financial health, with actionable advice on spending, saving, investing, and retirement via Stash Coach. But don’t get too excited– Stash has yet to go live with the banking services and hasn’t hinted at its timeline or anticipated pricing.

In a statement, Brandon Krieg, CEO and cofounder of Stash, said: “Layering Green Dot’s robust Banking as a Service platform with Stash’s full suite of offerings will provide innovative, affordable tools to teach healthy financial habits, relieve financial stress, and help our clients save and invest more money.”

Founded in 1999, Green Dot debuted its own mobile-first banking service, GoBank, at FinovateSpring 2013. The account offers mobile banking, check deposit, and P2P money transfer services.

“Stash is committed to being a true partner and source of support for our clients, and for those who have systematically been left behind,” said Krieg. This sentiment is reflected in Stash’s updated mission which states, “We started Stash to simplify investing, but our true mission runs deeper. Today, your financial products too often fail you. We believe everyone should have access to financial education, technology, and services that help them achieve their life goals.”

Founded in 2015, Stash serves two million customers on its mobile investment platform, which allows users to choose from a selection of over 40 curated ETFs. The company doesn’t collect add-on commissions or trading fees, and charges $1 per month for accounts under $5,000. Users with portfolios over that threshold pay 0.25% per year. Stash’s growth bodes well for future banking developments– the company currently has 40,000 new clients joining each week.

Krieg debuted Stash Retire at FinovateFall 2017. In November of 2017, KPMG and H2 Ventures named the company on its 2017 Fintech 100 list. In February of this year, Stash raised $37.5 million and unveiled custodial investment accounts to allow Stash clients to open new accounts for minors. This is a smart move from a customer acquisition standpoint. Young users exposed to the Stash app early will be more likely to matriculate as customers of Stash’s investment and (eventually) banking services.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • PeoplesBank Partners with Gro Solutions to Enhance Mobile and Online Experience.
  • Stash Teams with Green Dot to Become a Challenger Bank.

Around the web

  • Lending Club announces Bahman Koohestani as Chief Technology Officer.
  • Yahoo partners with PayPal to make Braintree available to online sellers using Yahoo Merchant Solutions and Yahoo Stores platforms.
  • Main Street Softworks adds support for Bluefin’s Decryptx PCI-validated P2PE Decryption-as-a-Service.
  • PYMNTS.com features a conversation with Entersekt Chief Commercial Officer Dewald Nolte.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.