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Till Financial and the Importance of Fintech for Families



In this past few weeks alone we’ve heard from a number of fintechs that are dedicated to helping kids learn how to be responsible with money.

We caught up with Taylor Burton, co-founder of Till Financial, one of the many companies that are innovating in the youth financial wellness space. The Massachusetts-based startup, launched in 2018, introduced its free, collaborative family banking platform this spring. At the same time, Till secured $5 million in funding in a round led by Afore Capital – which is where our conversation begins.

You’ve just secured a significant investment. What does the funding mean for Till?

Taylor Burton: It means an increased ability to positively impact the trajectory of kids as they prepare for launch. The group of investors that we assembled share our vision for how collaborative family banking should look—we are excited to continue to add more supporters as we scale our platform. 

We are thrilled to have the support of like-minded investors including Elysian Park Ventures, Pivotal Ventures with Magnify Ventures, Afore Capital, Luge Capital, Alpine Meridian Ventures, The Gramercy Fund, SM Ventures (the family office of the founders/CEOs of Stadium Goods) and Lightspeed Venture Partners’ Scout Fund. Also participating were angel investors such as the founders of fintech Petal, the founders of alcohol marketplace Drizly, the president of Transactis, and the president of 1800Flowers.

We will be adding to our high-quality team in all areas that support our customers through their journey on Till.  Marketing that provides the content to help families have the first “real” conversation about money.  Development to accelerate our vision of what our product can be, plus integrate all the great ideas coming out of the Till user community.  And customer success to ensure that a Till family is maximizing its experience on the platform.

How does Till help empower children to become smarter spenders?

Burton: Till is designed to encourage open and honest discussions between parents and their kids. The goal is to help kids learn by doing and to gain confidence in spending decisions. We do this in the following ways: 

The right tools: Till equips kids with their own bank account, digital and physical debit cards, and goal-based savings tools. 

Emphasis on community: A child can easily set up a goal on the app that they can use to start saving toward and give family members (such as grandparents, other family members or community members) the opportunity to help pitch in. This gives members of the child’s network an opportunity to support them towards their goals. After all, it takes a village, and Till helps facilitate that. 

Visualizing financial responsibility: Kids can also set up recurring payments for different ongoing responsibilities or subscription services that will get them used to the concept of paying bills on a timely basis. 

That being said, along with teaching kids valuable saving habits, we want to be advocates for kids to feel empowered in their spending decisions just as much, if not more. Parents and the traditional legacy banking options tend to focus mostly on a child’s savings. At Till, we believe that we need to prioritize preparing kids to be smarter spenders, while supporting them through savings and investing. On our platform, kids learn to spend with intention and purpose, while parents gain confidence and trust based on transparency and accountability.

What is unique about the method that Till Financial uses?

Burton: One unique part of the app are the financial agreements which allow kids to have greater agency and responsibility over their money. Parents can create agreements and tasks that encourage kids/teens to understand the value of every dollar. By visualizing the financial responsibility of earning every allowance, they are able to be active participants in their financial journeys.

Additionally, as families are more spread out over time, Till reinforces the impact of community by leveraging family, friends, and members of their close networks to help the child reach their financial goals. Till also offers merchant partners curated with kids’ interests in mind. As we continue to grow, we will have more opportunities to add on to this list and provide kids with more incentives. 

How does Till make money?

Burton: Till aims to be “first in wallet” and “only in wallet,” unlike other card offerings targeted at adults fighting to be “top of wallet.” Till captures value (revenue) when we deliver value to our customers. Unlike other legacy banks—and even some early digital ones that often time charge monthly or subscription fees—Till is free to all consumers, making us accessible to all users.

Till earns revenue in three ways: We earn an interchange fee (like all debit/credit cards) for facilitating the transaction between our users on vendors. There are also affiliate fees. We want our user’s dollars to go farther.  We are negotiating both broad and proprietary relationships with the vendors that our kids spend with each day. Our kids get access to discounts and exclusive access and we get a percentage when the kid does choose to make a purchase. Everyone’s a winner: the kids receive a steeper discount on items that they were already planning to buy, while the merchant gains a new customer.

Lastly, there’s origination. Consumers’ needs change over time and our ability to create the best outcomes for our families depends on focus. It is not Till’s intention to be a kid’s forever bank, just their first bank. With that in mind a Till kid should be treated with the respect that they have earned on our platform for positive financial decisions at launch. When the time comes for kids to leave the house and strike out on their own, Till introduces them to our launch offers market. There, they can receive preferential treatment on loans, credit cards, and adult debit/checking. The adult financial institution gets a better, more valuable client; our consumer receives the advantages they deserve for being of sound financial mind; and Till receives an origination fee. 

How important are partnerships to Till’s business plan?

Burton: Till’s merchant and venture partners are interwoven into our business plan to seamlessly offer kids/teens and their families the best resources to develop responsible spending habits. As Till continues to expand their merchant partnerships, kids will have greater access to exclusive offers that they can use on items that they are already planning to purchase. These key partners include top tier brands that kids already shop at such as Adidas, Stadium Goods, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. And, of course, we also believe that the partnerships with our investors are a key component of the continued success of Till. We want our investors to share the same mission of empowering the next generation of economic actors. 

What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Burton: For starters, all three of us co-founders are dads and we’ve all had our share of financial awakenings whether with our kids or ourselves personally. That being said, Till is not just for us, but for the 50 million families that know there is a better way to raise a family; where financial conversations are collaborative not confrontational, and where all of our kids are better prepared for the modern economy.

On the company-building front, the founding team brings together everything needed to build a valued and valuable company. I bring expertise in direct-to-consumer products in a heavily regulated market (Drizly and alcohol delivery), coupled with innovation success in payments rails and merchant partners integration (PayPal and card-linked offers). Tom (Pincince) came to me with this idea after selling his third company. This serial entrepreneur has built a career by finding gaps and opportunities created by market movements and technology changes. And then Brian (Chemel), a multi-time technical founder equipped to marry the best of the old and the new to build a secure and scalable infrastructure backing a delightful and engaging user experience.

Looking back on 2020, what is your biggest professional takeaway?

Burton: We learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. COVID-19 impacted people’s businesses differently and when you layer in a fundraise and being an early stage start up, that can either make you or break you. In our case I think it really codified our commitment to our mission and vision and has ultimately put us in the position we are in now. 

What can we expect from Till over the balance of 2021 and beyond?

Burton: Our first job is to become an integral part of millions of families’ every day financial activities. We do this by building an engaging platform that delivers both economic and social value. Along the way you will see Till add features that help parents and kids understand where they are on a financial journey and how their decisions can be rewarded by access to opportunities, experiences, and offerings. We are here to serve our users who are already helping us set priorities and guide us to new features and functionality. We are already getting requests for collaborative investing and philanthropic giving features, for example. 

We are thinking big because the market is massive– there are currently 50 million pre-banked kids in the U.S. and yet, the average middle-class family in America spends $284,570 per child by age 18. At Till, we believe kids are a major economic force, as $18 billion per year is given by parents to children in the form of an allowance (mostly as cash). We recognize that they are influencers on larger family decisions, such as cars, vacations, etc. By putting the spending power back into the hands of young people, we want to be the driving force that replaces awkward family conversations about money with real actions and experiential learning.

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Visa to acquire open banking platform Tink for more than $2 billion



Visa has announced plans to acquire Tink for €1.8 billion, or $2.15 billion at today’s exchange rate. Tink has been a leading fintech startup in Europe focused on open banking application programming interface (API).

Today’s move comes a few months after Visa abandoned its acquisition of Plaid, another popular open banking startup. Originally, Visa planned to spend $5.3 billion to acquire the American startup. But the company had to call off the acquisition after running into a regulatory wall.

Tink offers a single API so that customers can connect to bank accounts from their own apps and services. For instance, you can leverage Tink’s API to access account statements, initiate payments, fetch banking information and refresh this data regularly.

While banks and financial institutions now all have to offer open banking interfaces due to EU’s Payment Services Directive PSD2, there’s no single standard. Tink integrates with 3,400 banks and financial institutions.

App developers can use the same API call to interact with bank accounts across various financial institutions. As you may have guessed, it greatly simplifies the adoption of open banking features.

300 banks and fintech startups use Tink’s API to access third-party bank information — clients include PayPal, BNP Paribas, American Express and Lydia. Overall, Tink covers 250 million bank customers across Europe.

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Tink operations should continue as usual after the acquisition. Visa plans to retain the brand and management team.

According to Crunchbase data, Tink has raised over $300 million from Dawn Capital, Eurazeo, HMI Capital, Insight Partners, PayPal Ventures, Creades, Heartcore Capital and others.

“For the past ten years we have worked relentlessly to build Tink into a leading open banking platform in Europe, and we are incredibly proud of what the whole team at Tink has created together,” Tink co-founder and CEO Daniel Kjellén said in a statement. “We have built something incredible and at the same time we have only scratched the surface.”

“Joining Visa, we will be able to move faster and reach further than ever before. Visa is the perfect partner for the next stage of Tink’s journey, and we are incredibly excited about what this will bring to our employees, customers and for the future of financial services.”

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Visa to Acquire European Open Banking Fintech Tink for €1.8B, Transaction Subject to Regulatory Clearance



Visa (NYSE: V) will be acquiring European Open Banking Fintech Tink for €1.8 billion. The acquisition should help with filling a Plaid-shaped hole in Visa’s existing portfolio after a $5.4 billion deal to acquire the financial data-sharing firm was unsuccessful (following pushback from regulatory authorities).

Tink currently connects to over 3,400 banking institutions that reach more than 250 million bank clients in Europe. Established in 2012 in Stockholm, the firm’s 400 workers serve over 300 banking institutions and Fintech firms in 18 different European markets, out of business offices based in 13 countries. Tink is one of the over 440 third-party providers across Europe that provides open banking services.

Under this new agreement with Visa, Tink will be retaining its company brand and existing management team, and its head offices will still be in Stockholm, Sweden.

Al Kelly, CEO and Chairperson at Visa, stated:

“Visa is committed to doing all we can to foster innovation and empower consumers in support of Europe’s open banking goals. By bringing together Visa’s network of networks and Tink’s open banking capabilities we will deliver increased value to European consumers and businesses with tools to make their financial lives more simple, reliable and secure.”

Daniel Kjellén, CEO and co-founder of Tink, said that for the past ten years they have worked relentlessly to build his company into a leading open banking platform in Europe:

“We have built something incredible and at the same time we have only scratched the surface. Joining Visa, we will be able to move faster and reach further than ever before. Visa is the perfect partner for the next stage of Tink’s journey, and we are incredibly excited about what this will bring to our employees, customers and for the future of financial services.”

The deal is presently subject to regulatory approvals and various other customary closing conditions for this type of transaction.

This new potential transaction marks the second major acquisition of a Swedish Fintech firm by a US-based tech firm, after PayPal’s $2.2 billion purchase of Square competitor iZettle a few years ago.

Dawn Capital, a European venture fund, is listed as one of the investors in Tink and was also an iZettle investor.

John Bell, General Partners at Dawn Capital, remarked:

“With Tink and iZettle, Sweden has now produced two of Europe’s largest ever fintech M&A exits, reflecting the world-class innovation, commercial excellence and entrepreneurial talent we have found across the Nordic market. As the only investor in both companies, we are delighted to have supported their successful journeys to new homes within corporations with global reach, validating the relevance of the B2B tech coming out of Europe. We wish Tink continuing success in the next chapter of its journey.”

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Crediverso, hispanic-owned online financial products company raises $3.1 million in seed funding to offer services for the U.S. hispanic community



Crediverso, hispanic-owned online financial products company raises $3.1 million in seed funding to offer services for the U.S. hispanic community

Crediverso, the Hispanic-owned personal finance products company, today announced the close of $3.1M in seed funding to launch a consumer fintech platform aimed at closing the wealth gap for the 62M+ Hispanic consumers in the U.S., including many who are underbanked. Crediverso’s powerful platform will be launched this summer and is designed for and fully dedicated to the Hispanic community. It offers the first Spanish-language credit checks and a bilingual comparison tool for a multitude of financial products, including money transfer “remittances,” the most essential financial vehicle for immigrants to support the basic necessities of their families living abroad.

Crediverso’s first round of outside investment was led by a group of investors including Bessemer Venture Partners, Act One Ventures, Point 72 Ventures and Clocktower Ventures. This comes amidst a recent fundraising context where of the $130B of venture funding that went towards all startups, only $1.5B went to Black founders and $72M went to Hispanic founders. This means that for every $100.00 of funding to the market in general, only $1.18 went to Black founders and $0.06 went to Hispanic founders.

The lack of financial services options for Hispanics is a lost market opportunity of over $1T, and limits opportunity for the Hispanic community. Crediverso aims to provide the tools to build wealth and reinvest in the Hispanic community. U.S. Hispanics currently spend more than $600B annually on financial products but have only a fraction of the access enjoyed by the general market.

Crediverso aims to disrupt the $700BN global remittances market as the only platform that lets users send money internationally using the cheapest available rate every time. “Individuals can be charged upwards of 15-20% to send money each time they transact,” said Carlos Hernandez, founder and CEO, Crediverso. “We empower consumers to compare options across all providers so they can find cheaper rates and send more money back to their families living abroad. You wouldn’t book a hotel room without comparing prices first, so why would you send half your paycheck without comparing prices?”

Crediverso’s offerings will be accessible via a free and all-inclusive financial products mobile-friendly platform where users can compare and access credit cards, loans, and insurance products. Crediverso will also be the first and only place where users can get a credit check in Spanish. Additionally, the platform will offer a live forum moderated by Spanish-speaking expert advisors where users can ask their money questions to personal finance experts and celebrities from within the Hispanic community.

“The U.S. Hispanic community is underserved by our current financial services system and Carlos has put together a fantastic team to solve this problem,” said Charles Birnbaum, partner, Bessemer Venture Partners. “We are thrilled to be supporting the company for this next phase of growth.”

Crediverso’s entire platform will be available in English and Spanish, and offered free to use for consumers. Crediverso will also provide free resources assisting with financial literacy like guides, how-to’s, and a full English to Spanish glossary of financial terms.

“The Hispanic community is the largest and fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S., but it’s also the most underserved,” said Alejandro Guerrero, general partner, Act One Ventures. “As a low-income, first-generation Mexican-American, I saw firsthand my parents’ inaccessibility — like millions of Hispanics still today — to a credit-building journey that was designed for them as native Spanish speakers. Crediverso’s mission is to fix this long-standing broken issue and help generations of Hispanics close the wealth gap.”

Crediverso is actively hiring across a variety of roles to grow the team and plans to launch their full suite of products this summer. The company has already established partnerships with many of the largest global financial institutions, including US Bank, Western Union, Remitly, Transferwise, Worldremit, XE, Ria, Skrill and Bridge 21.

Crediverso was founded by Carlos Hernandez, an entrepreneur who holds three degrees from Harvard. Carlos comes from a Mexican-American family in Los Angeles that has long served the Hispanic community. Carlos decided against a career on Wall Street to dedicate his time to enriching the lives of Hispanics living in the U.S.

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New Fintech Angel Investor Network Launched With Execs From Grab, PayPal and Stripe



Senior executives from the largest fintechs in Southeast Asia have banded together to launch Fintech Angel Operators, a network of up to 100 angel investors bringing their on-the-ground expertise to early-stage startups.

The founding team, from Saison Capital and Finantier, came together with the common goal of nurturing the startup ecosystem.

Saison Capital brings with it a venture point of view while Finantier lends its perspective to building Southeast Asia’s financial infrastructure for young startups and large financial enterprises.

The Fintech Angel Operators network includes individuals who hold senior appointments at top-tier fintechs including Grab Financial, PayPal, Stripe, Revolut and Remitly.

Members of the Fintech Angel Operators network are investors with fintech operational expertise in Southeast Asia who are looking to invest angel-sized cheques into startups.

The group operates with a cohort-based syndicate structure and will include up to 100 fintech founders, executives and operators in its first batch.

Capital from the network will be deployed collectively by investors interested in the deal via a standard angel investment structure. This could include an special purpose vehicle (SPV) entity or AngelList.

For startups operating in specific fintech verticals like lending, remittance or payments, the network will bring access to capital from a curated group of operators in the region.

Investors in the Fintech Angel Operators network are selected via an internal skills matrix to ensure that each specific skill set required to run a fintech, such as hiring, building a technical stack or fundraising, is captured by the expertise of an operator in the Angel network.

The network is evaluating a number of deals and intends to close its first investments by Q3’2021.

keng low finantier

Keng Low

“Whether you’re facing issues with developing your business model, how to approach and work with regulators or facing specific hurdles like regulation – you’ll want someone in your corner who can give strategic advice and solutions from real experience on what works in Southeast Asia,”

said Keng Low, Co-Founder of Finantier and Co-Founder of Fintech Angel Operators.

Keng co-founded Finantier, which is building an open finance platform for SEA. Finantier recently graduated from Y Combinator and is backed by investors such as Addition, GFC and Partech.

Sagar Gupta, Stripe Startup Ecosystem Lead.

Sagar Gupta

“The venture capital ecosystem in Southeast Asia has developed at a rapid pace over the last few years. Yet, it’s rare to have a collection of angels that focus on operational value-add within a particular industry vertical.

I’m super excited to see the impact of the Fintech Angel Operators in the region to build a globally impactful ecosystem,”

said Sagar Gupta, Stripe Startup Ecosystem Lead.

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