The future of personal finance: Fintech 50 2022

Samir Joel and Deir WimemoESUSU

Reported by Isabel Contreras and Jeff Coughlin

Pandemic uncertainty, followed by monetary stimulus boosts and now, spiraling inflation, has made young people more aware of their finances — and their financial situation — than ever before. So it’s fitting that half of the eight personal finance startups honored in this year’s Fintech 50 list (and two of the four personal finance newcomers on the list) aim to help Americans who are on a paycheck or have poor credit ( or even weak) history, for a financial basis.

Newcomer Grow Credit issues users a virtual credit card (no plastic version), which can be used to pay monthly recurring subscriptions and then paid automatically from their linked bank account. These regular, on-time payments are reported to the credit bureaus, which over time helps the user build their credit score – crucial to getting a regular credit card and good rates on auto and real estate loans. Grow charges a monthly fee as does another newcomer, Brigitte, whose credit building loan is linked to a savings account, ensuring that payments are made on time and reported to their credit bureaus. Another Brigitte feature aims to help users avoid expensive overdraft fees and payday loans by linking to their bank accounts, monitoring cash flow, and offering a small, interest-free cash advance, when needed.

Two of the honorees on the return list also focus on helping people join the financial and credit mainstream. Esusu reports rent payments to credit bureaus, so individual renters can build their credit standing with on-time monthly payments – just as homeowners do. Propel mobile app helps users to track balances of food stamps and other government benefits, and offers a free Mastercard debit card to users to manage their benefits and earnings from working in one place.

Of course, many Americans are doing well financially, increasing their spending on travel and other out-of-home experiences that were abandoned earlier in the pandemic. And here comes the role of a newcomer to the Fintech 50, the Hopper travel booking app. Besides commissions, it’s generating revenue with a new program that allows customers to pay an additional fee — usually 10% to 20% of the ticket price — to freeze a fare flight for up to a week. If the fare goes up and the customer buys the ticket, Hopper eats the difference – which is especially attractive on these days of full flights and higher airfares.

The two most valuable companies in the Fintech 50 personal finance category are Chime, America’s largest digital bank, at $25 billion, and Upgrade, a newcomer to the list, with $6.3 billion. It introduces several new products, including credit cards that can be repaid as if they were short-term loans, with a fixed interest rate and payment date, eliminating the risk of accumulating compound interest. All honorees in this category together are worth $38.8 billion.

Here are eight personal finance startups that made the Forbes Fintech 50 list in 2022.

Brigitte


The financial app aims to help Americans living on the edge build their money management skills and credit scores, while avoiding bank overdrafts and traditional payday advance loans. The subscription service of $9.99 per month is linked to the user’s bank account and based on his cash flow, he agrees to take out an interest-free loan of between $50 to $250. It also uses machine learning algorithms to automatically extend this loan if necessary to prevent bank account overdrafts. (Only one loan is allowed at a time.) The Credit Generator Bridget feature links a term loan to a savings account that is used to ensure timely loan repayment – these payments are reported on time to credit bureaus and can boost users’ credit scores by up to 60 points, says Brigitte. The free version of the app offers advice, but there are no loans.

headquarters: New York, New York

Finance: $37.5 million from Lightspeed, DCM, NYCA, etc.

Latest review: 140 million dollars

good wellNearly half a million paying users, plus more than three million accounts use the app’s free features.

Founders: CEO Zubin Matthews, 42, a Delhi native and University of Chicago graduate, worked as an investment banker at Deutsche Bank for ten years; Hamel Kothari, 28, A member From the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

chime


Chime, America’s largest digital bank, has gained a following by offering free checking accounts and no overdraft fees. In 2021, major banks such as Chase and Bank of America lowered their overdraft fees, likely due to a reaction to competitive pressures from Chime and other digital banks. Chime had planned to go public in early 2022, according to a person familiar with the matter, but he delayed it amid a rocky stock market. CEO Chris Brett says Chime attracted more new customers in the first quarter of 2022 than in any quarter in the company’s 10-year history.

headquarters: San Francisco, California

Finance: $2.3 billion from DST, Sequoia, Coatue, etc.

Latest review: 25 billion dollars

good well: 13.2 million app downloads in 2021 compared to 11.1 million in 2020, according to Apptopia.

Founders: CEO Chris Brett, 49, formerly of Green Dot and Visa; CTO Ryan King, 45.

Isusu


Helps tenants build their credit for free by reporting rental payments on time to credit bureaus. Landlords pay for this service because it increases payments on time, reduces evictions, gets more tenants to stay in the units long-term and maximizes property managers’ reports on ESG. The new partnership with Freddie Mac makes the Esusu product even more attractive: The mortgage company provides closing cost credits on multifamily loans to owners who use Esusu.

headquarters: New York, New York

Finance: More than $144 million from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Motley Fool Ventures, Next Play Ventures, and more

Latest review: 1 billion dollars

good wellOver 3 million registered rental units and over 140 property management clients, including Progress Homes and Goldman Sachs.

Founders and Co-CEOs: Abi Wimemo, 30 years old, a Nigerian immigrant. Samir Joel, 28; All of them had nonprofit experience before starting Esusu.

credit grow


A “virtual” Mastercard version is issued to those with poor or no credit history looking to boost their credit score. The card, which charges no interest (but does have a monthly fee of $2-8), can be used to pay recurring subscriptions like Netflix and Spotify and is linked to a user’s bank account for on-time automatic payments that create a credit history, boosting credit scores as much as 50 points , says Gru. Later this year, it plans to launch a more traditional physical credit card with an interest rate of 15% to 18% that users can “graduate” to.

headquarters: Santa Monica, California

Finance: $11 million from Mucker Capital, Commerce Ventures, and Arena Investors

Latest review: 26 million dollars

good well: 52,000 customers, up from 8,000 at the end of 2020.

FounderCEO Joe Payne, 46, is a serial entrepreneur whose startups include an iPhone app discovery marketplace that has attracted 12 million users called Free App A Day.

Huber


Launched in 2014 as a free app to predict the cheapest time to book a flight, the travel booking site now offers additional features, such as home rentals and a new program that allows customers to pay extra fees—usually 10% to 20% of the ticket price—to freeze the flight price. For up to a week. If the fare goes up and the customer buys the ticket, Hopper eats the difference. Today, these new fintech products make up 40% of Huber’s revenue, with the rest coming from traditional commissions paid to travel agents. Almost half of its employees are in the United States.

headquarters: Montreal, Canada

Finance: $580 million from Omers Ventures, Capital One, GPI Capital, etc.

Latest review: 5 billion dollars

good well: $150 million in 2021 revenue, up from $40 million in 2020; The app has 70 million downloads for life.

Founders: CEO Frederic Lalonde, 48, who dropped out of college at 19 and started a travel data company that Expedia bought in 2002; Joost Owerkirk, former head of B2B engineering, is 50 years old.

Pay


Its Providers app allows low-income families to get government benefits like SNAP (food stamps), rent assistance and TANF (cash payments) to manage those benefits along with their earned income and overall finances. Propel issues a free Mastercard discount for cash benefits and profits to users (food stamps have their own government card), and generates revenue from card exchange fees and from marketers that pay to promote affordable products, such as low-cost Wi-Fi and cellular plans on the platform.

headquarters: New York, New York

Finance: $85 million from Nyca, Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, and others

Latest review: $520 million according to PitchBook

good well: more than 5 million users; More than doubled last year to reach $24 million.

Founders: CEO Jimmy Chen, 34, is leaving Facebook’s product manager role to start Propel; COO Jeff Kaiser, 32; CTO Ram Mehta, 36.

Tala


It offers loans of between $10 and $500 to customers with little or no formal borrowing history in the Philippines, Mexico, Kenya and India, using their smartphone data to judge risk. In December 2021, Tala released a digital savings account that attracted nearly 100,000 users. Historically, Tala has relied on large institutional investors to fund its loans, but plans to launch a new model in late 2022 that uses a “decentralized finance” cryptocurrency platform, which will allow professional investors to pool funds to fund Tala’s clients’ loans and earn a return.

headquarters: Santa Monica, California

Finance: $350 million from Upstart, Stellar Development Foundation, RPS Ventures, and more

Latest review: 800 million dollars

good well: lends $70 million per month to clients, up from $60 million a year ago; Six million registered users and 1.5 million monthly active users.

Founder and CEO: Shivani Siroya, 40, who founded Tala after studying the impact of microcredit in sub-Saharan Africa and West Africa for the United Nations.

Raising the level of


The six-year-old fintech personal loan company offers a credit card (pays back 1% to 3% cashback) that also works as a personal loan: you get a credit line from $500 to $25,000, you have a deadline to pay off and can make repayments equal monthly. The lender recently launched a bitcoin rewards card and no-fee checking account that gives users 2% cashback on daily purchases.

headquarters: San Francisco, California

Finance: $600 million from Coatue, DST, Ribbit Capital, etc.

Latest review: 6.3 billion dollars

good wellIn 2021, annual revenue more than quadrupled compared to the previous year, to $410 million.

FoundersCEO: Renaud Laplanche, 51, founder and former CEO of the online lender. LendingClub CFO Jeff Bogan, 42; MP Adelina Grozdanova, 38 years old; SVP Matt Wehrmann, 50; CIO Visar Nimani, 47.

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