Since launching in 2015, micro-investing app Stash has attracted 1.2 million customers. These days, it’s adding 25,000 new customers each week. With Stash, for $1 per month, they can save small-dollar amounts and invest their savings in index funds with catchy names like “Roll with Buffett.”
Now Stash is eyeing new territory: banking services. Cofounder and CEO Brandon Krieg says the startup is laying the groundwork for current accounts, debit cards, bill payment, and more, with the intention of launching the new features in Q1 of next year. A banking partner, yet to be named, will manage operations on the back-end.
“We keep learning what our clients need, and what they’re asking for is more help around how to live a better financial life,” Krieg says.
Mobile-first banking has been relatively slow to take off in the U.S., but it is quickly gaining traction in the rest of the world. In Kenya, there is M-Pesa, which works on even the most basic of phones. In South Korea, there is KakaoBank, an offshoot of popular messaging app KakaoTalk. In Europe, there is N26.
Here in the U.S., big banks’ mobile apps have improved in recent years. But Krieg sees room for a product that gives more “actionable” advice.
“How to create a better budget, how to spend less, how to think about your short-term goals and your long-term goals—our customers need help with that,” he says. “What we’re building is much more than a bank.”
Stash, unlike robo-advisors, does not seek out the affluent; its average customer has no prior investing experience, but is now putting away $22 per week. The company raised $40 million in Series C funding in July.AH