Accessibility is the key: Many companies are making the latest technology for managing finances and health and well-being accessible to people, and small companies that were before that only available to prominent or wealthy.
That’s the key takeaway from an article about the Global accelerator Finance Forward which is focused on financial health startups that are tech-driven. Village Capital introduced Finance Forward two years ago, along with the help of partners MetLife Foundation and PayPal.
“It’s a pretty revolutionary change,” says Matt Zieger, chief program officer, Americas for Village Capital. “It puts consumers in the driver’s seat.”
The report focuses on the examples of financial health innovation and trends in participants in the group of 120 and 1,100 entrepreneurs. It is called “The state of Global Financial Health Innovation; the findings focus on Latin America, Middle East, North Africa, Europe, the United States, and South Asia.
Fintech is a subset of technology is financial health as an individual’s “ability to feel comfortable with their financial present and future; their confidence in how to manage their money, get a loan at a fair rate to deal with an emergency or grow a business; and their ability to build wealth over time.”
The report breaks startups into several categories: looking at small- or personal-business lending, using examples, for instance, alternative lending options as well as access to capital or technology to handle debt; helping people to build their savings and manage their wealth, and prepare for the future (think protect or insuretech) as well as assisting workers to take advantage of opportunities to boost their incomes; and helping individuals pay for the necessities of life and transfer money between their homes and businesses.
The U.S. (24 companies) The report focuses on financing for higher education, including payroll tech and wealth management.
As an example, Equity’s technology assists colleges in improving the financial safety of students through increasing the availability of emergency resources and financing. “The same kind of systems that might have been made available to the college itself is being made directly available to the student,” Zieger says. Zieger.
Home Lending Pal, one of the two winners in the U.S. 2020 cohort–won the award of $45,000 and uses AI and blocks chain to allow homeowners to study the lending market and gain access to credit information and other information that lenders are typically privy to. This means that borrowers can make more informed decisions about particular lenders and discover ways to increase their chances of being accepted.
“We can answer questions like, What is your likelihood for approval from different lenders, how long would it take you to close, what is the best loan option for you and who are the best lenders that will give you the highest chance of success,” says co-founder Bryan Young.
Another U.S. winner, Manifest, is aimed at the less than 90 percent of those with 401(k)s that fail to transfer funds from the previous employer to their new one, leaving a significant amount of money unaccounted for. The platform handles moving retirement money to a single account, an operation that could lead to an extensive process of paperwork and phone calls in other circumstances.
One characteristic that many companies in financial health have in common is that they typically collaborate with businesses, such as an employer, to offer their product. However, the ultimate user is the consumer or employee.