Wingocard launched its teen-focused debit card and mobile banking app on Wednesday after $1.7 million in additional seed funding.
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Co-founder and CEO Sebastien Brault met with a friend in 2019 over a shared frustration of managing money with a teenager.
“I would give my teenage son cash, but every time they wanted to shop online, they would come to me to use my credit card,” Brault said. “It didn’t make sense from either a security or learning standpoint because they weren’t tracking anything. We thought there had to be a better solution.”
In early 2020, the Montreal-based company was founded and opened its waiting list that grew to more than 75,000 teens in the US The Wingocard app is free, something competitors aren’t doing, he said. Focusing solely on teens ages 13 and up, it offers free gamified financial education tools and an account with no overdraft fees to manage that connects to a parent’s account. There is also a digital card for online and in-store purchases, as well as a physical Visa debit card.
Coming soon, parents will be able to subscribe for $5 a month to access other features, including chore charts, extra fraud security and parental controls, Brault said. The company will also make money from card interchange fees.
Like Wingocard, other financial apps and platforms focused on teens and kids are attracting customers and investments. Crunchbase data shows that, since 2016, investors have invested roughly $535 million in 89 known deals with global fintech startups focused on kids, youth and parents.
Panache Ventures led the round and was joined by Diagram Ventures and a group of angel investors including Cherif Habib and Francois Arbour. The new funding gives New York-based Wingocard a total funding of $3 million, according to Brault.
Nicolas Jacques-Bouchard, director of Panache Ventures, said he knew Brault from his work at other companies and was personally drawn to products and services for the Gen Z population, 90% of whom own a smartphone. and is always looking for something interesting. .
“In fintech, that will be a free model with gamification,” Jacques-Bouchard said in an interview. “Wingocard’s team is strong and their approach to the US market is different, where Generation Z is a good asset, but difficult for banks to access.”
In the meantime, the new funding will go towards validating the assumptions Wingocard had when it was first launched, Brault said. He plans to accelerate the company’s growth and expand its product offering.
The company now also has 75,000 teens on the waiting list to participate, something it wants to get right. He also said it will take time to show traction and make it to Serie A.
“We want to provide a white glove service so we can understand if the onboarding process is smooth so we can start attracting more users,” Brault said. “We really want to help a generation of teenagers be smart with their money, and we want to take it slow to understand how they use the app to provide a better user experience. Our success is that they are smarter than we were when we first got credit cards.”
Inset photo courtesy of Wingocard
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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