Wingocard launched its mobile banking app and debit card focused on teens Wednesday following $1.7 million in additional seed funding.
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Co-founder and CEO Sebastien Brault got together with a friend in 2019 over a shared frustration of managing money with a teenager.
“I would give my teen cash, but anytime they wanted to buy online, they would come to me to use my credit card,” Brault said. “It didn’t make sense from both a security or a learning point of view 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 up its waitlist that grew to more than 75,000 teens in the U.S. Wingocard’s app is free — something competitors are not doing, he said. It focuses solely on teens 13 and up, offering free gamified financial literacy 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 shopping, as well as a physical Visa Debit card.
Forthcoming, parents will be able to subscribe for $5 a month to tap into other functionalities, including chore charts, additional fraud security, and parental controls, Brault said. The company will also make money from the card interchange fees.
Like Wingocard, other teen- and child-focused financial apps and platforms are attracting both customers and investments. Crunchbase data shows that since 2016, investors infused approximately $535 million into 89 known deals with global fintech startups focused on children, young people and parents.
Panache Ventures led the round and was joined by Diagram Ventures and a group of angel investors that included Cherif Habib and Francois Arbour. The new funding gives New York-based Wingocard total funding of $3 million, according to Brault.
Nicolas Jacques-Bouchard, principal at Panache Ventures, said he knew Brault from his work at other companies, and he was personally attracted to products and services for the Gen Z population, of which 90 percent own a smartphone and are always looking for something interesting.
“In fintech, that is going to be a free model with gamification,” Jacques-Bouchard said in an interview. “Wingocard’s team is strong, and their focus on the U.S. market is different, where Gen Z is a good asset, but a difficult one for banks to access.”
Meanwhile, the new funding will go toward validating the assumptions Wingocard had when it first launched, Brault said. He plans to accelerate the company’s growth and expand its product offering.
The company also now has 75,000 teens on the waitlist to get on board, something he wants to get right. He also said it will take time to demonstrate traction and get to a Series A.
“We want to provide a white-glove service so we can understand if the onboarding process is smooth so that we can begin to bring on a larger number of users,” Brault said. “We really want to help a generation of teens become smart with their money, and we want to go slow to understand how they use the app to provide better user experience. Our success is them being smarter than we were when getting credit cards for the first time.”
Inset photo courtesy of Wingocard
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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