Mimi Chan’s background as a refugee from Vietnam who moved to Texas as a child has informed her experience as a full-time mother and startup founder. Her startup, Littlefund, which is officially launching today, is a reflection of the financial consciousness and forward-thinking attitude that was embedded in her from a young age. Littlefund’s goal is pretty simple: let parents, family members, and friends give meaningful, monetary gifts to the young children (and parents) in their lives.
“Although I was appreciative of all of the material gifts that friends and family were gifting to us, there was something missing. I wanted to be able to align their support and generosity with what really mattered and what was needed for my daughter,” Chan expressed in an interview with Crunchbase News. “On their side, the feeling was mutual. We were just lacking an alternative to material gifting.”
Building off of the now antiquated practice of giving savings bonds as gifts, Littlefund aims to bring gift giving into the highly tech-dependent millennial age.
By creating a Littlefund for their child, parents start off with five customizable goals, ranging from long-term objectives like college education to short-term ones like money for a trip or a computer.
Individuals that want to give a monetary gift can send the contribution with a link to the child’s Littlefund. Gifters can view current objectives or set new intentions with their gift. If a child’s parents don’t already have a Littlefund for their child, gifters can still send a gift with a specified goal, which will prompt the parents to open an account. Parents can manage and track each of their children’s goals and contribute to other Littlefunds through an online dashboard. Contributions can be made with debit or credit cards and ACH bank transfers.
“All of the contributions are tracked and saved into a Littlefund, which is FDIC insured. It doubles as a financial account for savings for the child,” Chan explained. The account includes one percent daily cash rewards and is free for parents to sign up.
Littlefund is backed by 500 Startups and participated in the fintech-focused 500 Startups accelerator program in 2017. Chan told Crunchbase News that the company is currently in the process of fundraising. Littlefund currently makes a small margin on transaction fees and the interest on deposits. However, in the future, Chan says Littlefund plans to expand the breadth of its offerings as both parents and children get older.
“As we continue to grow, we will be offering a premium access subscription which will have many of the different investment options and features,” Chan said. She added that those features may include access and management features for older children.
With millennials that are dealing with debts of their own becoming parents, they are aware of the financial considerations that accompany child rearing. With that trend in mind, various fintech startups have emerged to bring tech to the parent-child financial education relationship. Littlefund’s launch is indicative of the desire of not only parents, but also their friends and family members to contribute to that education from day one.
iStock Photo / Jane_Kelly
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