Fintech startup Greenlight, which provides a debit card and app for kids to learn about financial education, has closed a sizable Series B funding round of $54 million. The round was led by Columbus, Ohio-based Drive Capital with participation from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, as well as existing investors TTV Capital, Live Oak Bank and Relay Ventures.
“[Drive Capital] loved what were doing because we’re actually helping kids learn these important financial concepts and habits before they’re adults and can get themselves into bad credit card debt, or whatever it may be,” says Greenlight co-founder and CEO Tim Sheehan. Drive Capital Partner Chris Olsen will join the Greenlight Board.
It’s not the first time the startup has partnered with notable financial and technology backers: its 2018 $16 million Series A included SunTrust Bank, Ally Financial, nbkc bank, and Amazon’s Alexa Fund.
Greenlight’s branded debit card and accompanying app allows parents to directly transfer allowance money to kids, similarly to a Venmo transaction, and set controls on how much and what they can spend. Kids can earn money through a chores feature, as well as “parent-paid interest,” where parents set an interest rate on any savings their kids collect.
Kids can track their savings goals on the app, learning to be responsible about money. Greenlight cards do not have a cash-back feature, so kids can only spend money within the confines of the parental controls. Parents also receive alerts whenever the card is used.
The whole package only costs $4.99 per month.
“Greenlight has built an incredible platform that makes it convenient and safe for parents and kids to manage their money,” said Olsen in a statement. “What attracted us to Greenlight is the scarcity of tech platforms empowering consumers to be more financially successful.”
Since launching less than three years ago, the startup has grown quickly. Today, over half a million parents use the product.
Sheehan says that a lot of that growth has been driven by word-of-mouth recommendations, particularly in parent groups on social media.
“A lot of the best features we’ve added have come from our customers. We have really engaged parents who are making fantastic suggestions,” he says.
The Series B will help accelerate their product roadmap, says Sheehan, including the adding of a new investing feature. Kids will be able to research the stock market, propose an investment to their parents and, if approved, directly invest through the app.
“This starts to really get close to the original vision I had for Greenlight,” says Sheehan. “It’s essentially four accounts in one app — a spending account with parental controls, a savings account with goals and parent-paid interest rate, a giving account, and the investment account.”
Secondly, the company will bump up marketing and customer acquisition to reach even more of the 50 million U.S. households with a child living at home.
Finally, Greenlight will add to its team, with Sheehan hinting at a hiring spree. The company currently employs about 100, all in its Atlanta headquarters.
“I’m personally really motivated by the idea that every family should get Greenlight, that all kids could grow up with Greenlight and dramatically change their lives because of what they learned,” says Sheehan about his vision for the future.
“Our dream is that this whole generation of kids grows up to be super-savvy about finance and doesn’t suffer from the significant financial problems adults have today.”