Sydney-based pocket money management startup Spriggy has closed a $2.5 million funding round to help parents teach their children about finances and savings, after its co-founders left their corporate banking roles “to do more for their customers” than what the big banks were offering.
Co-founded in 2015 by Mario Hasanakos and Alex Badran, the mobile app allows children aged between 8-17 years to manage their pocket money with the help of their parents and is looking to capitalise on the growing consumer demand for fintech in Australia.
Since launching in November last year, the startup has seen its user base soar to 35,000, and will be using this cash injection to expand the app’s offerings and grow its consumer base even further.
“We would love to bring Spriggy to as many families as possible — 35,000 [users] is just a drop in the ocean,” Hasanakos tells StartupSmart.
The startup’s latest adds to the $300,000 raised by the startup two years ago to launch the savings app, according to Spriggy, and some of the funds will go towards hiring more staff for the startup.
Spriggy, which was previously named an ’emerging star’ in Australia’s fintech sector, intends to double its team from four to eight in the near future, with “more [hires] to come”, according to Hasanakos.
The most recent round is led by Perle Ventures and Alium Capital, among other undisclosed investors, and will see former ING Direct Australian chief Vaughn Richtor and former Deliver Hero chief technology officer Scott Fletcher joining the Spriggy team in advisory roles.
Hasanakos says it was the “extraordinary take-up” of the platform from consumers that spearheaded this capital raise, adding that he is “thrilled with how receptive the market was to the offering we are providing”.
Fintech is “more accessible” than ever
Hasanakos and Badran met while working as derivatives traders at Citigroup, and according to Hasanakos the two “came together on the idea that financial institutions could do more for their customers”.
It was this passion for giving customers the best offerings that drove the pair to create Spriggy, after drawing on inspiration from the way industry giants like Amazon and Netflix leverage their consumer’s feedback and desires to constantly create top-tier offerings.
“I was always interested in the tech world — how Amazon and Netflix built their products from the ground up by listening to their users — the financial world was quite far behind in that sense,” Badran says.
For Hasanakos, leaving the corporate world was made even easier by the growing demand for fintech services, and the increasing amount of resources and assistance available to founders from the fintech ecosystem.
“I think we live in really remarkable times. There’s a great opportunity for people to start their own businesses, and the tech tools [required] to make an app are so much simpler than they have been historically,” Hasanakos says.
“It’s all a bit more accessible and reachable for a new tier of people to leave corporate jobs to build things that are really customer oriented and focusing on helping users,” he says.
Bringing pocket money into the 21st century
The Spriggy platform charges parents a $30 subscription fee per year per child, and offers a third-party facilitated Visa card to give children the responsibility of managing their spending, while still allowing parents oversight.
For Hasanakos, the Spriggy concept afforded him an “opportunity to take practical financial education, take the historical notion of pocket money and take it in to the 21st century”, by targeting the next generation of consumers.
“If you want better financial outcomes for people you have to start really young. That led us to look at kids and what services are out there right now to teach them about money — Spriggy helps parents give kids more responsibility over how they spend, save and earn,” he says.
Hasakanos says the prevalence of online shopping also poses another hurdle in its accessibility and ease of purchase for young consumers and this another pain point the Spriggy platform aims to solve.
“We arrived at the market out of customer need … there is no simple way for parents to keep their kids responsible for spending decisions in a supervised way [with online shopping]” Hasanakos says.
“With real world money they [children] can get the experience they need to get the comfort that comes with managing your own money,” he says.