Today, banks and fintech startups tend not to offer family-friendly products, in particular, and this has emerged as a gap in the market. Meanwhile, the general lack of financial education and financial literacy means that families are failing to ensure their family’s financial prosperity.
GoHenry (which raised $121.2m), which bills itself as a “smart bank for kids”, has tried to tap into some of that market, but caters to kids, not families, per se . Meanwhile, others are gnawing on Gen-Zs and parents, such as Greenlight (US), Spriggy (AUS), Ruuky (DE), Step (US), Current (US), Nosso (UK), Unest (USA).
Entering this fray is Bling, a startup founded by a 20-year-old, which offers a financing platform aimed specifically at families, designed for parents to financially plan their children, from pocket money to first investments.
It has now raised a €3.5 million funding round from Peak (based in Amsterdam); The Family; angels such as Lea-Sophie Cramer, Verena Pausder, Felix Haas (co-founder IDnow), Jakob Schreyer (co-founder Orderbird), former CEO of ING-Diba Ben Tellings, world cup winner of football Andre Schürrle, family influencer Carmen Kroll, Angel Invest and Prediction Capital.
The startup says it is tackling the €3.3 billion in pocket money given out in Germany each year just for children aged 6-13, as well as the €35 billion spent on the internal market in Germany alone (German census).
The Bling product offers educational modules for parents, offers a child payment card, can cover allowances via chores, for example.
Founder Nils Feigenwinter started Bling when he was just 20 years old, and created it because, he says, he grew frustrated during his high school years seeing his classmates already going into personal debt: “After twelve years of school, I looked back and realized: Nice, I can now recognize the Pythagorean theorem and mountain stones, but I have no idea about saving or responsible money management “, he said in a statement.
With Bling, parents sign up, but no KYC is needed as it only works in an initial amount under €150. They create a family account, receive a card, and set up their child’s account. Kids learn through modules, set up savings pots, can earn money through errands and chores, and customize their cards.
After that, family and community members join Bling through links, contributing to savings pots and investment plans, managing household expenses, and preparing for critical financial events.
Bling claims it now has over 10,000 kids using a Bling Card as their first personal payment experience 6 months after launch, as it ultimately leverages grandparents, godparents and friends, using network effects to the growth.
Bling’s economic model is direct subscription, transactions and fees for financial products, partnerships (first mobile plans, insurance, etc.).
Prior to Bling, Feigenwinter founded three other companies in the youth segment, including Switzerland’s largest student magazine, a licensing and family product house, as well as a consulting agency specializing in young adult topics, which led him to be described as the “fintech prodigy” by German media. He is joined by CTO and co-founder Leon Stephan.