Children and the Evolving Financial Ecosystem
The past decade has seen an explosion in consumer financial services offerings. Every day it seems more people have access to the financial services they need, when and where they need them. From digital banking (Chime, Varo) to online trading (Robinhood) to wealth management (Betterment, Wealthfront), to savings and budgeting (Digit, Clarity), there’s a solution for just about
everything; but there are not solutions for everyone. The existing financial services stack is geared towards consumers with financial histories – families, in particular parents and their children, are largely ignored.
The exclusion of children from financial services has not been mirrored in other rapidly digitizing sectors. Gone are the days when a handful of coins could keep a group of friends entertained for hours at the local arcade; today, children are buying Robux and exploring digital worlds with their friends online. A five-dollar bill for an after-school snack is out of place in the era of UberEats and cashless restaurants. Similarly, shopping with parents is quickly being replaced by Amazon and e-commerce.
These competing dynamics combine to create a reality in which an entire demographic, eager to spend and engage in our digital world, is hamstrung by a financial system from which it has traditionally been excluded.
Worse yet, limited access to financial experiences means that when children do turn eighteen, many are given a debit card and access to credit with little oversight and a limited understanding of how to use them. This inexperience can lead to bad budgeting skills, poor credit scores, and financial problems that reach long into adulthood.
Introducing the Family Finance Model
It’s hard to imagine a future where children receive their allowance in cash, save coins in piggy banks, or use a parent’s credit card for all their online purchases. This is why we are thrilled to partner with Greenlight to shine a light on the world of money, giving parents and kids the tools they need to explore lessons in earning, spending, saving, giving and more.
Greenlight’s category-defining “Family Finance” product is the comprehensive, all-in-one money management platform purpose-built for families. Its parent-managed debit card for kids with companion apps gives parents the ability to pay allowances, manage chores and set flexible, store-level spend controls. Kids explore lessons in the world of money with a debit card and app designed just for them.
For the first time, children can earn, spend and save their own money, on their own cards, with oversight, guidance, and support from their families. Over time, Greenlight plans to introduce new products designed to increase youth access to and engagement with financial services. Greenlight’s vision for the future of youth banking will be key to revolutionizing the way young spenders engage with their finances in the coming years.
The need for this product is clearly resonating with families. Today, Greenlight serves more than two million parents and children and has helped families save over $50 million. We believe Greenlight will eventually become as essential for family finances as Amazon Prime is for commerce, Netflix is for entertainment and Spotify is for music.
Family Finance and Banking
As an early mover in the family finance space, Greenlight has uncovered a meaningful banking opportunity through helping parents teach their children how to engage with their finances. Despite significant regulatory and technical hurdles, Greenlight has demonstrated that in fact, families with children are ideal consumers of financial services products when tailored to their specific needs.
Over the past five years, Greenlight has successfully navigated the nuanced regulatory issues that arise when working with children and has developed core competencies in complex technical functions like spend controls, enveloping and instant transfers. We see these accomplishments as impressive and differentiating as Greenlight continues to build a competitive moat in this nascent space.
As Greenlight grows, we believe it will become the go-to place for families to learn about money, save, transact and more. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Greenlight as they usher in a new era of banking that serves not just our banks’ oldest and savviest consumers, but their youngest and most eager ones as well.
Partnering with Greenlight
Canapi’s connection to Tim and Johnson dates back nearly 20 years. Over time, we’ve built both strong personal relationships with their team and a genuine affinity for the product that Greenlight has become. Several of our partners use Greenlight within their own households and the product has grown into a staple for many in the extended Canapi family.
Greenlight is strategic to Canapi in many ways. In addition to what we feel will be a superior investment, Greenlight is refining capabilities that can ultimately be leveraged in financial services. Greenlight has succeeded in opening access to an entirely new demographic and continues to drive innovation by onboarding families over completely digital channels. We believe the early success this company has achieved has laid the groundwork for improving youth finances for years to come.
We’re extremely proud to join Tim, Johnson, Scott and the rest of the team alongside world-class investors TTV, Bond Capital, DST Global, FinVC, Goodwater Capital, and Relay Ventures as Greenlight embarks on their next chapter of growth!