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04.11.17

CFSI, Chase Seek Fintech Startups for Financial Health Awards

Fintech entrepreneurs still have a few weeks left to win financial backing from two big players in the payment space. The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) and JPMorgan Chase’s Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) plan to award $250,000 to programs that help consumers build financial health, “with a special focus on those communities that are frequently underserved, such as older Americans, communities of color, people with disabilities and products that address the gender wealth gap.”

CFSI is accepting applications until April 27 for those projects, with winners announced at the June EMERGE Conference in Austin, Texas. The new winners will mark the third class of companies backed by FinLab. Previous winners have since collectively gained some $100 million in additional capital, and their projects serve about 1.3 million U.S. consumers, according to Ryan Falvey, managing director at CFSI, who oversees the FinLab. “We started FinLab because most Americans are struggling financially,” he says. “Some 57 percent of the population have difficulty managing their day-to-day financial lives, establishing a cushion for financial resilience and positioning themselves for financial security and mobility.”

FinLab so far has helped support more than 18 fintech companies working to improve the financial health” of U.S. consumers, said JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon in a recent letter to shareholders. Among past winning programs is Digit, “an automated savings tool that identifies small amounts of money that can be moved into savings based on spending and income.” Digit has saved consumers about $350 million since 2015, CFSI and the bank say.

“When looking at prospective companies, we are most interested in founders who are genuinely invested in—and are often themselves experienced with—the problem they are trying to solve,” Falvey says. “A passionate founder who can relate to the struggle they want to fix is so important when it comes to getting a new venture off the ground.”

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