Congratulations to our 2021 Accelerator cohort companies. Meet them here.
Blog Post

2021 Accelerator Cohort: Improving Financial Resilience With Fintech

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Financial Solutions Lab Accelerator is proud to introduce its 2021 cohort, which has a focus on expanding financial resilience and growth. The companies selected for this seventh fintech cohort include Daylight, Esusu, Everyday Life, Home Lending Pal, Leap Fund, Lifesaver, Sigo, and Upsolve. The cohort companies provide solutions in the credit, insurance, digital banking, and asset building areas for low- to moderate-income (LMI) individuals and historically underserved communities within the United States.

Identifying and supporting fintechs that expand financial access and improve the financial health of systemically excluded communities has never been more important – with the nation still struggling a year into the pandemic and confronting racial inequities. This year’s Accelerator Challenge aims to combat barriers to improving financial resilience, such as difficulties building credit through traditional credit scoring models, limited savings and investment structures centered around LMI needs, redlining, and the general lack of community-informed products.

The 2020 Financial Health Pulse showed that two-thirds of Americans are not Financially Healthy and that financial health gaps continue to widen along race, gender, and income lines as a result of the pandemic. Even with various innovative solutions already working to democratize access to financial services, it is apparent that many households are still in dire need of products that can help them build a relevant, accessible, and affordable system for financial resilience in the short and long term. 

We believe that fintech is best suited to help close these gaps because of its ability to move and test quickly and adapt to consumer needs. This cohort was selected for its collective ability to provide pathways to asset building, support opportunities to transact in the financial mainstream, create inclusive and affordable financial products, and address systemic inequities that affect LMI and underserved communities. These innovators span a variety of sectors but share a common goal of improving financial health for their users and communities. 

Looking ahead to the remainder of 2021, our team is excited to leverage our expertise, resources, and network to support and scale these incredibly impactful platforms. In particular, we are keen to monitor several trends that emerged as focal points of these innovators: 

  • Better alignment of revenue models with consumer outcomes to reduce or avoid fees entirely, especially in B2B enterprise models. 
  • Increased access to community-informed or culturally relevant financial solutions that promote trust and deepen consumer engagement. 
  • Enhanced distribution channels that meet consumers where they transact to expand access to high-quality products.

As we engage with this new cohort on the 2021 Accelerator, learn more about the participating companies and the work of the Financial Solutions Lab to advance financial health innovation.

Meet the Cohort 

The 2021 cohort companies by area of focus are:

Credit:

  • Esusu (New York, NY) offers a financial technology platform that empowers tenants and improves property performance. Esusu’s rent reporting platform captures rental payment data and reports it to credit bureaus to boost renters’ credit scores. This allows renters to build and establish their credit scores while helping property owners increase revenue, prevent evictions, and fill more vacancies powered by differentiated data and insights.
  • Upsolve (Brooklyn, NY) is a nonprofit that empowers low-income and working-class families navigating financial distress to file for bankruptcy for free using an online web app, without needing to afford a lawyer or legal fees. To date, Upsolve has relieved over $300 million in debt for families suffering from medical bills and job loss by providing free access to bankruptcy and legal assistance, and financial education.

Insurance:

  • Everyday Life (Boston, MA) removes barriers to buying life insurance, including high premiums, complicated products, and opaque underwriting, enabling more people to protect their families with life insurance coverage. They’re on a mission to provide life insurance for everyone who needs it by saving people money with personalized policies that automatically adjust as their needs change.
  • Sigo (Jersey City, NJ) provides a mobile-first platform that delivers affordable access to auto insurance customized for Latinx, immigrant, and working-class customers. Their offering is fully bilingual and their underwriting process does not use credit score, employment, or education.

Digital Banking:

  • Daylight (New York, NY) is the first and only digital banking platform designed specifically for the more than 30M LGBT+ people living in the U.S. Daylight helps members prepare for the future faster with planning tools, social savings tools, and a community feed, all tailored for the unique life events faced by the LGBT+ community, including gender transitions, family planning, and buying a home.
  • Lifesaver (New York, NY) enables credit unions and community banks to provide an advanced mobile banking experience for their customers. Through Lifesaver, consumers gain expanded visibility into their banks’ offerings and access to a wider set of additional financial management tools focused on financial health.

Asset Building:

  • Home Lending Pal (Orlando, FL) uses artificial intelligence and blockchain to improve the mortgage lending process for consumers, with a focus on underserved first-time home buyers. Utilizing standard underwriting information, AI tools evaluate customers’ financial situations, simulate underwriting, and, upon their request, match them with prospective lenders. Home Lending Pal’s blockchain network gives borrowers control of their data and ensures a smooth, transparent approval process for all stakeholders by using smart contracts. 
  • Leap Fund (New York, NY) is a nonprofit that helps public benefits recipients navigate benefits cliffs (becoming ineligible for public benefits due to an increase in wages or hours worked). Leap Fund accomplishes this by empowering workers to identify and avoid cliffs and ultimately aims to eliminate benefits cliffs altogether, all while creating pathways towards self-sufficiency and financial independence.

Follow these innovators throughout their journey as part of the Financial Solutions Lab. 

Still have questions? Reach out to finlab@finhealthnetwork.org.

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