Prudential Financial joins the Financial Health Network and JPMorgan Chase to scale financial and technical support for fintechs that are developing solutions for underserved communities
Four new fintech innovators selected for sixth accelerator cohort to improve worker and student financial health
CHICAGO – June 22, 2020 – The Financial Solutions Lab, an initiative launched and managed by the Financial Health Network and JPMorgan Chase, today announced an additional commitment by Prudential Financial, expanding the Financial Solutions Lab to $60M over a 10-year period. With this new investment, the Financial Solutions Lab will further expand its technical and financial support for innovative fintech companies that are helping improve the financial health of people in low- to moderate-income (LMI) households and historically underserved communities in the U.S.
In addition, the Financial Solutions Lab is announcing today that it has selected the four organizations for its sixth Accelerator cohort to help develop solutions to advance the financial health of underserved workers and students – especially as many are struggling with lost jobs or income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
“The pandemic and unfolding economic crisis have heightened challenges for workers and students to extraordinary levels – especially for those who are already struggling,” said Garry Reeder, VP of innovation and policy at the Financial Health Network. “The Financial Solutions Lab’s programs are in a position to provide relief in a way that improves the financial health of those who need it most. Our latest Accelerator will focus on how fintech can support workers and students, and the support from JPMorgan Chase and new partner Prudential Financial will help us offer new solutions to the challenges faced by millions of struggling Americans.”
The Financial Solutions Lab focuses on innovative solutions that support populations facing acute and persistent financial health challenges including people of color, older adults, people with disabilities, and women.
Prudential Financial Joins the Financial Solutions Lab
Prudential has joined the Financial Solutions Lab with a $10M commitment over the next five years, growing the initiative to $60M over 10 years. This commitment advances Prudential’s mission of solving the financial challenges of our changing world.
Given growing economic inequalities, Prudential is increasingly focused on equipping historically underserved communities with the tools, support, and capital they need to get on a path to economic and social mobility. Through cross-sector collaboration with organizations like the Financial Health Network, the company aims to find new ways to help put financially vulnerable people on the path to financial wellness.
“Prudential has a long history of investing in initiatives and partnerships that improve financial health,” said Lata Reddy, senior vice president of inclusive solutions at Prudential Financial and chair of The Prudential Foundation. “Our partnership with the Financial Solutions Lab will get capital into the hands of startups to help fund and scale solutions for a broad and diverse population, including low- to moderate-income individuals and those in underserved communities, and further our combined reach and impact. As a financial service organization, we have a responsibility to build solutions that serve all Americans.”
Prudential Financial joins Financial Solutions Lab founding partners Financial Health Network and JPMorgan Chase to support the Financial Solutions Lab and its three main areas of programming:
- The Financial Solutions Lab Accelerator, now in its sixth year as one of the few fintech accelerators focused on financial health
- The Nonprofit-Fintech Exchange, a meeting place for interested nonprofit organizations and fintech providers to explore collaboration and swap insights to maximize their collective impact on the communities they serve
- The Financial Solutions Lab Collaborative, which will focus on identifying and exploring new, innovative solutions that are not yet available in the market to address unmet financial health needs
The Financial Solutions Lab Accelerator’s 2020 Worker and Student Financial Health Cohort
The Financial Solutions Lab Accelerator selected four new fintech innovators for its sixth cohort. The companies are developing products and services to advance the financial health of underserved workers and students, two groups that have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The four companies are helping address challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis including lost income, transitions to remote teaching and learning, sudden financial shocks, unemployment, and difficulty in accessing student aid and managing student loan debt. In addition, they are focused on addressing broader challenges that impact students and workers such as the need to retrain and reskill for career advancement, the cost associated with carrying administrative burdens for small business owners, and escalating costs of education and training programs.
The 2020 cohort companies are:
- Climb Credit (New York, N.Y.) offers payment and financing options for students to attend career-advancing education programs – which have been verified for positive career outcomes – with loan programs that create economic mobility and can be used by people from all financial backgrounds, including those who are unemployed. Climb recently created a hardship forbearance program so users can pause their Climb payments for two months without accruing any interest to help them manage financial challenges resulting from current events. Climb also worked with school partners to help ensure they were still operating remotely to deliver career skills to students, and launched a $250,000 scholarship fund with a school partner aimed at helping unemployed Americans reskill for healthcare careers.
- Edquity (New York, N.Y.) administers universities’ emergency cash grants and provides social service referrals for college students facing financial insecurity. In the last few months, Edquity made product adaptations to support managing federal CARES Act emergency aid dollars on behalf of college partners, and to allow partners to serve all students, including DACA and undocumented students, with a single application.
- Finli (Los Angeles, Calif.) removes the administrative burden of invoicing, tuition collection, and maintaining a digital presence for family-centric businesses like neighborhood schools and enrichment programs by providing an enterprise solution for parents to use. Finli launched Finli Classes to help small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic by giving them an online platform to teach their classes to a wider audience. 100% of tuition fees goes directly to the small businesses helping them keep their doors open another day.
- Summer (New York, N.Y.) helps student loan borrowers save on their loans by identifying and enrolling users in the best repayment and forgiveness programs for their situation. Summer updated its product to account for the large number of borrowers who are now collecting unemployment, and provided clear messaging throughout the product to help ensure borrowers understand their new options under the CARES Act. Summer also launched programs in several states where Summer is provided at no charge to residents who have filed for unemployment. In addition, Summer announced that it is teaming up with Steady to introduce student loan financial assistance to the millions of hourly and gig workers on Steady’s platform.
“The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on underserved communities, especially communities of color, is making the need for inclusive digital solutions that advance the financial health of impacted students and workers even more urgent,” said Colleen Briggs, head of financial health and community development, JPMorgan Chase. “Improving the financial stability and resiliency of underserved communities in the U.S. has to be at the core of our recovery.”
Each team in the Accelerator cohort will receive $125,000 in capital, access to the Financial Health Network and partnership opportunities that can help innovators increase product reach, one-on-one ongoing mentorship and expertise provided by the Financial Health Network and JPMorgan Chase executives as well as other industry leaders, and peer learning via virtual retreats and working sessions throughout the year.
About the Financial Solutions Lab
The Financial Solutions Lab is a $60 million, 10-year initiative managed by the Financial Health Network in collaboration with founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. and with support from Prudential Financial. The Financial Solutions Lab’s mission is to cultivate, support and scale innovative ideas that advance the financial health of low- to moderate-income (LMI) consumers and historically underserved communities. The programs the Financial Solutions Lab offers to execute on this mission include the Financial Solutions Lab Accelerator, now in its sixth year as one of the few fintech accelerators focused on financial health; the Nonprofit-Fintech Exchange, a meeting place for interested nonprofit and fintech providers to explore collaboration and swap insights on how to build high-impact partnerships; and the Financial Solutions Lab Collaborative, which will focus on identifying and exploring innovative solutions to unmet financial health needs. For more information, visit https://finlab.finhealthnetwork.org/.
Financial Solutions Lab/Financial Health Network
JPMorgan Chase & Co.