Meet the 2022 Exchange grantee partnerships improving finhealth through access to public and private benefits. Learn More
Blog Post

Meet the Finalists of the Inaugural Financial Solutions Lab Competition

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Financial Solutions Lab at the Financial Health Network with founding partner, JPMorgan Chase, today announced the 14 finalist organizations in the Lab’s $3 million competition for technology innovators.

Selected from hundreds of applicants from across the country, these finalists are part of the next generation of fintech consumer champions. Their projects are aimed at solving the Financial Solutions Lab’s first challenge: to help American households better manage their finances on a tight budget.

From these 14 finalists, a panel of judges–including national thought leaders in behavioral economics–will select the winners in a live event and demo on June 11th in Austin, Texas at the Financial Health Network and SourceMedia/American Banker’s EMERGE Forum, the nation’s premier conference on consumer financial health.

Meet the finalists:

Ascend Consumer Finance
Low credit score borrowers face a tough choice: lock into a high-interest loan, or forgo credit in the hopes of improving credit and securing a better rate in the future. Ascend provides improving-credit borrowers with a third choice: get a fair rate today with a path to dramatically lower rates by demonstrating financial responsibility. By incenting reduced consumer debt, increased savings, and limited credit card spending, Ascend reduces risk on current loans and rewards the borrower by lowering interest payments.

Digit is an automated savings tool with a SMS-based UI that uses an intelligent algorithm to identify small amounts of money that can be moved into a Digit account based on spending and income. The company supports over 2,500 banks and credit unions and all Digit accounts are FDIC insured.

DipJar is a tip jar for credit cards, a hardware/software solution for the seamless collection and disbursement of credit card gratuities. Their one-step customer experience mimics the ease of cash tipping, providing incremental income to non-table-service tip-earners in the process. These workers–from baristas to valets to barbers–have seen tip income drastically decrease over the last decade as consumers have shifted to plastic as their primary payment method. DipJar is reversing that trend, supplementing wages for those who need it most.

Even turns the inconsistent income of hourly and part-time workers into a steady salary. It does this by saving money from above-average paychecks (in a separate savings account), and boosting low paychecks automatically. Even provides more consistent cash flow, helping to prevent account overdrafts and avoiding the need to access short term credit.

Ledge is a peer-to-peer crowdfunding platform for loans that empowers borrowers to leverage their extended social networks for fast friendly cash. Built for digital natives, Ledge automatically manages contributions and payments via Venmo at agreed upon timelines. Ledge is applying technology to what people have been doing for ages: borrowing from friends, family, and people who care about them.

LendStreet is a marketplace-lending platform which helps borrowers restructure and refinance debt, and allows investors to buy the loan at a discount. Borrowers get debt relief and payments that are structured around their lifestyle. LendStreet helps consumers get a fresh start to their financial lives.

One Financial
One Financial has created Bee, a fully featured mobile-enabled replacement for both checking accounts and check cashing services. One Financial’s innovation is to acquire users in-person using trucks, street stands, and mall kiosks–giving customers the face-to-face interactions needed to build trust while eliminating brick and mortar retail costs. With below market fees and reduced wait times (for account opening, for check clearing, for bill payments), One Financial directly addresses the liquidity challenges of low and middle income Americans.

PayGoal by Neighborhood Trust
PayGoal is a workplace tool that enables financially underserved workers to improve their financial health. It is a simple, guided mobile experience that leverages behavioral economics principles to engage users and improve the allocation of wages toward their principal financial goals.

Prism is a comprehensive bill payment and presentation app that helps the millions of millennials across the country better manage their personal finances and pay their bills from their smartphones. It’s easy to forget that the majority of young Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and many of their financial decisions are being made taking only the next week or even just the next few days into consideration. Prism helps add transparency to bills making presentation and payment easy, free, and intuitive.

Propel’s technology simplifies the food stamp application process by streamlining the initial enrollment form, eliminating the hassle of submitting paper documents, and providing a phone-friendly interface. Fifteen million Americans qualify for food stamps but aren’t enrolled, and the complexity of the enrollment process is a major barrier to accessing this critical lifeline. Propel makes the food stamp program more friendly.

Puddle is a platform for reputation-based borrowing, currently available to anyone in the US with a debit card. Users gain access to a shared pool of capital by contributing funds and building reputation with others they trust. Based on the Accumulated Savings and Credit Association model that has worked offline all over the world, Puddle is bringing a successful and impactful solution online.

SavingsQuest by Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund
SavingsQuest uses gamification to motivate consumers to save money on their prepaid cards. By encouraging small, impulsive, and recurring actions, the website and mobile app make the savings experience more fun and accessible. Users can save as little as a one cent–building the habit of saving a penny at a time.

SupportPay is an automated child support payment platform that enables parents to share child expenses and exchange child support/alimony directly with each other. SupportPay transforms the complex, time-consuming & conflict-ridden child support process while increasing the likelihood parents will exchange child support.

UtilityBoost by Elevate Energy and Greenlark Energy Partners
UtilityBoost is a service platform that transforms the traditional utility payment assistance subsidy model into an on-ramp for improving the financial health of vulnerable families. Combining mobile technology with an Energy Savings Account loaded with utility subsidies, UtilityBoost delivers cost transparency, significant cost reductions, and a powerful means for stabilizing monthly expenses. Through mobile messaging and innovative behavioral incentives, UtilityBoost helps customers stay current on their utility bills while taking control of their largest and most volatile household expenses.

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Currie at 312-396-9763 or

Those interested in attending the EMERGE conference to meet the finalists and winners can register here using the code FINTECH200 for a $200 discount.

Stay engaged with the fintech community.
Join the Financial Solutions Lab email list and get regular access to the latest insights in innovation and be among the first to learn about the next challenge!
Sign up now

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive updates on the Financial Solutions Lab, companies, and more.