A hot topic in the world of personal finance is how to get millennials to effectively manage their finances. Millenials have been distrustful of the traditional banks and live their lives completely in the digital age. At the crux of every financial decision is budget yet there is no easy way to make and track budgeting decisions in an easy manner but there are hundreds of apps that will help you track your expenses. Until Exeq, the smart mobile budgeting platform that serves as an all-in-one finance platform. Targeting millenials when they first join the workforce, the app has the sophistication to grow with the millenials needs as they move towards building savings and investment accounts.
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO and cofounder Daniel Schwartz about the newly funded startup and its future plans.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Our investors are mostly composed of private angels, family offices, and a couple of venture firms based out of New York and California. We have raised $1.6M in our seed round thus far, and it’s been a fantastic process.
Tell us about Exeq.
Exeq is an all-in-one finance app. We are a budgeting platform that helps you spend better; we give you much better analytics than any kind of banking app when it comes to your spending behavior. We really give you an in depth analysis on what’s going on with your finances. We also send you very personalized, tailored notifications to help you buy smarter, and begin to save and invest. Clients can open an Exeq savings account directly on our platform, and they can also open an Exeq investment account when they’re ready. And what this does is it creates a closed architecture platform where users can seamlessly start investing and start saving with a few clicks of a button.
What inspired you to start Exeq?
Our product is really aimed at solving a very simple but super apparent pain-point. That’s the fact that millennials know absolutely nothing when it comes to their personal finances. We are lost. And the companies that are servicing us, banks and other financial institutions, are doing nothing about this issue. They are spending billions and billions of dollars trying to target millennials and sell us on different products when they don’t even understand our needs, our habits, and most importantly our culture. And Exeq is aiming to change that, and be the company that properly services the millennial generation when it comes to their finances and more importantly guiding them through the process.
How is it different?
There is nothing on the market right now that focuses on budgeting, and then budgeting for a purpose. We are all about budgeting to save, budgeting to invest, budgeting to pay off debt, and essentially budgeting so you could live a much healthier financial life. We believe the entirety of the banking experience comes down to budgeting. That is the core and common denominator across each of our banking goals. Once our budgeting and spending behavior is down, then things like saving money, paying back credit card debt, avoiding credit card debt, investing, preparing for retirement, preparing for vacations and goals that we want to achieve become much much easier.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are targeting the 22-26-year-old market here in NYC first, which consists of 500,000 people. We are specifically targeting this market because we believe the best time for people to start using our product is when they first start making their paycheck. Imagine being fresh out of school, working at a new job, making $X a year, and now you’re newly financially independent and looking to properly manage your money. As time goes on we plan to expand our market to the larger millennials generation in the U.S. as a whole and hopefully other segments of the U.S. populace as well.
What’s your business model?
Our business model is the same as a bank’s. We are a budgeting platform, but we make 50 basis points on all assets under management on our investment accounts and the bank we partnered with pays us 60 basis points for each new savings account.
What feature do users get most excited about?
Budgeting. People don’t know what’s going on when it comes to their spending. We are going to guide them and provide them with information that they’ve never had access to before.
What was the funding process like?
A lot of no’s. A lot of feedback about why “no”. And implementing solutions after learning from their feedback to move forward with the raise. It’s a long and exhausting process.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Not being ashamed to follow up. To accept the possibility for more rejection. If someone doesn’t answer your email or ignores your texts, you have to call them. Pick up the phone and call them. A challenge for us was learning to overcome this insecurity and just call. But it works.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The fact that there is a massive opportunity when it comes to retail financial services for the millennial population. No banks or startups have really solved this yet or service millennials when it comes to their finances. We plan to be the company to do this.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
- Aggregate a 10,000 person active user base.
- Launch a new financial product, like a credit card
- Close a series A.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Figure out ways to create value without compensating for that value in dollars. If you need a designer or a developer, find people willing to take other forms of compensation, like equity, to fulfill those goals.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We see ourselves being the financial hub for young people in New York. We are excited to see college students and young professionals benefitting greatly from Exeq as they save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars using our budgeting and savings utility.
What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?