Mobile Banking App Empower Raises $20 Million

Following a near-record 2019, FinTech has been off to a strong start in 2020. The latest example of this is Empower. The San Fransico-based firm recently announced that it had raised $20 million. The Series A included participation from Defy Ventures, Icon Ventures, and Nubank founder David Velez. Additionally previous investors Sequoia Capital and Initialized Capital joined the latest round.

Although there are several budgeting and banking apps on the market today, Empower looks to stand out by combining AI for recommendations and analysis with human coaching. The latter allows users to get answers to their most-pressing personal finance questions, better allowing them to navigate their money. Currently users can enjoy these features and many others for a monthly fee of $6 — although the app also offers a 30-day free trial.

Two other notable aspects of Empower is their high-interest checking account and automated savings. Not only do these accounts carry no minimum balance requirement or charge overdraft fees but are currently offering 1.10% APY (previously 1.60% APY prior to the Fed’s emergency rate cut).

Discussing Empower’s impact and goals, co-founder and CEO Warren Hogarth said of his company, “Empower is democratizing access to financial experts and products that used to be available to only the top 1% wealthiest people.” He added, “There’s growing demand in the market for financial knowledge to be more practical – and that means actionable, personalized information in real time to create better outcomes.” Meanwhile Tom Mawhinney of Icon Ventures reflected on what makes Empower different, saying, “Today’s generation needs and wants more from their bank. Most challenger banks are trying to tackle small parts of a more significant problem, like minimizing fees or early direct deposit or improving design.” Mawhinney continued, “Empower has a broader mission to improve financial well-being and independence through personal impact – and that means giving people a complete toolset incorporating digital plus human mentorship to save more and make their money work harder. The company is unlocking possibilities on a whole different scale.”

Even in an increasingly crowded space, Empower does seem to offer something different. Needless to say, their impressive $20 million Series A further emphasizes the growing power this app could have. At the same time, Empower does once again follow a few trends we see often in FinTech. This not only includes money tools expanding into other areas of finance but specifically the interest in offering banking services such as checking and savings. Nevertheless the app seems well positioned to make a splash and hopefully help a new generation better manage their money.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

Other Articles by Jonathan Dyer

Bilt Rewards Launches Travel Portal with Benefits for Cardholders

Last year, the startup Bilt made a splash when it announced a new service that would reward users for paying their rent. That premise was then expanded upon with the launch of the Bilt Mastercard, which is issued by Wells Fargo. Now, continuing to capitalize on both the hype of their product and the demand for travel, Bilt has debuted another new offering for customers. This week, Bilt Rewards announced...

Cash App Introduces Round-Up Investing Feature for Debit Card

Debit card customers looking to grow their investments gained a new, automated option today as Block Inc. (formerly Square Inc.) officially announced a new feature for its popular Cash App. Now, customers with the Cash App Cash Card can opt into Round Ups as a means of growing their investments. When this feature is toggled on, Cash App will round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and invest...

Marqeta Expands Credit Program with New APIs and More

A FinTech that specializes in creating credit card experiences is rolling out some new features. This week, Marqeta announced what it calls a "significant expansion" of its credit platform. This includes more than 40 new credit APIs that will further help clients craft and launch their own credit card products. Additionally, the company notes an updated intuitive dashboard. Using this platform, businesses can create unique card options that can not...