Atlanta Startup GreenLight Financial Technology Raises $16M Series A
You may have seen their commercials on TV or on the Internet. GreenLight Financial Technologies is the startup behind the GreenLight debit card designed to help parents and children manage the children’s money and teach them financial responsibility.
Just a few short years ago you might have been taken aback by the thought of a 10 year old running around with a debit card. Today, it makes perfect sense. Debit cards, chip cards, online financial services and frictionless mobile payments are making the good old greenback obsolete. Who knows where we will be in the world of payment in just 5-8 short years. Cash equivalent may still be king but paper cash is not.
The other thing to consider is that there’s an extra level of safety knowing that children aren’t running around with cash in their pockets.
There’s been a cultural shift over the last decade or so where younger kids are becoming more savings conscience and even entrepreneurial to a degree. Kids will cut grass, sell lemonade, have yard sales, babysit and do other money earning tasks. Then, they’re forced to save it because video games that we used to buy for $10 or $20 now start at $50 or $60. Even teen driven magazines have a higher price tag.
I noticed this trend in my own home and I can’t say I’ve done anything drastic as a parent to encourage saving. When we took our family vacation this year to Williamsburg Virginia my 10 year old, 12 year old and 14 year old all had saved about $200 a piece to spend on the trip. When my husband asked them where they had gotten all that money, they said they saved it from grass cutting, baby sitting, birthdays and holidays. So for a family like ours, a debit card for each of the kids, not attached to mine or my husband’s accounts, makes perfect sense. I wouldn’t want any of my kids running around Busch Gardens or even the neighborhood with that kind of money.
That was the same thought for Tim Sheehan, co-founder and CEO of GreenLight Financial Technology, the Atlanta startup that’s making a name for itself by providing these debit cards. Sheehan and his team see even more value in teaching financial responsibility at such a young age. The hope is that by learning how to manage their money and their budget in grade school, they will be more responsible in college and then as adults.
The startups traction along with their mission has fueled a $16M Series A raise led by TTV Capital with participation from existing investors, New Enterprise Associates Inc. (NEA) and Relay Ventures, and new investors SunTrust Bank, Ally Financial, nbkc bank, Canapi, and the Amazon Alexa Fund.
Greenlight’s first round of financial education partnerships will help strengthen financial literacy among kids and inspire new generations of financially confident and successful adults. Greenlight’s mission, approach, and platform to help parents raise financially smart kids – through its mobile app and smart debit card – align with the goals of innovative financial service providers as they take action toward improving financial education.
“It’s never too early to begin learning how to manage money,” said Ellen Koebler, head of consumer solutions for SunTrust. “Helping the next generation take a step towards financial confidence is one way in which SunTrust realizes its purpose of lighting the way to financial well-being. We are partnering with Greenlight because the company shares our commitment to providing financial education, as seen through this innovative solution for parents to instill smart saving and spending habits with their kids.”
“At Ally, we focus on providing our customers with the right tools and offerings to make a real difference in how they manage their money,” said Dinesh Chopra, Chief Strategy Officer of Ally Financial. “Our investment in Greenlight aligns with our vision to be a relentless ally for our customers’ financial well-being. Through the relationship, we’re supporting unique financial solutions aimed at helping families to teach children good money habits for the future.”
The Series A financing will fuel Greenlight’s extraordinary growth and fulfill its mission of delivering safe, simple, and family-friendly financial products worldwide. Additionally, the company plans to invest in new talent to keep pace with consumer demand and continue introducing innovative financial solutions.
“We’re thrilled to partner with innovative financial service providers to bring Greenlight to millions of additional families and help parents prepare their children for financially successful futures,” Sheehan said in a statement.
“Greenlight’s impressive growth is attracting partners who value its family-friendly approach, just as we do,” said Tom Smith, partner at TTV Capital. “This unique solution for financial institutions is going to change the way parents teach the next generation about managing finances and will help to increase the overall financial literacy of consumers.”
The company has made it very easy for families to get involved. GreenLight is free for the family for the first 30 days. After that it’s just $4.99 per family with up to 5 kids of any age. GreenLight’s online tools make it easy for parents and children to manage the money.
Find out more at greenlightcard.com