SAN FRANCISCO — The Beans, a financial technology startup, has announced $2 million in funding, led by Precursor Ventures with participation from Relay Ventures, One Planet VC, Swing Ventures, Oxford Angel Fund, and a group of angel investors.
The Beans’s mission is to simplify the path to financial success so that Carers can enjoy their hard earned money. The financial wellness company automates financial planning and keeps members on track through proactive behavioral nudges.
“I’m thrilled to announce our funding, which enables us to double down on our mission to simplify the path to financial success,” said CEO and Founder Melissa Pancoast who previously founded Comet Labs VC, a venture capital fund that invests in AI companies like Ripcord, IronOx, and airmap. “So far, personal finance solutions have somehow made people feel worse about their choices — or lack thereof — rather than better, and they’ve also fought against our brain’s natural wiring. The Beans works because we take a different approach, we focus on how people think and feel about their money, because how we think and feel drives our behavior. I’m excited to put this capital to work to reach many more people.”
Though personal finance tools were part of the first wave of fintech, in recent years — following a handful of notable acquisitions that consolidated the space — there has been little innovation focused on improving people’s relationships with money. The Beans was founded by Melissa Pancoast, a former researcher in the University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Interventions. There she developed the Economic Strengthening program that has been proven effective in reducing financial stress and abuse in families and rolled out by the CDC, World Health Organization, and the United Nations to 77 million families around the world as part of the emergency response to Covid-19. Before Oxford, Pancoast started her career in the classroom, where she saw the impact of financial stress on her community. She also saw firsthand the most effective ways to enhance learning.
To bring these and other scientific advances to market, the company has an unusual focus on data. Unlike others who use the labels supplied by financial data aggregators, The Beans has created their own machine learning models for this market that are engineered for behavior change.
The Beans is especially focused on meeting the financial needs of the group of middle-income workers the company calls “America’s Caring Class,” people with steady income streams who serve in caring professions. The pandemic put essential workers in caring professions—from teachers to nurses to social workers—on the brink of crisis, and this coupled with the long-simmering stress of their financial situations has pushed many to the breaking point. Nearly 50 percent of US households have lost some source of supplemental income over the past year. With the economic recovery looming, there has never been a more important time to provide caring professionals with the tools they need to achieve financial wellness.