September 28, 2022
Happy hump day, fintech friends.
Situational awareness: The SEC and CFTC have imposed $1.8 billion in fines on more than a dozen financial firms for failing to police employees who used off-channel messaging apps to communicate with one another.
1 big thing: $5.8M for supplemental income app
Bridge Money, a startup that has launched an app and debit card to help users earn supplemental income, raised $5.8 million in seed funding led by early-stage venture firm TMV, the company tells Ryan exclusively.
Why it matters: The funding comes as wage increases for low-income earners are simply not keeping up with record inflation in the U.S.
State of play: Although there's no shortage of consumer-facing fintechs, Bridge founder and CEO Lalit Janak says that to date, most have been focused on credit and what he calls the liability side of the ledger.
- That includes things like "buy now, pay later," cash advances and early direct deposit access.
- "But credit is a double-edged sword, and oftentimes, excessive credit use can lead to a debt trap that makes upward economic mobility totally impossible," Janak says.
In contrast: “What we've built is a marketplace of money-making opportunities — with several more on the way — to help our members generate material supplemental income,” he said.
- He says the most active users are earning more than $200 per month by using the app.
How it works: Users download the Bridge app, link their bank accounts, and earn rewards by sharing (anonymized) spending data or doing other activities like completing surveys, ad-viewing, and referrals.
- The company also has launched a debit card that enables users to earn rewards directly from everyday spending.
- Janak says the app will eventually add other income generation features, like connecting users with better job opportunities, providing vetted technical training, and giving tips on how to generate more income in their current job.
Of note: Bridge’s seed round includes a number of high-profile impact investors, including Founder Collective, Kapor Capital, Acumen America, Bread & Butter Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Plug and Play Ventures, Basecamp Fund and Ulu Ventures.