US text message FinTech plans significant UK expansion
A US FinTech offering financial advice via text messages is planning to expand significantly in the UK.
Stackin’ is based in Los Angeles and has more than a million subscribers in the US, who have received more than 100m personalised texts offering tips on save money, reduce debt and start investing.
It also offers access to pre-selected products featured within the company's marketplace.
Following a $12.6m funding round, led by London-based Octopus Ventures, it is looking to grow its UK team. CTO and President Tom Brammar, based at a London WeWork, is currently the only full-time member of staff in the UK, with its engineering team spread throughout Europe.
However with the advent of COVID-19, it will only add one member of staff this year ahead of “significant scale-up” in 2021.
“We will slowly build into the UK market and add staff accordingly. We hope to expand into a more permanent office early next year,” the company told BusinessCloud.
“COVID-19 has definitely slowed our expansion plans. We were hoping to begin testing our product in the UK in the back half of this year, but it’s likely going to be Q1 of 2021."
The firm hopes to take advantage of the UK’s “rich FinTech ecosystem” in order to replicate its early US success.
Marieke Christmann, Principal at Octopus Ventures, will join the company’s board of directors and will help to drive this expansion.
“We like the UK market for a number of reasons. Much like the US, the UK has a large population of consumers who don’t have a natural, relevant and simple entry point into the financial ecosystem,” the spokesperson told us.
“We feel Stackin’ can provide that entry point and help consumers improve their financial lives through education, guidance and ultimately better products.
“Our business is built through partnerships and referrals and like the US, the UK has a number of incredible FinTech companies that are better options for many financial services. Our job is to make it easier for consumers to connect with these companies at the right time and provide a curated marketplace of the best products and services.”
The firm’s existing investors include Experian Ventures, Cherry Tree Investments, Dig Ventures, Mucker Capital, Unlock Venture Partners, TechStars and Wavemaker Partners.
It said it will also use the new financing to deepen its relationship with subscribers through enhanced personalisation, simplifying financial product on-boarding and product usage, and expand its marketplace of financial products and services.
“The voice of Stackin’ will be different in the UK. The voice that is codified in the US will change and adapt for a British audience,” the firm added.
Christmann said: “For those of us living in big cities, exposed to lots of advertising, it’s easy to forget that large parts of the population are unaware of the range of financial services available to them, often those with better service and superior value.
“Stackin’s mission is all about increasing access to financial products and it’s clear that this has resonated with millions in the US across a broad demographic.
“With its deep FinTech expertise and array of direct to consumer offerings, the opportunity for expansion in the UK is just as exciting, and we look forward to helping Scott [Grimes, CEO] and the team make this a reality.”
In addition to the funding, the company recently announced a collaboration with Twilio and Google, to be among the first companies using Verified SMS to strengthen relationships with their customers.
The Verified SMS technology enables select partners to send branded and authenticated SMS to build trust, maintain the integrity of their brands, and boost engagement with their customers.