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This is the first part of an ongoing series. Each week, we will be highlighting startups that are creating conversations in their respective industries to inform our international contacts and, in the process, demonstrate the vast opportunities here in the US – even during this current pandemic. Want to be among those we feature? We would love to hear your story. Send an email to email@example.com!
As you may have noticed, FinTech companies are among those dominating the year’s unicorn class in the US. For one, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed embedded finance to become more common. Stripe recently announced its “Stripe Treasury” product on December 3rd, which will allow Stripe clients to provide bank accounts to their customers. According to Tech Crunch, the service is currently invitation only.
Post-of-sale installment loan services are also on the rise, allowing consumers to split purchases into four payments. Affirm, Afterpay and Klarna are the heaviest hitters right now, according to MarketWatch, and PayPal is among the most recent to launch its own “Pay in Four” system. Consumers can often finance their purchases at 0% APR.
Several companies have taken on a mission to make banking different, from eliminating fees to releasing paycheck funds a couple of days early. Most companies offer similar perks, but BELLA Loves Me has emerged as a challenger with a different approach.
The company, founded by Angelo D’Alessandro, launched its service on November 30th. The goal? Put people at the forefront of banking and encourage them to be good to one another.
Are you preparing to enter or expand your market in the US and Canada? Wherever you are in your startup journey, we can help. For a free 30-minute consultation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a convenient time for a Zoom meeting.
“Our crazy mission is to inject love, beauty and empathy into the banking industry,” said CEO D’Alessandro in an announcement about the launch. “We believe in serving our members as we would care for our family.”
To celebrate the launch, early BELLA customers are reaping the benefits of a randomized cashback system funded by the company’s marketing budget. The company plans to give its members $1 million in the first four weeks through surprise cashback of 5-200 percent (up to $2000) on random everyday purchases. BELLA’s eco-friendly rainbow debit cards are made from ocean plastic. For future card designs, the company has committed to partnering with artists who align with its values.
Their commitment to bringing good people together includes the “Karma Account,” a personal account that users can opt to deposit up to $20 into it. The funds are used to surprise other members by paying for coffee or another small purchase.
The company has partnered with Kansas-based nbkc bank to offer members accounts that are backed by the FDIC. BELLA boasts $5 million of coverage, considerably more than the $250,000 offered by many banks. It also developed Socratex, a communication platform that utilizes tech from Liveperson, to guide users through the banking experience. The program combines software and AI in a command-type interface.
D’Alessandro has 20 years of experience in the banking industry. Before BELLA, her founded a conversational bank in Europe, called buddybank, which offered banking and lifestyle services through messaging.
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