Financial Solutions Lab Opens Applications for $3 Million Year-Two Challenge to Address Financial Shocks, Celebrates First-Year Culmination
Virtual Financial Technology Lab Launched by CFSI and JPMorgan Chase Helps Startups Improve and Scale High-Tech Solutions to Improve Consumers' Financial Health
February 12, 2016 (San Francisco,CA) Today the Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced its $3 million year-two challenge, while celebrating the culmination of its first-year challenge with an inaugural group of nine FinTech innovators. FinLab, a $30 million, five-year virtual lab initiative, unveiled Financial Shocks as the theme for its second-year challenge. More information and images are available at finlab.cfsinnovation.com/Pressroom
For its second challenge, FinLab announced it is seeking innovators providing solutions that help Americans prepare for - and weather - financial shocks. The importance of this new challenge topic was determined using CFSI's Consumer Financial Health Survey as well as research from other thought leaders, including a Pew Charitable Trusts study that revealed that 60% of Americans experienced a financial shock in the past year, and that only 6 in 10 households had enough liquid savings to cover a $2,000 unexpected expense. A recent study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute estimated that a typical middle-income household needed approximately $4,800 in liquid assets to sustain monthly fluctuations in income and spending, but had only $3,000 available. These financial shocks may cause consumers to draw upon their long-term and retirement savings, sell assets or default on their existing debts.
During the event, Year One FinLab innovators were on hand to talk about the consumer impact of their solutions, their experiences with the lab, and how FinLab is building an ecosystem for FinTech innovators promoting financial health. FinLab's first challenge, focused on solving consumer cash flow issues, drew nearly 300 applications from companies and nonprofit organizations serving more than 10,000,000 Americans combined.
Since their acceptance into the lab, the nine members of FinLab's inaugural group have improved their products and scaled their businesses to help more Americans improve their financial health. FinLab provided each member with $250,000 in capital, support from FinLab operating partners IDEO.ORG and ideas42, strategic guidance from its industry-leading advisory council, and resources from founding partners CFSI and JPMorgan Chase. FinLab's year-one members include Ascend Consumer Finance, Digit, Even, LendStreet, PayGoal by Neighborhood Trust, Prism, Propel, Puddle and SupportPay.
"The lab was instrumental in helping us grow our business and providing the expert insights we needed to expand our solution to more underserved consumers," said Jimmy Chen, Founder and CEO of Propel. "In fact, the newest iteration of our product was inspired by collaboration we developed through FinLab, and this re-thinking has made our product attractive for Silicon Valley-style investors as a result."
"FinLab and CFSI have given us an unparalleled opportunity to work with executives from the largest banks in the country, along with government and regulatory bodies," said Ethan Bloch, CEO of Digit. "This access has been phenomenal as it has allowed Digit to be involved in conversations directly impacting the future of FinTech."
"The opportunity for technology to create meaningful change in consumers' financial lives has never been greater," said Susan Ehrlich, Board Chair of CFSI and FinLab Advisory Council member. "FinLab's first-year challenge harnessed innovation to improve cash flow management for millions of Americans. I am excited to see the lab build on this success. By powering creative ideas with the right people and resources to make them happen, FinLab is a catalyst for producing a more financially healthy America."
"JPMorgan Chase is proud to play a role in the first-year success of the Financial Solutions Lab and of the groundbreaking contributions made by the FinLab's first class of entrepreneurs," said Noah Wintroub, Vice Chairman, JPMorgan Chase Investment Bank. "Through technology and innovation, they're tackling some of the biggest financial issues facing people today. The work of this and future FinLab classes will change the way Americans are managing their finances - allowing them to stabilize their finances, build resiliency and meet their long-term goals."
Starting today, FinTech innovators interested in joining FinLab's sophomore year can complete and submit an application at http://finlab.cfsinnovation.com before April 7, 2016. Each application will be closely reviewed by an expert, cross-sector group including strategic partners in human-centered design, behavioral economics, community outreach, and for-profit entrepreneurship. Finalists will be invited to pitch their solution to a panel of judges at the EMERGE Forum 2016, held June 15-17 in New Orleans, La.
The announcement was made at a private event in San Francisco, which gathered FinLab staff, members and partners, as well as notable venture capitalists and FinTech industry players.
About the Financial Solutions Lab
The Financial Solutions Lab is a $30 million, five-year initiative managed by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. to identify, test and expand the availability of promising innovations that help Americans increase savings, improve credit, and build assets. The lab will launch a series of competitions to identify solutions to specific consumer financial challenges. It will provide incentives for entrepreneurs, businesses, and nonprofits to enhance financial products and services that address these challenges and improve consumers' financial health. For more information, visit www.finlab.cfsinnovation.com
About the Center for Financial Services Innovation
CFSI is the nation's authority on consumer financial health. CFSI leads a network of financial services innovators committed to building a more robust financial services marketplace with higher quality products and services. Through its Compass Principles and a lineup of proprietary research, insights and events, CFSI informs, advises, and connects members of its network to seed the innovation that will transform the financial services landscape. For more on CFSI, go to www.cfsinnovation.com and follow on Twitter at @CFSInnovation
About JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.6 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its JPMorgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.