Empower, a mobile banking app in the US challenger bank category, has raised $20 million in Series A funding, with participation from Icon Ventures, Defy Ventures, and David Velez, founder and CEO of Brazil's Nubank.
Founded by former Sequoia Capital partner Warren Hogarth, Empower combines AI and human coaching to deliver a suite of personal financial products, high-yield deposit accounts, budgeting and spend tracking, bill negotiation and subscription management, and investment recommendations.
Launched in 2017, the company has attracted more than 600,000 active users to its platform.
This latest financing follows the company's launch of high-interest checking and automated savings accounts at 1.60% APY. Banking services for new accounts are provided by nbkc bank, and users are charged a $6 per month fee for the full suite of PFM tools.
Says Hogarth "We combine human coaching with the latest technology, including AI, to continuously monitor our customers' accounts and provide intelligent alerts, prompts, and analyses to improve their financial decision-making in the moment and build financial literacy."
Tom Mawhinney, general partner at Icon Ventures says most challenger banks are trying to tackle small parts of a more significant problem, like minimising fees or early direct deposit or improving design. "Empower has a broader mission to improve financial well-being and independence through personal impact - and that means giving people a complete toolset incorporating digital plus human mentorship to save more and make their money work harder," he says. "The company is unlocking possibilities on a whole different scale."