bankaroo

Offer an educational (virtual) bank for kids, enabling teachers and parents to teach kids about money, savings and managing goals.

Photo of Etay
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Eligibility

  • I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
  • I am over 18 years of age
  • My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
  • I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
  • My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States

Gender

  • Man

Where are you making a difference?

bankaroo is now used by more than 100,000 members in more than 100 countries...
Since 2011, bankaroo helped more than 250,000 members.
We are about to release a new edition in Q3/18.

Focus Areas (required)

  • Business & Social Enterprise
  • Children & Youth
  • Development & Prosperity

Date Started

12/1/2011

Organization Type

  • for-profit

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

Budget

  • $50k - $100k

Website or social media URL(s) (optional)

http://www.bankaroo.com

Twitter URL

https://twitter.com/bankaroo

Facebook URL

https://www.facebook.com/bankaroo

LinkedIn URL

https://www.linkedin.com/company/bankaroo/

1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.

You can see a presentation we did a few years back here:
https://youtu.be/CVW3AvV2pEQ

Dani came with the idea a the age of 11 when we could not find an app that would manage kids money and would be designed from the kids-point-of-view.
We started small, with some friends and family and then we found out that there are many families and kids that share the same challenge. So we started to add features and learning from the community and made the service better. Released mobile apps and even a special version from schools, when we learned that many teachers use bankaroo for their classes.
It has bee a great ride for us and we are looking forward to helping more kids to become money-smart.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Kids (and many adults) do not understand the value of money and how to better manage their 'want' vs. 'need'. Kids do not understand why saving can help them reach their goals and why they should be accountable for their decisions.
Until now, there was no safe, kid-friendly, technically advanced service to address these challenges as part of school curriculums and family activities.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We developed a virtual bank for kids, where they can experiment with the concept of money and make financial decisions in a safe environment.
Parents or teachers register to bankaroo and create accounts for the kids. Then the kids can log in via a desktop or mobile devices to their account and start managing their funds. They can set goals and save towards them, they can decide to allocate funds to buy something, or receive funds from the parents, and family. They can discuss with their parents the need to use fund 'now' or save toward a goal and also transfer funds between family members.
As bankaroo is a virtual bank, we support over 20 currencies and our member community helped us translate the service to Hebrew, Bulgarian, Italian, German, Mandarin, Spanish and English. So kids can use it in their own language.
By providing a central 'bank' the kid can access their account from all the devices an the information is always up-to-date.

In addition to marketing directly to teachers and parents, bankaroo is working with banks and credit unions to help them address these issues within their communities.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.

A classic scenario we see with parents and kids is where they are talking about getting an item or simply are the stores and the kids say "I want this <toy/book/video game> now!". Then the parent can say: "Sure, do you have enough money in bankaroo?". The kid can then log-in to their account and find out. If there are not enough funds, the parent can say: "Sorry, you cannot have it now. You do not have enough money. Would you like to set a goal and save for it?". The kid can then add a goal and take a photo of the item and start saving.

Another scenario is when family members giving the kid cash presents and the kid choose to give it to the parents, to be added to bankaroo, knowing that this way s/he can use it later.
We also see how siblings help each other by loaning funds to help meet goals.
Kids are making decisions and owning them.

5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?

We offer bankaroo online for free, so any person with access to the internet can use it on their desktop computers and/or mobile devices.
We have more than 2,000 teachers who signed from bankaroo and used it in their classes.

5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:

  • language
  • age - youth
  • socio-economic class

6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are several companies who focus on financial education, such as EverFi and others. They sell to schools. Some other mobile apps are offered on the app store.
Bankaroo is unique as it is offered free and combines the school and family edition. So kids can implement what they learned at home or school, at school or at home.
Also, bankaroo support many currencies, and languages, so it can be used by a larger population.
But the biggest difference is that bankaroo was designed by a kid and is very kid-centric and empowering.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Since 2011, bankaroo helped more than 250,000 parents, teachers and kids around the world.
Some testimonials from our teachers:
– Sharon A., Aledo Christian school: Bankaroo is fantastic and teaches kids about handling money. I am using it this year for students to earn money to use in playing the game of Mathopoly. Instead of having paper money, they have a bank account to buy property and pay debts owed.
– Norma E, Saint Ignatius College, Geelong, Australia: Bankaroo is a useful tool for real-world learning about economics. I used it as part of Economics Unit - Goal setting, Needs v Wants, Accounting process for a small business class venture, understanding taxation and developing a work ethic for a virtual reward.

Over 80% of the bankaroo members reported their kids to have a real bank account upon graduating bankaroo.

Plus, we received 'thank you' notes many members.

8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?

The bankaroo platform is designed to support many members. We have a clear technical roadmap to do that. The main challenges are around outreach, educating teachers and parents about the tool and finding business partners and a business model that will allow us to have revenue and keep providing a free version of the service.
We are looking for education and finance org as partners. bankaroo can be white-labeled and be used as part of another service if needed. We are currently working with several banks and credit unions to assist them to share bankaroo with their community.

8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?

  • Organizational Growth
  • Franchising, Licensing, Accreditation
  • Large Scale Partnerships
  • Campaigns

9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

As a family project, we invest our own time and money running bankaroo.
We offer it for free and have a paid version, with additional features, that helps us pay the external bills, such as technical infrastructure.

We plan to continue offering a bankaroo for free on the web and start charging for the native mobile apps and 'plus' edition.
Additional revenue is planned via licensing and OEM deals with banks and other companies.

10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Dani, the creator of bankaroo is about to start his Senior year in high school.
Dani is helping with the design, website content, and support.
Etay, Dani's dad, is the technical lead and making sure the service is up and running.
When bankaroo will grow, we will have funds to hire dedicated team members to help with the marketing and biz-dev activities.

Winning this challenge will allow us to hire dedicated resources and accelerate bankaroo's growth and impact.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 - Which of the following categories do you identify with? (optional)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 - Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities? (optional)

  • LGBTQ community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact
  • Email

Program Design Clarity

bankaroo is used daily by parents, kids, and teachers on the web and via mobile applications.
We provide 24/7 support and work hard to keep the service up and running, and our members engaged.

Approach to financial wellbeing: does your project focus on creating financial wellbeing through innovating on any of the following?

  • education / literacy

Innovation type: Please select which of the following types of innovation best characterize your work

  • Product innovation (Introduction of a good or service or improvements made to existing products)
  • Other

If you marked "Other" in the question above, please specify:

We combine technology, design, subject-matter-experties and passion to deliver a unique and valuable service to familes and schools.

Partnerships in detail: tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

Bankaroo partners with schools and help them to utilize bankaroo to run the practical aspect of their financial education curriculum.
Bankaroo also working with banks and credit unions to offer bankaroo, as is, and as white-label service to their communities. Some of the details around these type of partnerships are under NDA.

If you won the Unlocking ₵hange Challenge, how would you invest the prize money of $50,000?

As bankaroo been self-financed for the last 7 years (!!), the $50,000 would allow us to hire dedicated resources to focus on growth (direct and via partnerships) and impact.

Thank you for the opportunity!!!

Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions has the project received?

Dani received the entrepreneurship award from CYFI @ the UN in 2014
https://www.bankaroo.com/bankaroo-danielle-received-the-entrepreneurship-award-from-cyfi-the-un/

4 comments

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Photo of Kristina Lersbuasin

Money management/financial education is an important skill to teach kids. This is a great way for them to get a hands-on learning experience. Great mission!

Photo of Etay

Thank you!
We believe that real-life scenarios would help kids to better understand these concepts and be able to develop their ability to make smart decisions and own them...

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