Juntos builds trusting relationships at scale between individuals and banks with an automated mobile messaging platform.
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
Where are you making a difference?
Colombia, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Vietnam, India, the Philippines, and more countries across the world. We're planning to expand to take on projects in the U.S. in the near future.
Focus Areas (required)
Business & Social Enterprise
Development & Prosperity
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)
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.
Juntos began as a class project at the Stanford design school. Our CEO and founder Ben Knelmen worked with night shift janitors on campus to prototype tools that would help immigrants with their personal finances. In 2010, when Ben interviewed Karina (a night shift janitor) and asked her what she does with any money she had left over at the end of a week, she laughed incredulously. “That’s impossible,” she said. “I never have money left over.” Almost a year later, when Ben met the janitors again, Karina told him that she had used the tools Ben and his team developed to save over $2,000. Inspired by Karina, Ben launched Juntos to empower people to feel confidence and control in their financial journeys.
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
With the democratization and digitization of financial services over the last decade, millions of people have gained access to convenient financial services at their fingertips. However, industry-wide inactivity rates of 60-90% show how banks have struggled to build strong, trust-based relationships in this new environment. Disengagement prevents people from accessing secure funds, developing savings habits and decreasing cash reliance.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Juntos partners with leading banks and mobile money operators to solve this challenge. Juntos’ automated mobile messaging platform drives true digital inclusion by engaging consumers in two-way conversations that build understanding, confidence and usage of their newly-opened accounts. Messaging is crafted through human-centered design principles and refined with randomized control trials to construct empowering dialogue that creates strong relationships, which drive higher account usage. Deployed in twelve countries, Juntos helps customers transform the relationships they have with their financial institutions.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.
Mynt, a mobile payments leader in the Philippines, leveraged the Juntos platform to increase GCash mobile wallet usage and Instaloan applications. GCash mobile wallet seamlessly allows users to pay bills, receive or send remittances globally and make purchases at vendors across the Philippines, while Instaloan provides entrepreneurs and MSMEs with access to affordable micro-loans available in as little as a day.
Juntos engaged customers in automated SMS conversations to build trust and understanding of how to use their Mynt products. The impact of these conversations was substantial. Juntos increased the number of transactions among active customers over four months by nearly 7%, and increased transactions by 20% among previously inactive customers. Further, the number of customers who applied for an Instaloan after receiving Juntos messages increased four-fold.
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?
Juntos aims to engage people that are new to formal digital financial services. They may feel intimidated to ask simple questions of the large and complex institutions serving them, or lack understanding of how a particular aspect of a product would help them. Juntos is uniquely positioned to help individuals overcome these obstacles by empowering them to leverage digital tools to develop savings, send money electronically, build credit, and invest in their businesses.
5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:
age - elder
6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
In-house solutions: Juntos faces competition from banks building customer engagement strategies internally. While expensive to build and operate, companies may see value in investing time and resources to build capacity in house.
Existing chatbots: Juntos faces competition from other chatbots that exist in the market.
Juntos is distinct from these solutions in its target audience (specifically designed for customers new to digital financial services), human-centered design principles and in its proactive, long-term approach to building relationships.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Harnessing the power of behavioral research, our automated messaging platform is used by leading banks and mobile money providers to reach more than 23 million users. Using Juntos, partners have seen a 32.5% increase in active client rate, 10-62% increases in portfolio savings balances and 7%-50% increases portfolio transactions.
Juntos serves as a “financial friend” that encourages customers, answers questions, builds confidence and influences positive financial behaviors. A message received from one of our users demonstrates Juntos’ impact: “[JUNTOS], Thanks for the friendship you have continued to show me… ever since I joined your service, I can now afford a smile on my face. I did not know that there could be a bank that would help [someone] like me.”
8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?
Over the past 5 years, more than 700 million people have entered the formal financial sector. Most of those new accounts, though, sit dormant. Equipping these people with the knowledge, confidence, and trust they need to participate in the digital economy presents an enormous opportunity.
Financial Institutions license the Juntos platform in a Software-as-a-Service business model to engage their customers. As Juntos runs more experiments with more FIs, it will compile more learnings to design increasingly effective conversations with larger scale-up potential.
8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?
Large Scale Partnerships
9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
Juntos is a venture-backed for-profit company, and has raised Series A and a Series B round of funding. Our lead investors are Aligned Partners and the Omidyar Network. This venture funding has enabled us to build the company and to grow as a fast-moving fintech start-up. Juntos charges financial institutions annual platform fees to make the Juntos relationship-building conversations available to their customers. These fees from financial institutions set Juntos up for long-term sustainability.
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?
Juntos has 25 employees, including experts in social psychology, writing, linguistics, behavior change, statistical analysis, engineering, and user centric, iterative product design. As Juntos grows, it plans to hire additional software engineers to increase the automation in our product, allowing for greater scale. We would also grow the broader business team, hiring U.S.-focused sales and client services resources to increase our ability to sell and deliver on new U.S. engagements.
How did you hear about this challenge?