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Teen banking service Step raises $50M, adds TikTok star Charli D’Amelio to investor list – TechCrunch

Charli w  Step Card

Step, a mobile banking service aimed at teens, introduced this morning it has raised $50 million in Sequence B funding after rising to over 500,000 customers solely two months after its official launch. The spherical was led by Coatue, with returning buyers from Stripe, Crosslink Capital, Collaborative Fund, and Will Smith’s Dreamers VC. The startup additionally added some celeb buyers to this spherical, together with Charli D’Amelio, Justin Timberlake, The Chainsmokers, in addition to huge names from the world of sports activities, like Eli Manning, Kelvin Beachum, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Iguodala.

That is notably Charli D’Amelio’s first startup funding, Step tells PJDM.

The corporate had partnered with the TikTok star just a few weeks in the past to advertise the product and discuss monetary literacy throughout her TikTok and Instagram accounts, which have 101.9 million and 34.four million followers, respectively. Now she is going to try this not solely as a accomplice and buyer, however as an investor, as properly.

“As a Step accomplice and buyer, I’ve been capable of see firsthand how simple Step makes it to handle your cash whereas offering the tutorial assets that at the moment’s teenagers want however have largely been unable to search out—myself included,” stated D’Amelio, in a press release. “I’m excited to have the ability to use my platform to assist shut this hole and have made a direct funding in Step to assist them develop much more helpful merchandise.”

Different celeb buyers might also promote the product on social media, together with The Chainsmokers, however promotional offers aren’t finalized with the total checklist.

Smith, nonetheless, has been investing in startups in recent times on the seed stage.

“As an individual who hasn’t at all times had monetary stability, and made many errors in that area as a younger man, I do know the significance of monetary training and accessing financial platforms that may work for everybody,” Smith stated, in a press release. “Whereas I’ve tried to instill that very same mentality in my very own youngsters it was onerous to discover a banking platform that was intuitive and met our wants as a household. We’ve reinvested in Step as a result of not solely are their merchandise constructed particularly for teenagers however they’ve began an necessary dialog round monetary literacy that youngsters are literally engaged in.”

Different individuals within the spherical embody fintech executives from Fb, Sq., Venmo, Visa and others. To this point, Step has raised over $75 million.

Picture Credit: Step

Although competing in now-crowded area of cellular banking providers which exchange conventional banks with an app in your cellphone, Step’s entry level to the market is completely different from most. It particularly targets teen customers ages 13 to 18, by providing them an FDIC-insured checking account with out charges, and a secured Visa card that helps them set up credit score earlier than they flip 18.

The app, in the meantime, additionally serves as a peer-to-peer (P2P) platform to allow them to ship cash to buddies, just like Apple Pay or Venmo.

“I believe the easiest way to consider it’s ‘Venmo meets Chase for the following technology,’” explains Step founder and CEO CJ MacDonald. “You must be 18 to be on Venmo or Money app, and [with those] it’s important to have an underlying checking account hooked up to that to get cash in or cash out. And most of the people don’t use Venmo or Money app to spend cash — they simply use it to ship and obtain,” he says.

Combining P2P and banking in a single platform has confirmed thus far to be pretty fashionable. Step says it’s now including round 7,000 to 10,000 new accounts per day, on prime of the prevailing 500,000-plus customers it already has. A lot of this has comes from the natural, word-of-mouth development supplied by Step’s referral program, not paid adverts. Step gives teenagers $3 (it was simply $1) for each buddy that indicators up underneath their referral. The teenagers put the hyperlink of their Instagram bio or share it on Snapchat and shortly they’ve made an honest amount of money, at the same time as a lot as $30 or $40.

Within the near-term, Step plans to leverage its newly partnered celebs to assist unfold the phrase about cellular banking and monetary duty throughout social media, and is hiring throughout the board within the face of its fast development. Longer-term, nonetheless, the corporate envisions serving to teenagers take the following step of their monetary future once they flip 18 with new merchandise.

“The common faculty scholar graduates with 1000’s of {dollars} of bank card debt. The common faculty scholar additionally overdrafts two or thrice a yr, and conventional banking overdraft charges price $35 generally,” says MacDonald. “If you go to school otherwise you flip 18, you’re going to want some degree of assist. So we completely will supply new monetary services and products tailor-made towards that demographic,” he says.

These merchandise could embody bank cards, loans, and extra.

“Scholar loans are a giant factor. With the ability to lengthen credit score to those people. With the ability to supply new services and products so that they’re not paying these outrageous, predatory banking charges and excessive curiosity bank cards,” MacDonald, says, talking to Step’s plans. “We’re actually going to push the envelope and supply new kinds of services and products which can be price efficient,” he provides.

Step, primarily based in San Francisco, presently has 50 staff and is hiring.

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Sarah Perez