Bridge Money

Bridge Money
Posted on August 18, 2023
Read the original on my blog: The Higher Purpose Venture Capital Blog

Offering rewards and earnings power for underserved consumers

Company: Bridge Money is building the rewards layer for the 100 million+ debit card users in America.

HQ Location and Year Founded: Chicago, 2019

Founder: Lalit Janak, co-founder and CEO, started Bridge Money after having worked on Wall Street with Citi, where he focused on securitized products. He holds bachelor’s degrees in finance and political science from Emory University.

Funds Raised and VC Investors: $5.8 million from Trail Mix Ventures (TMV), Founder Collective, Acumen Fund, Alumni Ventures, Bread & Butter Ventures, Chicago Early Growth Ventures, Kapor Capital, Lofty Ventures, Plug & Play Tech Center, Revolution (Rise of the Rest), Synetro Group, and Ulu Ventures

Where did the idea for Bridge Money originate?

I knew that there was a better opportunity to serve low- to middle-income individuals who generally use a debit card rather than a credit card for their purchases (56% of Americans). Debit cards help many people avoid the pitfalls of debt, and we felt that responsible purchasing behavior should be rewarded in a way that debit card issuers cannot offer themselves for structural reasons. Both my co-founder and I grew up in lower middle-class situations, so we know the customers we’re serving firsthand.

What is the key problem that Bridge Money intends to solve?

There is $1 trillion of outstanding credit card debt in America, which, by definition, is held by people who can’t pay down their balance from month to month. It’s no wonder, then, why people are increasingly choosing debit cards as their primary card. The problem, however, is that debit cards don’t offer the same purchase reward benefits that credit cards do because they don’t have the interest income to fund them. That’s where Bridge comes in. We help the 100 million+ debit card users in America earn on their purchases by allowing them to monetize their data in a fully consented manner with market researchers who want a better understanding of current trends in consumer spending.

How are you most differentiated as a service?

We have built a highly gamified marketplace of money-making opportunities in our app in a manner that is 10x easier to use and more than 10x faster in “time to rewards” than every other cashback app on the market.

What are the company’s key accomplishments to date?

We have hundreds of thousands of members and have been growing 25% monthly for the past 6 months, and we’ve accomplished this with very little customer acquisition spend.

What lies ahead in the plans for Bridge Money?

We plan to continue growing our user base while offering our members more opportunities to earn.

Ron’s Take

The standardization of credit card use among lower-to-moderate-income consumers has been both a boon and a burden. While the ability to make purchases in a flash whenever needed is vital, it can also become a debt trap for those who have challenges managing their personal finances. For this reason, debit cards continue to play a vital role in the payments space. Debit card users, however, are unfortunately unable to take advantage of many of the monetary benefits that come from loyal credit card usage. The fee structure of debit card payments simply doesn't allow for this. Bridge Money offers an alternative that finally allows debit card users to reap financial rewards for their engagement. It layers on top of these additional income opportunities that are simple, voluntary, and unobtrusive. Ensuring the debit card ecosystem remains strong is one tool in helping consumers alleviate the debt burden that ends up trapping so many.

Disclaimer: Alumni Ventures invested in the seed round of Bridge in 2022.

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Ron Levin welcomes the opportunity to connect with you and engage in meaningful discussions about how we can collectively make a positive impact on the world through purpose-driven investments. Your ideas, insights, and questions are highly valued, and he looks forward to your contact.