Entrepreneur creates financial savings app for teenagers
- October 19, 2022
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When she was pregnant with her first child Sofia in 2016, Erica Fran received a variety of gifts, including diapers and toys. However, she was marked by one that came in the form of money, more precisely R$ 1 thousand. She decided to open a bank account for the child use the amount in the future, but the process was so bureaucratic that she ended up giving up — and still ended up spending the amount.
The experience was the inspiration for the creation of Pulpa, a application to save money for the kids. Through the platform, people close to the small ones can transfer amounts to a pension plan from the insurance company Icatu, a partner of startup. So far, the company has opened 500 bank accounts.
Recently, the startup conducted a survey to understand the demands of the sector. “We validated a hypothesis that we already had that children are receiving a lot of gifts. We found that one in ten children receives more than 50 gifts a year”, says the entrepreneur. At the same time, the report shows that 48.5% of parents say they prefer to receive cash as an investment for the future. “Family members also prefer to give gifts in cash. People are ashamed to say that, but it’s something useful for everyone”, says Fran, who is 33 years old.
The first validation of the business came in 2017, when the entrepreneur, with the idea in mind, applied for an innovation contest at Itaú. “I was working at VivaReal and signed up with other friends. It was basically writing a business idea. We competed with over a thousand ideas and we won,” she tells her entrepreneur. “It was still just a joke at the time, but I fell in love with the idea.”
Fran’s friends didn’t want to go through with the plan. But in a conversation, Flavio Pripas, director of Cubo Itaú at the time, asked if she had a team to create a business. “I said no and he asked me to get back in touch when I had it,” she says.
The partners for the undertaking did not take long to appear. While developing the business, she was called to work at ContaAzul, in 2018. During a coffee with Mateus Camargo and Wagner Silva, who worked at the same company, she commented on the dream of creating her startup and they ended up becoming partners. “They liked it a lot. A month later, at the end of 2020, we already had an MPV running”, says Fran. “The platform was very simple. The goal was to have people registered to see if they would be interested.”
The first users were people close to the entrepreneurs, such as friends and family. Seeing that customers were engaged and wanting to deposit more money into their bank accounts, they decided to structure the deal four months after the start of testing. They went after the insurance company Icatu to create a private pension plan for children and started the partnership.
“I was in my process of leaving ContaAzul in a very transparent way. During this period, I negotiated with the top management to make them our first B2B customers, and they agreed. For the Children’s Day action, they said that employees could have a discount on the payroll for Pulpa”, says the entrepreneur – who resigned in December 2021. The company closed the year with 150 bank accounts open (80 of them were from ContaAzul). The growth, she says, was mainly through word of mouth.
As Fran knows, one of the challenges facing the startup is ensuring that parents don’t use their children’s money — after all, there are financial emergencies and they can control the amount. To solve the issue, Pulpa developed some strategies, focusing especially on the emotional aspect of the tool. “When they go to withdraw the money, a message appears reminding them that that amount was for the children’s future. We also warn those who have already made a deposit that the money has been withdrawn, which causes social pressure”, says the entrepreneur.
For the entrepreneur, the startup is still understanding the market. Currently, the expectation is to double the number of accounts by the end of 2022 and grow 10 times in the next year. Another plan is to launch life insurance to ensure that children are beneficiaries if something happens to those responsible.
Source: PEGN Magazine