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Maps, money and WhatsApp: neobank in the messenger attracts generation Z and raises $2M

Friday, February 26, 2021

Startup Jedi

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Pre-seed round for a rather large amount of $2M was recently raised by the Latvian FinTech startup ZELF. The process was led by the Austrian venture fund 3VC with the participation of Seed X, Hard Yaka and several private investors, among which the co-founder ICQ can be noted.

The project is a neobank for Generation Z, which explains its main feature. This is a bank inside а messenger: no additional applications are required for installation. All banking processes, including the issuance of a virtual debit card, take place inside the largest instant messengers, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram and Viber. It will take only 30 seconds to receive a Mastercard payment system card at the company's request, then it can be added to a virtual wallet and safely paid using a smartphone. Messages in the messenger make it possible to find out the status of your account, send and receive money, set spending limits.

It is not in vain that the stake is made on Generation Z: according to statistics, most of its representatives are constantly online, having a hard time parting with a smartphone in their hands. At the same time, it is messengers that are among the leaders of applications in terms of the amount of time spent in them—- they lag behind social networks by only 1-2%. At the same time, Facebook itself, in its marketing research of Generation Z, called them "a money-spending force": in the United States alone, at the time of the publication of this study in 2019, the expenses of representatives of the generation were estimated at $143B.

One of the features of communication with the bank is that messages in the selected messenger can be received in a voice format: in the future, they are processed using AI technologies. According to the CEO and founder of the project, Elliot Goykhman, their business strategy of abandoning "bulky banking applications" and physical plastic cards will prove to be a winning one. A well-developed referral system for attracting clients also plays a great deal of attention in the development and popularization of Neobank services: ZELF pays real money for each brought “friend”.

ZELF was founded in 2019 in Riga, and during this time, half a million users worldwide have acquired virtual cards, and this number is growing by 70% every month. Investments will be aimed at further accelerating the growth of Neobank in the Baltics, European expansion with a focus on Spain, Germany, Poland, as well as entering the US and UK markets. There are also plans to start selling their services through Discord.

26 Feb 2021


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