One of Australia’s largest banks and one of its most public billionaires have tipped millions of dollars into an app teaching kids about money.
On Tuesday, family finance app Spriggy announced it had closed another $35 million funding round, led by NAB’s venture capital arm and joined by Grok Ventures, the family office of Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.
Spriggy, founded by Alex Badran and Mario Hasanakos in 2015, helps families teach their kids about spending and saving via an online app and debit card that parents can control.
Now boasting more than 500,000 users, the Sydney-based company has seen its growth accelerated in the last two years as Australia goes increasingly digital.
“Families are thinking about how to live their lives without cash and that’s becoming one of the big reasons for a lot of them to try Spriggy. In that sense at least it’s been great for the business,” Hasanakos told Business Insider Australia.
But while the slow death of banknotes is helping, it’s clear there’s a lot more driving the business. Badran puts their “tremendous success” down to starting with the biggest learning curve all families face.
“From the start, we’ve focused on digital pocket money which is where kids typically have their first experience with their own money,” he said.
“With families at home all the time now, we’re seeing a lot more chores being completed by the kids,” Hasanakos added.
Its growth trajectory has clearly impressed its biggest supporters. This latest funding round marks the second time that Grok, along with active investment fund Perennial Value Management, have backed Badran and Hasanakos in less than 12 months.
The new funds will be used to triple the size of the local team, taking Spriggy’s headcount to over 100, with a view to build out the kind of features they say are being cried out for by families.
“One example is gifting kids money for Christmas or their birthdays. That feature is really popular and it’s all about helping parents have that conversation,” Badran said.
“Another is the ability to allow extra parents, in say a split parent households, to manage their kid’s pocket money,” Hasanakos said. “Which is funny because there are so many split households and it’s so obvious but try to do that with a regular bank account and it’s super hard.”
It’s interesting then that the ability to move and manage money in unique ways for kids has attracted the interest of NAB, as banks increasingly look to outside fintechs and start-ups for new ideas and new customers.
Both remain tightlipped on what new features are coming further down the track, although suggest that areas like “earning and investing” are a big part of a future product map.
Either way, it’ll be both parents and kids who will get to decide where Spriggy goes next.
“The funnest part of the business is speaking to both groups about their wants, which often aren’t aligned, and figuring out how to harmonise them,” Badran said. “Parents have so many great, sometimes kooky ideas about how to teach their family about money and inspire this entrepreneurial spirit in their kids, but they all have different perspectives.
“The real challenge for us is to take all of that feedback and build something flexible enough for every Australian family.”