At Flourish, we stand against racial injustice that has plagued America and other societies for a very long time. We recognize the problem is deep-seated with a prolonged and tragic history of systemic racism and we, at Flourish, have a lot more to learn. As a team, we stand in solidarity with our portfolio companies, ecosystem partners, and all communities across the country in demanding an end to racial injustice.

We built Flourish to help create financial fairness and opportunity for all. In the U.S., financial well-being eludes a majority of households, and Black families are at a…

By Arjuna Costa and Ameya Upadhyay

Entrepreneurs everywhere are dealing with much uncertainty right now, especially in Africa, where capital markets are shallow and collapsing commodity prices pose a double hit to economies dealing with COVID-19. In our discussions with entrepreneurs across the continent, we find that they are understandably anxious about how their companies will emerge from this downturn. And yet, we also hear optimism about the opportunities that will emerge from this time of rapid digital adoption.

To address these concerns and take the pulse of early-stage funding in Africa, we hosted a virtual panel on May 7…

By Smita Aggarwal & Tilman Ehrbeck

Insurance is a powerful tool to help families and small businesses protect themselves from the financial implications of a wide range of unforeseen events. Consider motor and third-party liability coverage in the case of a car accident, health coverage to help with an expensive medical episode, and crop insurance for smallholder farmers should the agricultural season fail.

In the current pandemic crisis, the nature of underlying risks has obviously changed, but the importance and benefits that risk coverage can provide are highlighted even more prominently. Despite the strong evidence of the positive impact of…

Summer: lower your student loan payments

COVID-19 has cast America’s financial health challenges in sharp relief. Even before the downturn, nearly 70% of Americans were struggling financially. As the pandemic intensifies, the crisis has underscored U.S. families’ daunting financial vulnerabilities. From weak workplace safeguards to constrained savings and insurance gaps, the fallout is prompting a long-overdue examination of the status quo.

Nowhere is scrutiny more critical than in the realm of student debt, where the headline statistics have been blinking red for years. Over 45 million borrowers hold $1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt today, more than triple 2006 levels. Student loans are now the single…

By Smita Aggarwal and Arjuna Costa

Tips for Fintech lenders during COVID pandemic

As we all live in the hope that the current strict social distancing guidelines will be relaxed soon, it is clear that this pandemic will lead to less human contact and greater digitization in our everyday lives. The trend of increasing availability of seamless digital financial services is likely to accelerate.

Digital credit providers — who have played a vital role in helping small businesses and gig workers invest in growth, and blue-collar workers bridge intra-month cash flow gaps — are facing negative short- and medium-term impacts. …

By Emmalyn Shaw

In six weeks, the United States shifted from a 50-year-low unemployment rate to likely the highest one since the Great Depression. No economic downturn has happened as rapidly as this one triggered through COVID-19, and our most vulnerable Americans are suffering the greatest blow.

We’re pleased that the US government acted fast by approving a stimulus package that will send direct payments to millions of individuals and families, but we know from the collective experience of Flourish’s portfolio companies and our investment team, which advocates for Americans who live paycheck to paycheck, that one $1,200 relief payment…

By Sarah Morgenstern

As US financial institutions seek to regain consumer trust in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, senior executives have increasingly embraced the lexicon of financial health and wellness. According to new research by the Financial Health Network (previously CFSI), at least 69 percent of executives in the industry say improving the financial health of their customers is a strategic priority. That’s the first step. The next step is doing something about it.

In the same survey, only 35 percent of finance executives said they are tracking data on financial health outcomes among their customers. About the…

Why We Invested in Clerkie

By Emmalyn Shaw

Anyone who has struggled financially knows how to stretch a dollar, but many money-saving moves can be time-consuming, confusing, and even counter intuitive. Which debts to pay off first, how to time monthly bill payments, how to afford a new home, and when to start saving for retirement — these are complex decisions. For too long, expert financial advice has been out of reach for most people. Even when customers are well informed, navigating jargon-full paperwork and time-consuming tasks can be overwhelming.

“People want to be smart with their money,” says Guy Assad, the cofounder…

By Emmalyn Shaw

Arjuna Costa, Amy Webb, and Emmalyn Shaw (L-R) pictured at Flourish’s SXSW Fintech Forward Basecamp.

If you’ve ever freelanced, April is a busy month. Filing taxes is not simple with stacks of 1099s. Neither is getting insurance, or if you drive for a ride-sharing service, keeping track of all your work-related automotive expenses.

Making a living in the gig economy can be challenging, but work is not necessarily more stable for wage-earners or people in salaried jobs. Companies are not just replacing employees with contractors; they are also replacing human work with automation. About 54…

By Jenny Johnston

Fintech is one of the most exciting sectors for venture funding and is making real people better off. But as the field grows, it’s important we not leave behind the potential customers whom fintech could benefit most: women in emerging markets.

Worldwide, hundreds of millions more women lack necessary financial services than men. While technology has connected nearly a billion people to their first account over the last decade, the gender gap stands about where it was in 2011: around 7 percent. In some countries, like Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nigeria, the gender gap is nearly 30 percent…

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