Startup Hip Money Launches Kickstarter to Raise (Social) Capital

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / VicheslavCrowdfunding is itself a fintech innovation, yet few fintech startups have tapped it for funding. (Unless you count 195 takes on the “slim wallet” to be fintech — sheesh!)

Savings startup Hip Money, an offshoot of Lincoln, Neb.-based Hip Pocket, is taking to Kickstarter not just to raise money, but to raise awareness. As CEO Mark Zmarzly put it, the startup is more concerned with “the social capital rather than the capital capital.”

Hip Money’s 30-day $15,000 Kickstarter raise starts today. The app allows users to save with a swipe, and also contains some budgeting and personal financial management functionality. Hip Money already has an unspecified amount of funding “and will build [the app] regardless,” Zmarzly told Bank Innovation.

Kickstarter is a way for the brand to connect with millennials, and test the waters with marketing direct to consumers. Zmarzly already tried selling to banks, and found interest but an equal lack of sympathy with the notion of helping customers improve their financial situation. The focus was on selling products, not serving customers. This made Zmarzly a little angry, and the tone carries over, with a healthy dose of humor, into the Kickstarter campaign and general branding.

Millennials are angry at banks too, Zmarzly said, because it’s clear to them banks’ interests are not in line with their own. The goal of the current campaign is to “acknowledge anger at FIs, but focus on hope and a positive message,” he said.

Backers will form a beta group to test the app, and the money can go to plugging into a realtime money service, Dwolla’s FiSync. But Zmarzly was emphatic that the app would be built regardless of how the crowdfunding goes.

Still, a little money can’t hurt. More broadly, and more grandly, Zmarzly hopes he can start a movement and mobilize like-minded millennials to transform the industry.

“Bankers need to change their attitude,” Zmarzly said. “Fintech companies are attacking the industry product by product. Banks need to change the way they do business. They need to put the customer first.”

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