Savings account appYotta Savings was started by two people who were honored for being under 30. The company announced today that it has raised $13.2 million in a Series A round, led by Base10 Partners and including Y Combinator, Core Innovation Capital, and Slow Ventures. Cliff Asness, a billionaire, and Ken Moelis, also a billionaire, were among the people who gave Yotta money in their last round.
Yotta is a mobile app where users sign up, link their external bank account, and deposit money into their Yotta savings account. Instead of getting interested in their savings balances like they would at a traditional bank, they get $25 tickets instead. With each of these tickets, they can win anything from 10 cents to $10 million.
Adam Moelis, cofounder and CEO of Yotta, says that in the U.S., 40% of people have $400 saved for emergencies, but the average household spends over $600 on lottery tickets every year. Moelis says that there are a lot of similarities between lottery players and people with little or no savings.
“The reason people find it hard to save is that saving pays off in the long run, but it doesn’t give you anything right away.” “Playing the lottery, on the other hand, might give you something right away, but it’s bad for you in the long run,” says Moelis.
Yotta makes money when partner banks pay them for their balances and interest rates, which they then give as prizes to their customers.
This week, about 8 million tickets, worth a total of $200 million, will be deposited with Yotta. On average, about 2% of those tickets will be winners, and the most common winning amount will be between 10 and 20 cents. Since the company started in July of last year, 130,000 people have signed up for Yotta, 90,000 have money in their Yotta account, and 60,000 have a ticket this week.
“A lot of users tell us that it gives them the same feeling they’d get from other things, but in a safer way,” says Doyle, the app’s co-founder, and CTO. “When it comes to small amounts of money, people don’t want to get guaranteed one or two dollars from the bank where they save. Instead, they want excitement, hope, and the chance to win big. That’s the basic thought process behind it.
All of the funds are guaranteed up to $250,000 by Yotta’s partner bank, Evolve Bank and Trust.
Moelis, who went to Wharton, and Doyle, who went to the University of Michigan, met in New York. Moelis’ cousin was Doyle’s roommate in the city, which is how they got to know each other. In October 2019, the two of them started the company together. The platform went live in July 2020. Since then, the two of them have taken Y Combinator’s summer class and made 2021 Under 30 Social Impact list.
Moelis says that they are planning to add more banking services soon.
Moelis says, “We’ll soon have a debit card.” “We’ll be more like a full bank account than just a savings account.” “People will be able to spend money from their account and do a lot of other things you’d expect from a digital banking product.”
The business, which is based in New York City, has already raised between $500,000 and $4 million.
TJ Nahigian, co-founder and managing partner at Base10 Partners, which led Series A, says that Moelis and Doyle started Yotta so that Americans could save money and also have fun playing games.
Nahigian says that the idea behind it is to help users change habits that may not be very helpful or smart and turn them into something that will help them in the long run. “In the future, Yotta’s products will have this gaming and lottery-like mechanic built in, so it will be a way to have fun and also reward people for making good financial decisions.
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