Learn about our member Monkee, startup of the week working towards the SDG1:
Monkee - Strengthen your financial fitness and achieve your small goals and big dreams
42% of all EU households, approximately 215 million people, are not financially empowered and struggle to make ends meet. (EU Eurostat - EU-SILC survey 2017) Saving for old age, for education for the kids or for a holiday trip - most of us have good intentions to save more for our future, but many people are struggling.
The Austrian startup Monkee (www.monkee.rocks) uses the most recent research from behavioral economics and combines it with machine learning to help people to achieve their savings goals. The Monkee app helps people to stay motivated and make saving money a habit and fun again.
Today, spending money is technically and psychologically easier than saving
One-click-shopping, subscription models and algorithm-based consumer targeting - spending money is easier than ever before. We can buy everything from everywhere and every time and if there is something we can’t afford, we can also finance it with a few clicks. The balance between consumption and savings is out of balance, despite the fact that money worries are already society’s number one stress factor. Taking care of current and future financial needs is not taken seriously or postponed indefinitely.
Monkee aims to help people to improve their financial fitness by bringing saving and spending money back into a more sustainable balance. The tree founders Jean-Yves Bitterlich, Martin Granig, and Christian Schneider are convinced that a holistically healthy life means a balance between physical, mental AND financial health, as bad financial habits negatively affect all other areas of life.
Monkee uses digital nudges to help achieving targets
Monkee is a digital financial fitness coach, that helps people to achieve their goals. “Having concrete goals is already a very important factor to stay motivated over a longer period of time.”, says Christian Schneider. With Monkee people can set their own targets, but the app also recommends targets based on people who share certain similarities. But setting targets is the easy part, most people struggle to build the required habits to achieve them. With Monkee the longer-term targets are broken down into smaller weekly increments. Instead of 1.000 Euro for a new laptop for school, you save 10 Euro per week over a certain period of time - which makes a big psychological difference.
The Monkee financial fitness coach then starts to digitally “nudge” to stay motivated to reach their targets. Nudges are soft reminders, feedback or questions with the goal to motivate users to contribute some Euros to get one step closer to their saving targets. The machine learning backbone of Monkee learns over time how to individualize those nudges to increase chances of a saving contributions.
Monkee helps to increase your financial fitness
In contrast to other solutions, Monkee relies on a sustainable change in savings and consumer behavior instead of trying to solve the problem that we save too little and spend too much money with pure automation. “Savings should be reintegrated into everyday life – without making major sacrifices. And the most important thing of all: Monkee makes saving fun again!”, says Martin Granig.
The Monkee savings account is completely free for the user and can be linked to any existing checking account (so far in Germany and Austria only). To ensure highest safety standards Monkee collaborates with several banking partners and the savings of its users are secured by one of Europe's largest banks.
Monkee’s vision is to help people to increase their financial fitness and support them holistically on their journey. It not only wants to reintegrate saving into everyday life, but also to promote a responsible and more sustainable approach to money – from everyday saving to sustainable investing and more conscious consumption. Following the very successful growth of the current product - it’s been downloaded 20.000 times within 4 months after launch - the startup works on continuous expansion to holistically cover the topic of financial fitness.
Monkee has very recently been nominated as Digital Hero, received a high-tech government grant to further development it’s finance coach and is part of the Amsterdam FinTech accelerator “Think Forward Initiative” that is sponsored by ING, Deloitte, IBM, Dell, AWS and the Center for Economic Policy Research.
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