By Riley Kaminer
If you live in Miami, chances are that either you have some family living abroad, you yourself are one of the 57% of foreign-born Miamians, or both. If so, you likely have some first- or second-hand knowledge of what a headache it is to deal with cross-border financial transactions.
Miami-based startup Finnt is on a mission to reduce the financial headache for global families. Leveraging digital assets and blockchain technologies, Finnt has developed a platform to help international family members support each other financially. Through their platform, families can set up joint savings accounts that come with inflation-beating interest rates.
The startup just raised a $3.5 million seed round to help bring this vision to life. Investors include Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator, Uphonest Capital, Soma Capital, Untapped Ventures, and ISAI. They also have a series of strategic investors from the traditional finance world such as Franklin Templeton, on top of web3 investors Protocol Labs and OrangeDAO. Finnt reports that they count on these investors to provide the long-term insights necessary to keep up with the rapidly-growing DeFi movement.
Co-founded by Anji Ismail and Faouzi El Yagoubi [pictured above] in the first months of this year, Finnt was part of Y Combinator’s winter 2022 cohort. So far, they have been focused on developing their MVP, which is now in private beta with a few hundred users.
Ismail told Refresh Miami that he will use these funds to help launch the product to the broader public later this year. “This fundraising enables us to get the necessary banking infrastructure in place,” he explained, noting the high barrier to entry into the highly technical and regulated world of banking.
Ismail also said that the seed round will help Finnt expand their currently 6-person team, with a focus on Miami. “Ideally, we are looking to hire in Miami,” he asserted. Currently Ismail and another team member are based here. Over the next few months, Finnt plans to expand to somewhere around 10 to 12 employees. While the engineering team will likely remain in the founders’ native France, Ismail signaled his interest in hiring customer success, design, and marketing talent in South Florida.
Investors are excited to help Finnt on their mission, in Ismail’s words, to “build a bank of the future – not built just for people living in one state or in one country, but for people working remotely, that have families overseas, and that are planning for retirement outside of where they work today.”
“Our investment in Finnt displays our commitment and enthusiasm about the future of Web3 and growth that is soon to come for both Finnt and the market as a whole,” commented George Bandarian, founding partner of Untapped, which invested in the round.
“We believe wholeheartedly in the founders of the company, Anji Ismail and Faouzi El Yagoubi, and their ability to disrupt the fintech space,” continued Bandarian. “Our investment shows Untapped’s support of Anji, Faouzi, and Finnt’s purpose, all of which align with our mission. We are excited about the future of Finnt and look forward to our continued activity in the space.
Before founding Finnt, Ismail worked as an angel investor and Director of Product at Welcome, a marketing platform acquired by Optimizely. He also co-founded Varandia, a blockchain-based infrastructure for the digital advertising industry. El Yagoubi comes from a technical background, having been Director of Energy at IT and engineering consultancy OVAVI and tire manufacturer Michelin. Previously, the duo co-founded DOZ, a marketing SaaS platform.
Ismail originally landed in the US in 2019. He moved to Miami during the pandemic, but admits that he didn’t see it as a place to start a business at first. But he changed his mind as he began to see our city become a global innovation hub. “I got reassured that I could start a new company here, and that we could find talent and investors here,” he said.
Interested in trying out Finnt’s platform? Join the waitlist on their website and follow them on Twitter for the latest updates. A full version of their platform, including a mobile app, is set to be released at the end of 2022.
Photo at top of post: Finnt founders Anji Ismail (left) and Faouzi El Yagoubi.
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