The New York City mobile app developers at NextGenVest are out to solve a huge problem: the financial traps set for millennial students by predatory lenders and skyrocketing educational costs. To date, organizations aimed at helping students manage money better have failed — particularly when trying to profit in the process — because of the historically low trust younger demographics have in financial institutions.
Said NextGenVest founder Kelly Peeler, “There’s a huge lack of brand loyalty in this demographic with existing institutions. We want to be the money mentor, your cool older brother who guides you through it.” That’s welcome words to students, who unwittingly forego a cumulative $2.9 billion (with a “b”) in grants and financial aid due to the complexity of the process. From finding funds to the application process, anyone who’s applied for student aid can tell you: it’s a full-time job. The real questions is, how has the situation continued on this long without FinTech app developers stepping in to provide solutions?
Peeler cites the high dropout rate (30%) and financial anxiety from a poor job market as challenges that should be fixed by financial institutions and fintech app developers, not young consumers or nonprofit groups. While NextGenVest’s unique premise — communicating about finances over SMS and SnapChat — as bizarre, it’s actually firmly planted in research and statistics. Mobile messaging shows high rates of engagement with millennial demographics compared to traditional means like websites, blogs, and even FaceBook posts. (Don’t even mention paper mailings — this isn’t the nineties.) Concentrating on nurturing SMS relationships also allows the startup to reach beyond the iPhone class to reach students from modest background who might not even have personal smartphones.
The fintech app developers at NextGenVest have also found a market in international students seeking information about financing US study. While the service is currently available in only 12 states, the company has already spread to 5 countries with substantial student demographics and aims to expand much further in 2016.Tags: fintech, fintech app developers, fintech disruption, fintech mobile apps, Kelly Peeler, millennial, millennials, mobile news, monetization, New York City mobile app developers, NextGenVest, SMS education, SMS marketing, tech education