While software makers and security firms seek to strike a balance between the consumer affect on the workplace and the company’s need for guarded mobility, one company is appealing to the enterprise with an app that benefits to both parties. HelloWallet makes an app that provides personal finance tracking and recommendations to workers, while helping the employer encourage 401k savings amongst employees.
HelloWallet isn’t necessarily a competitor to services like Mint, though both strive for a personalized recommendation system that caters to individuals. HelloWallet provides weekly tools to boost savings and money management, strategies to reduce debt and other ways to help end users change their behavior around investments. Targeting the specific needs for an enterprise, HelloWallet joins employer and employee around the perks of saving together. The idea is to boost workers’ monthly contributions, as many don’t take full advantage of their retirement vehicle. And if workers don’t retire on time, it can be the employer that pays the price, with increased healthcare and other costs.
For HelloWallet, the democratization of data is key. The company first set out to educate consumers in an effort to address the wide gap between money management services and the average consumer. With a business model skewed towards higher income households, it doesn’t pay to help consumers that may need advice the most. Consumer trust also contributes to this gap–over 65% of the US population doesn’t trust banks to provide the best resources around investment and money management.
Current technology has introduced a distribution channel for companies like HelloWallet to reach consumers, giving them the information they need with speed and efficiency. But after launching in beta last year with seven avenues to reach consumers, HelloWallet quickly found its niche in the enterprise markets.
“We can scale a lot faster with enterprise,” says Matt Fellowes, CEO of HelloWallet. “It’s a more sustainable business model. Going directly to the consumer, the expectation is that your service is free. If you go directly to the enterprise, they may question a free service.”
Leveraging direct relationships with employers also fosters a higher trust factor between workers and their employer. “There’s an implicit thing that happens with investment providers because there tends to be a much higher level of trust for vendors providing benefits,” Fellowes explains. “HellowWallet is a powerful way to bridge that trust factor. There’s a huge value proposition.”
It’s one pragmatic way in which HelloWallet is joining employer with employee over a data driven work culture, where apps can help both sides reach a shared goal. And for HelloWallet, data plays a major role in democratizing money management education, and establishing higher trust between consumers and investment services. It lends itself to more personalized suggestions as it discovers the various attributes that exist within a segmented portion of investment activity.
“We’re metrics driven. We have to talk to our employers every quarter and resolve accountability,” Fellowes says. “We have a group of psychologists and scientists and economists, and we have an optimization model that learns what messages influence you most to improve your financial health. Over time we get more effective at personalizing guidance that helps you the most.”
At the heart of consumer education is the democratization of data, and HellowWallet wants to use its wide pools of data to help consumers at an individual level. It’s success in reaching them through the enterprise is a testimony to the shifting ethos in corporate America, where data can be used to make the most of a situation, and even regain some of the loyalty many employees have lost under current corporate regimes.