Adrissha Wimberly and Charisse Conanan are the cofounders of Chicago startup Smarteys.com and want to change the way young people think about money.
“Young people are sharing their information like never before,” said COO Wimberly. “When you take into account that student loan debt is starting to outpace credit card debt, its clear that we have the right idea at the right time.”
Smarteys target demo is the young professional fresh out of school and divides their financial program into phases that make it easy for young people to follow. “By changing how young people think about money,” said Wimberly, “we give them a different way of living financially fit.”
Here is how Smarteys works:
Phase 1: Cash Pile Manager
First a student signs up with Smarteys.com and enters their financial data. Based on the data entered by the student, Smarteys tells a student what they should be doing with their money as they get it. They don’t tell students what to invest in (like stocks or bonds) but they do tell students something to the effect of, “You got a tax refund of $2000. $800 of that should go to books, $500 to rent, etc.” it’s a very basic way for students to allocate finances and get used to living within their means.
Phase 2: Paycheck Manager
This is very similar to Phase 1 except the student is now a graduate and is beginning their life in the working world. “We reverse the idea of a budget,” said Wimberly. “Instead of saying, ‘I have this much money’ and trying to figure out where to put it, Smarteys tells you where to put your money and then the budgets work themselves out. Whatever you have left after Smarteys allocates your paycheck, that is yours to spend until next payday.”
A typical young professional might have Smarteys tell them to put differing amounts of money towards their student loan, rent, electricity, clothes and anything else based on the information the person entered, taking the hassle out of budgeting the traditional way.
From the Smarteys website:
The Smarteys Online Platform
The Smarteys online platform provides you with a unique experience based on smart principles developed by the company’s personal finance experts, the founders. The founders have partnered with the nation’s leading experts in behavioral psychology to break down the process of making money decision into several small steps. Smarteys online products provide automated recommendations to help you save and reduce debt. The recommendations are easy to understand and tailored for your specific financial situation.
“We want to reward people for being financially fit,” added Wimberly. “We want to offer rewards to our users for living within their means following our program. “ Part of that plan is to add social functionality so people can tweet their success or share it on Facebook and, as Wimberly puts it, “be proud of their accomplishments.”
The original idea for Smarteys came from CEO Charisse Conanan when she moved from NY to Chicago to become a MBA candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. There she met Adrissha who also came to Booth from NY.
Coanan worked in J.P. Morgan’s asset management and holds a CFA designation. She knew that she wanted to use her MBA to help people with their finances and after meeting Wimberly the two realized that going digital was the right move to connect with the young professionals they want to serve.
Currently Smarteys has been bootstrapped with some friends and family financing and the pair are looking for funding. You can view their efforts at http://www.AdrisshaCharisse.info.
“We are going to be doing UI testing next and are looking for tech talent to add to the team,” said Wimberly. (Any one interested can contact the company directly at [email protected])
Sign up to join their beta at Smarteys.com
Money Smart Week 2011 – Smarteys at DePaul University from Adri Reese on Vimeo.