Lovebank ($lvbnk) is an early concept for a first of its kind digital banking app that enables people to spend smart and give more to the causes they care about.
I was living in London and immersed in the startup scene of that time. We were starting to see the take-off of fintech apps that used pre-paid cards connected to clever UIs to deliver a fresh and overdue update of the banking experience. Companies like Monzo, Resolut, Atom, and Wise were all taking shape, and I tested a few. I settled on Monzo for my day-to-day spending and Wise as a means of transferring funds between my accounts in Canada and my expenses in the UK. The ability to have a banking experience in step with the rest of my digital life was highly empowering. It enabled me to manage finances with clarity and ease during a season of financial constraints. I was struck, though, by the lack of fundamental innovations. You could have versions of spend and save accounts, but only a couple of companies introduced clever tricks like 'round up'. I don't recall which platform offered it first, but essentially one can opt-in for rounding up expenses to the nearest dollar, and the difference of that amount automatically would go into a savings pot. I was in the middle of my Global Leadership Masters and had been thinking a lot about ways to tale processes and human behaviours in current systems and creatively optimize these towards positive outcomes in the world.
Lovebank was initiated from the desire to enable individuals to do more good without changing fundamental behaviours. It is my view that we often overlook the fact that systems produce behaviour and thus determine outcomes. It is extremely difficult for an individual to act outside of these complex systems, even if this outside action is more in line with their declared values. Generally, we are products of the systems we participate in. Charitable funding is a complex mess which you can read more about in my Master's Thesis experiment. It seemed clear that the biggest hurdle to getting causes funded is that it's just really damn hard to get money out of people's bank accounts. Charitable funding, by in large, follows an archaic and guilt-based sales approach. This may have worked in previous generations but misses Millennials and Gen Z+ in a big way. Even if the pitch moves you, transferring your funds into these causes is archaic. And worse, after your money is there, you're blind to its use and impact.
I proposed the world's first digital banking app that combined spending smart and giving more. The problem loosely is "people wanna give, but it's just too damn difficult." The solution I proposed was to simplify the whole thing and put giving at the heart of money management. With one app/card, you can spend smart by seeing all your expenses in one place, manage your money with 'pots' for savings, and 'round-up' your spending so that the difference to the next dollar is automatically added to your 'give' pot. Without any effort on behalf of the user, they are able to give more.
The give tab would enable them to allocate their monthly giving to various types of causes. Rather than choosing specific charities, I thought it made the most sense to pre-vet charities on the back-end and then allow an allocation on the front-end by the user. For example, they could give 100% to Climate Change causes or split up their giving, say: 20% to Climate / 20% to Poverty Alleviation / 10% to Equity & Inclusion / 50% to Fluffy Animals. Causes could be grounded in the UN SDGs, and users could nominate specific charities for inclusion.
Causes would be featured monthly with content about the team and the work. Users would see a running total of how much they gave over time, able to add additional single contributions, and have all the tax credits tracked easily through the app — no more annoying forms and tax slips etc.
Finally, users would have a feed that showed specifically what their funds were used for. We would require this from charity partners, which would all be fed back to the user in the app under a 'your impact' section.
I also proposed a $lvbnk token to enable the easy transfer of funds across borders and from the user accounts to charity accounts.
This stayed in the concept stage, though I did incorporate Lvbnk with companies house in London, start on the UX/UI, and began to line up a dev team.
My partner's father had gotten an unfortunate diagnosis, so we chose to return to Canada to be in closer proximity. It didn't make sense to try and start a London fintech from western Canada, so the whole thing went into pause mode. I think I'll kick up a lil MVP one day and see if we can't make Lovebank a reality.
If you've read this far and you wanna build this with me, hit me up!