BankTech

The communities neobanks ignore are the people Welcome Tech serves

Thanks to a new Series B funding round of $35 million, Welcome Tech, whose digital platform helps Spanish-speaking immigrants navigate life in the U.S., says it’ll further fill a void in financial services.

The platform features a bilingual mobile app and debit card designed for Hispanic consumers in the U.S., many of whom fall into the “unbanked” or “underbanked” categories.

“We understand the multigenerational immigrant household and how to best serve its members, both in language and in culture,” Amir Hemmat, co-founder, president and CEO of Welcome Tech, tells FinLedger. “The traditional banks are not prioritizing this consumer and the neobanks are largely ignoring this sector. We are stepping in to be the unparalleled solution at scale.”

Traditional banks are not prioritizing this consumer and the neobanks are largely ignoring this sector.

TTV Capital, Owl Ventures and SoftBank’s SB Opportunity Fund co-led the funding round, announced April 21. Other participants were Crosscut Ventures, Mubadala Capital, Next Play Capital and Owl Capital.  To date, the company has raised $50 million.

With the money, Welcome Tech plans to grow its services, user base and workforce.

Los Angeles-based Welcome Tech, with nearly 3 million active users, offers immigrants access to financial, health care and educational resources through the SABEResPODER platform. Saber es poder means “knowledge is power.” 

“At Welcome Tech, we are using our proprietary data and technology to build a platform that addresses critical needs of our immigration system and propels society forward. Financial services and education are core to our ecosystem,” Hemmat says in a news release.

Hemmat tells FinLedger that the fintech-anchored platform strives to nurture “a better operating system for immigration in the U.S.”

“Immigration is an international issue haunting many countries. Through our company, immigrants and their households will have access to critical resources that support their onboarding, integration and ongoing success,” he says. “Banking and financial services are a beachhead and starting point to a broader platform that will lead to more opportunities for the communities we serve.”

Gardiner Garrard, co-founder and partner at TTV Capital, notes that the Hispanic market makes up the largest minority community in the U.S., with a population of 62.8 million and household spending of $978 billion in 2020.

“That said, less than half of Hispanic households are ‘fully banked,’ meaning they cannot open an account, which then negatively impacts their ability to secure other products or services,” Garrard says. “To not serve this community is a major failure. Welcome Tech is addressing this issue head on by providing best-in-class financial services.”

Welcome Tech charges no monthly maintenance fees or overdraft fees for its bank accounts, and it doesn’t require minimum balances. Accounts are available to both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking consumers. Each customer receives a free Visa debit card that can be used at more than 19,000 no-fee ATMs. Pasadena, California-based fintech Green Dot, best known for its prepaid debit cards, is Welcome Tech’s banking partner.

The startup launched its mobile banking capabilities last May.

Welcome Tech’s subscription offering provides health care discounts. A user pays a monthly fee to gain access to lower-price dental services, vision care, lab tests and medication.

The company plans to introduce a credit product later this year.

“By leading our offerings with the areas that can make the greatest impact to the immigrant community, we both serve the community and empower immigrant communities. And they, in turn, empower our country,” Hemmat says.

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