“We know that this is bigger than just an app,” said Mark Zmarzly, Hip Pocket CEO. “It’s a long-overdue movement for change.”
It’s being called the “Fingers Up!” movement because Hip Pocket plans to disrupt the banking industry through the swipe of a finger on the Hip Money app. The campaign got underway with a launch party Wednesday at FUSE Coworking in Lincoln.
“We want to force banks to care more about people than profit,” Zmarzly said. “And we want to inspire people to no longer settle for the status quo.”
The Hip Money campaign is designed to engage a core group of users and supporters while generating funds for the next stage of the app’s development.
“Backers are basically pre-paying for the app,” Zmarzly said. “We want a pent-up user group to show that people will pay for value.”
The Hip Money app is available for both iOS and Android, and can be securely connected to a checking, savings, loan or credit account. The app monitors spending habits and creates daily savings suggestions that are pushed out to users.
“We won’t judge you, but we will nudge you,” Zmarzly said.
The goal is to measure the market, raise interest and crowdfund more than $15,000. In the first hour following the campaign’s launch at 11 a.m. CDT, 18 backers had pledged more than a third of that amount. By the start of the launch party at 4:30, the number had grown to 55 backers and over $8,500 in pledges.
So how does this compare to expectations?
“It could have gone either way,” Zmarzly said. “We did everything we could up until we hit the ‘publish’ button.”
The mission of Hip Money is to help people save smarter and pay off loans faster, without having to change spending habits or bank accounts. With a swipe of the finger, you can move small amounts of money from your checking account into your savings account, or prepay a loan.
“We’ve interviewed hundreds of bank customers, and their number one need is easy-to-use financial technology that gives better outcomes with less work,” Zmarzly said. “The bigger goal is to enable everyone to be smarter with their finances.”
The target audience is made up of young professionals, recent graduates and college students. In other words, millennials. And many among this group have a distrust of the status quo.
“It’s a strategic bet based in part on the political environment with the popularity of people like Bernie Sanders,” Zmarzly said. “There’s an appetite out there for things that aren’t the status quo.”
Since much of Hip Pocket’s current market is in the financial services industry, Zmarzly was asked how his current customer base feels about the strong words about them.
“We’ve been working with banks and credit unions for a lot of years. I under-anticipated the backlash,” he said. “One of our partners was pretty upset at how we’re painting the banking industry. I’m not sure how it will affect the relationship.”
“We want to force banks to care more about people than profit”
Zmarzly said that the primary issue is four major banks out of the roughly 7,000 throughout the U.S.
“But you can’t really say the four big ones are the problem,” he said. “If the big banks do something – or don’t do something – the rest will follow.”
There is one credit union – Sno Falls Credit Union in the state of Washington – that is intrigued enough to become one of Hip Money’s backers.
“If you’re not pissing some people off, you’re not working hard enough,” Zmarzly said.
Rod Armstrong is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for AIM in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is a regular contributor to Silicon Prairie News.