Why We Invested in Clerkie
By Emmalyn Shaw
Anyone who has struggled financially knows how to stretch a dollar, but many money-saving moves can be time-consuming, confusing, and even counterintuitive. Which debts to pay off first, how to time monthly bill payments, how to afford a new home, and when to start saving for retirement – these are complex decisions. For too long, expert financial advice has been out of reach for most people. Even when customers are well informed, navigating jargon-full paperwork and time-consuming tasks can be overwhelming.
“People want to be smart with their money,” says Guy Assad, the cofounder of Clerkie, “but they often have no idea where to start, because the financial system is opaque and expensive.” Guy knows this firsthand. Growing up in Haiti, financial stress and poverty were part of everyday life. When he arrived in the US as an immigrant, he was inspired by the “American Dream”, but the gap between the haves and have-nots quickly became clear.
Financial knowledge is not widespread, and two-thirds of Americans spend at least 30 percent of their paycheck paying off debt. Few households have sufficient savings, and 71 percent are living paycheck-to-paycheck.
That’s why we invested in Clerkie, which Guy cofounded in 2016. With a free app, Clerkie combines an AI-powered financial assistant with one-click automation, making it easy for users to take action and improve their financial health.
Using Clerkie is like talking to a friend. Linking to users’ accounts, the app offers well-timed financial advice in a way that’s easy to understand. It also integrates with third-parties to perform tasks on users’ behalf, such as paying a phone bill, updating 401k contributions, or moving a due date to better suit the user’s income cycle.
The AI develops a deep understanding of users’ lifestyle to recommend personalized solutions for life’s financial decisions. Most importantly, Clerkie anticipates potential financial issues and helps problem-solve before they can derail people’s lives.
Clerkie’s founding team has a strong grasp of customer segments by household income, and has developed a compelling commercial argument for serving the mass market. Their vision is to empower struggling middle-class Americans with free and actionable financial help. As McKinsey alums with experience in the financial sector, they understand the startup landscape as well as the challenges of the middle class. They also have technical expertise in deep learning and AI-based finance. They have trained Clerkie’s AI technology with millions of inputs, coupled with heuristics from top financial experts.
The idea that anyone can have access to expert financial guidance, based on their unique life goals and circumstances, is a powerful proposition. We’re excited to see Clerkie make that vision a reality for people across America.