On Tuesday, Flourish shared our investment in Cushion, the app that helps consumers in the US negotiate their bank and credit card fees. Cushion announced that the company raised $2.8 million in a Seed Round from existing investor, pre-seed fund Afore Capital, and new investors Flourish, 9Yards Capital, Green Cow Venture Capital, and Vestigo Ventures.
TechCrunch’s Danny Crichton dove into how Cushion uses an artificial intelligence (AI) bot to connect with banks on behalf of users to analyze their transaction histories, identify fees and interest charges, and negotiate their reduction or removal.
Rather than just offering a financial snapshot with some recommendations, Founder Paul Kesserwani wants Cushion to be able to actively manage a user’s financial accounts to maximize their financial health. That might mean switching to a cheaper bank account offering with lower fees, or hypothetically, working with a utility company to change the deadline of a heating bill so that a user doesn’t need a payday loan to pay it in the first place.
“If we do our job properly, we are introducing this whole new concept of managing your finances for you,” Kesserwani explained. He believes that the enormous complexity of the U.S. consumer banking and financial world lends itself to more activist software intervention.
That mission is what attracted Emmalyn Shaw of Flourish Ventures, an economic resilience-focused firm spinout of the Omidyar Network that has raised $300 million in new capital and also merged in a $200 million existing portfolio. What attracted her to Cushion is the incentive alignment between the company and its users. It only makes money when its customers make money, unlike with advertising-driven products. Plus, it can democratize finance by making fee negotiations accessible to all.
View the full story on TechCrunch here.