A drive to serve those who are less financially capable and more anxious has informed the development of Toucan. We spoke with Founder, Bailey Kursar about creating a service, using Open Banking, where older adults are among the target consumers.
What is the inspiration behind Toucan?
While the last couple of years have seen the launch of several new money management apps, we saw that not everyone felt they were for them.
When, as part of previous projects, I’ve showed designs of new budgeting features, with numbers and graphs, to new groups of people, they’ve been split. Some love the ability to control every penny; they tend to be more confident with money management. Others said that these features made them feel overwhelmed by information and they’d be put off using them.
Fintech companies tend to be full of confident budgeters and spreadsheet lovers, so it’s no wonder why the products that are built reflect the features that this group would want. But actually, there are huge parts of the population who are less confident with their money; less financially capable, more anxious around managing bills.
Just consider how, according to Government, around half of UK adults have a numeracy attainment age of 11 or below.
At Toucan we believe that it’s more powerful to build a money management app around the needs of this group. We think we can help them avoid unnecessary bank fees, be more aware of their spending and save money every day, without it feeling like an overwhelming task.
What does it do/how does it work?
We’re currently building a first version of our app around personalised alerts, triggered by spending and other changes to someone’s bank account. We’re using Open Banking to bring in that data.
The most innovative feature we’re building is the ability to nominate a trusted ally, such as a spouse or family member, to receive alerts alongside the account holder. These alerts will help spark a timely conversation between the account holder and their trusted ally around money management, extending the human support that people are already getting when they talk about money with their family.
Do you think that ageing and longevity are key drivers in the creation of Toucan?
We’ve built our third party read-only access in from the start, using the alerts that an account holder can set up. These alerts can enable conversations between account holders and their family members or carers; a feature that can help some older adults who are affected by dementia.
Earlier this year we were a finalist in the ILC Innovating for Ageing awards, which gave us an opportunity to explain how Toucan could help older adults avoid overspending or even falling victim to scams.
Do you think most start-ups are millennial obsessed?
It’s natural that startups turn to the younger generation when building products. Many founders are younger themselves, but a lot of the time what drives these product design choices is the feeling that younger demographics are more open to new technology.
In financial technology it’s slightly different. There are many products where older audiences are the natural consumer; investments or life insurance, for example. We’re also increasingly seeing how older adults are just as tech savvy as younger people, and that is affecting how companies are approaching product design.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced as a founder?
I’m lucky to say that I’ve been able to build an amazing team from early on and they’ve been instrumental in helping me overcome every challenge. I’m sure that over time there will be things that prove difficult but getting the right support in place makes me confident that we’ll be able to find a path through. It’s an approach that is very similar to how we’re building in human-centred support into our product!
Meet Toucan at FinTECH4Life as part of our Informed Innovation Start up Showcase