Half of UK adults show signs of financial vulnerability and lost £1.2 billon to fraud and scams in 2018. Health factors and life events contribute to financial vulnerability and can increase the likelihood that a scamming attempt will be successful. We spoke to Dr Dexter Penn, CEO of Kalgera about how he was driven to do something about that challenge.
Tell us a bit about Kalgera and what inspired the development of the product?
Kalgera is a financial safeguarding app that provides secure and holistic financial safeguarding to help people concerned about their older parents.
Through my work as a Researcher at the UCL Dementia Research Centre, I was compelled to provide better safeguards when a patient fell victim to scams and lost the money to fund his place in a care home.
Kalgera applies cognitive neuroscience and machine learning to detect subtle changes in financial behaviour associated with vulnerability. In addition to personalised alerts, users can also nominate trusted family and friends to help them take more proactive action without compromising their account details and without the ability to move money.
What do you see as some of the key benefits of what Kalgera is offering?
User pains addressed
- Unrecognised financial vulnerability
- Poor access to information to make decisions or give support
- Concern about scam risk
A key component of health is cognition, however, ageing can negatively impact one’s ability to understand and manage finances. Manifestations of poor financial management include; disorganisation, late bill payments, recurrent unauthorised overdrafts, impulsive purchases especially online and falling victim to scams.
Unfortunately, financial vulnerability is often recognised too late and this leaves those affected and their caregivers. For example, older people suffer millions of pounds to unrecognised financial losses as a result of impaired ability to manage their finances.
Customer savings – The average scam costs an older person £50, however, in 20% of cases these losses reach £5,000 per scam. Kalgera will prevent vulnerable people from becoming chronic scam victims which will limit the resultant financial losses. Kalgera will also empower vulnerable people with easy to understand information on their spending to help them save money and increase their disposable income available to circulate in the wider economy.
Digital engagement & inclusion – Kalgera will improve digital inclusion and digital engagement in older people with increased elder spend in the digital economy.
Quality of life – Kalgera will significantly boost the quality of life of its users. It will empower older people to protect themselves but will also give them and their loved one’s valuable peace of mind.
Vulnerability detection & risk mitigation – Kalgera will help detect financial vulnerability and will lead to improved personal safety for vulnerable people. Increased awareness and practice of advance planning in case of a loss of mental capacity for financial matters. This will mitigate risks to the vulnerable.
Kalgera is leveraging Open Banking, can you tell us how that underpins the development of your products?
Kalgera uses open banking APIs to enable a more secure way to manage shared financial decision making between older people and their caregivers who are often sandwiched between care, work and family. This is very important as 49% of the 6 million informal caregivers in the UK assist loved ones with money management.
Research suggests that unrecognised vulnerability leads to financial losses of £10,000 to £50,000 per household before problems are recognised and Kalgera will change this by making people aware of problems early on so they can be more proactive. Open banking, which allows access to vital financial data, is essential.
Can you share a bit about what stage you are in the development of your product?
Kalgera is currently running a closed alpha and are in confidential talks with tier 1 financial institutions and community-based groups to run a proof of concept trial.
Kalgera has won multiple awards from UCL and NHS England. Kalgera was also named one of the Top 3 New Financial Inclusion Startups by Tech Nation. On a personal level, I have also contributed to public policy at No. 10 Downing Street and related work of Cabinet Office and HM Treasury.
What has been the best part of your start up journey?
From ward rounds to funding rounds, Kalgera represents a personal transformation for me. I’ve been able to find my voice and develop my skills to tackle a problem I feel passionately about.
Meet Kalgera at FinTECH4Life as part of our Informed Innovation Start up Showcase