This digital bank is designed for the LGBTQ + community
When Rob Curtis was running Gaydar in 2018, he would sit in chat rooms and watch the hopefuls in love speak. âIt was a dating site, but they were asking for help finding doctors, accountants, trying to navigate the intricacies of being LGBTQ + in a world not quite designed for us,â he says. Fast forward three years and Curtis tries to answer some of those questions with Daylight, a New York-based neobank startup built for the LGBTQ + community by three “queer millennials, to solve the problems we’ve already encountered.”
For example, Daylight provides debit cards with whatever name you choose, no matter what your ID says. Plus, features like Walk the Walk, an analytics tool to rate businesses on their gender-neutral washrooms, use of pronouns, and owner-supported causes in monthly reports, letting Daylight customers know how much they spent at outlets deemed LGBTQ + hostile. âIt’s not about canceling culture,â Curtis says. “This provides greater transparency for a massive economic bloc that cares about who legitimately comes forward.”
Queer finance was not an easy sell. âIt was a real challenge convincing investors that LGBTQ + people have specific financial needs and that we can build a large, profitable business by doing this,â said Curtis. They’ve pitched the idea nearly 100 times, “learn how to tell our story better every time”. In June 2021, when they convinced Kapor Capital and Precursor Ventures to lead a $ 5 million fundraiser, they had a coalition of funders: queer angel investors, fintech syndicates, Citibank’s Impact fund. . Thousands of LGBTQ + people are on Daylight’s waiting list ahead of its pre-Christmas launch in the United States.
âYou can’t provide great service to LGBTQ + people just by putting a rainbow sticker on things,â says Paul Barnes-Hoggett, co-founder and CTO. âYou have to understand our unique needs. Like “the pain, as a gay man, of going to a bank and being asked ‘What is your wife doing? He said. Having been designed by LGBTQ + people, much of what Daylight sells to customers is relief: Barnes-Hoggett says âmicro-attacks, intentional or not,â just won’t happen with Daylight.
Community related content is a part of this agreement. Members can share fertility goals and treatment successes as well as tips on how to fund them. âPersonalization is at the heart of our vision for the future,â says Barnes-Hoggett, something increasingly in demand through banking, products and pricing. Barnes-Hoggett learned about it at Alice Financial, a startup he co-founded in 2014; U.S. employers connect the app to payroll, employees connect their debit cards, and Alice tracks potentially qualifying expenses, such as child care, to reduce the employee’s taxable income and save them money. money when filing their tax return. The platform is effectively giving some of America’s lowest paid countries a $ 1 per hour raise. âMany were on the bread line,â says Barnes-Hoggett. âWe had one principle: don’t gamble with someone’s salary. Because lives are on the line, I learned to master the basics. “
Difficulties also cross. On average, LGBTQ + people earn less, live in poverty more often and have less retirement savings, gay women of color and transgender people fare significantly worse than the LGBTQ + average. Big banks, says Billie Simmons, co-founder and COO of Daylight, treat LGBTQ + people “like a monolithic group” when they need tailored financial advice. âThere’s this ubiquitous idea of ââgay people being inundated with disposable income – ‘two incomes, no kids,’ says Simmons. “Sure, two white, cisgender gay men might find themselves in this situation in San Francisco or New York, where it’s easier to be LGBTQ +, but it’s not universal.” When loans for hormone therapy or HIV treatment are turned down, many people find nowhere to go except expensive, high-interest credit cards to fill the gaps.