Teen banking app Step reaches for the stars to raise $50 million

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December 2, 2020

By Anna Irrera

LONDON (Reuters) – Teen banking app Step has raised $50 million (37.4 million pounds) from investors led by Coatue Management alongside celebrities such as singer Justin Timberlake, influencer Charli D’Amelio and former quarterback Eli Manning.

Step, which offers teenagers a bank account connected to a secured spending card and peer-to-peer payments, also said it had secured funding from existing backers including Stripe, Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, CrossLink Capital and Collaborative Fund.

San Francisco-based Step allows parents to view balances and real-time activity, add money to their teens’ accounts and manage and freeze cards. It does not charge fees but makes money from card interchange.

Other stars involved in the fundraising included The Chainsmokers, Kelvin Beachum, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Iguodala, Step said in a statement on Wednesday.

The startup, which has attracted more than 500,000 users since launching two months ago, will use the funding to grow the team and invest in its technology, its chief executive CJ MacDonald told Reuters in a video call.

“We are making sure we are building scalable solutions and are able to handle the growth,” MacDonald said.

Step is one of several new banking apps focused on children and teens in the U.S., as companies seek to capitalise on a global surge in digital payments and ecommerce. It rivals products from companies including Greenlight, Copper and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Such companies say they aim to make it easier for parents and their children to transact in an increasingly cashless economy, while providing more modern financial education tools.

“As a person who hasn’t always had financial stability, and made many mistakes in that arena as a young man, I know the importance of financial education and having access to economic platforms that can work for everyone,” Smith, who is a co-founder of Dreamers VC, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Anna Irrera; Editing by Alexander Smith)