Charlie, a text-based AI chatbot helping people who don’t speak finance worry less about money, today announced the company has secured a $9 million Series A Round led by Propel Venture Partners.
Charlie — your friendly AI penguin — is dedicated to finding new ways for people to make the right financial decisions, identify more ways to save, avoid predatory financial institutions, and break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle as he continues to radically humanize money. Via SMS text or Facebook Messenger, Charlie has friended nearly 250,000 mostly-millennial individuals since his 2016 launch. This round will help up his game to reach millions of users across the country, with new features and partnerships along the way. To that end, the company will also be growing its team and adding leading financial partners to assist in automating more aspects of an individual’s everyday financial life.
“Our vision at Charlie has always been to build an AI that brings empathy, simplicity, and financial empowerment to anyone looking for help with their money,” said Ilian Georgiev, CEO and co-founder of Charlie. “With this capital, we’re looking forward to developing new ways to help even more people form healthy financial habits. We want people to know that Charlie is there to always look out for their spending and goals, so they can focus on the more important things in life.”
Exchanging over 20 million messages and releasing users from the cumulative debt burden of more than $50 million, Charlie was built by a magical team that combines gaming with financial and technical chops—all with training in cognitive science.
Here’s a case where tech addiction works for good: as Charlie grows 30 percent month-over-month, he deploys the habit-forming tricks behind top-grossing apps to help people change money behavior.
“Conventional financial advice through charts and graphs doesn’t provide the actionable and simple advice consumers really need to build savings and drive positive financial behavioral changes,” said Ryan Gilbert, Partner at Propel Venture Partners. “In a crowded space, we believe that Charlie is delivering what’s been missing among existing financial solutions: trustworthiness and approachability. ”
The majority of Charlie users are people typically underserved by fintech:
- Eighty percent are female
- The average age is 27
- McDonald’s is the number one retailer where users spend most frequently
- Houston is the largest metropolitan area and Utah has the highest penetration of users
“Affluent men have more than enough tools to help them optimize their finances,” said Stephanie Palmeri, Partner at Uncork Capital, an investor in Charlie’s previous Seed round. “We saw Charlie’s potential to really change the lives of young people, in particular young women, by helping them avoid unnecessary fees, find savings, and stress less about money in general.”