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  • Writer's pictureJessica Karr

Meet The Beans: automated financial planning built for the Caring Class

Company: The Beans Founders: Melissa Pancoast, Jeff Browning, Alex Orozco

Stage: Seed

Women’s Health Vertical: Financial Wellbeing

Industry: Financial Technology

Meet The Beans

The Beans is a platform designed to automate the finances of America’s caring professionals, who are disproportionately women. The 40M frontline employees represent the largest and fastest growing segment of the U.S. economy, and financial stress remains the top reason for these workers vacating their jobs.

The Beans builds personalized, visual financial Plans and helps their users stick with them through positive, proactive messages. As they reach financial milestones, their Plan evolves to support their efforts toward savings, debt pay-off, and growth, to strengthen their relationship with their money.

The Beans founder and CEO Melissa Pancoast was a key member at Oxford that developed the first program proven to reduce financial stress, which served as inspiration for The Beans. Their platform is sold as a learning and development offering to employees, which tends to opt in all employees automatically. Their partnership with the National Head Start Association has catapulted their sales opportunities.

Why we care about their mission

Financial stress has been declared a Public Health Emergency and is one of the biggest reasons Caring Professionals (those who choose careers of mission over money) are leaving their positions. Seven out of ten healthcare workers find it stressful to manage their finances and report negative effects on their overall health. Financial stress not only impacts caring professionals’ health but also their job performance and willingness to remain in their position.

Shortages of Caring Professionals leads to major stress on the whole economy. Without teachers, children are at risk of falling behind. Without nurses and other hospital staff, there is an increased risk of medical errors and lower quality of patient care. This is a market that is deeply underserved and needs support not only for their own benefit but for the benefit of larger society.

Lowering this stress among Caring Professionals will help to decrease their all-cause mortality and lead to better money + life balance. Additionally, the trickle-down effect for these Caring Professionals, including teachers, nurses, nonprofit employees, and healthcare employees, will be that they continue to care for others emphatically and improve outcomes of society-at-large.

This is a problem that disproportionately affects women, as women make up the majority of the care economy - with 77% of teachers, 86% of nurses, and 67% of all healthcare employees being female.

What differentiates them in the market relative to competitors?

The Beans is specifically targeting frontline workers such as teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees, which makes up a large, underserved market when it comes to financial tools. Just in the US alone (as of 2020), there were about 3.7 million full-time teachers, over 16 million jobs in the healthcare and social assistance sector, and approximately 21.5 million public sector employees, coming to a total potential market of over 40 million individuals. This population has unique financial challenges that The Beans is built to focus on, specifically in learning how to reduce financial stress and improve their overall financial well-being. This is a differentiator from many of their financial platform competitors, which tend to be more focused on wealth accumulation and other target customer markets.

The Beans is also built on patented proprietary technology built on research initially led by Melissa at Oxford which is specifically designed to focus on reducing financial stress. Their product is evidence-based and is built with the customer experience in mind, leveraging automation, personalization, and learning modules alongside financial planning to keep their users engaged and achieving their goals.

About the team

The founding team at The Beans are all former care economy professionals, which allows them to bring an empathetic perspective when designing their product for their end users, and they each have strong experience in their respective roles.

Melissa Pancoast, Founder & CEO, was a key member of the team at Oxford that developed the first program proven to reduce financial stress, which has supported over 300M people around the world and that is the basis of The Beans’ platform. She has past experience as a co-founder of Comet Labs, an AI-focused venture firm. She also started her career as a 5th grade math teacher in NY as part of Teach for America.

Jeff Browning, CTO, was the first employee at Tetra, a machine learning company part of YC W17 and an early employee at multiple EdTech start-ups. He also previously taught calculus in CA.

Alex Orozco, Founding Designer and VP of Product Design leads design, marketing, and communications for The Beans and has vast design experience as well as previous founder experience. They also were previously a 6th grade ESL math teacher in NYC.

Coyote Ventures Investment

Coyote Ventures is proud to join The Beans in their Seed round alongside values-aligned investors including Esther Dyson and Emmeline Ventures. Following our investment, The Beans has secured additional partnerships with Headstart locations and expanded their healthcare offering.

How the company is advancing the conversation around financial well-being?

The Beans’ mission is to simplify the path to financial balance through evidence-based design and cutting edge technology, so that people can stress less about money and focus on what they love. The company’s focus on leveraging evidence-based methods is revolutionary for the financial space, where the focus has traditionally been on wealth creation. Additionally, The Beans is focused on a market that has been historically underserved but is essential to the health and wellbeing of our society. By investing in the care economy’s professionals, The Beans is making it clear that everyone, regardless of their financial status and prior wealth, deserves to feel financially secure.

Going forward: vision of the company

The Beans aims to be an end-to-end financial wellness platform for caring professionals to support their various financial and life endeavors. While the company’s current platform is focused on learning about financial wellness and how to make a financial plan, they have the potential to expand into supporting their customer base with savings, credit cards, student loans, insurance, retirement, home ownership, and more.

The team at Coyote is thrilled to support The Beans’ vision to provide financial wellness for the care economy, which strongly resonates with our own fund values. We look forward to collaborating with The Beans as they expand into healthcare, and to contributing our collective efforts to bettering the lives of teachers, healthcare workers, and other caring professionals.

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