Credit card use has grown exponentially since its introduction in the 1970s. While it has taken our consumer-driven economy to new economic heights, our reliance on credit has left us with bad financial habits. More and more Americans are in more debt than ever, with no way out of their financial hole. Debt is so pervasive in our society that pizza companies offer a buy-it-now, pay-later option for orders through their online checkout. Frida Leibowitz, Rachel Lauren and Maxime Fourmault help Americans reduce their addiction to credit with Debbie before they overdose financially. Debbie is a “habit-changing rewards platform” that leverages behavioral psychology to create financial products that empower users to get out of debt and into a healthier financial future. The Miami, Florida-based startup has raised $1.2 million from One Way Ventures, BDMI, TA Ventures, Village Global, Green Egg Ventures, Liquid2 Ventures, If Then Ventures, Dipanjan Bhattacharjee and several other angel investors.
Adam Moelis, co-founder of Yotta and angel investor in Debbie, says, “Many FinTech apps now offer financial wellness tools, but they often focus on short-term relief rather than habit building. sustainable finances. Debbie uses behavioral psychology concepts to create a personalized, engaging and accessible journey to debt freedom for those struggling with a perpetual cycle of debt, dramatically increasing their chances of long-term success.
Dipanjan Bhattacharjee, COO of Nirvana and angel investor in Debbie, says, “I have known Frida over the years and seen how smart and passionate she can be to get things done. I was very impressed with Debbie’s vision and the way Frida and Rachel wanted to challenge the status quo of debt consolidation loan offers. The rare combination of relevant experience, good skills and a positive attitude is what convinced me to invest and help in any way possible.
America’s reliance on debt has only gotten worse over time. As consumers are constantly in demand throughout the day, the temptation to spend only increases proportionally. Credit cards are incredibly useful for bridging the gap when you’re having cash flow problems or wanting to rack up rewards points, but they’re a double-edged sword once the bill comes due. Many Americans carry a balance each month, which puts them in a worse situation due to exorbitant credit card interest rates. (There’s also the common financial misconception that it’s better to have a balance to improve your credit score, which isn’t true. You should aim to pay off your balance every month!) credit card is crucial for having a high credit score. , which can impact your ability to access car or home loans and whether or not a potential employer will hire you. As US credit card use worsens, there is a lucrative market to help Americans get out of debt.
Consumer credit card debt reached $841 billion in the first quarter of 2022. With such massive debt, it’s unlikely that every user will be able to pay off their balance quickly. Payday loan companies take advantage of individuals and families in financial difficulty, lending them money at interest rates that would make credit card companies blush, exceeding 600% in some cases. The stigma of debt can affect someone so deeply psychologically that they begin to no longer be a functioning member of society. Leibowitz, Lauren and Fourmault can intervene with Debbie before it’s too late for individuals and families in debt.
Debbie offers its users a rewards platform for paying off debt, putting them on the path to having positive net worth and cash flow. The startup encourages positive and constructive behavior with financial incentives for users to develop good financial habits. The founders believe that the technical implementation of their solution is easy; but the real challenge is understanding its users’ relationship and habits with money and integrating those lessons into the core of Debbie’s platform. Debbie uses cognitive behavioral therapy and behavioral psychology to help users better understand the drivers of their drinking habits. By drawing the user’s attention to these spending habits through the app, the startup is able to design real-time reward actions to gradually change consumer behavior.
The startup’s current offering puts it on a path to offering future products and services that simultaneously incentivize debt repayment and savings, and more importantly, help users build long-term wealth through access to property, investment and retirement. When it comes to credit specifically, the data Debbie collects can provide a more dynamic, real-time perspective of the credit card user, which can be helpful to lenders in deciding who they approve for loans in the form of mortgage or other loan products. Leibowitz herself has already been in deep debt, both individually and her family. As much as she is building a product for others as her customers, she is building a tool that she and her family wish they had as they financially navigated America. Fortunately, her partnership with her co-founders makes Debbie’s massive potential impact a reality as the days go by.
CEO Leibowitz says, “I grew up in a single-parent, immigrant, uneducated family that didn’t have access to financial education and always struggled with debt. As an adult, I fell into the same debt trap and racked up $15,000 in credit card debt at age 21. Hoping to make a difference for others, I spent my early career days in digital consumer lending and had the unique opportunity to sit in the seats of borrower and lender simultaneously. I grew increasingly frustrated that our current financial system is quick to topple us when we misbehave, but doesn’t do a good enough job of celebrating our victories.
Leibowitz leads the founding trio as CEOs. She graduated from NYU’s Stern School of Business with a degree in business and political economics and was previously a member of the core team at Goldman Sachs Credit Risk and Product, working on the company’s consumer credit card product. , Marcus. Lauren, COO of Debbie, earned her degree in Business Economics and Policy from NYU’s Stern School of Business and previously worked as a venture capitalist at BDMI and did equity research at Credit Suisse. The team is completed by Fourmault, a graduate of the Private School of Computer Science (EPSI). A computer science graduate, he previously worked at Earnest as a management engineer and has previous entrepreneurial experience. These three combine their deep financial background and temper it with a healthy respect for mental health as entrepreneurs. Together, they will get Americans and their families out of debt and create wealth for generations to come.