By Fabien Lamaison
A native of France, Fabien moved 14 years ago to the US to pursue his career as an e-commerce program manager. As a product leader, Fabien conceptualized & scaled several market-leading platforms such as Atmosphere®, acommunications platform, Odigo™, an enterprise contact center, and Digicare, a digital health solution for patients with chronic diseases. While Fabien worked in multiple industries, he stayed passionate about personal finance, and ultimately gained a core expertise in innovation & digital banking while working for Capgemini as a Fintech & Product Strategist.
In 2018, he co-founded bunny.money, a Public Benefit Corporation with the long-term vision to make impact and time banking available to everyone.
In my childhood, I loved using my piggy bank to save money, but I also used it to give to charity. And I remember having conflicting thoughts. Was it appropriate to use my parents’ pocket money to do so? How much should I give vs. save?
Growing up, I came up with the idea to rejuvenate the concept of the piggy bank, bring it to the digital world and facilitate giving in a financially healthy and sustainable way. And what a better character than an agile & astute rabbit to help you to do so!?
Particularly in the US, the concept of piggy bank unveils a real problem: people don’t save enough (40% of US Americans don’t have $400 in savings), and yet supporting their communities via donations is key to them. Digging deeper, you realize that a particular segment - let’s call it the millennials - are particularly generous but donation platforms are expensive (on average 3-7% fees per donation) and not geared towards this segment and supporting their financial lifestyle.
When you use bunny.money, you can set regular deposits, or you can use our smart deposit feature that calculates the amount that you can save, based on your bank transactions. In both cases, you grow your savings effortlessly.
But our vision is not only to empower people to save, but also to do Good. Our app has a unique built-in Nonprofit marketplace to help you support your community, without fees! We suggest that a percentage of the money that is set aside can be used for donation. You can donate to causes aligned with issues that concern you most; globally and locally. You can also refer to bunny.money your own favorite Nonprofit and help them fundraise for free via our platform.
We call it the Save for Good® approach. Financial wellness & giving go hand-in-hand to make the world a better place to live in.
I have two co-founders, Cyril and Thomas based in Nantes and Brest, France. They look after the technology, while I focus on the business side. We met while they were doing internships in the US and through our university alumni association. As a matter of fact, the entire team is transatlantic, with French people living in San Francisco, but also an American living in Paris! Truly multicultural, we speak no less than six different languages.
We were still in the design phase, pre-revenues, and already working remotely, so we were able to transition relatively smoothly compared to some other companies & nonprofits that were directly hit by the pandemic.
Our pre-pandemic market research already showed that people wanted to bank differently, with purpose in mind. But with COVID-19 and the recession, we see in real life the importance for individuals to have savings, and how critical our community is. We realize how much we can accomplish collectively when we help each other, including financially speaking.
As we practice social distancing, social giving is the new positive force that brings us together. Supporting essential workers, frontline workers, local business owners but also local & national communities, is the new normal.
The pandemic and economic crisis, but also the Black Lives Matter movement and climate change remind us of how much we rely on each other to thrive as a society. And it can’t be done without financial wellness and support.
We designed bunny.money to be a platform that connects individuals with the nonprofits that play a key role in their lives. Charities, university, business & neighborhood associations, museums…are our connective tissue.
We believe in a social, sharing economy and in the power of the communities to make the difference.
That’s why we can’t wait to launch our app in the next few weeks!
I will go with a typical French answer: “oui et non” ;-) Yes and No. When you move to a new country, you overcome many obstacles to settle in and integrate in the new culture. I was barely speaking English when I moved, and the language is a true barrier to get your point across or simply to better connect with people. In addition, my husband and I lived remotely for many years, as same-sex couples were not recognized in visa applications until a few years ago.
On the other hand, I believe you develop unique skills and resilience that help you down the road, and you bring a fresh perspective to the table. We come from different backgrounds, communities, and cultures that we can build on! #strongertogether
The team is everything. Find the right partners, because you'll be into this for the long run, and then figure out What and How to make it happen. Not the other way around. Oh and... build a savings runway too!
I had formed a concept of bunny.money for a long time, but so what? bunny.money started to really take off after I met with Cyril and Thomas. We discussed the idea and what it would take to make it a reality, especially in the banking world. We also talked about the risks and implications in our lives (personal, financial…). We hopped on the adventure, and a couple of years later we’re finally ready to open our burrow!
We want to help create a new social and economic fabric. It’s all about People, Planet and Prosperity.
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