Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness probably never had to deal with due bills. In fact, money is the most significant source of stress for employees. And companies should be worried too. According to PWC’s Employee Financial Wellness Survey (2021), 63% of workers in the U.S. point out that stress with money has increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s precisely the mission of the fintech Origin, a financial planning platform offered as a corporate benefit that has just arrived in Brazil.
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“Financial stress, when prolonged, has an impact on physical and mental health and also on the work environment, on productivity. Productivity loss is estimated at billions of dollars. And it is exactly at the meeting point between the problem that people and companies face that Origin works”, explains João, Origin’s CTO, in an interview with LABS.
Currently available to 100,000 professionals across countries such as the USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, and Israel—from companies such as DocuSign, Udemy, Zynga, and Nextdoor, among others—Origin recently raised a BRL 290 million Series B round, led by 01 Advisors, General Catalyst and angel investor Lachy Groom. The round will be used to expand the platform on a global scale, eyeing operations in Brazil and Latin America from 2022 onwards.
The long road to financial wellness
Origin’s de Paula confesses he also had some trouble with his credit cards, a common issue in Brazil. Nonetheless, the entrepreneur is optimistic about the arrival in Brazil. The entrepreneur believes that stress due to finances is a global issue.
“I have cofounded the startup Glio and worked in it for seven years. We were the first startup in Latin America accelerated by Y Combinator back in 2013. During this period, there were several moments when I went broke, entered the overdraft loan, and blew my credit card, as is so common here in Brazil. It’s sad, but nothing special”, remembers de Paula.
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To prevent others from repeating its creator’s past mistakes, Origin collects personal and financial data from employees and helps them plan the best way to get to their objectives. The fintech combines data analysis and a team of financial advisors to offer different services, such as: retirement plans and long-term investments.
For companies, Origin make clearer to employees the “benefits package” they are receiving, and that go beyond salary. The platform also concentrates the financial doubts of employees, providing relief to HR teams.
“We do money management, individual counseling, workshops, among other actions, to improve the financial well-being of each employee, regardless of their income or net worth”, says de Paula.
The fintech has been following a massive uptick in demand for financial planning benefits as the pandemic increased financial stress for employees.
Back to its Origin
Founded in California, the startup keeps a close relation to Brazil. Thus, 42 of its 70-person workforce is based in the country. The fintech is beta-testing its platform with the local workforce. Origin plans to expand its commercial footprint in the country as well as in Latin America.
The keyword here is expansion. The fintech promises to double its headcount by the end of the third quarter of 2022 — there are more than 100 job positions open, half of them for working in Origin from Brazil.
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To make a difference in employees’ financial planning, the company develops a comprehensive solution, combining automation technology with a team of financial analysts and educational content.
“We are a financial planning company. If you download an app such as Guia Bolso, it will help you figure out your income and spending, but it doesn’t give you an opinion about it. Origin has”, says de Paula. “This opinion about what users should do makes all the difference.”