January 25, 2021

Greek challenger Woli to launch “neobank for families” next year

Woli, an Athens-based start-up, founded itself back in May to create a digital banking offering for families. It aims to launch in the first quarter of 2021, co-founder Vasilis Zoupas tells FinTech Futures.

The prepaid card and mobile app will allow parents to automate digital payments of pocket money or pay their children instantly.

Woli card

The fintech is looking to Europe for its launch

Not dissimilar from other child-focused banking apps, Woli will also send instant notifications to parents on kids’ spending. Guardians can also switch the card on or off if they want to restrict spending.

But Woli’s aspirations stretch beyond banking. It envisions rolling out non-financial family services, such as a family chat function, and a calendar feature.

“Eventually creating a much-needed space for families to organise their life in a better way,” the fintech says on its LinkedIn page.

Roadmap

Co-founder Zoupas, the only listed employee on LinkedIn at present, also works at OKO – a fellow Athens-based company which provides digital payment solutions.

Previously, he spent years working on product at Vermanti – a content provider for betting and gambling operators. He also spent less than a year at Viva Wallet, the fintech which bought Greece’s first challenger bank Praxia earlier this year.

FinTech Futures approached Zoupas for more details. He says “four serial entrepreneurs out of Athens” are behind Woli, including himself. Its aim is to launch on a pan-European level.

He is also working on partnerships with e-money institutions, as well as payments and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) providers.

“We have some great banking partners [BaaS], but all mobile app technology is done by us locally,” says Zoupas.

Kid banking sector

Woli’s aim for Europe-wide coverage will see it take on players such as goHenry, Pixpay, Revolut, and Strive.

Strive is also taking a family unit approach over in the UK. Focusing 0-18-year-olds, it allows families to open accounts for their children as soon as they’re born.

“We see a real gap in the market to build a solution for parents that grows with the child,” Strive’s chief strategy officer (CSO) and founder, Ivan Muck, said last month.

“So, it’s not just a debit card, it’s a whole 0-18 [year old] proposition that parents can start at any age.”

At the end of July, UK fintech Beanstalk launched its Junior ISAs (JISAs). Parents with just £5 to invest on behalf of their children can sign up.

The launch marked a significant shift in competition for the junior banking market. As many digital challengers are still unable to offer a product as complex as a JISA.

Read next: UK challenger Strive launches waitlist for family-focused account