London-based Prograd has raised $2.5 million in a seed round. The startup is out to help a younger generation understand finance, allowing users to establish financial goals and discover bespoke pathways to earning, saving, or borrowing their way to these goals.
The funding is slated to be used to ramp up Prograd’s marketing and development capabilities, including the startup’s algorithm-based products, all alongside the imminent release of an app.
Prograd’s seed round saw investments from Deloitte Ventures alongside Techstars, ZAKA Ventures, AGAM, Mandeep Singh co-founder of recently acquired (again) marketplace Trouva, as well as new and existing undisclosed angel investors, who are reportedly both operators and leading figures from the financial services industry.
An autumn 2021 Techstars cohort member, Prograd’s roots stem from a simple problem: co-founders Ethan Fraenkel and Marco Logiudice were struggling to find sustainable financing options to cover the cost of their master’s degree. With little understanding about money matters and the options available, they both ended up taking personal loans at high-interest rates, which today, are seeing both repaying a figure double the amount they borrowed.
“We believe that one of the biggest problems in consumer finance right now is the lack of personalisation and financial literacy. There is a big disconnect between banks, what customers want to do and how the two parties communicate,” says Fraenkel. “This funding is an important milestone at a time when financial support has never been as critical for young people with the current cost of living crisis and gloomy financial outcome. We want to help this generation find the best solutions for their needs.”
According to the company, since launching in August 2022, their AI-enabled, compliant and explainable credit scoring technology has helped connect over 15,000 users with earning, saving, and credit opportunities from financial institutions including Santander, Revolut, Starling, Fiverr, IndeedFlex.
"The knowledge gap around financial literacy, especially for younger generations, is a global problem that has deep societal implications,” commented Vice Chairman Deloitte UK and Head of UK Fintech’s Louise Brett. “Prograd's approach to this challenge offers meaningful benefits to both consumers and financial services.”