Lab Fellows are the pioneers of a new financial system – one that serves people and planet.
In 2017, the Lab is partnering with anti-poverty charity Toynbee Hall to support the best innovations for improving financial health. We’ve selected 13 Fellows working on projects that could support financial wellbeing by offering access to fairly priced financial products that are easy to understand and control. Their ideas they have the potential to positively disrupt the financial system and challenge the rules of the game in financial health. Read our full selection criteria here.
Elifinty – Maysam Rizvi
Elifinty is a financial app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to improve financial wellbeing. Building on the secure access to people’s data that Open Banking enables, Elifinty uses the information to predict the financial challenges people will face. It then uses its advanced algorithm to identify an appropriate financial solution for them, which could be commercial or social/ charitable.
Maysam is CEO at Elifinty. He has two decades’ experience in banking, including at National Bank of Dubai and JP Morgan, and as Vice President at United Overseas Bank, where he saw first-hand the impact of the financial crisis on the citizens of Iceland.
Chip In – Audrey Giroud
Chip In is a money app that makes saving engaging through the use of gamification, including collective goals and competitions, leveraging behavioural economics for improved financial habits. Now live as a beta, Chip In is looking to partner with financial institutions and financial health organisations to reach more users.
Audrey has worked in both large corporations and an early stage finance startup, which she helped grow to a very successful company. She has now taken on the challenge of helping low income households and young people build up their savings.
Creating Life Chances – Akilah Corrie and Moestak Hussein
Creating Life Chances CIC, based in Bristol, works to tackle social and economic inequalities. Through creative financial education workshops in schools, new literature and games, Akilah and Moestak aim to boost children’s confidence with money and inspire an entrepreneurial spirit in marginalised communities.
Akilah has a BA (Hons) in Community Development with a Youth Work Specialism. She has worked within a variety of community settings, including managing a day care centre for the elderly and coordinating numerous summer schools.
Moestak has a passion for social justice, activism and working towards a safe and sustainable environment, locally and globally. She extensive experience in grassroots community development and has worked as a researcher in collaboration with universities and diverse communities.
StorkCard – Andres Korin
StorkCard is a low-interest, short-term credit card that helps parents manage the financial shock of having a new child. StorkCard gives families the flexibility to borrow what they need when they need it, but also offers them the certainty that their total borrowings will be capped at an amount they can afford.
Andres is a finance professional with nearly 14 years’ experience in investment banking, risk management and international development, including more than two years working as a microfinance specialist in the Dominican Republic.
Greater London Mutual – Fionn Travers-Smith
Greater London Mutual is a new community benefit bank for London businesses, individuals, and the financially underserved.
Fionn is a consultant, campaigner, and researcher working with the New Economics Foundation, Positive Money, and the RSA on local banking and financial reform in the UK. Previously Fionn managed the Move Your Money campaign, where he was a leading voice in the movement for a more democratic, sustainable, and just financial system.
Harmoney – Nick Lee
Harmoney is a not-for-profit organisation working to help people find a balanced and healthy approach to their money. Initially offering debt advice to people struggling with unmanageable debt, Harmoney will also develop a Money Management Account, making it easier to budget, manage bills and debts, and save.
Nick has extensive experience in money advice including leading two Citizens Advice Bureaux, has been director of three credit unions, and run a microfinance project. He has tutored in Professionalism, Ethics and Regulation at the Chartered Banker Institute, and has previously taught personal finance at the Open University.
My City My Pound – Kurtis Wright
My City My Pound is a payment initiation service provider and app that brings together the benefits of a local currency scheme with a digital platform. My City My Pound offers more affordable payment services to businesses and more engaging and responsible payment experiences for consumers.
Kurtis is a former banker with 14 years’ experience in the banking and the financial services sector. My City My Pound is his first venture, following 12 months researching financial health challenges for business owners and the general public in Sheffield.
St Luke’s Hub – Sam Bedford and Laura McCullagh
Sam and Laura work at St Luke’s, a community hub improving the financial resilience and wellbeing of local residents in Kennington, London. It is one of seven services run by West London Mission, a charity empowering people affected by homelessness, poverty and trauma.
Sam and Laura are developing a new model of affordable housing that tackles the housing crisis and provides sustainable funding for valued community services. They propose an aspirational community space providing genuinely affordable accommodation, a home to local enterprise and opportunities for learning and support. Everyone involved would play a valued role in helping to shape the space, improving their own situations and those of others.
Sam has been working in community development since 2010, in a mix of housing associations and charities, where his work has focussed on building partnerships that deliver services that meet the needs of local communities. He currently manages the residential accommodation and venue space at St Luke’s Hub.
Laura has over ten years’ experience working with people who are vulnerable or facing exclusion. She currently manages the WLM Money Champions project from St Luke’s Hub in Kennington and has recently completed an MSc in Social Psychology.
BLOX – Alasdair Blackwell, Sam Grainge and Peter Sach
Blox – the social network for buildings – enables tenants to save and communities to flourish.
Using the collective bargaining power of groups, Blox enables substantial savings to the individual whilst enhancing their participation in strengthened local communities. Blox realises and captures the net worth of tenants, for tenants.
Blox envisages a future where communities know and value their neighbours, renters are valued equally to homeowners, and everyone can grow and profit together.
Ali cofounded Decoded and is former CTO of blockchain-startup Everledger. Ali sat on the London Fairness Commission and has worked extensively with Citizens UK, the UK’s largest network of community organisers.
Sam is Lead Architect for the UK’s biggest property startup, LocatED. Sam has professional and academic experience centred on the design and planning of affordable and mixed-tenure residential development.
Pete is an academic and thought-leader on the night-time economy. Pete is currently researching Urban Policy at University College London and has previously worked in social enterprise and community engagement in the UK and internationally.
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