Meet EVERYTHING, a British fintech positioning itself as the next social finance service for Gen Z and young millennials.
Founded in 2021 by Adam Lewestam, Thorir Gudlaugsson, and Michael Wilkinson, EVERYTHING takes a new approach to social finance.
The company turns premium bonds into an interactive social experience by allowing users to tap and spend money to win instant cash rewards. To increase the chances of winning, users can also invite friends and family to join the platform, forming ‘SQUADS.’
Last week, EVERYTHING announced it raised €2 million ($2.2 million USD) from Frontier Car Group founders Peter Lindholm and Ricardo Donoso and Co-founder and CEO of Merama. Also providing capital was Axel Arigato co-founder Albin Johansson and an angel collective Framtid.
To understand EVERYTHING, you need to examine its consumers, Gen Z; “the growth of neo-banking,” “the rise of Social+ products,” and “the first generation to grow up in a completely digital world,” co-founder and COO Michael Wilkinson said.
“This kind of fusion of macro trends is how we came up with the idea of EVERYTHING.”
There is a need for a tailored banking experience, and much of social finance is not made for the 12.6 million Gen-Z in the UK.
As outlined in theErnest and Young 2021 report, Gen Z has different considerations for their financial relationships, such as brand social value (ESG), the aversion to utilizing credit, and a desire for community and self-education.
These values have been observed in other industries with the rise of social and fitness products like Peleton, currency, buying in games like Fortnite, and even music placement in social media apps like TikTok.
Behavioral psychology is a well-documented process used by these industries to improve product engagement, reward, and addiction.
Neobanks are starting to offer some social features such as Year in Reviews and friend feeds. However, many interactions are transactional and “single-player” and do not reflect how “attitudes about chatting about money have changed. People talk about it openly quite a lot,” Wilkison explains.
The appeal of EVERYTHING is the constant interaction and frequent integration of funds, investments, and savings in social media posts. The main selling point is the cash rewards provided via premium bonds.
A premium bond is an investment product issued by National Savings and Investment (NS&I) in the United Kingdom; however, since its creation in 1956, it has remained analog and devoid of innovation.
Approximately 21 million people in the UK own premium bonds, which are entered into a monthly prize draw, which gives you a chance to win up to £1 million tax-free.
Unlike other investments, where you earn interest or dividend income, these bonds do not pay interest or dividends.
This startup is on a mission to modernize premium bonds and introduce them to a younger generation that has not traditionally used them.
Users are encouraged to create “SQUADS” with families and friends to increase their chances of winning, which are then calculated based on percentages.
Make finance ‘exciting’
This way, they have the chance to make finance exciting, fun, and “theoretically you could become a millionaire,” though realistically, users have a slight chance of winning. If they do, the prize is unlikely to beat inflation.
However, one might wonder if a product like this is gamifying finance and if the social feeds could lead to misinformation.
According to a study by the Financial Times commissioned in 2021, people ages 16-24 had the lowest financial literacy among all age groups, and according to Tallo, 38% of Gen Zers have sought financial advice through TikTok.
EVERYTHING could create an environment for emotionally charged spending for a population that is not geared to comprehend its implications, especially if their marketing emphasizes “5 years of Netflix subscription”, “cash rewards,” and the chance of becoming a millionaire.
As a result, young people cannot utilize the tools offered by the digital world if they do not possess the financial literacy required to use them properly.
Debit, not credit
To counteract this, the startup emphasizes that it is a debit card, not a credit card, and therefore users can only spend what is in their account.
Additionally, they are interested in integrating a savings product to encourage good financial management later in the year. And a focus is being placed on the development of a robust compliance team and using public ‘SQUADS’ to assist in sound financial management for the community.
Scams and affiliate links could spread misinformation, but the credit checks required to open an account, combined with the agility of this new fintech, make the proliferation of bots and misinformation less likely than on mainstream social media sites.
Overall, it’s refreshing to see a product that targets millennials and Gen-Z. It’s light, functional, and interactive. And as Michael Wilkson noted, “it’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
EVERYTHING will start their marketing campaign allowing users to sign up to the waitlist, and by early April, EVERYTHING plans to go live.
Helen Femi Williams is a freelance journalist and podcaster interested in fintech, politics, economics, and their intersections.
She is the host of the letsgetlitical podcast, a fortnightly show interviewing guests from all different sides of the political spectrum, in partnership with the Mozilla Foundation.
Prior to this role, she worked as an innovation consultant developing insurtech and fintech products and ideas for brands, startups, and major corporations.
She studied International Relations at the University of Nottingham (UK and Malaysia).