Digital banks are winning new customers by going niche

There are digital banks that serve the LGBTQ+ community (Daylight), Latinos (Greenwood), Black Americans (First Boulevard) and the underbanked (CapWay).

July 2, 2021

Traditional banking isn’t readily available to all customers.

So, a number of neobanks (AKA digital banks) are building products catered to very specific markets.

Among them: Daylight, a banking platform for LGBTQ+ people and allies that just raised $5m.

‘It is expensive to be a queer person’…

… Daylight co-founder and CEO Rob Curtis tells TechCrunch. Some lose family support when they come out, while others have additional health costs, like gender-affirming surgery or surrogacy.

Daylight will use the funding to expand its services, including a marketplace where members score discounts at businesses that support Daylight’s mission.

There are a number of US neobank startups:

  • Cheese serves the Asian American community. It raised $3.6m in March.
  • First Boulevard, which raised $5m earlier this year, is a platform built for Black Americans.
  • Greenwood is a bank for Black and Latino customers. It raised $40m in March.
  • CapWay, which has raised $145k via 6 seed rounds, is for unbanked or underbanked Americans.
  • Purple is for people with disabilities. It’s raised $60k so far and plans to close a pre-seed round by year-end.

Neobanks are going global

Market intelligence company CB Insights found that 6 European digital “challenger banks” have gained 30m+ customers and $4.2B in funding since 2014.

Meanwhile, Brazil has at least 19 neobanks, including Nubank, which raised $400m in Series G earlier this year. Others include Zippi for gig workers and ElasBank for women entrepreneurs.

But don’t let the word “niche” fool you. The old guard is taking notice: Earlier this week, US banking giant JPMorgan Chase acquired a 40% stake in Brazilian neobank C6.

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