Squirrel Financial Wellbeing
Squirrel is a personal financial management and savings solution that helps people regain control of their finances.
Squirrel completed its SyndicateRoom round in February 2017, overfunding to £465,359.
In the UK, it is estimated that 21% of people are living off their overdraft within the first week of being paid. CEO and Co-founder Mutaz Qubbaj launched Squirrel with Emanuel Andjelic in 2014 to address this issue by providing people with a solution to take more control over their finances and achieve their financial goals.
Squirrel is an FCA-authorised firm which provides an application which prompts users to create a budget. The company has secured a partnership to issue basic Barclays accounts for their community, so that users essentially receive a separate 'filter' account as part of their Squirrel engagement. This allocates the user’s income into their commitments, saving and spending money before they get access to it, ensuring the money needed to pay essentials, like rent and bills, is set aside.
The idea is to ensure users have access to money only when they need it, making it harder to impulse-spend and easier to save. Squirrel works with both businesses and individuals, currently partnering with health services, debt management companies and counselling providers.
Squirrel is also offered as an employee benefit and aims to help those on lower incomes. In just three years Squirrel has seen more than 6,000 users and £2.9m flowing through its bank accounts, all managed solely by the Squirrel application. The business plans to use funds raised to expand its technical functionality to meet the needs of a broader customer demographic.
Having attained a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 2000, CEO and Co-founder Mutaz Qubbaj spent several years developing leading-edge tech at MIT's Media Lab. Subsequently, Mutaz embarked on a financial career spanning more than a decade, with stints at Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and PIMCO as a trader, a published strategist, a global lecturer and marketer within the fixed income space.
Read the interview with Mutaz on our blog.
The idea for Squirrel came from seeing the significant growth of predatory lending practices in the UK, both by payday lenders as well as banks charging exorbitant interest rates and overdraft fees to a vulnerable community – a community that is typically underserved and underbanked and taken advantage of during their time of need.
Mutaz Qubbaj, CEO and Co-founder of Squirrel
DigitalAgenda Impact Awards March 2017
Squirrel have recently won the money category award at the first ever DigitalAgenda Impact Awards, sponsored by Nominet Trust. The ceremony took place on 2nd March 2017 at the Barbican Centre in London. The awards celebrate digital innovations making a positive impact on the way the UK lives, learns and does business.
The lead investor
Jos Evans is a sophisticated investor with a number of successful investment exits including Bright North, Numecent and Active Ticketing. Jos has a background as a commodity broker in iron ore and set up his own company in this area. At the same time, Jos began investing in technology startups, and has been the lead investor for Brytlyt and Squirrel.
Squirrel is interesting in that it’s not only a highly investable idea with tremendous growth opportunity – it also has a really positive social impact. The people who use it are generally people on lower incomes, and Squirrel is helping them save money for the first time.
Jos Evans, Squirrel lead investor
What investors say
Vincent Jacobs invests as a partner in Kima Ventures, a company that has a significant number of early stage investments. Kima Ventures contributed £8,200 in this investment round, investing £43,000 in Squirrel in total.
‘I’ve always been impressed by the Squirrel team’s focus on helping people improve their financial situation and working directly with employers to build the product in such a way to positively impact people’s lives.’
– Vincent Jacobs, Partner in Kima Ventures
Richard Fearn is an experienced angel investor who has invested in and advises more than 50 companies. Richard spent 16 years in the advertising industry. He has been twice named in the past three years in BIMA’s ‘Hot 100’ list, which comprises those who have had a big impact on the digital industry, and was short-listed for Investor of the Year at the 2016 Europas.
Richard is also the Founder and Director of the Friday Club London, a not-for-profit events company aimed at driving valuable connections between startups and the wider business ecosystem.
‘What I first saw in Squirrel was simple: an incredibly smart and driven team, passionate about tackling the stress caused by the challenges of financial management, and their rapid progress to date has done nothing but reinforce this impression.’
– Richard Fearn, SyndicateRoom investor