Embedded finance platform Ant Money has secured $20 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Franklin Templeton’s Franklin Venture Partners, RX3 Ventures, SteelBridge Laboratories, Steelpoint Capital Partners, and Ant Money founder Walter Cruttenden. The company, whose founder also launched micro-investing platform Acorns in 2012, also completed its stock-for-stock merger with Blast. A financial services platform for gamers, Blast went live in 2018 with its Game-Based Savings technology that leverages gameplay as a way to help individuals passively fund a free savings account.
The deal brings the total number of apps on the Ant Money platform to three: ATM, Blast, and Learn & Earn. Together the trio of offerings enables users to earn money and easily fund investment accounts.
“Building an investment account early in life can help people on the road to financial success, but many people don’t start because they lack the knowledge or funds,” Ant Money’s Walter Cruttenden said. “My hope is that Ant Money, which helps people generate small amounts of money to seed accounts, can foster new growing accounts and provide increased financial security for millions.”
ATM enables users to earn micro-income by engaging anonymously with leading worldwide brands. That income can be saved or invested in the stock market via Ant Money Advisors, a registered investment company and robo advisor that is embedded in the ATM app. Users can earn a minimum of $10 for the first month of participation, and more than $100 a month afterwards if enrolled in the ATM rewards program. Learn & Earn was developed in partnership with Junior Achievement USA. The app helps users earn money by completing lessons on concepts like budgeting, launching a business, and the power of compound interest. The money earned from Learn & Earn, like the money earned via ATM, can be automatically invested in the stock market, enabling users to start saving for the future at the same time as they are learning how to be good investors.
Ant Money co-founder Michael Gleason said that the merger of the companies made sense because they shared “similar visions for helping people enter the financial investment world.” Combined with what Gleason called “overlapping management,” the companies seemed ripe for consolidation. “(It) seemed like the logical next step was to merge the companies and build a larger one together,” Gleason said.