Oval Money, a social savings app that combines machine learning with crowdsourced tips, has come out of closed beta in the UK.
Founded by Benedetta Arese Lucini, former CEO of Uber Italy, with Claudio Bedino and Edoardo Benedetto, co-founders of do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform Starteed.com, and AI expert Simone Marzola, Oval Money has raised €1.2M in funding. The company is backed by Italy’s Gruppo Intesa SanPaolo, b-ventures, an incubator from Japan’s DOCOMO Digital, and Bertoldi Group Family Office.
Oval users achieve savings using 'Steps' a set of commands that tell Oval to make a deposit to the app’s secure digital savings account each time there is new income or spending in a linked account.
Lucini says the system has been designed based on the latest research from financial experts and behavioural economists.
“To help people get a hold of their finances, Oval combines machine learning with the lessons users can teach one another to create collective intelligence," she says. "We want to create a new platform for people to both help themselves and help others as they identify intelligent strategies to save."
The live launch comes after the firm engaged in mock user trials via the Financial Conduct Authority's fintech sandbox programme.
The average amount saved by users in Oval’s closed beta over the past 3 months is just over £400, or about £135 pounds per month, says Lucini, who adds that Oval users seem to be improving their ability to save, learning from one another, with the latest data showing a weekly savings average of £49.