Aspiration raises $47m for banking with a conscience

Aspiration raises $47m for banking with a conscience

Aspiration, a fintech startup pitching itself as a "financial firm with a conscience", has raised $47 million in a Series B funding round led by Social Impact Finance.

The round - which brings Aspiration's total funding to $67 million - was joined by Allen and Company, Omidyar Network, Alpha Edison, AGO Partners, Reyl & Cie, Capricorn Investments and individuals including actor Orlando Bloom and former Citigroup chief operations and technology officer Deborah Hopkins.

California-based Aspiration offers standard banking, investing and retirement products, but what sets the firm apart is its vow to help customers make a "positive difference in the world".

The firm operates on a 'pay what is fair' basis that trusts customers to choose the fee that they pay - even if that is zero. The vast majority pay something, knowing that Aspiration donates 10 cents of every dollar it earns to charity.

This model has proved a hit, with the company adding thousands of new customers every week who transact over $2 billion a year on the Aspiration platform. In fact, the startup claims to have added 20,000 former Wells Faro customers to its base since the big bank's recent scandals broke.

"We had our fair share of doubters when we first started Aspiration, but we’ve shown that profit and purpose can go hand-in-hand," says Andrei Cherny, CEO, Aspiration. “Aspiration is growing fast because we have found innovative ways to put both our customers’ interests and their values first."

In addition to its charitable commitment, Cherny's outfit has recently added an Aspiration Impact Measurement feature to its app that allows customers to see their own personal Sustainability Scores and choose where they spend based on businesses’ impact on people and the planet.

The company partners with the Sierra Club and offers a 100% fossil fuel-free and firearm-free sustainable investment strategy available at a minimum investment of $100. By investing with Aspiration instead of the S&P 500, the firm claims that its customers have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of three million fewer miles driven by American cars.

Ibrahim AlHusseini, MD, Social Impact Finance, says: "Consumers are ‘voting with their money’ now more than ever, which means they are increasingly investing in companies that share their values. Aspiration is the world’s leader in bringing this spirit of investing with a conscience to the financial services industry."

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