Frequently Asked Questions

Application

  • What is the 2020 Challenge theme?

    The 2020 Challenge aims to identify and develop fintech solutions that give workers and students of today and tomorrow access to products, services, and other solutions that improve their financial health. To learn more, please visit our Challenge page.

  • When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall selection timeline?

    • October 24, 2019: Applications Open
    • January 6, 2020: Applications Close
    • Late March 2020: New cohort members selected
    • April-December 2020: Cohort program runs
  • What is Reviewr? Why am I directed there to submit my application?

    Reviewr is the 3rd-party application platform for the FinLab – they accept applications for many programs globally.

  • What if I do not have a recorded demo?

    Sending a demo is optional but has the potential to aid your application chances.

  • I already submitted my application but I need to update it. How do I do that?

    Email finlab@finhealthnetwork.org from the email address you listed on your application. Make sure you reference your organization’s name.

  • For what reason do you want to know about our impact?

    We are looking to capture the variety of methods by which organizations are assessing their impact on consumers.

  • Where can I upload supplemental material to my application?

    We prefer URLs to materials. Try posting to Dropbox, Google Drive, or other online file storage tools—most will allow you to send a URL from there.

  • Who is allowed to apply?

    The challenge is open to most for-profit and nonprofit organizations that are incorporated or organized in the U.S. Take a look at the Program Rules to see the specific requirements.

  • Do we have to be U.S. citizens?

    No, but your organization’s product or service should serve U.S. consumers and you should be eligible to work in the U.S.

  • Is my organization “too far along” or “too early” to apply?

    Everyone is eligible to apply. Keep in mind that our selection criteria will tend to favor organizations that have a product in market – even if in a beta or pilot stage.  

  • My startup has already taken some funding. Can we still apply?

    Yes, you are eligible to apply whether or not you have raised funding.

  • Can we participate without moving to your location?

    Yes—in fact that is the only option. We quite purposefully operate virtually. We are looking for organizations that have products or services in market and teams that are working hard to keep improving those products. Stay where you are, keep doing what you are doing, and we will meet in person from time to time.

  • I am or my organization is a client of JPMorgan Chase, does that affect my eligibility?

    Being a client of JPMorgan Chase does not affect your eligibility.

  • Can I participate in the FinLab if I have done or will be part of an incubator, accelerator, or other similar program?

    You can indeed participate in the FinLab while also enrolled in another program as long as you are able and committed to participating in the FinLab’s events, both in person and virtually.

  • What other materials will you request?

    If you are selected to advance to phase two of the application process, we will request a financial statement, ask that you complete a profile/questionnaire, schedule a phone / video interview  and possibly an in-person site-visit.

  • Will you sign an NDA?

    Due to the volume of applicants, we will not sign an NDA during the initial application phase. Take a look at the Program Rules to see the extent to which we will be able to keep application information confidential.

  • Can two organizations co-apply for a joint product or service?

    Yes. Just make sure you list a preferred point of contact for the application process in case we have questions.

  • I’m not sure if my organization is a perfect fit for this Challenge. What should we do?

    You should apply. We are open to seeing a broad set of solutions for this Challenge. More importantly, if you’re an entrepreneur with a product that helps consumers with their money, we want to know about you. This application process will help us understand the landscape of like-minded organizations for whom way may be able to provide support and resources in the future, whether through a future challenge or in another way.

Selection

  • How will you decide what companies or organizations are accepted into the program?

    We will select organizations based on the organization’s fit with the program that we define as the following:

    • Impact
      • Does this product have the potential to significantly improve the financial health of its users?
      • Is the product relevant to the current Financial Solutions Lab Challenge?
      • Does the target market include or plan to include low- to moderate-income consumers or other underserved segments of the population, including (but not limited to) people of color, women, aging individuals, and individuals with disabilities?
    • Innovation
      • Does the product offer an effective technological solution to the problem it is trying to solve?
      • Does the product represent an improved approach over similar products in the market or provide a solution that doesn’t yet exist?
      • Does the product design include engagement with and input from the target customer population?
    • Scalability
      • Has the team demonstrated its ability to gain traction or, if not, have a clear roadmap to do so?
      • Does the applicant have a clear roadmap or plan to execute against its vision?
    • Quality:
      • Is the product or service already in-market?
      • What risks does this product or service pose to the mission of the Financial Solutions Lab, including but not limited to legal, reputational, or compliance risk?
        • In addition to other screens, we will assess risk using Financial Health Network’s Compass Principles, which seek to embrace inclusion, build trust, promote success and create opportunity. To learn more about these Principles, click here.
    • Leadership
      • Is management committed to serving a broad and diverse population, including low-to-moderate income consumers?
      • Does the management team have the technical capability and domain expertise to execute?
  • Will selected companies’ solutions ever overlap with other participants’? Will you select direct competitors?

    Our selection process is meritocratic – we will pick the teams we think fit best in solving the challenge of improving the financial health of people in America and will best benefit from the FinLab. While it is unlikely, it is possible that direct competitors are selected.

  • Does having a prior or existing relationship to Financial Health Network impact FinLab selection?

    No. While we encourage organizations of all types to engage with Financial Health Network to help us improve consumer financial health, prior or existing relationships with Financial Health Network will not positively or negatively impact selection for the Financial Solutions Lab. Examples of potential relationships include being a Member of Financial Health Network, attending EMERGE and/or being a customer of Financial Health Network Consulting.

Program

  • How long is the program and what is the time commitment?

    The FinLab is an eight-month program. Participants are expected to attend in-person events every four to eight weeks. Dates and locations of these meetings will be provided to FinLab participants at the outset of the program. There may be some virtual requirements as well (e.g., check-in calls).

  • Who is expected to participate at program events?

    The CEO or a Co-founder is expected to attend program events.

  • How much capital will Financial Health Network provide and what does Financial Health Network expect in return?

    $125,000. If you are applying as a for-profit company, Financial Health Network will work with you to determine the most effective way to deploy that capital to maximize impact.

  • What if I am applying as a nonprofit?

    Nonprofit FinLab participants will receive the same amount, $125,000, structured as a grant, with some restrictions to ensure maximum impact.

  • Where are you based?

    Financial Health Network is based in Chicago, with offices in New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Sign up for our mailing list and follow our blog to learn about events our team is attending.

  • How can I stay up to date about innovations that improve Americans' financial health?

    Sign up for our mailing list. We will send you relevant information about consumer financial health and the Financial Solutions Lab.

  • How can I participate if I don’t have a startup or work for a non-profit?

    You can sign up for our mailing list, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. We care about these issues and will make sure you stay up to date.

  • My question is not answered here. How do I get more information?

    Email your questions to the Financial Solutions Lab (finlab@finhealthnetwork.org), and we will try to help. We will also update these FAQs periodically.

General

  • What is the goal of the Financial Solutions Lab?

    The Financial Solutions Lab’s goal is to cultivate, support and scale innovative ideas that advance the financial health of low- to moderate-income (“LMI”) consumers and historically underserved communities. For more information, visit http://finlab.finhealthnetwork.com/.

  • Who is behind the program?

    The Financial Solutions Lab is managed by the Financial Health Network with founding partner JPMorgan Chase.

  • What do the Financial Health Network and JPMorgan Chase get out of this?

    Financial Health Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to improve the financial health of its customers, employees, and communities. The FinLab will help achieve Financial Health Network’s vision of a financially-healthy America where people’s day-to-day financial system functions well and increases the likelihood of long-term resilience and opportunity.

    JPMorgan Chase’s support of the Financial Solutions Lab is a part of its broader commitment to helping people better understand and manage their finances to secure their futures. It aims to tackle this challenge by investing in the development of affordable, easy-to-use and technology-driven consumer products and services designed to meet consumer needs, expanding the availability of these innovative products and services around the world and informing community partners and providers by sharing best practices to enhance financial capability efforts.

Disclaimer: These FAQs are only intended to provide interpretive information regarding the challenge; they do not modify, supersede, or supplement any portion of the challenge’s official Program Rules or other documents on our Legal page.

 

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