Play to Flourish: How Latinx-Founded Fintech are Changing the Money Game

Written by

Yasmin Graeml

Posted in

October 13, 2023


Latinos entrepreneurs are gamifying the banking system to help individuals build positive money habits. The company is already empowering people through financial institutions in the US, Brazil, Mexico and Bolivia and soon announcing bank clients in Costa Rica and Colombia. 

October, 11th 2023 - Jessica Dominguez Eting and Pedro Moura are the co-founders (COO and CEO, respectively) of Flourish Fi, a client engagement and rewards platform for financial institutions. The startup founders met while pursuing their Masters at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. What they discovered was a shared history of resilience and determination, hailing from low-income, immigrant and hardworking families who aspired to create a more inclusive and rewarding banking system. 

Flourish Fi is redesigning the way people interact with their finances using behavioral science, data and game mechanics to empower individuals to achieve their financial goals. The company licenses its technology to banks, credit unions, and fintech lenders to improve the way people save, transact, and manage their money. Financial institutions embed the Flourish platform into their own mobile apps to attract, engage and retain customers through a personalized,  rewarding and fun money experience.

Meet the founders:

Pedro and Jessica's, Flourish Fi's co-founders shared experiences of immigration and diverse cultural upbringings serve as crucial chapters in their narrative, propelling them to address critical issues in the financial services industry.

Jessica Eting, worked most of her career as an investor and operations leader in the philanthropic sphere, possesses a deep-rooted commitment to scaling social impact business models. On the other hand, Pedro brings over a decade of experience in financial services, particularly in crafting tailored products for underserved communities. Together, they form a dynamic duo poised to reshape the financial landscape.

Pedro's professional journey took him through notable names like Morgan Stanley and Chase. While the intellectual stimulation at Morgan Stanley he wanted to be closer to the people he aspired to serve. At Chase, he worked in an East LA branch, utilizing his language skills to assist Latinx clients in navigating the intricacies of the financial system. Yet, he witnessed firsthand the limitations of existing financial products, failing to meet the needs of everyday individuals seeking credit or investment opportunities.

“But once they were applying for credit, they’d get declined. And once they tried to invest, they didn't have the minimum (amount of money),” he said. “The products weren’t designed for everyday people.”

Federal Reserve statistics underscore a distressing reality: nearly 30% of American adults lack the means to cover a $400 emergency expense, a vulnerability exacerbated within immigrant communities. Pedro's encounters with Latinx clients struggling to access essential financial services deeply resonated with his commitment to effect change within the financial sector.

In contrast, Jessica's story is one of resilience and determination, shaped by her immigrant background. Eting, the Chief Operating Officer of Flourish Fi, is a child of Mexican and Filipino immigrants. Growing up in Modesto, California, she witnessed the struggle for financial stability, especially after her father's prolonged illness and subsequent passing during her teenage years.

“After my father got sick, then everything landed on my mom to be able to finish raising my brother and I on her own,” she said. “There was a time when we had to use food stamps.”

For Jessica, Pedro, and Eting, the journey is not only about personal triumphs but also about the collective endeavor to uplift underserved communities. Their individual narratives, fueled by personal experiences and guided by a passion for social impact, converge to drive meaningful change in the financial services sector. Together, they aspire to build a more inclusive and accessible financial landscape that truly serves the needs of all.

The business and its impact

Flourish Fi white label engagement engine

Flourish Fi uses behavioral science and gamification to encourage people to save, pay off debt, and build positive financial habits.

Flourish Fi is licensing its engagement and financial wellness solutions across the Americas with clients in over 6 countries (USA, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica). Along the way, the company snagged a partnership with Mastercard to scale its impact.

“Our collaboration began in 2021 when Flourish Fi participated in Mastercard Start Path, our award-winning startup engagement program, to uncover scaling and co-innovation opportunities across the Americas,” said Blake Rosenthal, EVP, Segment & Fintech Solutions at Mastercard. “Strengthened by our shared mission of doing well by doing good, our relationship has continued to evolve, and we’re thrilled that today Mastercard is powering Flourish Fi’s platform and empowering consumers and small businesses to build positive money habits.”

Pedro and Jessica have a clear vision of the road ahead. “Our product vision is to proactively understand people’s needs and preferences to predict behavior and nudge them in a positive direction. We believe that finances shouldn’t be a stressful and complicated topic,” Eting says. “We aim for a world where money management isn’t scary and daunting, but enjoyable and actually a bit of fun.” 

When asked about its impact, Pedro said, “We are impacting the lives of people, but we also are influencing financial institutions to have more responsible products versus just charging people overdraft,” he said. “Money is in the fabric of our society, and products have not historically been designed for everyday people and people that are starting out.”

Flourish Fi's technology has already achieved important milestones with partner banks in driving digitalization, reducing default rate and growing deposits and expanding their mission of empowering people to build positive money habits across the Americas.