Former teen model co-created Frich app to help Gen Z be more realistic about finances

As a teenage model, Katrin Kaurov became financially independent at a young age. Aleksandra Medina, whom she met at NYU Abu Dhabi, also learned to manage money early. The pair became close as students because of what they felt was a lack of space for people their age to have open conversations about financial well-being.

So in 2021, they teamed up to launch a business based in New York Fricha startup that aims to serve as a social financial community for the generation Z population.

The premise behind the company, they say, is that Generation Z is tired of inauthenticity. Unrealistic depictions of financial success are displayed all over social media and leave people wondering how they really compare financially to their peers, say Kaurov and Medina.

«We realized that Generation Z has no idea what to do with money and we all pretend on social media that we have a life together, but we don’t,» said Kaurov in an interview with TechCrunch. “Have they actually overstepped or are they actually living that lavish life? We just felt that there was a very strong disconnect between what was being shown online and what banks and financial institutions were offering to Gen Z that they actually wanted.”

Frich users — short for “Effing Rich” — have the ability to ask questions anonymously on the app to better understand how others their age are doing financially without feeling competitive. They can also anonymously share financial data to see how they compare to their peers. For example, a freshman can see how much others with similar experience spend on entertainment, investing, and rent. Questions users might ask include, for example, How much do people my age invest? Do my classmates have pocket money?

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«I think one of the things that really sets Gen Z apart from any other generation is that Gen Z wants to talk more about money,» Kaurov said. They want to be open and honest about the reality of what’s actually going on, like how much people are actually spending, what people’s credit scores are, and how much they’re spending on a first date.”

And for those looking for help improving their situation, Frich is ready to take data collected from users and link it to relevant financial brands.

«Frich basically acts as a community-driven money app,» Medina said. «And our personalized approach really aims to address the industry’s oversight of Gen Z. We can then leverage our understanding of customer data and match those Gen Zs with the right brands and services.» His goal, she added, is to anticipate their needs before they even arise.

Image credits: Frich

The duo launched their app in the summer of 2021 and has since grown to more than 100,000 Gen Z users across the country, with primary markets being New York, Florida and Texas. Frich is approaching $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) with a B2B subscription model.

Frich makes money by entering into partnerships with banks and brands such as credit builders or lifestyle brands, and charging them a flat fee to be on its platform. This fee depends on the partner.

Interestingly, the company has taken an old fashioned approach to marketing by visiting campuses across the country and using ambassadors to advertise its offering while promoting the app on digital platforms like TikTok.

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Today, the six-person startup is announcing that Frich has raised $2.8 million in a seed funding round led by Restive Ventures, which included participation from TruStage, K20 and Spartan Innovations. The money so far has been used in part for key hires, including an ex-Bumble employee to lead growth and an early Robinhood employee to work in product.

Cameron Peake, a partner at Restive Ventures, told TechCrunch that her firm believes Frich «really has its finger on the pulse of how Gen Z thinks and acts about money» and has the potential to become a «massive» company.

«They send out very regular surveys, for example, to demystify some of that and that really excited us,» Peake added. «The consumer market is so broad that they can grow quickly.»

Of course, Frich isn’t the only fintech aiming to serve the expansive Gen Z market. In January, Alinea Invest, a fintech app that offers AI-powered wealth management aimed at Gen Z women, raised $3.4 million in seed funding ahead of the launch of a virtual AI assistant to help users with their investment needs. And Bloom, a commission-free stock investment tool for teenage investors, emerged from obscurity last July, announcing that it had reached one million downloads after launching in February 2022. Meanwhile in March, based in Miami Onyx Privatethe Y Combinator-backed digital bank that has been providing banking and investment services for high-earning millennials and Gen Z, announced that it ceases the operation of his bank and is instead turning to a B2B model.

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