LFP131 – Fintech for Social Good & Income Streaming w/Peter Briffett CEO Wagestream

All businesses employ people, generate salaries, products and services and sometimes even profits without which modern society could simply not exist, Thus all Fintechs “do Social Good”. However in addition some focus their profits and services on the most disadvantaged members of society. We look at this “social benefit” sector in this show along with income streaming which is relevant not just to the lowest earners per se but also to the gig economy.

Peter Briffett knows this equation from both sides having been a serial entrepreneur and now founder and CEO of Wagestream who “help eliminate the payday poverty cycle by giving employees the flexibility to stream their earned wages into their accounts whenever they need or want it”.

Wagestream are also a member of Finance For Good which is a collective of socially-minded companies in the finance industry.

Topics discussed include:

  • the Feng Shui of Holborn
  • setting world records in Cricket
  • Peter’s serial entrepreneurial career
  • what makes such folks return to the fray
  • is omnipresent virtue-signalling increasing cynicism around “socially-beneficial” per se – every company markets themselves as “doing good”
  • there is no conflict between making a profit and being socially beneficial
  • “is the social benefit measurable” – this is a key criterion to divide those doing something practical with those spinning or waffling
  • how do you define socially beneficial
  • Wagestream’s socially-orientated initial funding
  • their mission to reduce the “poverty premium” – many goods (insurance, credit, mobile phones if pay monthly etc) cost more if one is poor..
  • Wagestream have a social charter in their articles
  • they help people avoid payday lenders
  • Finance for Good – the organisation pulling these Fintechs together – other members
  • increasingly owners of funds – family offices, pensions are asking questions about social impact
  • historic examples of companies doing lots of social good over the past centuries all the way back to Guilds
  • impact of Bill Gates in raising awareness
  • “profit for purpose”
  • Wagestream achieved the biggest social funding round in European history – £40m
  • Wagestream initially charged the employee, then both employee and employer, now in many cases the employer pays for the service
  • employers benefit by better staff retention, productivity and general stress levels – financial wellness is a super-important topic for people
  • 120,000 employees on the platform, about 50 different businesses
  • income streaming leads to people doing more shifts as it creates a more direct link between income and reward
  • a lot of people’s financial problems come from cashflow, living from one monthly wage to the next
  • why companies don’t just do this themselves – payroll and all the challenges therein
  • pretty much every FTSE100 outsources payroll as it is so expensive
  • monthly payment in Europe, every two weeks in the US
  • the eight biggest companies in the world provide flexible products and services – but being paid is the last inflexible area to fall
  • governments roll in this
  • Uber is a good example of a company that is geared around paying their drivers daily
  • the strong empirical evidence that paying more in line with effort increases work and not, as many fear, leads to dissolute wasting of monies
  • income streaming has strong benefits – for high and low paying firms and employees
  • for employers the most critical thing you can do for your employees is reduce their financial stress and you will see benefits as an employer

And much much more 🙂

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