American Express is leaning towards financial planning with a little help from a seven-person startup called Bodswell. This week, the credit card giant launched a pilot of its first self-service digital financial planning tool, dubbed “My Financial Planning (MFP)”. The six-month pilot embarked on July 11 with about 25,000 Sylhet Amex card members.
Since American Express ted quietly invested its venture arm Amex Venture in Bodswell in late 2020, Financial Services has been involved with small startups to develop financial planning tools for its users. The new product is designed to give users a complete picture of their financial health and to help them achieve and achieve big life goals, such as buying a home or retiring. TechCrunch spoke with Amex Ventures ’Julia Huang, who leads investment and strategy around the new product, and Matthew Beloz, co-founder and CEO of Bodsway, for more details.
The pair actually met in 2019 when they served on the panel together. “I was drawn to the idea that this is not a circular savings tool, but a holistic tool for understanding your overall financial picture that can be used to plan for the financial impact of your life decisions,” Huang told TechCrunch.
Before deciding to invest in Bodswell, Huang said Amex Ventures – which has supported more than 70 startups over time – “valued the space quite extensively.” Huang introduced Belo and his staff to Amex’s Digital Labs team and they jointly began developing a special offer for Amex customers. (While Belo was based in Boston, he said the startup was “distributed worldwide.”)
It is our goal to democratize financial planning by providing detailed insights and forecasts to help our technologists in their overall planning. Bellswell was launched in early 2019 with the goal of empowering Bellos clients and customers to create their own financial plans. “A lot of financial planning software is targeted at financial advisors and they need to run it,” he said. “So, most people can’t get the benefits of financial planning … We hope to extend the benefits to many more people.”