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Former teen model co-founded app Frich to help Gen Z get more realistic about finances

Katrin Kauroff became financially independent at a young age as a teen model. Alexandra Medina, whom she met at NYU Abu Dhabi, also learned about money management early on. The two bonded as students because they felt their peers lacked a space to have open conversations about financial health.

So they teamed up in 2021 to found New York-based Frich, a startup that aims to provide a social financial community for the Gen Z population.

The company was founded on the premise, they say, that Generation Z is tired of fakery. Kaurov and Medina say social media is full of unrealistic depictions of financial success, which makes people question how they really compare financially to their peers.

“We realized that Gen Z had no idea how to handle money, and we all pretended on social media that our lives were perfect, but in reality, that wasn’t the case,” Kaurov told TechCrunch. “Are they really overdrawn? Or are they really living an extravagant life? We just felt that there was a big gap between what was being shown online and what banks and financial institutions were actually providing for Gen Z.”

Users of Frich (which stands for “Effing Rich”) are able to ask anonymous questions on the app to get a better understanding of their peers’ financial situations without feeling competitive. They can also anonymously share financial data to see how they compare to their peers. For example, college freshmen can see how much people with similar backgrounds spend on entertainment, investments, and rent. Questions users can ask include, How much do people my age invest? Do my classmates have pocket money?

“I think the biggest difference between Gen Z and other generations is that Gen Z is more willing to talk about money,” Kaurov said. “They want to be honest about the realities of how much people actually spend, what people’s credit scores are, and how much they spent on a first date.”

For those seeking help to improve their situation, Fritsch is prepared to collect users’ data and connect them with relevant financial brands.

“Frich operates primarily as a community-driven currency app,” Medina said. “Our personalized approach is really designed to address the industry’s oversight of Gen Z. We can then use our understanding of user data to match these Gen Zs with the right brands and services.” The goal, she added, is to anticipate their needs before they arise.

Image Source: Frisch

The duo launched their app in the summer of 2021, and since then has grown to over 100,000 Gen Z users nationwide, with key markets being New York, Florida, and Texas. Through a B2B subscription model, Fritsch is approaching $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR).

Frich makes money by partnering with banks and brands, such as credit builders or lifestyle brands, and charging them a flat fee for joining its platform. The fees vary by partner.

Interestingly, the company has taken an old-school approach to marketing, visiting campuses across the country and using ambassadors to promote its products, besides promoting the app on digital platforms like TikTok.

Today, the six-employee startup announced that Frich has raised $2.8 million in a seed round led by Restive Ventures, with participation from TruStage, K20, and Spartan Innovations. The funding has been used in part to make key hires so far, including a former Bumble employee to lead growth and an early Robinhood employee to work on product.

Restive Ventures partner Cameron Peake told TechCrunch that her firm believes Frich “really understands how Gen Z thinks and behaves around money” and has the potential to become a “huge” company.

“For example, they regularly conduct polls to demystify some of this, which is very exciting for us,” added Peake. “The consumer market is so vast, and they can grow very quickly.”

Of course, Frich isn’t the only fintech company aiming to serve the vast Gen Z market. In January, Alinea Invest, an AI-powered wealth management fintech app for Gen Z women, raised $3.4 million in seed funding and is set to launch a virtual AI assistant to help users with their investing needs. Bloom, a zero-commission stock investment tool for teenage investors that broke out of the gate last July, announced it had been downloaded 1 million times since its launch in February 2022. Meanwhile, in March, Miami-based Onyx Private, a Y Combinator-backed digital bank that provides banking and investing services to high-income millennials and Gen Z, announced it would end its banking operations in favor of a B2B model.

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