Why We Invested in Charlie

Most of us have watched a parent, grandparent, relative, or friend retire from their career and enter a new chapter – one that comes with more freedom to enjoy hobbies and spend time with family and friends, but also uncertainty around finances and decumulation of assets. These are people who’ve worked hard for decades, provided for their families, and lived within their means. They’re not looking for an extravagant retirement, but they want to be comfortable, and they’re concerned about running out of money. 

The demographic that I’ve just described is massive. There are 73 million Americans aged 62+, and their unique needs and circumstances are different from the rest of the population. They have assets, like a house, but those assets aren’t liquid (and they may not want to offload them just yet). They have money, but now they’re spending it instead of saving. And interestingly, more of them are turning to online banking: according to research from the AARP, 55% of adults aged 50+ made financial transactions on their smartphones in 2021, up from 37% in 2019.

There are 73 million Americans aged 62+, and their unique needs and circumstances are different from the rest of the population.

When we first met Kevin Nazemi, the co-founder and CEO of Charlie, we were immediately impressed by his laser focus on meeting the financial needs of retirees and soon-to-be-retirees. Kevin’s personal story – helping his father navigate a maze of insurance, healthcare, and financial services bureaucracy after an acute health issue – made him realize that far too few resources existed for this population, and that there is a huge need for solutions that are specifically designed for this stage of life. Simple things like product design and customer service were not optimized for the 62+ community, as most financial services institutions are designed for people working full-time and generating income. And unfortunately, most features built for Americans age 62+ come with high fees or unexpected expenses.

Kevin and his team are setting out to change that.

Charlie is the new standard for 62+ banking, with a platform designed specifically for retirees’ unique needs. In an industry first, Charlie makes it possible for retirees to receive their Social Security payments up to four weeks early. The company also offers 3% earnings on deposits, no monthly fees and no minimums, and US-based customer support. And just as importantly, the user experience is simple, transparent, and easy to use.

In our conversations with the team at Charlie, we appreciate how they’ve worked tirelessly to understand the pain points and unique needs of this demographic. For example, their research revealed that US-based customer service was incredibly important to retirees and soon-to-be-retirees, which makes sense – this is a group that has banked in-person for the majority of their lives, and they’re most comfortable talking to another person about their money. By investing in customer service, Charlie is establishing itself as a trustworthy financial brand. 

We believe in what Kevin and his team are building, and we’re proud to share that TTV Capital recently participated in Charlie’s $7.5 million Seed round, which was led by Better Tomorrow Ventures and joined by Expa, as well as angel investors like Gokul Rajaram. With this infusion of funding, Charlie will build banking solutions to help the 62+ community maximize their limited resources and provide peace of mind around their financial present and future. 

We’re especially excited by Charlie’s road map for the future, as the company has creative solutions for meaningfully improving the lives of retirees and soon-to-be retirees. Imagine being able to receive a senior citizens’ discount just by swiping a card, without showing a membership card or ID, which can feel embarrassing. And Charlie’s idea to allow homeowners to cash out part of their home’s value before selling – providing them with liquidity while maintaining a place to live – is the type of novel, forward thinking approach that we love to see. We’re proud to partner with Charlie as they transform banking for the 62+ community and give Americans financial peace of mind.

Neil is a Partner at TTV Capital. He currently serves on the Board of Directors at MakersHub, Payabli, Themis, and Wildfire. Prior to joining TTV, Neil was an early team member and Principal at B Capital Group, a global venture capital and growth equity investment firm backed by the Boston Consulting Group with over $6 billion in assets under management. At B Capital, Neil led...