Fintech SecureSave used this deck to raise an $11 million funding round
- The COVID pandemic has underscored the need for Americans to have more savings for emergencies.
- SecureSave, a fintech launched in 2020, works with employers to offer emergency savings accounts.
- See the 20-slide pitch deck SecureSave used to raise seed funding.
The origins of SecureSave — a Kirkland, Washington-based fintech that works with companies to offer emergency savings accounts, or ESAs, to employees — began with a single email to a venture capital studio and to a Seattle-based investor.
Co-founders Devin Miller and Bassam Saliba each spent years working in fintech at companies like TaxAct and Equiom. But as the pandemic rocked the U.S. economy, they realized their idea of incentivizing employee savings was more salient than ever.
Miller sent a note to Pioneer Square Labs in Seattle asking if they were still supporting new ventures, even in the midst of what felt like “the end of the world,” he told Insider. The venture capital studio was interested, introduced Miller and Saliba to who would become their third co-founder – personal finance expert and author Suze Orman – and SecureSave officially launched in September 2020.
Miller said SecureSave’s business is rooted in a fundamental premise: too few Americans have enough money saved for emergencies. A June Bankrate survey revealed that more than half of adults nationwide are uncomfortable with their level of emergency savings – and only one in four have more savings for emergencies than a year ago.
In some ways, emergency savings accounts resemble health savings accounts, through which workers can set aside their pre-tax earnings to save for medical care. Those with an employer-sponsored ESA have set up regular deductions from their paychecks into a dedicated account for emergency funds, up to certain limits. But the money is deducted after taxes, so the funds can be tapped at any time without penalty (unlike retirement accounts) and can be matched by employers.
Employers are “looking for some kind of quick fix, something that’s easy, has a good impact, is very measurable, and isn’t too hard to do. It really resonates with employees and solves some very clear issues around lending and financial well-being,” says Miller.
In the United States, health savings accounts grew up over time in an industry worth nearly $100 billion, by assets under management, according to industry group HSA Becoming. Ten years ago, that figure was about $20 billion. Miller estimates that ESAs, still few in number today, will experience similar growth and could reach $50 billion in assets over the next decade, especially as policymakers consider legislation this could encourage employers to offer bad weather accounts and match dues.
Miller said SecureSave’s ESA offering is designed to be as easy for employees to adopt as possible. They can open standalone accounts separate from their 401(k), set up automatic deductions, and use an app to track balances. Employers, on the other hand, have the ability to match contributions. SecureSave, Miller added, has seen a 55% adoption rate among employees of the companies they work with, with the average employee saving $83 per month.
Employers offering SecureSave as a benefit pay between $1 and $3 per employee. But according to Miller, employers recognize that ESAs can pay for themselves — through employee retention and as a competitive advantage when hiring.
Two years after its launch, SecureSave’s customers now include the San Antonio Spurs organization and the California Council of SEIU, one of the nation’s largest unions for service workers. SecureSave has also partnered with three major benefit distributors – Milliman, Truist and Transamerica – who can now offer ESAs as a complementary product to other benefits, and has also signed with Wells Fargo as a primary depositary.
In June, SecureSave raised $11 million in what Miller called an “additional funding round,” after the startup first raised $3.5 million in January 2021 from backers. strategic funds like Pioneer Square Labs. Investors now include Truist Ventures, which led the June fundraiser, as well as crypto giant FTX and Stearns Financial Group.