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AllowanceTree.com
Location: 5 Park Plaza, Suite 1570, Irvine, California, United States United States
Founded in: 2012
Stage: Revenue generating
Number of employees: 1-5
Short URL: vator.co/allowancetree
Followers (244)
Awards and mentions
11848_845
Winner of the audience vote at VatorSplash LA 2012.
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AllowanceTree.com

The one tree money CAN grow on!
Startup/business
Irvine, California, United States United States
http://AllowanceTree.com
4
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Company description

On AllowanceTree, kids and teenagers manage and grow their real money in a fun, interactive, and parent supervised platform that mirrors the real world. They learn financial literacy and healthy money habits by doing, with their own money. They can save, invest (in their grades), give charity, diversify, take out loans (from their parents) and learn to avoid debt. Ages 9-17.

This product is a much needed and timely solution to the prevailing problem of financial illiteracy. Everyone seems to agree that if children were taught finance in a stimulating, technologically exciting environment, where they could learn to succeed and fail under controlled circumstances, they would grow up far better equipped to deal with the financial stresses that life entails. Our hope is that this product will help spare the current generation of youth from the sometimes catastrophic consequences and burdens that financial illiteracy has placed on the lives, marriages and happiness of their parents' generation.


Team
  • Arnie Benn
    Arnie Benn | Founder
    AllowanceTree was inspired by my background teaching teenagers of all ages, and by the economic challenges we face — as a country and as individuals. As a former middle and high school teacher (Math, Chemistry, Music, Filmmaking), I bel...
  • Daniel Desatnik
    Daniel Desatnik | Founder
    I have been developing websites for over 12 years. I am an expert in php, jquery, javascript, mysql, html, and css. I graduated from Emory University with a simultaneous BA and MA at the age of 21.
Business model

AllowanceTree's business model consists of three revenue streams:

  1. Subscription Fee: To unlock all of AllowanceTree's features, parents must pay the low subscription fee of just $4.99/month. The first month only costs 1 penny, and the subscription can be cancelled at any time.
  2. AllowanceStore: Having received and grown their allowance, children can now spend their money in our pre-screened AllowanceStore. Parents must approve all purchases. Average margins on products sold projected at 20%.
  3. Gold & Silver: Children can learn about diversification and investing in metals by purchasing real gold and silver coins from the website. Average margins on sales of metals are projected at 15%.
Competitive advantage

AllowanceTree.com has four major advantages:

  1. Founded By Educators: The founders and board members bring a combined 30 years' experience as educators. This experience enables us to convey complex information in a fun and easy to learn manner based on the philosophy of engaging children with respect for their ability to make responsible decisions on their own.
  2. Affordability & Accessibility: Schools are having enough difficulty teaching basic skills that the vast majority do not teach financial literacy at all. Even if they did, financial literacy is not merely about learning information. It is as much, if not more, about healthy financial habits developed through doing. As a web-based solution, AllowanceTree is affordable and accessible. By simulating real-world financial decision making, with children using their own money, they develop good habits and skills that they will carry with them into the future.
  3. No Chicken & Egg Problem: AllowanceTree consists of interactions between the children and their parents, who serve as the bank. AllowanceTree does not have the burden of needing to develope a community - the experience is just as rich independent of the number of users on the system. From a business perspective, AllowanceTree can start drawing immediate revenue without the large initial capital required to generate a community.
  4. Parents Engaged in their Children's lives: There's a lot of talk these days about social media. But to children, the most profound social interactions wil still likely be those within the home. AllowanceTree gives parents a medium to have a potentially life-changing interaction with their children on a regular basis.

Are there other websites like AllowanceTree?

While there are a few websites geared towards teaching kids financial literacy, they tend to target pre-teens primarily, and with a more video game-type flavor. AllowanceTree not only targets middle school and high school age students, it was designed by educators, around specific educational processes, to mirror the real world of finance. As a result, none of the other sites feature the functionality that AllowanceTree has developed, such as our Stock Market, Loans, or Credit Score modules.

 

What is the marketing strategy?

The AllowanceTree site has just entered its live beta phase. Our initial marketing plan involves donating a fixed number (ex. 50) of free memberships to churches and other institutions in order to get a base of initial users to prove and improve the concept.

We are currently working on developing a strategic relationship with a large financial planning house to have our product bundled into their existing services as a value-add. 

After our beta launch, we will involve a broader medium of distribution centered around top-down approaches, ex: talk radio host-read commercials, in order to reach a large audience in the most cost-effective way in order to prove the subscription model and test market engagement.

We will also approach educational institutions to establish the best means of getting the product into their communities, whether by offering free membership to specific economics classes within the school, or whether by approaching the administration or PTSO organizations directly.

We will concurrently be pursuing press and blog coverage in order to raise awareness of the site.

All initial revenues will be redirected into marketing efforts.

 

Does AllowanceTree involve real money?

AllowanceTree represents the real money that parents give their children. The system automatically tracks monthly deposits, and allows children to use and manage their money online. Parents do not deposit real funds online, but they are responsible for holding their children's money so it is available when their children want to use it.