Nas and Will Smith are two of the initial investors in a new app that will strive to teach financial literacy to teenagers.
Step is an Apple Pay-integrated app that allows teens access to bank accounts with no minimum balance or fees. Parents will have the ability to monitor their children's bank accounts and set limits and restrictions on their accounts via the app. Teens under 18 will be able to sign up for the app with limited functionality. The app also aims to give users money management advice.
"Schools don't teach kids about money," Step's CEO and Cofounder CJ MacDonald said to Techcrunch about the app. "We want to be their first bank accounts with spending cards, but we also want to teach financial literacy and responsibility. Banks don't tailor to this and we want to be a solution, teaching the next generation of adults to be more responsible with money in the cashless era."
Since launching the waitlist in January, over 500,000 people have signed up. The app led by Stripe saw backing from Will Smith's Dreamers fund and Nas, raising over $22 million in funding.
In 2018, Will Smith and Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda launched the Dreamers Fund. The venture capital fund's goal is to invest $100 million into start-up ventures with a focus on social issues that Honda and Smith are passionate about. So far, the Dreamers Fund has invested in 26 different start-ups, including Step and Just Water. Just Water, founded by Will's son Jaden Smith, is an eco-friendly bottled water company that has packaging made of mostly paper and sugarcane.
Just Water has assisted in the Flint water crisis by installing a mobile water filtration system dubbed "The Water Box" for residents to use. Residents of Flint can use the box to filter the lead from their water, making it drinkable, once a week. Just a few weeks ago, Jaden donated another mobile water filtration system to Flint in talk show host Ellen DeGeneres' name.