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St. Pete startup increases access to financial advising

Xavier Gray, founder of Tech & Flow, is incorporating a decade of financial advising and wealth management experience into an easy-to-use mobile application.

The St. Petersburg-based startup’s Flow app launched Saturday, Oct. 7. Gray describes it as “a financial advisor in your pocket.”

Despite no marketing, he said about 40 people have joined a presale for the platform, which is still in its minimum viable product phase. Gray has also opened Tech & Flow’s seed funding round and hopes to raise $800,000.

“At the end of the day, this is a mission-driven company,” Gray said. “The reason I did it is because of the access problems.”

The wealth technology startup also offers financial education, coaching and digital resources. Gray founded Tech & Flow to simplify the often-daunting financial planning process and bridge the knowledge gap between experts and average consumers.

While the platform is open to anyone, Gray is working to secure partnerships with community banks and credit unions. He said over 60% of those local institutions do not provide investment or wealth management services.

Gray noted that studies show consumers prefer to stay with their trusted bank but yearn for additional, simplified financial planning options. Conversely, he explained that many advisors dismiss potential clients who lack substantial assets.

Gray said the platform could serve those beginning their wealth-building journey while freeing up a financial institution’s experts. “And then, in exchange, they’re (users) going to grow to become who will eventually become your clients,” he added.

While the Flow app is now live, Xavier Gray said a formal beta launch would occur in January or February 2024.

Tech & Flow currently offers a yearly subscription with 90-day access to the financial academy for $49.99. The first 100 customers can purchase a lifetime subscription and meet the management team for $349.99 as part of the presale.

Gray said the platform helps users identify financial objectives, like reducing debt, buying a home or saving for a vacation. Once established, the app creates tasks to achieve those goals.

That includes dedicating a percentage of each paycheck to savings and investments. Users earn points for completing those tasks and related educational offerings.

Tech & Flow’s customers then redeem points for free stocks, cryptocurrency and other rewards. Gray said that would propel people to make better financial decisions and learn.

“But we’re also shortening that feedback loop,” he said.

Gray said subscribers range from 22 to 62 years old. While the sample size is still small, he said the most active people are in the 40 to 45 age range.

Officials from Tampa Bay Wave and the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business selected Tech & Flow to participate in the second FinTech|X Accelerator program. Gray said participation is paying dividends.

He is now collaborating with fellow participant Brian Pillmore, CEO of Oklahoma-based Visbanking, to identify financial institutions that lack wealth management services. “Is the bank struggling? Has their number of accounts increased or decreased – all of that stuff is important,” Gray said.

“So, we go into the bank and … here’s a solution,” he added. “Pay this fee, and in the first year, you’re going to net on it.”

Gray said he was “leery” of joining the cohort due to a previous startup accelerator experience. However, the hesitation was unfounded.

He credited program officials for building a consistent, valuable community of startup mentors and advisors. “They’re some pretty impressive people,” Gray said. “Tampa Bay Wave is legit.”

While Tech & Flow’s advising app just launched, Gray said one person has used the educational platform for two years. He is expanding that content and will provide around 40 courses by the end of 2023.

Gray explained that he incorporated a 90-day financial transformation course into a workshop with four households. He said participants increased their liquid net worth by an 83% average in three months.

“Of course, that 300% (increase) drew the numbers up – but it works,” Gray said. “It’s just really simplifying money, making it understandable and empowering people.

“My vision is that Xavier (Gray) is taken out of the picture. The Flow app is put in place of it, and the trend continues. No need for a financial advisor, just really use the tool.”

Gray and his FinTech|X Accelerator cohort colleagues will pitch their companies Oct. 19 at USF as part of a community night. He plans to continue tweaking the app ahead of a formal beta launch in January or February 2024.



The post St. Pete startup increases access to financial advising first appeared on St Pete Catalyst.

The post St. Pete startup increases access to financial advising appeared first on St Pete Catalyst.