Lindsay Holden

Personal finance app Long Game a guaranteed winner

Many a person loves to play the lotto, yet a many a person has no savings. A new fintech company is producing an app that aims to change that.

Long Game employs gamification by taking the fun aspects of playing the lottery and actually adding to a player’s bank account instead of draining it, founder and CEO Lindsay Holden said.
“It’s difficult for people to save in the United States,” Ms. Holden began.
Lindsay Holden

For many it’s an issue of avoidance. They know their financial situation is ugly, and they don’t want to know exactly how bad it is. For 40 per cent of Americans, they have no savings to speak of, Ms. Holden said.

Yet many of those people buy lottery tickets, she added. The typical household that regularly plays the lottery spends $1,400 per year on them. Add in all households and the average bill is $540.
What if people could still enjoy the thrill that comes with playing the games, save money in an FDIC-insured account, and still have a chance to win $1 million? Ms. Holden believes they will.

And they are. Despite launching only last November, Long Game has attracted more than 70,000 users.

“We’re taking a fun, compelling mechanism like the lottery and incentivizing financial behaviors,” Ms. Holden said.

As users save money, they earn tokens which allow them to play variable reward games with the look of slot machines and spin-to-win. The more money they save, the more tokens they earn. With the chance to win up to $1 million, there is plenty of incentive to keep playing, which the average user does 24 times per week, Ms. Holden added.

Even if you don’t win the million bucks, you are still a winner, Ms. Holden said. Account holders can earn up to ten times the interest paid elsewhere (.1 per cent), thanks to a partnership with Blue Ridge Bank. As funds are held with Blue Ridge Bank, they are also insured by the FDIC.

“What sets us apart from other apps is we are trying to solve the emotional paradigm that comes with your finances,” Ms.Holden said. Long Game links the sense of fun people enjoy from playing games of chance with the positive acts of saving and financial management. The sense of avoidance and stress that accompanies the savings process for many is replaced by one of enjoyment.

There are also different levels to the fun, Ms. Holden said. Users are encouraged to tell their friends by gaining access to special games when those referrals register an account. Those games provide guaranteed wins up to $5,000. Other games offer different stages.

Ms. Holden said Long Game players are from all parts of the country and most are millennials, who make up close to the entire user base.

“It’s really resonating with them.”

Long Game also resonates with investors. Thrive Capital and Collaborative Fund recently led a $6.6 million funding round.

“For too many people, consistent financial savings is both hard and impractical,” Thrive Capital’s Jared Weinstein said. “Long Game, however, is providing these individuals an effective path toward financial health by applying existing behavior of lottery-like games toward savings.”

“Many people are not being served adequately by traditional financial products,” Ms. Holden said. “We are showing we do reach those people.”

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