Building a platform

Stash goes B2B with StashWorks

  • Stash has taken its popular investing and savings app to the workplace with a new employee benefit offering, StashWorks.
  • StashWorks turns Stash's savings and investing offering into workplace benefit that rewards employees for saving money.

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Stash goes B2B with StashWorks

As fintech firms mature, it isn’t uncommon to see apps originally designed with a direct to consumer model take a B2B approach. Sometimes, that’s because leadership determines that it’s not economically viable to continue investing in building a DTC financial brand. Fintech 2.0 firms like Upstart, Plaid, and FutureAdvisor took this route. Other times, the model can include both a B2B and a B2C offering that complement one another.

Stash, a popular savings and investing app targeting everyday Americans, is taking that latter approach with a launch of a new B2B platform called StashWorks. StashWorks turns Stash’s savings and investing offering into a workplace benefit that rewards employees for saving money. With StashWorks, employees can make automatic, recurring contributions to their banking, retirement, and investment accounts directly from their paycheck. There’s also an earned wage access component as employees can get paid two days early.

To learn more about the process Stash undertook to evolve from a direct offering to a workplace benefit, I spoke with Stash’s Sarika Doshi, VP Partnerships and Business Development.

Where did the idea for Work come from? Why target employees? What other options do they have access to?

Working Americans rank financial stress as their number one source of worry and specifically noted a lack of savings as their primary concern, with 28% saying they run out of money between paychecks. There is a lot of evidence that they bring this financial stress to work in particular, resulting in distraction, higher turnover, and lower levels of engagement which costs employers billions in lost productivity. Given these realities, there was a significant opportunity to develop a workplace benefit that is focused on helping people build a safety net and emergency savings. 

Stash’s Sarika Doshi

Only 50% of working Americans have access to a 401(k), and for all workers, immediate financial challenges make it difficult to plan for the future. StashWorks, on the other hand, is designed to build healthier financial habits and behaviors to create stability for daily life and unforeseen circumstances by allowing employees to set aside a portion of their paycheck up to 2 days early into their Stash banking account.

As they build savings they have access to Stash’s deep well of financial education and advice, allowing them to start investing on their own, to invest into a managed account, and/or to set up a tax beneficial individual retirement account. StashWorks does not compete with or replace existing 401(k) programs and instead sits alongside existing benefits as a complementary offering. 

How did you build this product? Who led it, what resources were needed? 

StashWorks is an initiative led by Stash’s CEO Liza Landsman as well as Stash’s co-founder Brandon Krieg, both of whom are passionate about extending Stash’s impact to the workplace. Brandon has brought StashWorks to life alongside a team of product, engineering, and business development resources. The service is based largely on Stash’s existing consumer offering, while being tailored specifically to employers as a cost-effective, comprehensive benefit that bridges the massive gap in today’s financial wellness benefits market. 

Based on feedback from HR leaders and potential employee users, we knew we wanted to make some adjustments for StashWorks. First, we enabled easy paycheck contributions. And while both Stash and StashWorks are focused on the time-tested strategy of building assets, StashWorks is focused more on helping employees set aside money and save. With that in mind, it made sense to add employee rewards for those who consistently contribute. 

How did you land the first customers, like Wonder?

Developing partnerships with our first customers was a result of strong alignment between StashWorks’ mission and product and the employers’ approach to their people, culture, and total rewards strategy. Given our long track record of serving millions of customers across the last nine years, we were able to generate interest for StashWorks without traditional selling or outreach efforts. Our initial cohort will reach ~20k employees at eight employers across a diverse spectrum of sectors, including food and hospitality, retail, financial services, insurance, technology and customer service. 

While employees who work at these companies often have access to a 401(k), they lack a solution for their day to day financial challenges, including help with building a safety net and emergency fund through easy to access banking and guided investing solutions. In addition, employers and employees expressed concern at how restrictive 401(k) plans are and were actively seeking liquid saving vehicles, including investment products that could be liquidated quickly and without undue penalties.

How important is getting SHRM onboard to make this work? How did that come about?

Having SHRM as a partner and investor from the start of StashWorks’ journey has been hugely validating. As one of the largest, most trusted HR organizations in the world, they provide invaluable feedback and expertise that has informed StashWorks’ value proposition and will continue to be a critical partner as we bring this product to market at scale. Our co-founder, Brandon, was introduced to Johnny Taylor, SHRM’s President and CEO, through shared connections and there was immediate, mutual interest to collaborate on developing an innovative financial well-being solution for the modern workplace. 

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