Categories
Letter News

Introducing Moka: Why Mylo is rebranding

If you’ve downloaded the newest version of our app or visited our website recently, you’ll have noticed a big change: we rebranded!

I’m thrilled to introduce Moka, the new and improved Mylo.

Since launching in 2017, our automated saving and investing app has been downloaded by over 750,000 Canadians in every province and territory, and we’ve helped our users save and invest to achieve goals like celebrating their marriage, buying a house, starting a business and preparing for retirement.

And we’re just getting started! This year, we’re focusing on evolving our product beyond investing spare change and expanding internationally to Europe, so we needed a name that resonates around the world in every language and country.

We loved being Mylo and we’re proud of everything we’ve accomplished as a company and for our users with this name, but we are excited to announce a new name that will better serve our growing global community and our mission to help you achieve your financial goals. 

Meet Moka

There’s this myth that millennials are struggling financially because they’re buying lattes and avocado toast, but that just isn’t true. We are facing different financial challenges than our parents’ generation, so we need different financial services. We’re not looking for a lecture from a financial advisor: we want better technology and tools that can empower us to save and invest more. 

That’s where Moka comes in. The app doesn’t dictate what you can or can’t do with your money. Instead, Moka lets you live the life you want today while building towards an even brighter future. 

The way it works is simple. You tell Moka what you want to do and the app will show you how to achieve it. The app kick-starts your personal finance goals, and it makes saving more, spending less and investing smarter a daily practice. Moka gives you the power to accomplish great things.

How will this change impact Canadians?

Along with our new name, we’re also launching a fresh new look and refreshing our features so you can get #morewithmoka. We’re enhancing the app to help you keep more of your hard earned money, which is why our new logo shows a coin landing in an open hand. (To see Moka for yourself, make sure you download the latest version of the app!) 

Our name and visual identity have changed, but we’re still passionate about helping you achieve your financial goals. Moka, like Mylo, exists because of the people who use our app, because of you. In fact, we’re working on some innovative new features that will help you reduce expenses, pay down debt and save more when you spend. We can’t wait to tell you about them soon!

If you have any thoughts or questions about our rebrand, we’re always happy to hear from you. 

Thanks for using Moka!

Sincerely,

Philip Barrar

Founder & CEO, Moka

Categories
Letter News

Why every day is a good day to talk about money and women

Making financial services more inclusive is what motivates me. Imagine if financial services could actually help everyone live a better life and reach their goals. Imagine if your access to financial tools didn’t depend on how much money you make or who you are. I’ve spent my career working for financial inclusion because of the positive impact these tools can make for everyone—especially for women. 

It’s why joining Moka was a natural move. Moka’s social mission is perfectly aligned with my belief that technology and innovation can empower people and that everyone should have an equal opportunity to save toward the life they want.  

It’s also why it’s always important to me to talk about the financial inequality that still exists between men and women in Canada.

Statistics Canada reports that on average, Canadian women aged between 25 and 54 still earn 13.3% less per hour than men. On top of the pay gap, factors like the ‘Motherhood Penalty’ (which even affects non-mothers), the ‘Pink Tax’ (which sees us paying up to 43% more than men do for the same products) and differences in financial attitudes all contribute to an uneven financial playing field for women. 

When it comes to investing, women are investing 40% less money than men, and as a result are missing out on important opportunities to grow their wealth. Moka’s mission to make investing accessible to everyone means that supporting the unique needs of women is core to our business, starting with an inclusive product. 

Women are demanding. If a product meets women’s needs, it will exceed men’s expectations. And we know that a diverse team gives us the best shot at inclusive products, which is why we’ve worked to ensure strong representation of women across all our teams. 

We’ve also released two International Women’s Day reports in 2018 and 2019, which outlined other initiatives such as the Moka SRI fund to address women’s investing interests and marketing campaigns that celebrate and empower us. 

We’re proud to see the results of these efforts, including:

  • In 2019, Moka’s female user base doubled. Women now make up 40% of our total user base, which is 67% higher than the industry benchmark
  • Almost 65% of female Advantage users have opened TFSA accounts through Moka to benefit from valuable tax savings. 
  • 1 in 2 female Advantage users choose the Moka Socially Responsible Investing fund to invest according to their values.
  • Moka women save faster towards their goals. They reach their savings goals 2 weeks earlier than men do because they contribute more aggressively and more frequently to their financial goals.
  • 1 in 4 Moka women have an emergency fund goal to help ensure their own financial security in the event of unexpected financial situations. Having 3-6 months of living expenses accessible in the event of an unplanned emergency is a critical step in achieving good financial health.
  • Moka women save more of their disposable income than men.
    On average, Moka men and women contribute a similar percentage of their income to their Moka investment account, but when you consider that women earn less and have higher expenses (see gender pay gap and Pink Tax), women are likely putting aside more of their disposable income. 

While these are all great signals and evidence that we’re making progress, there’s still a lot of work to be done. In 2020 and beyond, we’re committed to adapting our product experience to address the distinct needs of women, promoting internal diversity, and increasing financial literacy with our magazine and our monthly newsletters. 

We’re also going beyond saving and investing by developing new products to address issues we’ve identified as especially relevant to women, such as a lack of access to financial advice and debt management.

Finally, we’re asking the entire Moka community to join us in our mission by doing one simple thing.

Talk.

Talk about making money.

Talking about money has long been taboo, but new evidence is showing how impactful it can be to share information about how much money you make. Discussing this more openly with friends and coworkers can help you to understand your worth and highlight any gaps to tackle. This kind of transparency is a personal decision but the payoff could be huge. It could help you get paid what you deserve, or be an ally to others. 

In fact, a 2019 study by Stats Canada showed that pay transparency laws contributed to a 30% reduction in the gender wage gap.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to talk about your salary with your boss. And if you think your pay doesn’t reflect your value in the market, particularly in relation to your male peers, then ask for a raise. Here’s an article to help you do it.

Talk about money in general.

Turn money into a regular conversation topic, particularly with other women. Smart women know other smart women. Ask them how they manage their money, or if they have any tips and tricks to share. Talk to each other about any financial struggles or worries you’re having, and brainstorm strategies to overcome them. Share your favourite financial books, blogs or podcasts. Find a friend in a similar situation and become accountability buddies. 

Talking is also the way we track progress, so take the time to have a conversation with someone from a previous generation, like your mother or grandmother. Although things have changed, they probably have some words of wisdom that still apply. 

There’s a lot we can learn from each other if we just take the time to chat.

Pro tip: If you have a partner, talking about money is critical to ensure you’re on the same page and have an equal say in key financial decisions. This can help you get the conversation started. 

Talk about your goals.

Having something tangible to save towards will keep you motivated and on track. My advice?  The more personal, the better. You’ll find it easier to save and invest money towards a goal that means something to you, like a much-needed vacation or your first home.

Once you’ve set some goals, talk about them. Discuss what you’re saving towards, how you’re saving towards them and then celebrate when you achieve them!

You could even set joint goals. You’re more likely to save towards that Mexico trip if your friends are saving right alongside you. 

And don’t be afraid to dream big. Our 2019 International Women’s Day report showed that women set financial goals 42% lower than men. Encourage each other to aim high and cheer each other on until you get there. 

Pro tip: Want to get there effortlessly? Moka is a goal-based platform that automatically rounds up your purchases and invests the spare change towards your goals. 

And to celebrate International Women’s Day and encourage women to begin investing, we’re offering new users $10 towards their financial goals. Simply create a new Moka investment account before April 8, 2020 and use the promo code IWD2020.

Happy investing!

Jennifer McDonald
Chief Operating Officer, Moka

Categories
News Report

Holiday Spending in Canada, 2019 Report

This report was published before we changed our name to Moka in July 2020. Learn more about our rebrand here.

Categories
Letter News

Another milestone reached: Why Moka’s $10 million financing is a win for you

We started Moka to respond to a serious issue affecting Canadian millennials. For a variety of reasons, most of us struggle to save money, causing us to delay major life milestones like moving out, buying a house, getting married or having kids. We believe that everyone should have an equal opportunity to save and invest towards their financial goals, regardless of their income, financial savvy or the resources at their disposal.

That was two years ago, and we’re thrilled to report that since then, nearly half a million Canadians have created accounts to automate their savings and investments with Moka.

We’re also excited to announce today that Moka has raised an additional $10 million in funding, thanks to our new lead investors at NAventures, National Bank’s corporate venture capital arm, and the ongoing support of our existing partners, including Desjardins Capital, Ferst Capital Partners and Tactico Inc., which also invested in this round. 

Since closing the financing, I’ve been asked several times about what this means for Moka. While there will definitely be some exciting new developments, the important things will never change. 

Our mission remains the same: to help you achieve your financial goals.

It’s why we get out of bed in the morning, and that’s never going to change. We understand that your financial goals are often part of bigger life objectives, and we’re proud to have helped over 450,000 Canadians start working towards milestones like owning a home or becoming debt-free. This new investment allows us to help even more Canadians begin saving and investing.

Saving and investing is just the beginning.

In January 2019, we launched Moka Advantage to offer you access to smarter investing tools like TFSA and RRSP accounts, socially responsible investing options and next-day withdrawals.

To truly achieve our mission, we’ll need to go beyond saving and investing. We’re working on new products to help you overcome any financial roadblocks that stand in your way, whether it’s debt or a down payment.  

We’ve spoken to thousands of Moka users and Canadians across the country to learn about their financial challenges and dreams. The feedback has been really eye-opening, and we’ve heard you loud and clear. We can’t wait to tell you about all the new features and services we’re working on. Stay tuned!

We only succeed when you succeed.

Our priority will always be your financial success, and with the support of two major financial institutions, I assure you that our priorities won’t change. We are dedicated to providing a world-class fintech experience to help our community achieve their financial goals.

You can still connect accounts from nearly all Canadian financial institutions, and we will continue to make saving and investing accessible to all, regardless of which bank or institutions you do business with. We’ll only recommend third-party financial services and products to our users when we feel it is in their best financial interest. 

We’re building a world-class team that’s dedicated to your financial success.

As Moka grows, so does our team of smart, passionate people who truly believe in helping you achieve your goals. We are currently looking to hire new talent for all our departments. If you’re interested in joining us on our important mission, check out our open positions here.

On behalf of everyone at Moka, thanks for placing your trust in us and for allowing us to be part of your own financial journey. We’re only just getting started, and we can’t wait to continue reaching milestones together! 

Sincerely,

Philip Barrar
Founder & CEO, Moka

To read more about the fundraising, see the press release here.

If you have any thoughts or questions, we’re always happy to hear from you. Just send a message to support@moka.ai.

Categories
News Report

2019 Report on the Saving and Investing Habits of Women and Men

This report was published before we changed our name to Moka in July 2020. Learn more about our rebrand here.

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, we explored Canadians’ financial behaviour and attitudes to advance the conversation about gender disparity and promote financial equality. Click here to download the PDF report.

Working to narrow the gender gap

We created Mylo to help all Canadians achieve their financial goals. Last year, for International Women’s Day, our report provided a unique look at the financial inequality that exists along gender lines in our country. The findings were eye-opening and influenced how we think about our mission as it relates specifically to women.

This year’s report details our subsequent efforts to support the unique needs of Canadian women, from how we develop product features to the marketing campaigns we use to promote them. The work we’ve done in the past year has resulted in a significant increase in the number of women who are using Mylo to save and invest to reach their goals.

We’re encouraged by the progress we see, but we know this is just a start. The insights from this year’s report show that the gender gap is still glaring. Moreover, our users show us that there may be important opportunities to further help women deal with personal debt.

We are committed to boosting our efforts and I’m hopeful that Mylo can continue to play a role in helping all Canadians have equal access to financial opportunities.

Thanks to everyone who has worked towards the progress we’ve made, and especially to all the women who have embraced Mylo along the path to achieving their financial goals.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Philip Barrar,
Founder & CEO, Mylo

Categories
News Report

Millennial Holiday Spending in Canada, 2018 Report

This report was published before we changed our name to Moka in July 2020. Learn more about our rebrand here.

Categories
Letter News

Why we’re promoting financial literacy this month and every month

Financial literacy can have a huge impact on your life. Sometimes even just a little knowledge can go a long way. When I first started saving, I was only putting away a dollar or so at a time, and I remember being surprised at how quickly it added up. This simple insight helped me save for my goals, and it’s why we started Moka to help others do the same.

Understanding the basics of personal finance can help everyone improve their outlook and achieve their financial goals.

At Moka, we believe that financial literacy and financial technology should work hand in hand. Learning about personal finance should be accessible, easy, and even fun.

That’s why this November for Financial Literacy Month, we’ll be sharing content that explores a variety of personal finance topics, including budgeting, saving and investing, conquering debt, and nurturing credit.

To get started, we’re publishing a story about how the stock market works. We know it’s exciting to watch your investments grow and equally scary when your investments go down, so we hope this article will give you some important context about recent volatility in the financial markets.

We feel privileged to be supporting you on your financial journey. If you have any specific questions, ideas or feedback about financial literacy, please send them our way.

Sincerely,

Phil

Phil Barrar
Founder and CEO

Categories
News Round up to give

There are 86,000 reasons to check out Moka’s newest feature

We created Moka with the mission to help Canadians, whether they are investing for the future or saving up for an adventure.  Now we’re proud to offer another way that we can help.

Today, we launched Round Up to Give so that Moka users can start making change with spare change.

The idea is simple:

Round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and donate the spare change to a registered Canadian charity of your choice.

It’s an easy and automatic way to support the causes you love.

round-up-to-give

Meet our partner.

This initiative wouldn’t be possible without CanadaHelps, the nation’s leading digital donation and fundraising platform. Moka is using their donation engine so that you can Round Up to Give to any of Canada’s 86,000 registered charities.

Get inspired.

Looking for some ideas about where to donate your spare change?  

Learn about the charities our team supports or browse our featured charities for recommendations.

Earn free money for your cause.

Whenever you successfully refer a friend to Moka, you’ll earn $5 that you can donate to charity –and so will your friend.

Thanks for helping us give back.  

Sincerely,

Philip Barrar
Founder & CEO, Moka

Categories
Round up to give

Kittens and other causes that matter: Why we Round Up to Give

We launched Round Up to Give to empower Moka users to make a difference by donating spare change to the Canadian charities that matter to them most. There are 86,000 registered charities that you can support through the Moka app. Here is just a snapshot of some of the inspiring causes that Moka team members are getting behind.

 My family ran the Terry Fox Run in our neighbourhood for over a decade. We started when my husband Liam’s mom got cancer.  Our kids were in strollers back then but we stuck with it as they grew and were big enough to bike and then run alongside us. Now I’m ready to swap my running shoes for roundups when it comes to supporting The Terry Fox Foundation, which has raised over $715 million for cancer research and awareness.” –  Maria, Controller

“For the past six years I’ve been on the committee for the YMCA Quebec Peace Medals, which recognizes individuals and groups organizing activities for PEACE or participation, empathy, advocacy, community, empowerment. One of the coolest initiatives I’ve encountered while on the committee is Burgundy Urban Mediation Project (BUMP). The project employs three mediators to prevent street violence in Little Burgundy, a Montreal neighbourhood that isn’t far from the Moka offices. BUMP is funded by Prévention Sud-Ouest, a registered Canadian charity that has been working to reduce crime and violence for 30 years.” – Liam, Chairman

I come from a family that loves animals. My parents built an outdoor shelter for strays to protect them from Montreal winters, and my aunt worked at the SPCA in Montérégie where she saved animals from abusive homes. Today, I have two really fat fluffy cats named Harold and Kumar, and I would have dogs, too, if I had the space! I’ll be rounding up for the SPCA because I appreciate all the work they’ve done in my neighbourhood Verdun to protect alley cats. The Montreal SPCA cared for over 16,000 animals in 2016.” – Randy, Customer Success

“I’m rounduping for Doctors Without Borders. I like the idea of contributing to a cause that helps people when they need it most. They offer free medical care for people in 70 countries–everything from treating kids in sub-Saharan Africa with malaria to building emergency health kits for when natural disasters strike.” – Matthew, QA Analyst

“Last year, I participated in a Hockey Helps the Homeless tournament. The charity raises money for at-risk youth and homeless. Each team at the hockey tournament got the chance to draft former NHL players. We had Shaun Van Allen and Bryan Berard on our team, and we got to play against Marc Bergevin, general manager of the Habs. Our team raised $17,000 that day, and the whole event raised $306,500. With Roundup to Give, I can give back to this cause even when I’m off the ice.” –Dave, COO at Tactex Asset Management

“I’ll be rounding up to give to the Alzheimer Society of Montreal. I lost my grandfather four months ago and he fought Alzheimer’s disease for eight years. He was a proud man who immigrated from Greece and worked hard to build a comfortable life for his family here in Montreal. It was incredibly hard for my family and I to watch his condition worsen over time, but we took comfort in the lesson he taught us to enjoy every moment as it came, with laughter and dance. The Alzheimer Society has programs across Canada to help people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias as well as the people who care for them.” – Tahnya, Analyst

“I’m passionate about financial literacy. That’s why I’m excited to round up for Pathways to Education, a charity that helps underprivileged kids finish school with one-on-one tutoring and exam prep while teaching them the financial literacy and job search skills they’ll need after school. It’s a national charity, but it has branches in many neighbourhoods, including mine, so with Pathways you can make a difference in your local community. I really respect how Pathways empowers kids in need to manage their finances by giving monetary assistance directly to them, instead of their parents, because it teaches them the responsibility they’ll need to really succeed in life.”
– Phil, Founder & CEO

Categories
News

Behind the scenes at Dragons’ Den: How we pitched a multi-million dollar startup to Canada’s fiercest investors

Pitching your business on national television can be a make it or break it opportunity. In the spring of 2017, Moka (previously known as Mylo) was invited to pitch on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. When our CEO Phil Barrar and Executive Chairman Liam Cheung faced the Dragons, we were already pitching investors to raise seed funding for our fintech app, but Dragon’s Den proved to be a pitching experience unlike any other. To celebrate the release of their episode, Phil and Liam take us behind the scenes and share some of the insight they gained from appearing on the show.

Lesson #1: Expect the unexpected. If you’re well prepared and can adapt to change, you’ll be able to make the most of any surprise opportunity.

Phil Barrar:  Pitch day started really early at 6:30 a.m., although that didn’t really matter since we were so excited it was impossible to sleep the night before. We grabbed a coffee across the street from the CBC studios in Toronto, where the show is taped, and we saw the other invited entrepreneurs in the same cafe, gearing up for the show.

Liam Cheung:  There was a lot of nervous energy in that coffee shop!

Dragons’ Den has two taping sessions in a day: one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. It’s a really well-oiled machine. Everyone goes to a staging area on the seventh floor of the building, sets up their station, and rehearses their pitch in front of one of the show’s producers.

Phil: After our dry run, they brought us to a waiting room. We were scheduled to face the Dragon’s in a few hours, so we thought we had time to relax before showtime, but we were unexpectedly bumped to an earlier slot at the last minute! The told us we would be on in just 30 seconds! We were hurried up the stairs at the back of stage and told to follow a big yellow line to centre stage. That’s where we came face to face with the Dragons.

Liam: The producers are trying to stoke nervous energy because it makes for good TV, and they do it very well! Luckily, we were so prepared for the pitch that the last-minute schedule change didn’t really phase us. Everything flowed as planned.

Lesson #2: Dragons are human, too. Successful investor relationships rely on seeing past titles and public personas. Focus on making human connections.

Phil: My memory of our three minute pitch is a blur, but I remember the Q&A with the Dragons that followed much better. We fielded questions in the Den for an intense hour and 45 minutes.

Liam: The pitch is a blur for me, too. What I remember most clearly is how professional and genuinely nice all the Dragons were. I’m an active investor, so I’ve listened to many pitches. I have to say that the Dragons’ interview was one of the best I’ve ever experienced from either side of the table.

On TV, you often see conflict in the Den, especially when the Dragons hear an idea they don’t like, but when you meet them person, it’s clear that there isn’t a mean bone in their bodies. They aren’t contentious at all. We actually ran into Jim Treliving in the hallway before the pitch, and he was very polite and soft-spoken. In that moment, we saw a glimpse of the person underneath the TV persona.

Lesson #3: Relationships matter. The people you know and the connections that you nurture can be valuable even if they don’t offer a direct investment.

Phil: At first, the Dragons gave us really positive feedback. They seemed to like our business model and our social mission to make saving and investing accessible for all Canadians. They even said things like, “Everyone needs Mylo.”

Then they started voicing concerns around issues like our need for capital, the competition we would face and whether or not our valuation was too high. It felt like there was skepticism from the Dragons.

Liam: Then Joe Mimran, who hadn’t asked many questions, suddenly said, “Yes, I’ll do it.”

Phil: His offer felt like an immediate win. Not only did we get an offer, we got the amount we asked for at the valuation we wanted and that the business deserved.

Then there was a moment of quiet where I thought: What do we do now? So we asked if any other Dragons wanted to join the conversation.

Michael Wekerle and Jim Treliving both liked the idea but had conflicts of interest because of  other businesses they were invested in.

Manjit Minhas said she would download the app but bowed out of a deal, explaining that her area of expertise isn’t technology.

That’s when Arlene Dickinson and Michele Romanow started talking about the possibility of investing. So Joe had a deal on the table, but Michele and Arlene were also interested.

In the end, all three of them agreed to be partners in a deal to invest in Mylo.

Liam: I thought Mike Wekerle, a financial industry veteran, would be the toughest to win over, but he immediately saw the value in our company and even helped make the case for Mylo to the other Dragons.

Mike and I both worked in finance in Toronto in the 90s, so we have mutual professional acquaintances. I think that gave us credibility in Mike’s eyes, and his words of support gave Mylo credibility in the other Dragons’ eyes. So even though he didn’t offer us a deal, he still contributed to our win.

Lesson #4: Your success as an entrepreneur depends on your ability to convince others that your dream is achievable. That means you have to wholeheartedly believe that you can bring your vision to life and perfect your ability to communicate that vision to others.  In the beginning, you are the business.

Phil: It’s been a year since we were in the Den. Today, our pitch to investors focuses on our traction in the market and the metrics behind the success we’ve seen to date, but back when we taped the show, we were pitching an idea and a vision. We hadn’t officially launched Mylo yet, and we went in knowing our episode would probably be airing much later.

We took our investor Jay Ferst’s advice and pitched them the dream.

Liam: I’ve always believed in Mylo, but by practicing the pitch so many times, I actually sold myself on the dream. Usually, when I invest in a company, I look for a revenue model that is really fleshed out, and most of my investments are much later stage. They are usually well established and predictable in terms of the risk and return.

It’s very different with a startup; there are a lot of unknowns and assumptions to be confirmed before you get to market, but I believed so strongly in the Mylo vision that I deviated from my typical investing ethos. Today, the dream is a reality!

Lesson #5: Choose your partners wisely. Sometimes, they’ll be the only person by your side. The best partnerships are made stronger under pressure.

Phil: One of the best things about the experience was getting to know Liam better. This was actually the first project we worked on together following Mylo’s acquisition of Liam’s firm, Tactex Asset Management.  It was an intense way to kick off our working partnership.

Our team spent over 100 hours preparing, collectively. I drove to Liam’s house every day to practice.  We rehearsed our routine on anyone and everyone who would listen.

Liam: My kids knew the pitch really well!

Phil: It’s funny to think we almost turned down the opportunity to appear on the show! We manage our clients’ money so it is very important that we maintain their trust, and if we didn’t nail our TV premiere, we might shake our users’ confidence in the brand.

Liam: You aren’t allowed to bring anyone to watch or support your pitch, so we were really in it together. I’d say we came out on top.

Phil: Definitely! We were thrilled to get a deal in the Den, but ultimately we didn’t take the Dragons’ money. We decided to work with other investors because we were able to secure a strategic offer that made more sense for our company. Overall, Dragons’ Den was a great opportunity and we’re grateful to have had the experience.

It’s amazing to look back over the past year and think about how far we’ve come.  Not only did we launch Mylo in the App Store and Play Store, but we were named one of Apple’s Apps We Love and App of the Year by Notable Life.  We raised $2.65-million in seed financing lead by Desjardins Capital, which has allowed us to accelerate our growth, expand our team and invest in our technology.  

Dragon’s Den was an important moment on our mission to help millions of Canadians achieve their financial goals by investing spare change.

Invest spare change