Hi, we’re the team that just became Octopus Moneycoach!
Yes, we’re humbled to announce, Hatch has joined the Octopus Group. We’ll rebrand as Octopus Moneycoach in the weeks ahead, while rapidly shifting from startup to scaleup. Please read the acquisition announcement for more detail.
Here’s a little about our story so far, and our hopes to now transform a million lives, by making friendly financial coaching affordable and accessible to all.
Late 2016, the six of us started a journey.
Having already built VouchedFor, we’d seen financial advice enrich many lives. We’d seen people become tens of thousands of pounds better off. We’d seen financial fear give way to freedom.
We also knew, financial advice is a service designed for the relatively wealthy.
And so we had our quest; to build a way for anyone to get affordable expert help, with their whole financial picture.
We called ourselves Hatch.
We started building technology. We learned, this alone wasn’t enough. With complex matters of heart and wallet, people need the help of people.
And so came Financial Coaches.
Unlike Financial Advisers, coaches don’t recommend specific financial products. That massively reduces risk, and so too the regulatory burden. It allows a more affordable service that still gives most people 90% of what they need.
Alas, while there were some great Financial Coaches in the UK back then, there were relatively few of them. So we turned our attention to a deep talent pool – friendly people with great business and life experience, who are looking for a way to help people, while working locally, remotely and flexibly.
We gave them a way to become self employed Financial Coaches. After just 6 weeks’ free training, they were giving life-changing help to clients, and picking up an average rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 from their clients.
We built out our technology, so the coaches could quickly and reliably build the same type of “Financial Plans” that the best Financial Advisers use (albeit Advisers typically build them for clients with a more complex financial situation).
Better still, they can show you how the picture improves, if you organise your money differently. The impact is both enlightening, and energising.
Our next challenge; finding customers. Planning your finances is rarely urgent. Most of us put it off. And so, like many other financial innovators, we found it nigh-impossible to attract customers through advertising.
And so enter …. employers.
Employers are increasingly concerned with their employees’ financial wellbeing. And, employees welcome the help. In a given workplace, we see up to 50% of people use our service. It’s astonishing, to see such a huge but often invisible demand.
We were helped further by new legislation which meant our service qualified as a tax-free benefit when paid for by an employer. Or the fees could be paid by Salary Sacrifice, so if someone enjoyed their free first session, the cost of our full £249 service became just £144 or £169 (net of tax savings), depending on their tax band.
Pleasingly, we also began to show how we could work in harmony with established financial advice businesses. For example, we launched alongside Foster Denovo into one of the UK’s largest professional services employers, each catering to a different subset of the employee base.
It’s also been great to see, as coaches grow in confidence and reputation, more and more people approach them either directly or through referrals.
It’s been some journey. It’s no mean feat, building a popular, scalable and profitable low-cost service, capable of giving anyone the right guidance, on every element of their finances, no matter their situation. There’s been a lot to learn. We stayed extremely lean. We kept our heads down, never really seeking exposure, or sharing our story … until now.
It’s time to accelerate.
We’ve proven the service and business model works. We’ve launched to nearly 100,000 employees, across nearly 50 workplaces, some with just 10 people, others with over 15,000. Our coaches invite every single person they meet to review the experience, and we all take great pride in the 60+ NPS scores (or 4.8 out of 5 ratings) they receive.
We’re proud to become part of the Octopus Group. They’ve backed us since our time at VouchedFor. They’re a great team, with a strong sense of purpose, and proven entrepreneurial DNA. Their success with Octopus Energy has been a massive inspiration. They’ll be helping us plough just as much energy (forgive the pun) into Octopus Moneycoach, committing to invest at least £10m into the business.
We’re excited about the months and years ahead.
Of course, we’ll launch to more and more employers (check out our Hatch site if interested!). We’ll continue to invest in our employee-engagement programmes, along with the insight we provide back to employers, helping them maximise the impact of their benefit packages.
We’ll also build out our technology. So our clients can log in, get an instant glimpse of their financial future, and take easy steps to maximise it. While our coaches will never give (or have incentive to give) product recommendations, we hate seeing a good plan fall victim to complex implementation, so we’ll make it easy for our clients to select reputable low-cost products.
We plan to onboard c.200 new coaches over the next year or two (please learn more about becoming a coach). We’ll invest in technology, so they can onboard more clients more efficiently, helping to keep the service affordable and accessible to all. And, we’ll introduce new services that allow them to help more clients, in more ways.
Countless people have helped us on the journey so far – the VouchedFor team – all of our investors – lots of brilliant financial advisers, kind enough to impart wisdom – our coaches – employers, and their benefits consultants and platforms. Not to mention, our understanding families. And most of all, our clients, who’ve trusted in us and provided the feedback we thrive on to improve.
We’re enormously grateful for the support thus far, and we look forward to the next chapter.
Adam, Caspian, Dan, Neasa, Sam, Shah