By Roya Soleimani Winner, Sunstone Staff Writer
During the height of the pandemic in their cramped apartment in New York City, Frich co-founders Katrin Kaurov and Aleksandra Medina came up with a need they believed was not being addressed – how to help Gen Z tackle their finances.
Both were in their 20s, had traveled the world and lived in many large metropolitan cities. But they knew something was missing when it came to managing their finances: easily accessible tools, accurate information, and community support.
They figured they weren’t alone in their questions, and believed they were the “best people to build this company because we reflect our users,” Katrin said. “We couldn’t find it, so we built it,” Aleksandra added.
Building on their years of experience and friendship, Katrin and Aleksandra co-founded Frich, a platform that helps young people take control of their finances in a social and empowering way.
Now they have joined the summer 2023 cohort at Lair East Labs’ accelerator in New York City to help them take the next steps in their entrepreneurial journey.
Both founders bring passion and focus to the table, with Katrin serving as the CEO and Aleksandra as the CPO (Chief Product Officer). Katrin started her career as a model, and built an app called ModelClub to help fellow models manage their finances and budgets. Becoming financially independent at such a young age was one of the inspirations behind creating a platform to support her peers as they navigated similarly confusing waters. Aleksandra worked on both creating products and marketing, and worked at several international companies to help them reach young people with their products and campaigns. She has always taken a people-first approach – getting to know her users and audience.
“Frich is all about having a place to ask your awkward money questions,” Aleksandra said. People may not have these conversations amongst their close friends, she said, but on the platform, they openly shared their experiences and best practices. Should you split the bill on a first date? Is my rent reasonable, and if not, what should I do about it?”
Within the app, people ask and answer questions daily, then get responses based on who the person shares similarities with across age group, occupation, and location. The more questions that get answered, the more tools and resources are unlocked.
Many young people aren’t sure where to start asking financial questions, and Frich empowers them to speak with their peers in a comfortable, fun and accessible way, the cofounders say.
“Finances and money are at the core and woven into everything we do in life, but we don’t talk about it openly and transparently,” Aleksandra added. Having these open resources will hopefully continue to help this generation create solid financial futures.
The co-founders have a trusted group of users who help test, improve, and iterate on their product offerings and tools. By having this two-way conversation, Katrin and Aleksandra help ensure that they continue to be an up-to-date resource for young people. Listening to their users has helped the team learn, pivot, and iterate as needed, they said.
Katrin noted she and Aleksandra have always done things differently and taken risks. Even when outsiders said that “making money social” wouldn’t work, they have shown that it can be done successfully. They’ve grown across college campuses, boot-strapped operations through a young Gen Z team, and successfully hosted hundreds of events each month across the country.
After just a few weeks, they’ve already heard from world-renowned speakers and experts, learning more about opportunities in the B2B and data space.
Katrin and Aleksandra have plans for a new avenue of growth by transforming into a B2B data company. Traditional banks and financial institutions are hoping to reach the Gen Z market, and Frich can serve as a translator to “help the younger generation to get their lives started earlier on,” shared Katrin, while introducing them to financial institutions.
By partnering with these institutions, they can empower them to better reach young people, and in turn help Gen Z be better positioned financially.
For more information about Frich, go to getfrich.com.
© Sunstone Management Inc.
About Lair East Labs
Lair East Labs is a startup accelerator based in New York that empowers founders to expand internationally. In the first five years of operation, our portfolio companies have raised over $45 million in funding after completing the accelerator. Our program combines the best of two worlds – learn from alumni founders of top Silicon Valley-style accelerators and gain access to a network of mentors and investors with extensive experience navigating the U.S. and Asian markets. In 2019, Lair East Labs was recognized as one of the “Top 100 Accelerators Worldwide” by Crunchbase. www.laireastlabs.com.
About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital management firm with headquarters in Southern California that provides a range of early-stage venture capital, real estate, and fixed income to qualified and accredited investors. The firm delivers new and exciting options for economic growth through innovative public-private partnerships, making use of its unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. Connect with Sunstone Management at:
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We refer to early-stage technology entrepreneurs as Founders. Information provided here is to inform about the types of small business start-ups that have been selected for participation in certain programs in which Sunstone participates. Information provided here is aspirational and there is no assurance of success. Early-stage investing comes with an inherently high degree of risk. The information provided is neither an offer to sell or an inducement to offer to buy interests in any Sunstone sponsored fund that may have invested in the Founder.