Award-winning actor and artist Will Smith is expanding his influence beyond Hollywood with his most recent investment in the mobile-banking service app, Step.
According to Black Enterprise, Step is an app that allows teens to easily send and receive money from family and friends without having to deal with the monthly fees, overdraft fees or minimum balance that traditional banks require customers to have.
“Schools don’t teach kids about money,” Step’s CEO and co-founder CJ MacDonald tells TechCrunch. “We want to be their first bank accounts with spending cards, but we also want to teach financial literacy and responsibility.”
Outside of Smith, who invested in the app through his venture capital firm Dreamers fund, Step has also received investments from Nas, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Wndrco, Ronnie Lott, Matt Rutler and more. Payment processing company Stripe is one of the lead investors in the teen-focused banking app, helping to bring its total investments to $22.5 million.
With its new round of funding, Step plans to partner with Mastercard and Evolve to provide its customers with banking accounts with payment cards attached.
“Today’s young people are digitally savvy, having grown up with technology as a mainstay in their day-to-day lives,” Complex reports Mastercard’s EVP of digital partnerships Sherri Haymond saying in a statement. “As a result, we also need to ensure that they become familiar with the unique aspects of digital payments including providing education about the various finance and payment products available. Step has taken a thoughtful approach to developing an offering for teens and families that provides that first step in educating and acclimating today’s youth to help them gain confidence and awareness around their finances.”
MacDonald explains that as they continue to grow their product, he wants Step “to be a solution for teaching the next generation of adults to be more responsible with money in the cashless era.”