The woman who started a business to teach children how to manage money

© Louise Hill
To create her business, Louise Hill was inspired by the overspending of her children.

While watching her son play soccer, Louise Hill began to complain about how her children’s spending habits were spinning out of control.

At that time, his son was then 8 years old and his daughter 11 years old.

Hill was so frustrated with online shopping that she put Apple bills on the refrigerator door to help your children understand why their $ 5 per week pay had been reduced to just $ 0.63 cents.

The other two parents I was talking to that day in 2009 were going through similar situations, so the conversation touched on a sensitive point and also inspired the start of a business.

« One parent started telling how their son had bought something on eBay, the other how their daughter had spent about $ 2,500 through the PlayStation. There were all kinds of stories. We thought, ‘Surely someone needs to help parents? with this? ‘ »says Hill, who is now 57 years old.

That someone ended up being herself and the two parents Mark Timbrell and Doug Mahy, who began meeting every Thursday night at a restaurant in the city of Lymington, in the New Forest, on the south coast of England, to develop a plan for business.

Child finance

His idea was create a prepaid debit cardor and a children’s app from 6 to 18 years that would help children learn how to manage their own finances.

© GoHenry
GoHenry cards are available to young people between the ages of 6 and 18 in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Children could use the card in physical stores or online, but they could only spend the money that their parents have put on the card through the application.

Parents too they could use the app to monitor their children’s expenses, set limits, set regular transfers, or make one-time payments if the kids had done a certain task, like washing the car.

The business would earn money by charging parents a monthly fee per child, which is currently $ 3.8.

Hill, who had previously worked in e-commerce, was confident that the idea would be a success. However, it took him two years to raise the $ 885,000 necessary to start the business and connect with its banking partners: payment giant Visa and bank IDT Finance.

« I can’t tell you how many presentations I had to make, but we were able to bring together a group of senior investors who were really excited about this and who clearly shared our vision, » he says.

One million clients

Originally, the business was called PKTMNY, referring to pocket money, but the name was changed during the first year of operations, as the company felt the original name was difficult to find.

© .
The idea is for children to learn how to manage their own finances

So GoHenry was chosen to honor the company’s first customer, an 11-year-old boy named Henry.

To grow the business early, Hill says they hired local radio ads, searched for partnerships with schools, and attended summer fairs. A quarter of the clients came from recommendations of the clients themselves.

Today, the London-based company claims that more than a million children have cards throughout the United Kingdom and the United States.

Hill says the app is designed to teach children to be « smart consumers » and to learn that « money doesn’t grow on trees. »

The price of the competition

However, some parents have used the Trustpilot website, which specializes in reviews and ratings of services and products, to complain that GoHenry’s monthly fee is too high.

Rival companies like Nimbl and Osper are cheaper – at $ 3.15 per child.

« We have to charge something because we cannot afford not to »says Hill, who is the only founder left in the business, after the other two original partners left to pursue other interests.

« We are not Barclays and we need to cover our costs. $ 3.8 is not a huge amount. We keep it as low as possible, » he says.

Helen Saxon, bank editor at, says GoHenry is popular because of its functionality by allowing, for example, parents to receive notifications on their mobile phone when their child’s card is used.

© .
With the GoHenry card parents can deposit money into children’s accounts, rather than cash.

« [Sin embargo], It has similar competitors, most of which are slightly cheaper. -Nimbl, Osper and Rooster Money- and they all provide a similar service, « says Saxon.

« And none of these compares well [en términos de costos] with children’s accounts offered by traditional banks, which do not have commissions, and often pay interest when there is money in them, « he adds.

It highlights, however, that most banks only offer accounts to children 11 and older, which makes GoHenry very useful as it is open to younger children.

« Naps looking to teach his son [pequeño] how to manage money, these cards will help you« says Saxon.

GoHenry now has about 150 employees at its three UK offices in London, Lymington and Farnborough, and its US headquarters in New York.

The company started operations in the US in 2018 and is now focused on increasing its market share in both countries. This expansion is being led by CEO Alex Zivoder, who was director of the Viagogo agency.

He was appointed by Hill in 2015, when she switched to the role of chief operating officer, to focus on « day-to-day operations. » She remains a co-owner of the business.

« A good founder has the best interest of the company in his heart and constantly wonders what the company needs. And sometimes that may be that you are not CEO, » says Hill.

Her children, whose overspending inspired the creation of the business, are now 19 and 22 years old. « They both now know how to use the money, » he says.

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