Meet Brennie Pellegrini, a CU Boulder Alumni and Head of Growth at Challenger Finance, a FinTech company that offers super-powered bank accounts as a financial wellness perk for employees. Today, workers are more stressed than ever and financial strain has one of the biggest impacts on employee satisfaction. Challenger Finance is a Techstars company that aims to provide a financial wellness bank account that companies can offer as a perk to their employees.
At a young age, Brennie was always interested in entrepreneurship. He started his entrepreneurial journey in high school by going to yard sales and reselling items he purchased. He knew that he was interested in the tech industry but didn’t know where to start - that’s where CU Boulder came into play.
Brennie decided to attend CU Boulder because of Boulder’s vibrant startup community. Brennie spent the majority of his time at CU Boulder completely immersed in the startup scene. Brennie studied Management and Entrepreneurship at Leeds School of Business and remained active within the community by joining Boulder Startup Week as a track lead (throwing the opening party), and joining Contrary Capital as a Partner to help invest capital in student startups. The Challenger team was formed by connections through the local community in early 2019. They later joined the Techstars Fintech program in the summer of 2019.
Challenger is a neobank that is geared towards financial wellness. Bank accounts serve as a financial center for individuals. They differentiate themselves from other neobanks with their unique feature set and favorable unit economics. It costs other neobanks upwards of $500 to acquire a direct deposit banking user as a neobank, but by going through employers, every user is a direct deposit user with Challenger. Challenger is steadily signing paid pilots for its launch in 2021.
Advice for Current Students
When asked about advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Brennie stressed the importance of philanthropy and helping others through entrepreneurship:
“Get involved with the community. It turns out that volunteering is the best way to get ahead. It’s sort-of an unconventional way to get ahead compared to other fields. Startups in Boulder are more inclined to work with you if you have volunteered or if you have helped others in some way. It’s easy to break into the community through meeting and helping others. Volunteer and give first!”
Challenger’s investors include Techstars, Western Union, and the previous COO of Venmo. Challenger is still fundraising! For more information, visit getchallenger.com or contact Brennie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.