“It’s time to go back where we came from,” said Lee Min Xuan, Co-founder, PlayMoolah, in an official video. Having thought up the idea for the firm in the US some four years ago, the financial literacy startup has launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.
The funds will be used to help the team research the US market, and release a localised WhyMoolah app for American youths in 2015. The game app was first launched in Singapore last year to simulate real-world financial management.
The campaign was launched on May 26, 2014, and will end on June 26, 2014. It has reached 35 per cent of its goal of US$30,000. In terms of perks, nearly half of the pledgers have claimed the featured rule book, which costs US$100. The reason behind its popularity can be attributed to the research findings and datasets included in the rule book, which can be useful to those interested in financial literacy.
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She said, “When we looked at the US, the thing that caught our attention was the growing student loan debt at (US) $1 trillion and felt that this could be reduced if young people knew the impact of the financial decisions they made at 17 or 18. It was an interesting problem that we wanted to address, which led us to further exploring the market’s interest via the Indiegogo campaign.”
According to Lee, there are a number of differences between the two versions. For example, due to the contrast in living and regulatory factors, the US app will take care of terms like 401K, instead of Central Provident Fund which is used in Singapore. Other differences include tax rates, the cost of housing and transport, salary and debt amounts.
She further explained that the US$30,000 from the Indiegogo campaign, which has not ended yet, is not the company’s main source of funding for this project. “… (It) is only one source of funding we are looking at to create a scrappy minimum viable product,” she added. Going forward, other sources of funding, like grants in the form of social impact funds, will be considered.
Through crowdfunding, and being on the Indiegogo campaign site, PlayMoolah also gets to rally the local community around its goal of launching in the US. She added, “This allows us to co-create with the community, to get feedback and have the community vote on ideas, so that when we launch, we have an audience that’s already excited about it!”
Lee declined to disclose user numbers for the existing Singapore-based app.
Here is the timeline of the aforementioned project: