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In light of global pandemic-related challenges, financial and physical health is front of mind for millions around the world.
Many tech companies have made huge strides in the last year to help consumers navigate difficult times, and Longevity Card is one of them. An all-in-one platform and marketplace for financial management and health, Longevity Card has partnered with well loved brands including Transferwise and Babylon health to help everyone live longer, happier, healthier lives.
We sat down with founder Sergey Balasanyan to discuss how the business came to be, and what the proceeds from this crowdfunding round will help it accomplish.
What were you doing prior to starting Longevity Card and what made you want to pursue entrepreneurship?
Longevity Card started during my work as Partner at Deep Knowledge Group, leading the fintech division and UK activities of the consortium. We collectively decided to marry health and wealth by combining the Group’s significant expertise in the Longevity Industry and my personal banking and fintech background, to create a longevity and health focus for traditional banking. Later on I made a spin-off from the Group with Longevity Card as a single entity.
What gave you the idea for the company?
Longevity Card is a fascinating concept, because how often do we actually sit down and think about our life expectancy – how to enhance it, and how to improve our health with small changes? Embedding this into a fintech app was the initial idea, but the pandemic really accelerated development. We saw how health has become a commodity. Now more than ever, we value our health and wellness, because we see what it has cost society so far. So, we created a product that allows you to manage your money and incentivises you to manage your health at the same time. ‘Health is the new wealth’ is our overall philosophy.
What does Longevity Card bring to the table that’s truly new to the fintech / healthtech space?
As with most businesses that start out in a niche market with a specific product, Longevity Card has its very own target audience – those who strive to live longer, healthier lives and are incentivised by rewards that allow them to do that.
In addition to providing multi-currency current accounts and a debit Mastercard, our customers will benefit from discounts for a variety of health, fitness, wellness, life and health insurance products and services, represented by a fast growing portfolio of more than 60 partners in the integrated Longevity Marketplace. These include renowned brands such as Transferwise, Babylon Health, F45, Headspace, Urban, FiiT and others.
We will also motivate our customers to lead a healthier lifestyle via the app’s AI-powered mHealth integration, which can track fitness activity via wearables (like steps, running distance, calories) and reward them with additional Longevity Points. Those points can then be converted into exclusive offers in the marketplace as well as cashback. Longevity Points can also be earned by regular use of the current accounts in the way of payments, cash withdrawals, international transfers, currency exchange and more.
What was the first order of business in getting things off the ground?
What we felt was most important was finding the right partners for Longevity Card, including potential Banking as a Service providers, developers and KYC providers. In the current market, it’s very difficult to find partners that are leaders in their space, and that serve us best. It took a while to research what worked for us, but I am sure we have the perfect fit now.
Secondly, we wanted to get the word out and let the world know about what we’re doing. We really worked on developing our brand and raising awareness for our project. Covid-19 kickstarted our press journey and attracted widespread attention.
What do you look for in new hires? Has that changed at all over time?
There’s this quote from Steve Jobs that resonates with me; “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do”.
My core team is my family; we help each other, we learn from one another and we listen. We are all experts in what we do. Carlos is my Wolf of Wall Street who gets things done and closes amazing deals, fast. Roxy is my wordsmith who passionately fights for what is right. Then I have Nataly, the creative soul of Longevity Card and Anastasia who is wicked smart and always thinking ten steps ahead. As ambitious as we are, we are a startup, We are young and hungry, and the passion and drive that comes along with that is important.
The Longevity Marketplace is growing, with 60+ partners already involved. How do you choose the kinds of businesses you want to work with, to bring the best quality services to customers?
We look for partners with shared values and vision, which is to put the wellbeing and health of our customers first. We work exclusively with best brands from fitness, mental health and mindfulness, healthcare, selfcare, and beauty. And of course we look for value for our customers, in the form of special deals and discounts that they wouldn’t get anywhere else.
As you onboard more and more partners, where do you see the most potential growth in the healthtech space?
I don’t think we should pigeonhole ourselves to one particular sub-sector or predict which area will succeed – healthtech is huge, and constantly evolving to tackle problems that will inevitably come our way, like the pandemic. All the sub-sectors – from telemedicine, women’s health, mental health – have come together and synergised, and optimised fully. They are performing brilliantly and so I champion healthtech as a whole.
What can we expect next from Longevity Card in the way of product development and customer offering?
In Q3 we will launch another product in Longevity Card’s pipeline which will be built for our senior customers aged 60 and over, and will include the implementation of Age Technologies to prevent fraud and financial exploitation. It will provide a user experience that includes voice control, AR, VR and other technologies to make mobile banking safer, easier and accessible for the Senior Generation.
By building a product for seniors, we want to unleash the market potential of the Senior Generation who also happen to be the world’s wealthiest clientele for financial institutions. More importantly, we want to advocate for their digital inclusion, especially in the world of fintech.
What’s one healthtech business you use yourself that has helped you stay on top of your health?
I am personally actively using and am a customer of the majority of businesses, presented on our Longevity Marketplace.
I am very much into wearables right now and was really excited to announce our plans with FitBit and Garmin, to name a few. During Lockdown my more adventurous fitness options have been limited so it’s great to explore how to stay fit and healthy through the brands on our app. I’ve also been able to practice mindfulness with some of our mental health focused partners like Headspace, and on a couple of occasions I made consultations with GPs using the Babylon Health App.
What’s the best financial tip you would provide to a new user?
Focus on your health first; your financial health will ultimately depend on your physical and mental health.
What’s the most significant learning you’d give to aspiring entpreneurs?
Be brave with your ideas, nothing is impossible! Don’t be scared to make something new or to innovate, but expect to put in the hours. Finally, recruit and grow a team with shared values and goals. They will make or break you. In my case, they helped make my vision a reality.
To find out more about Longevity Card, visit the pitch now.