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mike

By CNote

A letter that may make capital more socially conscious for decades to come

Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock just sent an open letter to the CEOs of publicly traded companies outlining his expectation for how these companies engage with society and act as good corporate stewards.

The letter tells companies that they need to stop with the myopic quarterly earnings focus, and instead serve a broader social purpose benefiting all stakeholders, including the communities they operate in.

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By CNote

SF Women’s March

Our democracy lives and dies by the ability of the people to raise their voices, hold their government accountable, and to participate fully in the political process.

In honor of rallying to assure everyone has an equal voice, some of the CNote team got together and attended the #WomensMarch2018 held in San Francisco this weekend.

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By Borrower Stories

INCAUSA – Indigenous Social Entrepreneurship meets community lending

Incausa – In the cause of others.

Today, CNote is profiling Incausa, and its co-owners, Vinicius and Carolina. Together, they’ve built a company that sells unique goods across the globe but also supports indigenous artisans by selling their crafts and returning 100% of the proceeds to them. Incausa received a loan from a CNote partner that allowed them to scale their company without sacrificing their social mission. 

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By CNote

CNote’s CB Insights Demo Day Presentation

Demo Day was a great opportunity to share the CNote story with a diverse group of industry thought leaders.

More than anything, CNote is excited to be recognized as one of “40 of the most ground-breaking early-stage startups” out of a pool of more than 2,000 applicants. Read More

By Borrower Stories

Traveler: More than a business—A unique and close-knit community brought to life by a simple loan

Here at CNote, we fight for financial empowerment. That sounds like a lofty sentiment, but oftentimes it plays out fairly simply in reality: small businesses need loans, and CNote provides community lenders with the funds to make more of these loans. Traveler is one of the many success stories associated with community lending. We’re excited to share the story of Julie Cox and her small business, Traveler. Read More

By CNote

CNote​ ​​Selected​ ​to​ ​Present​ ​at​ ​CB​ ​Insights’​ ​First-Ever​ ​Demo​ ​Day​ ​as​ ​Part​ ​of the​ ​Fintech​ ​Category

Yay impact investing, yay CNote! 

We are proud to announce that CNote has been chosen out of a pool of more than 2000 companies to present at CB Insights’ Demo Day Conference. We’re honored to be one of the “40 of the most ground-breaking, innovative companies” selected this year. Read More

By CNote

Women in Tech: Making Strides

Cat Berman, CNote’s CEO, was invited to speak at the Women in In Tech symposium at UC Santa Cruz’s Silicon Valley Campus.

The purpose of this event is to: “highlight the experience of women in the tech industry—from established companies to startups and the venture capital firms that support them,” and to “recognize those who have championed the advancement of women in technology through the WITI@UC Athena Awards.” The event also did a great job of assuring that attendees left “with actionable suggestions for overcoming gender-based challenges and improving the workplace climate for all.” Read More

By Small Businesses

Pandia Health – An inspiring story of a female entrepreneur that is improving other women’s lives

The Kind of Company, and Entrepreneur, That Inspires Us

At CNote, we a believe in underdogs. Our mission is to deliver financial empowerment, both to savers, and to financially underserved communities. Your investment in CNote drives community development projects, and provides the funding female and minority entrepreneurs rely on to get their businesses off the ground.

Often, its hard to envision what these companies might look like, who runs them, and how they impact the world. Today, we highlight Pandia Health and its CEO, Sophia Yen, MD, MPH, as an example of the kind of change that can occur when a motivated entrepreneur is given the capital to execute on her dream.

Dr. Sophia Yen has over 20 years of experience in medicine. She serves as a clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Stanford Medical School. She graduated from MIT, UCSF Medical School, and UC Berkeley with a MPH in Maternal Child Health. Dr. Yen co-founded Pandia Health and enjoys educating the public and other physicians about birth control, acne, weight management, and other adolescent health issues. 

The Pandia Health Peace-of-Mind, Taking The Pain Out of Reproductive Health

For the vast majority of the women who use it, birth control can be a real pain in the uterus. It’s a pain to swallow a pill every day. It’s a pain to drive to the pharmacy once a month to refill the prescription. But most of all, it’s painful to stress over the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy and the life-altering impact it can have.

Dr. Sophia Yen, co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health, calls it “pill anxiety.”

“You’re going through your pills and you get to that last week; and if you don’t get to the pharmacy, there will be a dire consequence. And so you have that stress in the back of your mind every single month,” she explains, speaking of her own experience as well as that of millions of other women. “And so that is the goal of Pandia Health…to cure women of this pill anxiety.”

“Set it and forget it; don’t run out on our watch.”

Indeed, when it comes to birth control, Pandia Health has taken over the watch. Through its website the company offers two main services: 1) monthly deliveries of birth control to the customer’s door, billed to insurance; and 2) telemedicine prescriptions costing a flat rate of $39, valid for a year. By taking over the responsibility of refilling birth control, Pandia Health has cured pill anxiety with what Dr. Yen dubs “Pandia peace-of-mind.”

Pandia Health’s Mission, and Drive, Comes From its Founder

From the way Dr. Yen speaks of her company, it’s clear that it is a source of pride and joy to her: “We are busting open access, and that’s what makes me happy: saving women stress, preventing unplanned pregnancy.”

An MD and MPH in Maternal Child Health, Dr. Yen has a demonstrated passion for women’s health and reproductive rights. Pandia Health is a natural extension of that focus. Indeed, it was in preparing for a talk about birth control that she conceived the idea of Pandia Health. 

“I came across this statistic that one of the top three reasons women don’t take their birth control is they don’t have it on hand,” she recalls. “And I said, ‘This is easily solvable.'” 

But her passion to solve such problems began even before that.

When Sophia Yen was 15, she ran a pregnancy test. The test wasn’t for her, but for her 13-year-old client in a pregnancy counseling program. And it came back positive.

“That was life altering for that patient forever,” Dr. Yen recounts. “It just made me sad to see the two different trajectories: I was going to head off to college and off to medical school, and she was going to head off to a life of teen pregnancy. And so I realized then how critical it is that people have access to birth control and comprehensive sex ed.”

Since then, she has not stopped “busting open” that access. Nowadays she continues to take joy in her work, motivated by the impact she can have on young lives with her work.

The joy is clear in the way she treasures her customers. Admiring their initiative to prevent unplanned pregnancy and make their lives easier, she calls them all “beautiful” and includes “fun things, randomly” in their shipments, such as chocolates, sunglasses, and condoms. On the rare occasion that there’s a problem with a refill date, she contacts the patient’s pharmacy to make sure patients have access to a new prescription before the pills run out.

In the end, the personal and professional commitment that characterizes Dr. Yen’s work comes from a passion to empower women to control their own destiny. She’s said that her life’s work is to make women’s lives easier by saving all the unnecessary effort that goes into getting and using birth control. Her commitment to reproductive health is consistent, from the bumper sticker on her car, to the playful uterus-shaped pendant that adorns her necklace. 

Turning Challenges Into Opportunities

In the early stages Pandia Health’s founding, the passion was there, but the money was not.

“The financial part is always ugly in the beginning…Funding-wise, you just have to bootstrap it or suck it up until you get money,” says Dr. Yen.

But her efforts to “bootstrap it” and secure funding at investment pitches were met with some resistance: namely, the barrier of many potential investors not understanding the problem because they had never experienced it personally.

In addition to uncertainty in the cause, there was also some uncertainty in Dr. Yen herself as a potentially successful entrepreneur. From the female founders before her Dr. Yen quickly learned to “never bring your male CTO or co-founder next to you, because they [investors] will be looking to him to approve, even though you’re CEO, even though it’s your idea, even though you brought the whole team together.”

Aside from gender bias, there was the perceived disadvantage of her being a physician (who are not traditionally credited with good financial intuition) and being a mother (who are not traditionally credited with having much time on their hands).

But rather than being weaknesses, Dr. Yen argues these unique life experiences helped her succeed. As a physician and mother, she was accustomed to working hard. And as a woman entrepreneur, she was able to anticipate being judged on accomplishments rather than potential. She knew she had to work harder and be more proactive than most if she wanted Pandia Health to succeed. So, she arranged a team of five multi-disciplined founders to make sure that they “could absolutely do it” before they asked for money.

Talk about weaknesses being turned into strengths.

It turned out that the “weaknesses” perceived by some investors became Pandia Health’s saving grace in other circles of investors. Namely, the cause for accessible birth control that turned 70-year-old male investors away, was admired and supported by organizations who liked to invest in social entrepreneurship, like OneWorld and Women’s Startup Lab.

Through such organizations, Dr. Yen was able to not only secure investments, but also access networks where she could exchange resources with other “femtech” companies for the mutual benefit of both. 

Pandia Health’s Impact

Now, three years after her initial idea, Dr. Yen continues to strive for solutions to the women’s health issues she is passionate about. With an adaptable mindset picked up from MIT, and a work ethic refined in medical school, she pivots her business in directions best suited to her customer’s needs: starting an ambassador program to increase awareness on college campuses; raising money to expand services nationwide and establish Pandia Health’s own pharmacy.

Of her company’s growth, she says, “We see a future where we start with birth control, we gain women’s trust, and we grow with them as they grow. So there’s huge potential, and you have to be flexible, you can’t be in a set mindset.”

But although the growth path is open to change, one thing is constant: The company will adapt itself to respond to women’s needs. It has done so from the very beginning and will continue to do so. And that is what women can count on for continued Pandia Health peace-of-mind.

Dr. Yen has shown us the impact a dedicated entrepreneur can have on the world. The money invested in Pandia Health has been a force for good in the lives of the women the company has served. Because Pandia Health predates CNote, we have not deployed any investment dollars in Pandia Health directly, but we will continue to work to drive dollars to entrepreneurs like Dr. Yen and share their inspiring stories, regardless of their funding source.

Pandia Health Today

Pandia Health is looking to expand its services nationwide and continue serving women in the most convenient, pill-anxiety free way possible. Their work is more relevant than ever, now that affordable birth control has become even less of a guarantee given the recent defunding of insurance-covered contraceptives.

To find out more about Pandia Health’s services and impact, visit their website: https://www.pandiahealth.com

For FAQs with Dr. Yen about birth control, women’s health, and more, take a look at their Youtube channel and blog

 

Dr. Yen encourages those interested in women’s health and advocacy to support the Silver Ribbon Campaign. That charity serves as an advocate for the respect of women’s reproductive rights.

Additionally, Pandia Health has created a Birth Control Fund to provide “financial assistance to women in need of access to birth control.” You can read more about that program here.

 

 

By CNote

Launch Coverage Recap

CNote made history with its launch to non-accredited investors on September 27, 2017. We are the first company to offer everyday investors seamless access to the reliable return and social impact of CDFIs. This launch was built on thousands of hours of effort. We are grateful for all the support and help we’ve had along the way.

Launching the first impact-focused savings product is a huge step towards our goal of delivering financial empowerment to even more people.

Read More

By CNote

CNote’s Triple Protection Infographic

At CNote, we know trusting someone else with your money is a huge deal, that is why we built multiple layers of protection into every CNote account. These layers of redundancy help minimize the risk of capital loss. While our CDFI partners have never lost a single investor dollar, we want you to feel confident about your investment in CNote. Knowing that your investment has a strong history of consistent performance is one thing, knowing that you’re likely protected even if something goes wrong is even better.

 

The infographic below helps explain CNote’s Triple Protection Plan. If you want to read further, you should review our Risk & Return page.

By CNote

CNote selected as one of TechCo’s top 100 startups of the year

We’re excited to announce that CNote has been selected as one of the top 100 companies to compete for TechCo’s startup of year!

WooHoo! Put your party hats on.

This means we’ll be pitching at the Innovate and Celebrate conference in San Francisco. We’re hoping a little home-field advantage works in our favor. This is the first time CNote has presented at this event so it promises to be exciting.

The conference is co-hosted by Consumer Technology Association (CTA) (they run another event you might know, CES) and TechCo Media.

We’re looking forward to sharing CNote’s story with even more people, and seeing what some of the brightest and most innovative entrepreneurs are up to. Along with spreading the word about our mission of financial empowerment, we’d be lying if we said we we’rent just a little fired up for some friendly competition. Also, its hard not to discount all the inspiration you come away with after attending an event like this.

Click the very official badge below to see the other semifinalists and cast your vote for CNote!

We’re also excited to announce that of the 100 semi-finalists, 29 have female founders or co-founders. As you likely know, CNote is helmed by our female co-founders, Cat and Yuliya. CNote, is in good company on this list and we’re excited to see more female entrepreneurs get the recognition they deserve. Hopefully, it will be 50/50 in the near future!

Thanks for your support!

-Team CNote

By CNote

CNote is now available to all investors!

Note that effective January 1, 2019, the rate on all CNote accounts has increased to 2.75%

CNote is proud to announce that, as of today, we are launching our impact investing product to all investors!

This means everyone can now enjoy a 2.5% return on their cash while driving prosperity in financially underserved communities across America.

Previously, CNote was only available to accredited investors. Since our goal is to increase financial inclusion in this country, being limited to the wealthiest investors was never going to cut it for us.

After months of working with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and our dedicated legal team, we are delighted to announce that we have been qualified by the SEC to offer our product to everyone! You can review our offering circular to learn more about CNote, and the innovative financial product we have brought to market.

For current account holders, nothing will change. We’re grateful you’ve been with us from the beginning, and you’ll still receive the same great return with a positive social impact.

For the list of non-accredited investors waiting to earn 2.5%, we are excited to welcome you with open arms! You should expect an email shortly explaining how you can transfer funds and start earning money. We know some of you have been waiting for quite a while, we are excited to welcome you to the CNote family. 

If you are not familiar with CNote, you should visit our FAQs along with our Risk & Return section to get a better idea of our product and whether it is the right fit for your investment needs.

 

For those wanting to learn more, this video explains CNote in 60 seconds.

We’ve made opening an account extremely easy, CLICK HERE and start earning 2.5% in minutes.

Our full press release is available below (pdf).

CNote Launches to Turn Americans’ Savings into Democratized Impact Investments

By parking your extra cash with this  fintech startup you can earn 40X more money while driving economic opportunity across the United States.

September 27, 2017 // Oakland, CA // CNote, which offers up to 40x the return of a typical savings account, is announcing the public launch of its impact-focused financial platform. Previously in a testing a period with accredited investors, who collectively committed more than $9 million in savings, the Oakland-based startup is now open to everyday savers and non-accredited investors with no minimum deposit required. The startup’s flagship product has made history as the first high-yield impact product to be qualified by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) for mass market.

Functioning as a high-yield savings product, CNote pools deposits from multiple savers and invests it in highly-impactful, but largely unknown, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). CDFIs are U.S. Treasury certified, and exist to help finance and support underserved populations like women and minority business owners.

CNote provides a 2.5% return to savers, a stark contrast to the 0.1% – or less – that most savers receive from traditional banks.

Founders Catherine Berman and Yuliya Tarasava built CNote out of a desire to help savers do good and do well.  The result of their collaboration is the first savings product to deliver outsized returns and positive social impact.

In December, the team ran a successful test with accredited investors, with over $9 million in committed savings under Reg D. In March, the company was selected as Best Startup Pitch Company at SXSW, as well as the Fintech Category Winner.

As the first platform of its kind, CNote is launching to the general public today with a cohort of  CDFI partners, including CDC Small Business and Excelsior Growth Fund. They each provide a range of services and financing options for business owners who are often ignored or underserved by traditional financial institutions.

“There’s an estimated $300B of cash that just sits on the sidelines collecting dust in our savings accounts. There’s no reason we can’t unlock it for good by putting that money to work in our communities, while driving better returns for you,” Catherine Berman, CEO and Co-Founder of CNote said. “We could not be more thrilled to open our platform to everyday consumers and smart savers, and we hope people will see this as an opportunity to think outside the bank.”

This product is the first of CNote’s suite of competitive-yield, high-impact products that seek to redesign finance with a focus on financial inclusion and empowerment.

Interested CNote users can learn more about the platform at www.mycnote.com.

###

About CNote

Founded in 2016 by Catherine Berman and Yuliya Tarasava, CNote is a financial platform for socially-conscious savers and investors. The company’s flagship product offers a 2.5% return on savings — and 100% social impact — by tapping into Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which exist to help finance underserved small business owners. In September 2017, CNote became the first competitive-yield financial product to be federally recognized and available to the mass market with no minimum and no fees.

In March 2017, CNote was selected as Fintech Category Winner at South by Southwest. The venture-backed fintech company currently operates with a team of 8 out of Oakland, California.

By CNote

CNote Non-Accredited Investor Launch Press Release

Note that effective January 1, 2019, the rate on all CNote accounts has increased to 2.75%

 

For immediate release (pdf).

CNote Launches to Turn Americans’ Savings into Democratized Impact Investments

By parking your extra cash with this  fintech startup you can earn 40X more money while driving economic opportunity across the United States.

September 27, 2017 // Oakland, CA // CNote, which offers up to 40x the return of a typical savings account, is announcing the public launch of its impact-focused financial platform. Previously in a testing a period with accredited investors, who collectively committed more than $9 million in savings, the Oakland-based startup is now open to everyday savers and non-accredited investors with no minimum deposit required. The startup’s flagship product has made history as the first high-yield impact product to be qualified by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) for mass market.

Functioning as a high-yield savings product, CNote pools deposits from multiple savers and invests it in highly-impactful, but largely unknown, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). CDFIs are U.S. Treasury certified, and exist to help finance and support underserved populations like women and minority business owners.

CNote provides a 2.5% return to savers, a stark contrast to the 0.1% – or less – that most savers receive from traditional banks.

Founders Catherine Berman and Yuliya Tarasava built CNote out of a desire to help savers do good and do well.  The result of their collaboration is the first savings product to deliver outsized returns and positive social impact.

In December, the team ran a successful test with accredited investors, with over $9 million in committed savings under Reg D. In March, the company was selected as Best Startup Pitch Company at SXSW, as well as the Fintech Category Winner.

As the first platform of its kind, CNote is launching to the general public today with a cohort of  CDFI partners, including CDC Small Business and Excelsior Growth Fund. They each provide a range of services and financing options for business owners who are often ignored or underserved by traditional financial institutions.

“There’s an estimated $300B of cash that just sits on the sidelines collecting dust in our savings accounts. There’s no reason we can’t unlock it for good by putting that money to work in our communities, while driving better returns for you,” Catherine Berman, CEO and Co-Founder of CNote said. “We could not be more thrilled to open our platform to everyday consumers and smart savers, and we hope people will see this as an opportunity to think outside the bank.”

This product is the first of CNote’s suite of competitive-yield, high-impact products that seek to redesign finance with a focus on financial inclusion and empowerment.

Interested CNote users can learn more about the platform at www.mycnote.com.

###

About CNote

Founded in 2016 by Catherine Berman and Yuliya Tarasava, CNote is a financial platform for socially-conscious savers and investors. The company’s flagship product offers a 2.5% return on savings — and 100% social impact — by tapping into Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which exist to help finance underserved small business owners. In September 2017, CNote became the first competitive-yield financial product to be federally recognized and available to the mass market with no minimum and no fees.

In March 2017, CNote was selected as Fintech Category Winner at South by Southwest. The venture-backed fintech company currently operates with a team of 8 out of Oakland, California.

By CNote

CNote explained in 60 seconds

Note that effective January 1, 2019, the rate on all CNote accounts has increased to 2.75%

If you are new to CNote you may have some questions. How do you pay 2.5%? How safe is CNote? Where does my money go?

The video below should help answer most of these questions in only 60 seconds.

If you still want to learn more, you may want to visit our FAQ or our Risk & Return Page.

 

Transcript of the video:

So you may be wondering, how does CNote earn you 2.5% on your savings when your bank pays you next to nothing?

Unlike banks, CNote doesn’t use your savings to fund credit cards or mortgages. We lend your deposits out to US-Treasury-certified community lenders that have more than 20 years of proven financial performance. 

These community lenders build our schools, fund our community centers and invest in the women and minority-led businesses that keep our communities thriving.

Until now, access to these high performing community lenders was only readily available to large banks and foundations. CNote’s proprietary technology gives every-day investors like you access to these investments.

Also, unlike banks, we return the profit earned on these loans back to you instead of keeping it to pay big bonuses and excessive overhead. We never charge you any fees, and the 2.5% goes straight into your pocket.

Welcome to a world of finance driven by good, not greed.

Welcome to CNote.

By CNote

CNote Social Impact Infographic

A lot of potential customers want to understand how CNote generates great returns along with helping financially-underserved communities across the United States. This simple infographic helps explain CNote’s model for generating a positive social impact.

By CNote

CNote – How it works video

Note that effective January 1, 2019, the rate on all CNote accounts has increased to 2.75%

This video explains how CNote is able to deliver a higher return on your savings while driving prosperity in communities across the United States. It highlights the institutions we invest in, their proven financial track record, and the tangible impact that they have.

Finance shouldn’t be complex or hard to understand. This video should help answer some of the questions you may have about CNote.

Earn more. Do good. Feel great.

 

If you still want to learn more, you may want to visit our FAQ or our Risk & Return Page.

 

By CNote

What drives CNote — A look back

In the startup world, six months can feel like a lifetime.

Indeed, its been about six months since CNote won the Fintech Category and took home Best Startup Pitch Company at SXSW. A lot has changed, our team has grown, but the most important things have stayed the same.

Same mission, prettier website

Despite growing as a company since March, our focus and core goals of offering a better return with tangible social impact have not changed.

In the future, the fashion might change, and the video cameras might get better, but we believe this pitch, delivered by co-founder Cat Berman, will reflect our core principles for years to come. That is why we decided to share it again as a reminder to our community, employees, and customers about the goal we are working towards. We are working to make finance more inclusive; where great returns are not reserved for the wealthy few. We are also crazy enough to think that you can get a great return while bringing prosperity to financially underserved communities and individuals across the country. 

The pitch

Hi, my name is Cat Berman, co-founder of CNote. Before I started CNote I was Managing Director at Charles Schwab and there I stumbled on this shocking finding, American’s are sitting on 300 billion dollars in just in case cash, not emergency fund cash but literally just in case cash. These are dollars sitting in our checking and savings accounts making nearly zero percent. What’s worse, we’re actually losing money, you see savings accounts don’t keep up with the rate of inflation anymore so you and I are losing about one percent of our nest egg, simply by leaving it in the bank, until now.

CNote delivers a return on your savings, two and a half percent, that’s 40 times better than traditional banks with 100% impact. We do it by working with a little known, but highly successful, financial tool called CDFIs. CDFIs aren’t new, they’ve been around for 20 years, they’re certified by the treasury department and nearly every major US bank uses CDFIs. What’s more, is every dollar invested in CDFIs goes to under-severed communities like women and minorities. CNote is the first and only company to unlock CDFI return and impact for every day savers.

How’d we do it, by creating a proprietary technology to optimize our savings across CDFIs. The team includes my co-founder Yuliya Tarasava, she ran a 10 billion dollar risk management function, Nikhil Desai our VP of Engineering was Senior Developer at Lending Club and this will be my 3rd start up. My last start up, Global Brigades is now in 5 countries. Last summer we launched our beta and to date we have over 7 million in savings on our platform. We’re excited for this year where we’ll be rolling out to potential 8 million customers with our 1st channel of distribution partner and donor advised fund. The average CNote saver starts by making 10 dollars a year on their savings account and with CNote ends up making over 500 dollars a year, just by signing up in 3 minutes.

You work hard for your savings, it’s time your savings will work hard for you.

Earn more with good karma. Welcome to CNote.

Click below to watch.

We’ve got a lot of new and exciting things on the horizon. We look forward to sharing more of our story with you here.

Join us, as we work to make finance more inclusive.

-Team CNote