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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

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