Introducing Turkish startups: manibux

Managing pocket money is always an issue for families and teens. Manibux helps families and teens for the issue with an app

Manibux is doing a unique business in Turkey: letting teenagers to manage their pocket through an app. Canan Bayrak, Founder and CEO at manibux, is a psychological counsellor by profession and she saw the needs and problems of families for pocket money. So she started manibux to solve the pocket money issues. On the other hand, manibux raises social awareness for families and teens to control their money. So financial literacy is also achieved. I had an interview with Canan Bayrak and she told me about the company, adding her future plans.

-I know you are a psychological counsellor with 17 years of experience. How did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

I had a chance to observe the needs and the problems of the families and teens when I worked for 17 years in different schools with different levels. Then with the help of my professional background and being the mother of 17 and 14 years old daughters, I noticed that there is a huge need in the market for digital transformation of pocket money for teens and then I created a startup called manibux.

As a psychological counsellor,  established manibux to teach financial literacy to the teens between 8 – 18 years old with the help of their family.  Also I aimed to prevent bad habits for teens with spending control. In three years I did many presentations for students and parents in schools to raise awareness about money and financial literacy. As a woman in fintech with pshycological counseller background, it is perfect match to be a founder for kids and family finance app.

Manibux-digital pocket money app

-What is manibux exactly? Can you explain it? What is your business model?

Founded by parents, to help make the next generation of young people better at managing their money compared to their parents’ generation.

manibux created the first fully digital family banking solution designed specially for children and teenagers aged 8-18, offering a pre-paid Visa card and app with unique parental controls. These tools help children learn to earn, save and spend responsibly, whilst giving parents peace of mind, an easy way to pay pocket money and full control.

The manibux app is used to activate manibux card, load money, set manibux allowances and check balances. manibux app is the main component of the Pocket Money Management System. Parents and teens have different interfaces.

The manibux debit card, is a completely safe and secure way to spend. Use it anywhere that Visadebit cards are accepted, online or offline.

-How is your business effected in days of COVID-19?

COVID-19 effected manibux in two ways. During COVID-19, schools were closed and our manibux K12 service which is dedicated for in school closed loop payment, stopped. But at the same time, we are lucky, because we try to explain the importance of digital pocket money instead of cash since 3 years and now we had a chance to show the reason. Our manibux families could continue to use our service during COVID-19-19 for online spending and money saving. We get lots of new customers during COVID-19 lockup because all of the teens want to spend their pocket money online but it is impossible with cash.

-Do you have any competitors in Turkey?

We don’t have direct competitors in Turkey, but some of the banks, telcos or e-money licensee companies try to reach our target market but we are not delivering a pocket money service as a add-on platform. We focused on family application to create a better financial literacy and at the same time lots of tools for teens to earn, save and spend their money.

-As a woman entrepreneur did you have any difficulties in the Turkish startup scene?

The biggest challenge I have experienced as a psycological councellor was to be accepted into fintech sector. However, in time this difference, became my chance. Looking with a different perspective and knowing family and teens  became an advantage for me.

Although I do not want to differentiate between the challenges that male and female entrepreneurs face; as a female entrepreneur I received a lot of comments that would probably never be said to a man. Such as, “Who is looking after your children, how can you keep up with housekeeping and cooking?” But they forget something: never underestimate the power of women.

-So far you raised two rounds of funding. Are you planning  further rounds in the near future?

Of course, we are targeting European market and we already announced a round at February 2020 but because COVID-19, I think that we will focus on the new founding round this summer. We are expecting to spend new found for an expansion in Europe and new staff.

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