OfColor is a financial wellness platform that serves employees of color. Its mission is to improve their financial lives, and it does so by mixing financial technology with research that shows that race matters in employee financial communications.
“The vision that we have for our product and our company is that we're going to help close the racial wealth gap by allowing employees of color to make and keep more of their money,” said Matthew Wrather, Vice President of Engineering at OfColor.
The company’s story starts with its CEO and founder, Yemi Rose, who hails from Jamaica and came to the United States as a student. He worked in the financial services sector, where he saw firsthand how poorly consumers of color were typically served by existing FinTech products in the US. To put it bluntly, many of these firms didn’t have employees of color, which meant that there was no insight into these communities’ attitudes towards money. This is a major blind spot for financial companies that does an enormous disservice to minority consumers.
“Every community has its own beliefs and its own messages and its own kind of cultural practices around money. As people immigrate to the States and live here with those beliefs and practices, the financial products that they have available to them are not keeping in step with them," Wrather said. “We want to build a better system.”
OfColor needed to partner with the right tech company to build the platform that they wanted. They initially worked with an engineering vendor based in Europe, but it was acquired, leaving OfColor in the unenviable position of needing a new technical partner and needing it quickly. Target dates and deadlines loomed, and any technical team that was going to take over needed to be able to work both quickly and accurately.
When Hello Iconic stepped into the breach, he anticipated some issues in transitioning from the first engineering provider in a timely fashion. Hello Iconic not only did it quickly but did it in time for OfColor’s January 2022 board meeting. The investors were stunned at how smooth the change was, and there was nothing in the way the technology operated to suggest that Hello Iconic had swooped in at the last minute. The resulting platform hummed along smoothly and correctly and had none of the bugs that often accompany any new technology product rollout.
“I really put that down to the high quality of the team and also to their willingness to go above and beyond to help out and be devoted to the outcome that we were both looking for. Hello Iconic really was flexible with us about knowledge transfer and put in good people who picked up where we were going. We managed the transition without slowing down the velocity of our development at all. We used Hello Iconic as our engineering partner, not just an agency to sort of throw work over the wall to and then see it when it comes back,” Wrather said.
The next step for OfColor is a big one. Their first customer is the national drug store chain CVS, whose employees will receive the platform as an employment benefit, along with health insurance and everything else new hires expect to see in their HR packets.
“All of our needs were met in terms of platform engineering, UI engineering, Q&A, and even some help with DevOps. I expect to keep the relationship with Hello Iconic going. If you’re going to work with a remote team, and if you're going to work with offshore developers, Hello Iconic is a great choice.” - Matthew Wrather, VP of Engineering at OfColor.
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