EXCLUSIVE- Health Savings Account Startup, Lively wants to be more than a HSA vehicle.
Right now, more means giving its account holders the option to invest their HSA funds. Launched on March 1 this year, the company was started by two friends, Alex Cyriac, and Shobin Uralil, with the vision to help people manage their healthcare expenses.
Given the co-founders’ past professional experience in payments and analytics, it didn’t take long for the duo to want to expand this vision to more mainstream financial applications.
“Most people don’t think of their HSA as investment opportunities,” Uralil told Bank Innovation. “Most of them are using this money for their near-term medical expenses. So, where you’re seeing an uptick in activity in the 401K world, there’s not much going on in the healthcare space.”
Uralil pointed out that only 20% of HSA providers give their customers the option to invest their money.
“On average people spend as much as $300,000 on health-related expenses in their lifetime,” he said. “Investment of HSA is very underutilized.”
Lively is hoping to capitalize that market through its new investment capability. The investment feature is powered by TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Self-Directed Plan Services platform. By logging onto their accounts, users can click on the investment option and TD Ameritrade will then connect them to its brokerage platform. These users can then choose to invest in stocks, bonds and 13,000 mutual funds.
“Lively doesn’t provide any investing advice, this is all at the discretion at the users,” Cyriac told Bank Innovation. “We didn’t want to limit the users’ options.”
Lively charges customers a monthly fee of $2.50; the investment capability feature will not have any additional charge. Further, there is no minimum investment sum.
“This was very important to us,” Uralil said. “We didn’t want an artificial barrier. We know most people don’t have large amounts to spend on this kind of investment and we wanted to be able to make it accessible to anyone.”
Aside from the investment capabilities, Lively is also looking to add new features to its core products as well.
One feature that Uralil and Cyriac pointed to is their ability to transfer money to an account holder within 24 hours. For example, if a user pays for a qualified medical expense out of pocket, then they can submit the receipt online and be reimbursed within 24 hours.
“The intent is to continue to grow the team and continue to invest into the product,” Uralil said. “We also want to continue to build integration services in platforms and payroll providers.”
Currently, Lively can automatically manage the payment deduction process as it relates to the HSA for various payroll providers. Among those that they currently work with are Paycheck, ADP, Gusto, Rippling, Paylocity and Zenefits.
The company’s core products include its Health Savings Account and a debit card that can be used for designated health expenses.
Like a 401K, HSA is tax free, but unlike a 401K, users are free to use the funds at any point in time as long as those funds are being used for designated health expenses. However, after the age of 65, that restriction doesn’t apply.
Fargo, North Dakota -based Choice Financial Bank is Lively’s banking partner for HSA.
Lively is 100% online. It doesn’t have a mobile app yet, but is mobile responsive. Additionally, on Tuesday, Lively announced that it raised Its $4.2M in new funding.
The group of investors consisted of Streamlined Ventures, Transmedia Capital, Y Combinator, SV Angel, PJC, The Durant Company (Kevin Durant & Rich Kleiman), Liquid 2 Ventures (Joe Montana), Haystack Partners, Paul Buchheit (creator of Gmail), Isaac Oates (Founder & CEO of Justworks), Frederic Kerrest (Co-founder of Okta), and Jeff Epstein (former CFO of Oracle), among others.
Lively declined to disclose its number of users.