HIGH FIVE, the Duolingo for Finance

As it becomes more and more evident that financial education is far from optimal, follow these two startup co-founders on their way to empowering people to make their own informed financial decisions.

HIGH FIVE – fixing finance education

More and more people are getting involved in capital markets, yet primary education still neglects financial education. In a time when words like “cryptocurrencies” and “capital market” regularly appear on the news, this becomes particularly problematic. Say you want to know what cryptocurrencies are and you start googling. Just like that, you end up trying to untangle yourself from a jungle of information filled with rabbit holes of unknown words. 

Everything started during Covid, when Tristan Kennedy, at the time working for Scout24, got to spend more time with his four sisters. “They are all doing things related to cultural studies or arts. I’ve noticed that they are interested and want to participate in financial discussions. The problem is they do not have the tools to do it”, he says. It is complicated to research something you do not know the name of, and even more, to trust the information you find. There is a clear lack of offering when it comes to understandable, personalised financial learning. And this is exactly why HIGH FIVE was created. 

HIGH FIVE is here to help you “level up your money game”. Picture Duolingo, with its games and activities to learn languages, and transform the content into financial information – that’s HIGH FIVE. On the platform, you can pick your own financial goals and get personalised recommendations, gamified learning experiences, and a community forum to discuss your learnings. The startup has five foundational values: empowerment, togetherness, impact, positivity and trust. The goal is to inspire people and empower them to take control of their finances and build a brighter future.

HIGH FIVE’s values.

The founding story

Tristan Kennedy and Jan Gierkes met in 2011 during their economics studies in Berlin. Their fascination with finance began when they decided to take a seminar to prepare for a difficult exam. From that point on, they were hooked on investing. They both proceeded with their personal paths, Tristan working for Scout24 and Jan in the venture capital (VC) sector. 

All knots came to a head in the summer of 2021, when Tristan shared his idea with Jan. He wanted to do something that would have an impact. Something that would help millions of people make more informed decisions regarding their own money. However, Jan was hesitant to leave his job in the VC field. The co-founders admit that this was one of the main obstacles they have faced. Leaving a well-paid job for something you do not know is going to work takes courage and trust.

In October 2021, Tristan came across an ad for an “internationalisation bootcamp” for startups, held by the Blue Factory – the ESCP Business School Incubator. He told Jan about it and they decided to give it a shot. There, they happened to find a very supportive team who shared their mission to make financial education accessible to all. Needless to say, this was the start of great cooperation. In January 2022 Jan quit his job in the VC industry, and both co-founders committed 100% to the project. “We chose ESCP because it is one of the best business schools around and we trust that the Blue Factory Incubator could give us great support”, says Tristan.

HIGH FIVE’s support.

An EXIST fund success

One of the reasons the HIGH FIVE co-founders decided to choose the Blue Factory is that they are supported by EXIST Potentiale, a Germany-wide funding measure by the BMWK. The aim of this fund is to develop a strong support system for innovative, technology-related start-ups connected to German universities. 

Tristan says that “the Blue Factory team was very excited at the prospect of starting our EXIST application, and that’s what we did”. After an intense application process, the co-founders had to wait for feedback. During this time, all their activities continued in stealth mode, as they could not incorporate (legally register the business) before getting feedback from EXIST. After a few months, their patience was rewarded as they received the grant. Creating a company from the ground up takes time, so “receiving public funding for a full year is a great help”, says Jan.

Now, the co-founders are focusing on product development – that means, getting everything done to get the app on its feet. At the same time, “we are trying to get smart money on board”, says Jan, “a diverse team of business angels to get that A team of investors”. What is fundamental at this point is to build a community around HIGH FIVE.

Besides investors, Tristan and Jan are looking for people who share their vision to join them. Whether that means joining the team and working together, or just signing up on the waiting list to become a beta tester as soon as the app comes out, everyone is welcome to reach out.

Contact the founders
Tristan Kennedy – tristan@highfive.finance
Jan Gierkes – jan@highfive.finance

Check out more
Instagram: @highfive.finance 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/high-five-finance