Cheese is the first banking solution designed for immigrants in the United States that does not require a social security number or credit history. Cheese provides a debit card with credit card benefits. Immigrants can scan a passport or driver’s license and are provided with zero-fee checking accounts with up to 1% cashback and up to a 3% saving bonus.
Cheese helps users earn rewards and save money from day one. In 2018 alone, US immigrants spent over $1T, with international students contributing $42B to that sum. Yet, the majority of immigrants were only eligible for basic, no-interest, money back checking accounts. Cheese provides better banking for an underserved and highly valuable market.
What Cheese Loves About Operate:
“Operate is like another cofounder. They brainstorm with you, provide executable suggestions and share their valuable network before you even reach out for help. We are very grateful for all that they do for Cheese and proud to be part of the Operate community.”- Ken Lian
Ken Lian came to the US from China in 2008 to complete his bachelor’s degree. After experiencing the struggles first hand that immigrants faced with banking such as wire fees, ATM overdraft fees and lack of credit card benefits regardless of the amount spent, Lian decided it was time for a beneficial banking solution for immigrants. He spent several years working with various startups to learn more about technology product development and user growth prior to embarking on his own entrepreneurial endeavors.
In 2016, he launched Moolah Science, which offered an app that automatically tracked how much users pay for a purchase and obtained refunds on their behalf if the price dropped within 30 days. The idea attracted MuckerLab, a leading L.A. incubator, and led to seed funding of $1.5 million from five venture capitalists; that, in turn, enabled Moolah to scale the product to 200,000 users. By 2018, Ken sold Moolah to a Fortune 500 company. After Lian’s exit, he focused solely on developing Cheese to bring this solution to market by 2020.
Why Operate invested in Cheese:
We invested in Cheese because of Ken and the market potential for his business. He has a great background in user growth and optimizing customer acquisition costs (CAC), and he has a personal passion for helping immigrants to easily get access to banking services. In just a few short months of Cheese’s launch, Cheese has over 50k users on the waitlist.
“Cheese exemplifies what we look for in a company – a passionate, collaborative and driven founder that has a big problem worth solving in a market ripe to change, and a path forward to solve the problem in a way where we can both succeed and scale.”Carey Ransom