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May 24, 2022 | Tom Ballard

Local start-up Financial Hope focused on exactly what its name suggests

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

“No one can serve two masters . . . both God and money,” says Andrew Stadtlander, one of the three co-founders of a new Knoxville start-up named Financial Hope. “We want to give people the (financial) tools so they can focus on the things that really matter.”

Stadtlander is a Software Development Engineer who founded the company and met seven other like-minded individuals through church, Bible studies, and other software projects. They came together to found the new venture. Two of these team members are Joshua Carmichael, a systems engineer, and Jon Frank, who has experience in marketing and sales to launch the Software-as-a-Service company.

Their collective goal is to provide financial education tools to help people with basic everyday needs like budgeting and forecasting. “We want to free people from being a slave to money,” Carmichael says.

In our recent interview with the three, Stadtlander explained the inspiration for launching the new venture, and it is scripture from the Bible . . . Matthew 6:25-34 specifically:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

“When I read that, I realized there was an opportunity to give people the tools they need to not worry,” Stadtlander says.

They call the product that will launch in the next quarter or so “future focused finance software” that will allow users to know where they have been and where they are heading within 10 minutes of use.

Specifically, Financial Hope has several high-level features:

  • Scenario planning that allows users to: (1) propose changes to their plans such as buying a house or car and see the results before taking those actions; and (2) see the impact of unexpected changes like an increase or decrease in monthly income;
  • Funds that the user has available to spend based on inputs and outputs, not just the current balance of funds in a checking account;
  • A cash flow dashboard in a single location;
  • A forecasting tool for the next 12 months that links with the user’s bank accounts;
  • A financial education component focused on helping users increase savings, reduce debt, and improve their overall financial posture; and
  • Simple budgeting.

The team behind Financial Hope plans to launch later this quarter or in Q3 but interested individuals can join the waiting list and sign-up for a free trial at this link. In the future, the team plans to add additional artificial intelligence capabilities to make the platform more robust.

“We self-funded the development, so we have zero debt,” Stadtlander says. There’s an eight-person team, mostly part-time, with plans to add more individuals once Financial Hope is fully launched.

In addition to Stadtlander, Carmichael and Frank, others involved in the new venture include Omar Frometa, Carlos Vargas, Zaine Clark, Daren Dingwall, and Ian Leigl.

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