Our Story

Grit was founded on a simple concept: we are using technology to transform the banking industry to better serve working Americans. 

Our team is passionate about serving people across the board. We offer what many of the wealthy have received for decades: financial privileges such as cashback rewards, high interest rates and access to cash early, so you can start earning, saving and paying off debt early. 

While we are a relatively new company, we work with brands you know and trust including VISA, NCR, Corecard (powers the Apple Card), and Community Federal Savings Bank. You can rest assured your money is safe with us as all accounts are FDIC Insured up to $250,000 and Grit is subject to all U.S. banking laws. 

Our founder’s experience includes:

  • Building the first Credit card backed by home equity
  • Building the Starbucks app

Our investors have deep expertise in banking including senior level positions at VISA, Citibank and JP Morgan Chase.

Founder & CEO

Almaz Nanjappa

COO

Shirish Lal

VP Customer Success

Shazila Siddiqui

Advisor

Dr. Ken Singleton

Saving money just got
easier with Grit.

Get the financial wellness tools you need to
take control of your finances – once and for all.

Founder & CEO

Almaz Nanjappa

Almaz is a serial entrepreneur with deep experience in the launch and scaling of tech platforms. His three successful exits include founding and selling Momentus Consulting to Cognizant, Divertica Inc. to Razor Scooters, and Awerena Inc. to Verizon. He has also built platforms for the likes of Lululemon, Shell, Macy’s, Starbucks and Reddit, in addition to creating the first home equity-backed credit card.

Almaz launched Grit to combat systemic inequity, financial insecurity and the challenge of accumulating emergency savings for employees across the U.S. – challenges he experienced during his college years and early career. His vision for Grit is to help people break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck and relying on predatory payday loans, by helping them truly get ahead with financial wellness tools that empower and educate.

How he got financial grit: “As a college student, I earned money tutoring fellow students, but constantly had to do mental budgeting to make sure I kept enough aside for dorm fees every semester.”

Experience

  • Co-founder & CTO, Aven
  • SVP Cognizant Inc
  • CTO Razor Scooters

Accomplishments

  • Founded & Sold Momentus Consulting to Cognizant, Divertica Inc to Razor Scooters, Awerena Inc. to Verizon
  • Built Platform for Industry’s first Credit Card backed by Home Equity
  • Built platforms for Lululemon, Shell, Macy’s, Starbucks, Reddit, Clover, Hotel Tonight, Restoration Hardware

Expertise

  • Entrepreneur with 3 successful exits
  • Deep systems integration
  • Fintech Platform innovation
  • Ability to scale tech teams

Shirish Lal

With 15 years of experience leading business development, production and marketing teams, Shirish has a solid background in growing successful companies. He spent 11 years as Chief Marketing Officer of CenturyLink (now Lumen) and led its growth from $2.6B to $18B in revenue. He spent two years as Chief Operating Officer of Harte Hanks, a marketing services company that worked with over 30 Fortune 500 marketing departments. He also spent three years leading manufacturing and sales at Piping Technology and Products, during which he helped double sales and improve manufacturing efficiency.

As a first generation immigrant, Shirish has seen the power of saving and investing to build a better future. Through his work experiences he recognized a strong need for financial wellness solutions for employees, and the unique opportunity for employers to help them overcome financial insecurity.

How he got his financial grit: “As a first generation immigrant, I have seen the power of being able to save and invest in your skills in order to build a better future.”

Experience

  • EVP Piping Technology & Products
  • COO & CTO, Harte Hanks
  • CMO CenturyLink

Accomplishments

  • CMO for CenturyLink during growth from $2.5B to $18B managing all Consumer, Enterprise Product, Pricing, GTM, and Revenue Projections (incl. M&A)
  • Turned around Pipe Support manufacturer serving Energy markets during COVID Pandemic (>1,000 bps margin increase)
  • Set incentive comp for 30K hourly workers at CTL & led 400 employee custom steel mfg & engineering operations

Expertise

  • Deep experience in both consumer & Enterprise marketing & GTM
  • Successfully operated in both small company & F500 environments

VP Customer Success

Shazila Siddiqui

Shazila’s passion for serving people is contagious. After almost 2 decades of experience in Customer Success, Shazila is tireless when it comes to advocating for her clients. Her vision for Grit is to support building user-centric features and platforms that will help our customers get ahead financially. She is adamant that we establish strong relationships with our Grit members and provide consistent, quality service. 

Best Financial Advice Received: Money is only as effective as the person who manages it. – Shazila’s Dad

Experience

  • TTEC Digital – Senior Consultant, Customer Success
  • Woodforest National Bank – AVP Customer Experience Center
  • ACCC Insurance Company – Director of Customer Service

Highlights:

  • Led sales initiatives that resulted in reaching 200% of sales targets, with recurring monthly revenue
  • Reduced costs for customer-service led programs 
  • As a CX advisory board member, improved site issues and overall CSAT scores for a local college 
  • Oversaw implementation of a results-based compensation model

Advisor

Dr. Ken Singleton

Dr. Ken Singleton is a distinguished professor of Management, Emeritus, a Stanford Graduate School of Business, a president of a non-profit, and an author.

Dr. Singleton is our resident expert on financial literacy and is dedicated to providing assistance specifically to low-income households, to help them get ahead. 

Experience

  • Stanford Graduate School of Business,
  • Adams Distinguished Professor of Management, Emeritus
  • President, 1 Grain to 1,000 Grains (Non-Profit)
  • Reed, U Wisconsin-Madison

Accomplishments

  • Authored numerous books on financial risks & impact to decision making
  • Founded non-profit to provide assistance to low-income communities

Wendy Oliver

A seasoned lawyer and legal compliance expert specializing in the financial sector, Wendy has worked in large law firms and as in-house counsel for companies such as Bank of America and OnPoint Credit Union, and educational institutions such as the University of Chicago and Duke University. She’s also worked at a fintech startup, a consumer lender and a large credit union, as well as running her own practice advising financial institutions.
Well-versed in the ins and outs of disclosures and agreements, contracts and corporate matters, Wendy is most excited about helping others to achieve financial stability, something she had to grapple with herself in her younger years and as a law student. Her goal is to ensure Grit’s financial wellness tools not only help people through financial emergencies, but also establish long-term habits for financial success.
How she got her financial grit: “In college, when I was living off loans and part-time work, I had a budget and that really helped me. After college and law school I had loans to pay. Budgeting and understanding where your money goes can really make a difference in your financial security.”

Experience

  • General Counsel, OnPoint Credit Union
  • Chief Compliance Officer, Aven
  • Asst. General Counsel, Bank of America
  • Duke, U. of Mich, U of Chicago

Accomplishments

  • Led compliance function for the industry’s first Home Equity backed Credit Card
  • First GC at Oregon’s largest credit union preparing institution for crossing $10B threshold

Capabilities

  • 30+ years of experience in Banking Legal and Compliance including Startups, Scale Players, & Regional Players