Please welcome Ensemble, an expense management platform for divorced parents to manage child-related finances

Meet Ensemble, the latest addition to Lerer Hippeau’s portfolio.

HQ: Los Angeles

Founder: Jacklyn Rome

The problem: Money is the #1 cause of arguments between divorced co-parents. For the 50 million divorced co-parents in the U.S. working to raise their children together, dividing up finances is frustrating, litigious, and often inequitable. Only food, shelter, and clothing (just 53% of a child’s expenses) are covered under child support. The rest, expenses like athletic equipment or school supplies, are a negotiation. For the parents that pay these bills upfront — often women — being repaid can be a challenge. Negotiating over childrens’ expenses, splitting bills, and seeking reimbursement through a patchwork of texts, spreadsheets, and one-off payments can strain a family’s finances and relationships.

Ensemble’s solution: Ensemble makes it easy for divorced parents to manage their finances through its mobile app. Ensemble creates a balance of settled and unsettled expenses while showing recent activity in a feed both parents can see. Either parent can propose a future expense, which helps eliminate surprise bills and reduces the friction involved in arguing about an expense after the money has already been spent. Ensemble maintains a single record of expenses and tracks all receipts, creating a more equitable dynamic between parents, and relieving undue tension.

Origin story: Jacklyn Rome, an entrepreneur who previously worked at Uber and Blue Apron, saw her own parents argue going through a divorce. With that experience in mind, Jacklyn identified an opportunity to help divorced parents track and manage shared expenses more easily in partnership with Citibank. She is taking a mission first approach to building Ensemble, with a focus on improving the lives of co-parents and creating happier homes for the next generation.

Why we’re betting on it: Today, divorced parents are lacking the tools they need to improve the experience of jointly managing expenses. Although fintech innovation has moved rapidly, the unique needs of divorced parents and co-parents have remained underserved. Each year, divorced parents spend $260 billion on their children. Through Ensemble’s app, those parents’ lives can be immediately improved with easier expense management, payments, and settlement, improving transparency and communication for American families.

Our take: As the macro environment in court systems today continues to shift towards mediation and co-parenting, Ensemble brings much-needed trust and transparency to financial expense management and communication. Ensemble is uniquely positioned to deepen their customer relationships through building financial products, and become an integral player in the consumer FinTech ecosystem.

Further reading: “Ensemble raises $3M to help divorced parents avoid arguing about money” via TechCrunch.

Learn about careers at Ensemble.

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Lerer Hippeau is the most active early-stage venture capital fund in New York.