Hi! I’m Adam Moelis (proof). I'm the co-founder of Yotta, an app that uses behavioral psychology to help people save money by making saving exciting.

40% of Americans can’t come up with $400 for an emergency & the average household spends over $640 every year on the lottery.

This statistic bothered me for a while…After looking into the UK premium bonds program, studying how lotteries work, consulting with state lottery employees, and working with PhDs to understand the psychology behind why people play the lottery despite it being such a sub-optimal financial decision, I finally co-founded Yotta - a prize-linked savings app.

Saving money with Yotta earns you tickets into weekly sweepstakes to win prizes ranging from $0.10 to the $10 million jackpot.

A Freakonomics podcast has described prize-linked savings accounts as a "no-lose lottery".

We have given away over $6M so far and are hoping to inspire more people to ditch the lottery and save money.

Ask me anything about lottery odds (spoiler, it’s bad), the psychology behind why people play the lottery, what a no-lose lottery is, or about the banking industry.

Comments: 1674 • Responses: 143  • Date: 

neuroticandobscene2626 karma

Is this app still a good idea for someone like me who is due to win the lottery any day now?

yottasavings878 karma

Lol sure you can put your lottery winnings right into it! ... sarcasm

I2ecover3 karma

Your odds are way better to hit the lottery than this app. It's just that this app is essentially free while the lottery is not. Most I've won from one ticket was $0.75 which is 3 numbers.

yottasavings28 karma

With us, you won't lose anything

LordessCass855 karma

As the fed rate rises this year, do you anticipate increasing the odds or value of your prizes?

yottasavings705 karma

Yes! We are excited for rates to go up a lot this year.

ThisPlaceIsNiice235 karma

Sorry, I'm stupid when it comes to understanding the rates impact on economics in this context. I understand loans won't be as easy/cheap to get with a higher rate and that thus the economy will develop more slowly, but how exactly does the fed rate hike impact Yotta?

yottasavings342 karma

It increases the yield earned on deposits which we can pass through in the form of prizes

miniibeast119 karma

When the feds increase interest rates it makes it harder/more expensive for banks to get loans, where banks whole business is loaning out money with interest. So they won't want to borrow money from the government or other banks to have money available to loan to others. They'll instead incentivise us, the regular Joe schmoes, to keep money in a bank by increasing interest rates in saving accounts slightly.

So Yotta here who is also acting as a savings account would want to do the same to incentivise people to keep investing in their saving accounts instead of taking it to other banks.

m_o_n_t_y8 karma

Does Yotta make loans?

yottasavings26 karma

No but our partner bank does and earns yield from it.

_Wyse_47 karma


yottasavings51 karma

Yeah - indirectly but yeah right idea

berkenstonks638 karma

As a startup, how are you able to afford the $10,000,000 jackpot if someone wins?

yottasavings991 karma

For the jackpot we partner with an insurance company to offer that prize. Which actually means we want someone to win it and ensures that the sweepstakes is totally fair!

rhineauto479 karma

When you say you're partnered with them, do you mean you've purchased a prize policy? If so, what are the actual odds of a $10 million jackpot being won at some point? Because as we all know, insurance companies aren't in the business of losing money.

yottasavings533 karma

Yeah we buy a policy against it. I think right now the odds are 1 in 8 billion per ticket. We pay per ticket. There are a lot of tickets, so it's an expensive policy for us. The odds of someone winning in any given week aren't that crazy.

Glorypants513 karma

The CA lottery has a 1/42M chance of jackpot which is close to your jackpot. That’s a 190x better chance than yours. Powerball is 1/292M, but a much larger jackpot.

$10M is plenty of money for anybody to instantly retire, so plenty of incentive there, but 1/8 billion chance is pretty high in comparison to the lottery options out there. The word “billion” itself is going to deter those who compare it to something in the millions. Your Yotta being free when Lotto is now means it’s infinitely cheaper, but the mentality of the chances are what matter in this scenario.

Have you looked into if it’s possible to drop your chances down? Does that come with more profit and customers so you can afford more insurance?

Edit: I looked into how the Yotta ticketing works. You get 1 ticket per $25 in your savings account up to $10k, for every weekly drawing. So that’s 400 entries per week if you save $10k, which is about even odds with the CA lottery, and better odds than most of the other big lottos of course. If you set up direct deposit you get 20% of that towards tickets with each deposit as well. They also offer a non-FDIC insured savings account which gives you one ticket per $10 instead of $25. That one scares me a bit because this is definitely a startup, so being FDIC insured is pretty important in case the company fails.

yottasavings365 karma

Our sweepstakes is positive EV with no risk of loss on the FDIC insured product. That is a key difference. It's not just about odds of winning big. It's about odds of not losing big

Pumaris56 karma

So you are playing the lottery instead of your users 🙂

yottasavings93 karma

Nope - it's just buying insurance. Kind of the opposite of a lottery if you think about it.

dersopotamus402 karma

How does Yotta make money?

yottasavings683 karma

We earn yield on our deposits and also make money on interchange from debit and credit cards. Very similar to how banks generally make money.

dersopotamus244 karma

gotcha makes sense--is Yotta profitable yet?

yottasavings606 karma

Not when factoring in all expenses. But a clear path to get there which is the key for a growth stage startup.

nowyourdoingit113 karma

Based on an investment we made in an almost identical company that clear path to profitability almost certainly involves advertising financial products and/or providing less service or lower ROI to users of the platform in exchange for "neat game mechanics".

yottasavings105 karma

Not really. Our path is different than that

activistss61 karma

Would you care to explain how so? Understandable if not

yottasavings116 karma

No reason our current revenue streams can't support net profits at scale.

primitiveType68 karma

My guess is they make money the same way banks do. Or venmo

yottasavings67 karma

Yeah exactly right

Raspberries-Are-Evil230 karma

Are your deposits FDIC insured?

yottasavings238 karma

In the core Yotta product yes. You can choose to earn more tickets without FDIC insurance, but you don't have to.

AskMeForADadJoke176 karma

While those two stats are interesting and seem troubling next to one another, they're not mutually exclusive.

What percentage of that 40% who can't come up with $400 addictively plays the lottery?

And is there a statistic for the average amount spent on gambling or lottery of that 40% exclusively? Something that doesn't include the other 60%.

yottasavings101 karma

I have not seen any great stats about this sub-section of the 40% but about 50% of US adults play the lottery at least once per year. Skews a bit older, but holds true across income ranges and demographics for the most part.

goosezoo59 karma

I think anyone who plays the lottery at least once per year is perhaps too inclusive. Lots of people in my family will get everyone one scratch off for Christmas. I don't think that's nearly as problematic as the people who sit at gas station lotto machines all day. Surely it's a much smaller percent of the population that spends enough on the lottery to get in the way of emergency funds. You really need to show a distribution of lottery spending for this to be compelling.

yottasavings6 karma

Totally agree that the lottery isn't unhealthy in all cases.

wabbitsdo48 karma

640$ is blowing my mind, I would have guessed way lower because I don't really know anyone who plays the lottery. Do you have a sense of what the average players puts into the lottery yearly (so the average excluding the households like mine who will never spend a dime in the lottery).

TheFotty33 karma

There is never a time I am in my local convenience store and I don't see someone doing scratch offs. Those can be a buck, or 2 or 5. Some are even more money. Bigger games like mega millions and powerball are at least 2 bucks per ticket. It can add up quickly.

The one thing about this "lottery killer" is that the lottery is run by the states in the US, and it can vary state to state, but a lot of the collected money goes to the states budget. It is a major revenue source for the state. Where I live, most of the "profit" from the lottery goes into paying state worker pensions.

yottasavings16 karma

Yeah it's a regressive tax and an inefficient way to contribute to social good.

KypDurron44 karma

Not to mention "the average household spends $640 a year on the lottery" is almost useless in terms of conveying information.

I'd bet that more than half of all Americans never play the lottery ever.

yottasavings21 karma

Yeah that's true. Only half play around

Tengoo149 karma

Hey! I've been on Yotta since your last AMA, when is my big win?

Just kidding. But, I do like your app a lot. I generally do a good job saving, but I find myself saving more and withdrawing less from savings so that I can keep my tickets. Speaking of which... if anybody is signing up today and needs a referral code, I can message you :) lol

yottasavings65 karma

Shameless plug! Ha

Tengoo29 karma

I'm a ticket fiend

yottasavings22 karma

I don't blame you

wab1989120 karma

What’s the hardest obstacle for people to overcome when trying to rid themselves of consistently playing the lottery?

yottasavings179 karma

The underlying psychology is the desire for the dopamine hit for instant gratification. The lottery and gambling provides that instant dopamine hit, which is why it's so addicting. Finding something else that can give you that same dopamine hit is key, but that thing has to be healthy for you!

wab198944 karma

I used to be a floor manager at a racino; it was kind of sad some days watching people blow through money all day. Do you have any articles or resources to help provide better avenues to spend your time and money, besides your company. Thanks!

yottasavings42 karma

Yeah it's pretty sad to see I agree. Casinos, racetracks, and the lottery. So much money goes into them and so much money is wasted. It's tough because people crave instant gratification. They need to find something that brings them instant gratification but that is also healthy and productive. Often those things don't align.

Would articles about how horrible the value is at lotteries or racetracks help do you think? Or do they understand that already?

Bill_the_Bastard77 karma

I used to be very anti-lottery because it's nearly always a negative expected value proposition, and it's disproportionately funded by poor people.

But, as I grow older, I see some alternative value in them. Many people, especially older people, don't have any real possibility of 'life-changing money'. They're not going to get a great new job that launches them into a different economic stratum. They're not going back to school to start a lucrative new career.

The fantasy of winning allows them to temporarily dream of a better life, no matter how incredibly improbable it is. I think there's some intrinsic value in that for some people. For some people it's the only real hope they have, and it figures into their retirement 'plans'.

Sad fucking world we live in.

JimDiego35 karma

I am about to hop in the car to go buy a couple tickets. I will be spending two dollars. I understand the odds are reaaaaaly not in my favor but I like knowing the possibility is there.

I quit smoking about ten years ago so I divert some of what would have been wasted on smokes into wasting on the lotto.

Plus, at this point, adding up the the eight dollars a month I spend on the lottery isn't even going to amount much by the time I kick off. Maybe I just won't get that new refrigerator that I don't need anyway :)

yottasavings29 karma

As long as you do it responsibly and go in knowing the odds and that it's just entertainment and it won't break the bank, no issues with it at all

yottasavings22 karma

Nothing wrong with the entertainment piece until it becomes an unhealthy amount of spend in it.

wab19895 karma

I think most reasonable people are aware of the odds not being in their favor but like you said crave that rush or feeling they can’t find or haven’t found elsewhere. Also, are there any referral codes you could share for Yotta? I’m already interested and didn’t know if you had any reliable ones.

yottasavings4 karma

I don't want to share referral codes in this forum unfortunately. If you poke around online, you'll probably find some though if you want

MarleyandtheWhalers92 karma

Hi Adam, thanks for taking questions. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like there are lots of psychological issues with saving that stem from people spending their money when they feel like they have any. Is there any effort you can make to ensure that the money stays in savings until it's really needed?

yottasavings143 karma

Yeah well the fundamental question is why do people like to spend? Instant gratification. It all comes back to instant gratification. We need to give people instant gratification for doing something that is long-term healthy. It's hard to change human nature, but we can use our own biases to help nudge ourselves to better choices. Ever read the book Nudge by Richard Thaler. It's great and talks a lot about this, called "choice architecture"

djibrmarseille082 karma

long time Yotta user, first time question-asker. The title suggests you're trying to get people to stop playing the lottery which is noble and as a former once a month powerball ticket buyer I understood it and anytime I want to buy a powerball ticket I now deposit that money into my yotta account. okay, not every time, most times.

Anyways, I haven't opted in for the debit card yet because it feels antithetical to being financially healthier, 1 in 100 odds of getting my purchase for free makes me want to buy MORE and save LESS especially because you're going to give me 10% back in the form of tickets. I guess, convince me I'm wrong and that a debit card that you have a random chance of getting something entirely for free is actually financially responsible?

yottasavings66 karma

We are going to be layering on budgeting tools and planning tools on top of the locked bucket feature we offer to help you put away funds you don't want to touch. Reality is that we do need to spend on certain things and make purchases, and most debit cards in the market provide no value to the spender despite the companies making money. We are giving back rewards on spending. I agree it is a fine line between incentivizing spend and giving rewards back.

I would love your feedback on how we can better straddle that line. We don't want to incentivize spend above and beyond what you otherwise would spend, but we do want to make the rewards fun that usually are non-existent.

pascalosti62 karma

This available for Canadians?

yottasavings88 karma

Not yet unfortunately. Just US. It's tough to launch internationally in regulated industries.

Z3ppelinDude9328 karma

Damn! I’ll make a note somewhere to keep an eye out for this if it ever comes to Canada! (And I should probably check your website to see if your have a newsletter or an option to sign up for notifications if you expand to other countries!)

yottasavings23 karma

Shoot me a DM with your email and can put you on a waitlist

Anaxamenes56 karma

Any thoughts on offering an app that helps people track their banking information and include all the Yotta fun stuff? Sort of like Mint but not run by Intuit. We talk about helping people save but having all their accounts including Yotta seems to be a great way to help people get their finances in order.

Just signed up for Yotta 2 months ago to give it a try.

yottasavings44 karma

We are working to integrate with all the 3rd party aggregators so you can integrate Yotta with them, but we are more focused on building some of this within Yotta so you can do it all in one place.

Walker126544 karma

Doesn't each state's lottery give back to certain charities or education funds? I know the lottery spends gajillions on marketing expenses so maybe it's not efficient charity, but it's still charity? Does Yotta donate back to communities?

yottasavings35 karma

Yeah they do but they do it very inefficiently. A ton on marketing and a ton of waste before it goes to the causes. As a company we don't do any donating right now. We are a growing company and need to get bigger before we can do stuff like that. Hopefully down the road!

yottasavings34 karma

We have actually given out 100,000 meals to Feeding America so far through round ups

feastingonpizza41 karma

Hiya there!

I think that educational systems all across the globe deserve to be adjusted to our century.

Do you think mandatory classes on how to understand money would help our future generations? Or at least some type of studies that focus on earning and spending money…

yottasavings42 karma

Yes 100000%! The educational system in the US is so dumb in so many ways. We learn stupid stuff in high school and not useful stuff. We should learn about personal finance, savings, statistics, and a lot of other things in high school (nutrition and health too).

I am very much in favor of adding personal finance as a mandatory part of the curriculum. It's probably the highest leverage thing we can do.

SubliminalSpectrum38 karma

the average household spends over $640 every year on the lottery

This feels like a made up statistic, at the very least it lacks crucial context. I mean, what percentage of US families even play the lottery?

So my question is, what is the data behind this statistic?

yottasavings37 karma

About half of US adults play the lottery at least one time per year. The total lottery spend in the US is over $80 billion and there are around 125 million households in the US.

jethroguardian27 karma

Yikes. I think I've played less than 5 times in my entire life.

yottasavings9 karma

That is good!

es_price1 karma

What were the reasons behind those 5 times? Large jackpots, drunk, etc?Asking for a company I mean friend

yottasavings1 karma

I am curious as well. When the jackpot is huge I bet

SubliminalSpectrum14 karma

About half of US adults play the lottery at least one time per year

Yeah, I've gotten scratchers in my stocking from family who also don't play the lottery with any regularity. So I guess I "play the lottery at least one time a year". I've also have a friend who is a gambling addict, and agree with the below point that these statistics are likely heavily concentrated rather than the way it is framed as the average household...

I mean, that doesn't matter to consumers I suppose. We can independently verify whether or not we play the lottery. It just feels like a misstatement / poor framing and consequently leaves the impression that what you're presenting is dishonest data.

Doesn't matter to me either way though, just sharing how your presentation of data strikes me. It feels very strawman-y.

yottasavings8 karma

I hear you. Lottery data is largely survey based since it's all cash basically.

goodnames67918 karma

Speaking anecdotally, I imagine you would find looking at the data that a massive portion of that comes from a small number of households. Like with any form of gambling, there are lottery addicts, and they can spend ridiculous amounts of money on their habit.

I know a guy whose dad plays around ~$15k a year in the lottery, despite him not being well off at all. He makes some of his money back, yeah, but then it ends up going right back into tickets.

I'm not a fan of AMAs that are literally just ads, but after seeing how that has affected the dude's life I can see this as a valid and helpful way to break an addiction like that.

yottasavings10 karma

Yeah there usually is some sort of power law with anything. The lottery data is largely survey based since so much of it is cash transacted.

swistak842 karma

Anecdotally I live in a small town in Poland. Every single time I visit local store someone is buying lottery ticket or a scratch-off.

Also my family member used to play 3 times a week, made statistical charts, played systems, as far as I know he plays to this day (30+years) never won anything major, so it's all money down the drain.

yottasavings4 karma

Currently there are diminishing returns ticket-wise after you reach a 10k deposit. Is there a reason for that reduction and are there any plans to increase that threshold?

Also the referral program seems a little lackluster. Any plans on beefing that to make it more attractive? I didnt find out til recently that the 10% ticket boost is only for 12 months and not the lifetime of the account. Big bummer for such a lofty goal of 10+ referrals

I am not surprised. People are addicted...

TieCliptomaniac38 karma

Hi Adam, gold status member here (only three away from platinum)

Currently there are diminishing returns ticket-wise after you reach a 10k deposit. Is there a reason for that reduction and are there any plans to increase that threshold?

Also the referral program seems a little lackluster. Any plans on beefing that to make it more attractive? I didnt find out til recently that the 10% ticket boost is only for 12 months and not the lifetime of the account. Big bummer for such a lofty goal of 10+ referrals

yottasavings35 karma

Yeah it's an economics trade-off for us. With interest rates having been so low, we've been unable to support such strong ticket ratios on marginal high balances. We will re-evaluate this as fed funds starts to rise.

yottasavings16 karma

This is helpful. Would love ideas that would make the program better for you. More tickets? Cash? What would you like to see there?

TieCliptomaniac24 karma

I really like the idea of a permanent increase at referral levels. Thats something that sticks and makes me hesitant to leave yotta since I'd also be leaving behind the special perk I have unlocked by advocating for the platform.

I think a very small permanent % increase for silver like 1%, smallish % for gold level like 3-5%, and have the 10% for platinum be over the lifetime and preferably increased bc its really tough to get 10 people to sign up and fund.

yottasavings12 karma

Thanks this is helpful feedback that we will take in internally!

Idontwantfopgoddamit4 karma

Can you clarify what you mean about diminishing returns? For me it's 1 ticket/$25 for the regular bucket or 1 ticket/$10 in crypto bucket. Are you saying that changes once you're above a 10k balance?

yottasavings10 karma

It does for the regular bucket, it does not for the crypto bucket

Lakaen37 karma

Decided to give the Yotta app a try today. But it seems to crash everytime i put in my name and i can't progress. On a newer android phone, any idea whats up with that?

yottasavings55 karma

We actually just started getting a bunch of inbound about this. A fix is on the way. Stay tuned and sorry for the trouble!

CardinalM133 karma

  1. For every $100 that someone deposits, how much of that $100 goes to Yotta (for operational expenses, profit, etc.), how much goes to funding the sweepstakes, and how much actually goes into the person's savings account?
  2. What APR does Yotta give people for money in their savings account? Is it competitive with HYSAs?
  3. Wouldn't it be better to educate people about how to save, low expense ratio investments, budgeting, etc. than to direct them towards a less efficient "savings" model?

yottasavings44 karma

1) About $1.5 goes into the sweepstakes, at the stage of our company we actually are funding operational expenses from investor capital and mainly card interchange revenues, not from deposits.

2) We give a base of 0.2% but the sweepstakes provides around 1.5% on average. So it's higher than most other HYSAs

3) I think there's a place for both. Investing is very important. But so is liquid checking/savings. I think education is crucial though.

PirateCurious31 karma

If someone uses a crypto bucket in the app and Yotta folds, what happens? I understand it is not fdic insured, but USDC is backed 1:1 with real US dollars from my understanding. So how would someone seek to recuperate their funds that were in a crypto bucket if Yotta disappeared tomorrow?

yottasavings44 karma

We aren't the custodian here. We partner with a company called Wyre as well as Evolve for digital currency services, so Yotta's solvency is irrelevant here.

CardinalM127 karma

Assuming the sweepstakes are funded by deposits, what happens when new deposits dry up? This feels similar to ponzi schemes. If sweepstakes aren't funded by deposits, how are they funded?

yottasavings30 karma

They are funded by all of our revenue streams, which come from deposits and interchange, and some other sources as well. The deposits continue to earn interest revenue for us that help power the sweepstakes, so it's not about needing new deposits at all to power them.

Alberta_Flyfisher26 karma

I'm going to spend some time looking into what you do. Sounds really Innovative. My question, is this at the moment, or intended for the future, in Canada?

My wife is a budget queen and we are always saving. Retirement, the "oh shit fund" for the house, the 6 months no job fund, next renovation fund... you get the picture.

This would be kind of fun to play along with while we are already doing what we do.

yottasavings20 karma

We would love to expand to Canada. Hopefully soon

trakrad9923 karma

I always thought it would be a good idea to cap lottery winnings at a certain amount. After that certain amount, say $5,000,000-every other million accumulated would go to other individual winners. So if a state lottery got up to $100,000,000 one person would win $5MM and 95 others had a chance at winning 1MM each. I feel like that would help so many more people and because the odds are better, more people would buy tickets and the prize/winners would increase. What the heck would someone do with $100MM anyway?

yottasavings24 karma

Yeah but then they can't sell the dream of some absurdly absurd amount of money. I agree, but they would never do that.

Ecstatic_Recording8820 karma

Is there an ETA on the Web Application and the Peer to Peer Payments?

yottasavings23 karma

Likely in the next month or two. Peer to peer is closer

Ecstatic_Recording887 karma

Thanks for the response! I'm assuming the investing side of Yotta is still under heavy development/discussion but is this something you consider more likely to be released rather than not?

yottasavings11 karma

Yeah, but maybe end of this year at the earliest.

AlwaysOnATangent11 karma

Do you guys sell user data and if so who is it sold to and why?

yottasavings7 karma

No we don't do any of this.

threenamer11 karma

When I win the lottery this weekend will you eat your shoe?

yottasavings44 karma

If you win the lottery this weekend - the jackpot, I will eat my shoe. But if you don't win the jackpot, then you have to eat a shoe. Deal?

vacationerinjuly10 karma

If I win, do I have to pay taxes? How much?

yottasavings14 karma

Same as you would on interest income. It's miscellaneous income with us which is like ordinary income. If you earn over $600 in a calendar year, we send you a 1099.

Warriorfrog8 karma

Hello Adam! I’ve been using Yotta since August 2020 and have won just under $20 while saving $100 a month. Just wanted you to know that I have really appreciated Yotta for keeping my emergency fund safe from myself!

As for a question- Can there be an option to turn off credit card offers/crypto offers? I am trying to pay off college credit cards and don’t need the temptation right now.

yottasavings8 karma

This makes sense. We will take it into consideration for sure. This is helpful feedback

oldrichie8 karma

You mentioned looking into UK Premium bonds - I've got the max amount and occasionally win, got £75 this month! - did you look at premium bonds as a favorable method to save ? or not?

Not after financial advice, this money is there waiting to be spent on a house extension. Just interested in your opinion.

yottasavings4 karma

I don't know the current implied interest rate of Premium Bonds, but I do think it's a smart way to save. Especially if you're someone who otherwise might feel the urge to gamble.

I haven't kept tabs with Premium Bonds in the last year though so I'm not sure the current rate.

Mister_Hangman8 karma

I’ve been a member for over a year and while I am very happy overall, why is it that every time, and I mean almost every time, I am told to share my results or my earnings on Twitter and I will get bonus tickets am I almost never seen those tickets deposited. By this point I estimate I should probably have received upwards of at least 2000 extra tickets, But seeing as I don’t think this is going to be resolved anytime soon I’ve simply stopped trying. Are you going to have any update or fix in the future where we will be given our promised tickets?

Shameless plug: I have had an account since last June with a balance averaging 10k. This is my total savings bonus and prizes since then. If you wanna sign up use my referral code MEHDI

yottasavings4 karma

Thanks for letting me know. I am escalating this with our CS team now. Could you DM us your twitter handle?

lastweekwastuff7 karma

How do we know the jackpot isn’t rigged? Are you going to McMillions us?

yottasavings13 karma

For the jackpot we partner with an insurance company to offer that prize. Which actually means we want someone to win it and ensures that the sweepstakes is totally fair! It's also a double blind system.

mattmart7 karma

What are your plans to expand app functionality? The only complaints I have with my experience (6 months) is the inability to search for transactions and I am unable to see AHC withdrawals in transaction history.

It would also be great if you had budgeting capabilities to categorize each transaction. Either native or 3rd party budgeting would be a great bonus!

yottasavings11 karma

What are your plans to expand app functionality? The only complaints I have with my experience (6 months) is the inability to search for transactions and I am unable to see AHC withdrawals in transaction history.

It would also be great if you had budgeting capabilities to categorize each transaction. Either native or 3rd party budgeting would be a great bonus!

Ha - these are all coming very soon! Actively being worked on

justatest907 karma

As someone who is only now starting a high-interest savings account (SoFi + direct deposit = 1.25%), is there any reason to use Yotta over SoFi?

Am I also right to be skeeved out by anything 'investing' in crypto?

yottasavings9 karma

Our average rate is a bit higher than theirs, and it's also much more fun than SoFi. Make sure you understand crypto before investing. Crypto is a broad term and there's a lot of nuance in currencies, stablecoins, and protocols. If you don't understand it, spend some time to learn before diving in I would say. It's good to be skeptical.

justatest906 karma

When you say 'average rate' - what does that mean? Looking at your website, it looks like the average rate is .2%, not 1.25%?

yottasavings5 karma

You need to factor in the value of all the prizes and the probabilities

B33TL3Z7 karma

Hi Adam!

I'm currently downloading the app as we speak, with plans to poke around and see what's happening.

What struggles did you face starting the company, in terms of creating an identity and brand and vision that would get people excited about Yotta instead of getting a lottery ticket, given that the hype and marketing regarding huge jackpots is uh... heavily emphasized every cycle?

Also, I see you're hiring for a Product Designer. Are y'all open to taking on a super junior, green UX Designer who's pivoting from a CADD Drafter career with a portfolio of smaller personal projects, or are you specifically looking for someone with more current industry experience?

yottasavings6 karma

It's very tough especially in consumer FinTech to build a trustworthy brand. That was the biggest challenge and still is. Since we offer a bank account, there is a lot that goes into it, and building trust and credibility is huge but hard as a brand new company.

A lot of people also think it's too good to be true. Kind of plays in with the trust element, but we had to combat that as well. Shoot us an email at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])! Not actively hiring for that role at the moment but always interested if the right person comes along.

mazing_azn7 karma

Any data or self-reported surveys that show lottery playing was decreased by using Yotta instead? Have had multiple friends who have family addicted (but won't admit it) to scratchers or pick-six looking for anything to curtail those habits.

yottasavings11 karma

We have run internal surveys with users and yes a large percentage who previously played the lottery frequently say that Yotta helps them reduce their lottery spend, which is huge! The lottery take rate is over 50%. It's insane....

Bill_the_Bastard6 karma

So you're hoping to put the lottery out of business, which (to an arguable degree) funds state programs, in favor of all those proceeds going to your startup?

yottasavings6 karma

The lottery funds state programs inefficiently through a regressive tax on the poor. We are trying to avoid the regressive tax in the first place and give people who need it more money in their pockets.

budgetingwithbutler6 karma

I've been using the Yotta credit card for almost a week now (love it). What are you doing to prevent people from returning/repurchasing items over and over again to try and trigger a lucky swipe? Thanks, and I just did a YouTube video review on the card in case you're interested in watching. - Joshua Butler

yottasavings8 karma

Awesome to hear. Would love to see the video. Will check it out. We have a 30 day period until the prizes from cards settle and repeat returns and repurchasing would violate the ToS and disqualify you from that prize.

knewtoff5 karma

Your website says you give away up to $10 million a week, but this post says you’ve only given away $6 million ever. What gives?

yottasavings9 karma

The $10 million is the jackpot, which no one has won yet. 4 people have won $40k

SacredBigFish5 karma

Are there plans for yotta to be released in other countries, in my case Germany? Seems like a really cool app!

yottasavings3 karma

Would love to down the road. Not this year though.

FelixAndCo5 karma

How much luck was involved in getting your enterprise of the ground? There must have been some "right man at the right place at the right time" factors involved.

yottasavings5 karma

There always is. For us, I think our luck was probably getting great people to join the company early. It's all about having great people and it's hard to get that right.

bigmamapain5 karma

Can you explain how it works like I'm 5? I have a couple friends that keep spamming their own accounts but cannot explain it to me themselves (which is YIKES, either on my part or theirs). FTR, I put $100/wk away automatically into a saving account currently. I move it back if I have to but usually the out-of-sight, out-of-mind works for me.

yottasavings6 karma

Yeah so think of it like this. Say in a normal bank account you put in $100 and get $1 a year in interest. Everyone gets that $1. With us, we combine everyone's $1 they would have gotten and instead you earn tickets that have a chance to win this combined $1. Every week there's a chance to win. The tickets you get feel a lot like lottery tickets - the more numbers you match the more you can win.

I like the automatic $100 idea. It's a helpful forcing function to save and commitment device in psych terms.

bigmamapain2 karma

Also, what are tax implications?

yottasavings6 karma

The winnings are miscellaneous income so it's really the same as any other miscellaneous income and likely the same as even interest income. You get a 1099 from us if you win more than $600 in a year, but you should be reporting earnings on your taxes as income.

ProSmokerPlayer5 karma

Why would a user deposit more than the initial $25 to receive their first ticket? Essentially ticket 1 costs $25 and ticket 2 costs $10,025?

Also what is the $EV per ticket for any user? I could do the math but I am lazy and you are here already!

yottasavings9 karma

No you get one for every $25 up to $10k and then for every $150 above that. The EV is roughly 1.5% on a pct basis for average interest per ticket

Bismar74 karma

(disclaimer: no judgement just curiosity)

So your model makes profit via yields through investments made via fractional reserve?

Do savings accounts accrue interest then or is it the lottery as interest?

Are there any plans in the works for loans (car/home mortgage)?

On the philosophy side, do you find it easily justifiable to prey on a form of gambling to accrue clients because it's a no loss lottery; if you understand and view the normal process as immoral, what justifies using the same method for different ends to you?

yottasavings8 karma

1) Yeah indirectly through our partner bank, we get a piece
2) The sweepstakes is effectively the yield. There's also a small base rate you get
3) Nothing right now
4) Nothing wrong with gamification that is gambling except if it drives irresponsible behavior. We are using gamification to drive long term positive behavior change. Big difference

samsonity4 karma

Do you know Jose Miguel Battle? What do you think of his work in the lottery because? Also you are kinda a baller and a legend.

yottasavings5 karma

No never heard of him actually

AruthaPete4 karma

If you realise your goal and put state sponsored lotteries out of business, how will you prevent illegal lotteries taking their place?

yottasavings3 karma

Same reason they don't exist today - it's illegal and anything illegal that gains steam would get shut down.

Faustyna4 karma

Ok, this is really cool! I just signed up :)

Do you have an average about how long it takes someone to win something? And/or what the average won amount is?

(If anyone needs a referral, dm me!)

yottasavings4 karma

At the average balance levels like 40% of people win at least something in a given week.

jparamch4 karma

Need any highly experienced technical account manager’s that started out in engineering and want to manage people too? Slide into my dms, this sounds much better than what I’m doing now.

yottasavings6 karma

Not right now.. but engineers yes!

alexrothschild4 karma

Concerning the metal debit card. I understand that y'all are still trying to grow your user base but i can't justify switching my direct deposit to the debit card when it's basically a flimsy, not even durable plastic. If it got damaged i would be screwed for a bit while waiting for a replacement. Can you at least provide an option to purchase the metal card or provide a standard card?

yottasavings2 karma

When did you get your card? We changed manufacturers recently and now have higher quality cards. Metal cards have been crazy delayed due to global supply chain issues from the past year. We are getting close to having them and will likely have a way to get them by paying in addition to through referrals.

irishfro3 karma

What’s the point of saving money when inflation is 8.5% and interest gained is .000003 %?

yottasavings3 karma

Inflation sucks, but what's even worse is investing in risky assets and losing money and then also suffering inflation. There's a place in every portfolio for liquid, safe cash and our rates are very high and rates should go up soon due to fed funds going up.

worktillyouburk3 karma

how can you legally run a lottery when only the government is aloud to run them and profit from them?

yottasavings3 karma

We operate as a sweepstakes, so there is a way to enter for free.

JiN88reddit3 karma

What's your view on those that plays the lottery just for the chance to dream of winning (provided they have extra income) vs those that buy and try to win by buying them excessively?

yottasavings1 karma

I have no issue with the former. We pay for a lot of entertainment in general right. That aspect of the lottery is fine but it's not fine when people play it at a level they can't afford, which is what happens. But also, the lottery is the worst value ever. Might as well play blackjack or roulette.

wystful3 karma

I don't play the lottery, but my state does fund educational scholarships and kindergarten programs from the money of those who do play. It helps folks like me who otherwise couldn't afford a higher education get one at a much lower cost.

In what ways is Yotta giving back to communities?

yottasavings5 karma

We have donated 100k meals to Feeding America. As we get bigger, we will continue to do more. Tough as a growth stage company to do a lot of this just yet.

5CatsNoWaiting3 karma

How does your company make money?

Following the reliable logic of "If I can't see what you're selling, you're selling ME," I wouldn't have assumed your company was anything legitimate or savory.

yottasavings5 karma

Same way most banks do. Interest revenue and interchange revenue. Nothing to hide. We don't sell or monetize any user data or anything like that at all.

Holy_Forking_Shirt2 karma

Ok, so how do I, as a single mom with no support, making less than $10 an hour, save any money whatsoever? How do I even manage to budget to survive? What advice do you give to people in my situation, where it's worse than just paycheck to paycheck?

yottasavings2 karma

The power of compounding. Start small and be consistent. A few bucks put away here and then begins to add up and compound over time. It's obviously tough and I'm over simplifying it. Make sure you know what your monthly spending looks like. Can you cut anything? Starting by actually laying out your monthly budget in terms of cash in and cash out and understanding where your money is going is the first step.

sexyfurrygalnyunyu2 karma

What is a no-lose lottery, how does it exactly work, why do you want to remove the traditional lottery industry, and if you could terminate a lottery corporation, who would you choose?

yottasavings1 karma

In the US the lottery is monopolized by the US gov, which is why it's so horrible actually. A no lose lottery gives you the chance to win something big without risk of loss.

MikeTheMulletMan2 karma

Not in my region. I’m from the UK, do you plan on offering this in the UK in the future or is there already something like this in the UK?

yottasavings2 karma

Premium Bonds is in the UK. We hope to expand eventually but not any time soon

TwoUglyFeet2 karma

Is there anyway to change the rewards of the metal card to anything other than referrals? Like hitting a savings benchmark? I would happily deposit like 10k to earn a metal card but I don't have a snowballs chance in hell of finding 10 people to sign up. Btw, I absolutely love Yotta, seeing my deposits track up to get more tickets is so exciting!

yottasavings1 karma

We will likely have a way to buy a metal card. They are expensive to produce, so we can't give them to everyone unfortunately.

zimtastic2 karma

Your site says we need to match out ticket numbers each week. Is this something that happens automatically, or do we not win if we don't manually check the ticket numbers?

Also, is there a deposit/ticket maximum?

yottasavings1 karma

It happens automatically. The ticket max is like 100k per week, something crazy high.

Islanduniverse2 karma

The power ball is currently at $302 million. So how’s putting them out of business going?

yottasavings5 karma

It's gonna take time!

inkBrain2 karma

Is there anyway to get a bulk export of all the winning yotta numbers so far? This is usually available for other major lotteries in U.S.

yottasavings1 karma

Not right now but we've been considering it

Cavebuilder2 karma

In two years, how much cash have you awarded in total?

You wrote that you are giving away $6 in prizes. What are those prizes if not cash?

yottasavings2 karma

Over $6 million so far. Largely cash and a Tesla!

cartmicah32 karma

you have a code for me when i sign up?

yottasavings2 karma

Can't do that here. Not the right place, but you can google around I'm sure

DanZmeN2 karma

I’m in Australia, can I use this app or is it strictly US based?

yottasavings2 karma

Only US right now

char1iex2 karma

Why are you not on the play store?

yottasavings3 karma

Are you not in the US? If not, can sign up on our website so you get alerted when we launch internationally

HowDoIDokkaebi2 karma

A couple questions about the six Yotta ball prize specifically since a decent amount of people have won the Tesla/37K prize.

  1. If/When someone matches six Yotta balls and decides to take the Tesla, what does the process look like to get them that car? (paperwork, delivery, etc.)

  2. With Tesla prices rising recently, is there any sort of "push" that Yotta makes for the winners to take the cash prize since it would cost Yotta less to shell out 37K vs the near 50K or whatever price a Model 3 currently is.

I ask because I would personally take the car unless I won the prize while I was deployed or not in the U S. for any other reason. I doubt I'll hit the prize any time soon, if ever, but it's fun to day dream

yottasavings2 karma

1) We reach out to them to ask them which option they want to choose. If they choose the car we work with them on the delivery date and all the details. I believe only one person has chosen the car so far.

2) No we don't make a push here. The issue with the car is you have to pay taxes on it. So the cash prize is often chosen.

Would you still take the car even with the tax component?

bakedziti82 karma

I think Yotta is a fantastic idea, it embraces the components of self-determination theory. Do you have any behavior change experts on staff? In the future would you look to hire coaches that focus on behavior change in relation to their finances or is that something that you could do with blogs/webinar basics?

yottasavings3 karma

We have no direct behavior change experts on staff, but I've gone very very very deep in this space. I could see a coaching type thing down the road. It's tough to scale to a huge audience for free though. I'm a big believer in making the system architecture create behavior change. More in product design than anything. Blogs for sure.

CoBullet2 karma

Seems you are talking numbers...

Average cost to acquire a new user?

Seems that FinTech always identifies a niche of users and then slows to a crawl to ramp up. I am curious, do you expect that cost to acquire new users to increase or go down as you expand/grow?

yottasavings5 karma

The good thing for us is unlike other banking products, with our app, it makes people want to tell their friends about it. We are very focused on making the app so good and fun that people want their friends on it. This allows us to avoid competing for high cost ads and instead rely on happy customers to spread the word. I can't reveal our average CAC here for competitive reasons, but paid channels in FinTech are expensive.

SJForeverLurker2 karma

Sorry a little late and scrolled through...will we ever see anything like SoFi has? Like, being a brokerage and originating loans and all that fun stuff?

yottasavings2 karma

Not in our near term roadmap. A lot of other core areas to focus and improve upon first.

SJForeverLurker2 karma

Gotcha, thank you for answering. Only been a user for about two weeks now and have to say, love the app. Won about $0.30 so far but still a MUCH better rate than my current savings account

yottasavings3 karma

Thanks! Appreciate it!

1FrostySlime1 karma

What features does yotta plan to work on and launch after the release of the credit card?

yottasavings1 karma

See below!

HalfMileRide1 karma

Why is the lottery so popular?

yottasavings2 karma

instant gratification. It gives people hope and the dream of winning big and changing their life. That hope is worth something and people love it. What people don't realize is that if you keep playing the lottery consistently, you'll lose a lot of money, but people often don't think about the long-term and are motivated by the short-term.

itsthebrod2 karma

You're asking why a chance to win a large sum of money is popular? Really?

HalfMileRide2 karma

No, I am asking why the lottery itself, (with incredibly bad odds) is popular.

yottasavings3 karma

It's a good question... to me it's just instant gratification in the form of hope

ObligationWarm52220 karma

Is it safe for me to put every penny I own (not much admittedly) into crypto buckets? I know they're not FDIC insured but what are the odds that becomes relevant?

yottasavings1 karma

Crypto buckets are not FDIC insured, so I wouldn't put every penny you own in there, but it's part of a diversified portfolio. You can read more about the risks on our website - I don't want to opine or give investment advice here, but I personally put my own money into crypto buckets.

The odds aspect is less relevant here.

Sir_Randolph_Gooch-6 karma

If I won tickets in a lottery to see Brandan Schaub headline at Moon Tower Comedy Fest how redacted would I be if I attended?

yottasavings5 karma

Who is Brandon Schaub? Is that a bad question? I'm more of a Seinfeld fan

eschy12-7 karma


yottasavings4 karma

I don't think they'll like that!

Koronakesh-9 karma

You know what I could do with my cash that would earn me even more money than your “free” lottery? Investing it.

This is just a gimmick.

yottasavings18 karma

Over the long run as long as you keep it invested, that's right. But everyone should have an emergency fund and liquid cash that doesn't risk short term volatility.

penny_eater9 karma

Youre right but also, there is a far worse thing to do with your money which is to waste it gambling/lottery and a LOT of people do that.

yottasavings6 karma

Yes exactly! The lottery is so so so bad for people

dersopotamus0 karma

In a sense I agree with you. But if I'm gonna put some money in a Bank of America account anyways, can def see using Yotta instead

yottasavings0 karma

Oh yeah the big banks totally screw people. They pay basically nothing in interest... and they charge all sorts of annoying fees and their UIs suck.

Sir_Randolph_Gooch-1 karma

It’s for people who are horrible with money I’m guessing. So horrible that they give this company theirs.

yottasavings3 karma

It's not necessarily for people horrible with money. It's definitely for people who might like to gamble a bit too much and lose too much money to gambling and the lottery, but it's also fun for the general population.

dersopotamus2 karma

It’s for people who are horrible with money I’m guessing. So horrible that they give this company theirs.

Just curious, do you keep any money in a checking or savings account? If not, what do you use instead?

yottasavings2 karma

Personally? Yeah I do. I use Yotta for my day to day banking and checking/savings. I use Fidelity/Robinhood and some others for investing.