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three+one: Pioneering fintech turning cash into your most valuable asset

three+one: Pioneering fintech turning cash into your most valuable asset

three+one®, a Rochester, New York-based financial-technology company, offers innovative liquidity-data and cash-management solutions that deliver better financial outcomes for public entities and higher Ed institutions—and for those they serve. The firm’s unique liquidity-data platform, cashVest®, has brought over $650 million in new revenue to communities nationwide. cashVest® is endorsed by the National Association of Counties (NACo), as well as 17 state associations.

For three+one, innovation is embedded in the firm’s culture and reflects the genesis of the company as a financial technology pioneer in liquidity management. When asked to elaborate on how three+one continues to carve out the time and space for innovative ideation and implementation despite the

rigors of running the day-to-day of a firm with an national presence, SVP Garrett Macdonald reflected on the ethos that permeates throughout the company stating, “Don’t isolate innovation, but socialize ideas across the organization. Be intentional about creating a time and forum to present ideas. This channels and structures innovation while encouraging our team members to participate and feel heard.”

The success of three+one and the financial benefits provided to their public sector and higher Ed clients can best be measured with a singular, yet powerful metric: the data solutions and liquidity management of their principal technology platform, cashVest, has resulted in over $650 Million delivered back to communities and their stakeholders by maximizing the value of their cash.

But for Garrett Macdonald, along with co-founders Joseph Rulison and Peter Forsgren, that success and the direct positive impact to communities across the nation is more that just a patented technology that can stress test financial data and confidently assess when cash will be needed and when it can be put to use for additional earnings. For the team, collectively, success is also defined by the firm’s steadfast commitment to public service that is born out of their own service as public officials themselves.

“At three+one we have an intimate knowledge of our client’s challenges as well as the opportunities to utilize data, not opinions, to the benefit of taxpayers everywhere,” Macdonald noted. “Our co-founders are both public officials in their own communities, as is a significant portion of our team.” That unique understanding of their client’s fiduciary responsibilities was key to developing a robust FinTech platform that adds time back to officials’ days enabling them to spend less time preparing and reviewing spreadsheets, and more time on higher-value strategic matters.

When it comes to discussing three+one and its technology solutions, cashVest® and rfpPrep®, with government entities and higher Ed institutions, the most reassuring promise to clients and prospects is the value central to the firm’s operations: for public officials, by public officials.

In that spirit, Macdonald continued to say, “As a company, we are just getting started. We will not feel complete until we have reached every local community in the United States and beyond. three+one® is in a unique niche that offers great value to our clients and prospects.”

That privileged relationship with clients, and by extension the communities they serve, cemented into a lasting bond because three+one saw an underserved marketplace in the sectors of public entities and higher Ed institutions. Specifically, those entities needed to better understand the role of liquidity and how to view and capture all aspects of cash. In a changing banking landscape, they were being challenged with fewer financial resources, and they could profit from the new sources of revenue cashVest could offer them.

Macdonald was quick to point out, “First and foremost, we always tell our team that people don’t care what you know until they know you care. This is paramount to everything we do, and is why we created a client advisory group to steer innovation towards solving practical solutions through the inclusion of client and prospect experiences in discussions and programming. If we don’t show our customers that we care about them, and listen to them, as people before sharing what we know about our technology or solutions, our relationship will be based on a business transaction and will be short-lived.”

That resulting longevity in client retention across all relationships is a testament to this ethos as well as the results achieved for partners across the spectrum. With a portfolio that includes public sector entities and higher Ed institutions from New York to California, and Alaska to the Deep South, with budgets ranging from the tens-of-millions to billions of dollars, cashVest by three+one has proven universal application and ability to help these partners earn and save more money even in the wake of turbid market conditions.

One mostly-urban public entity in a major metropolitan area whose annual budget is in excess of $800M realized more than $1M in additional revenue using cashVest while outpacing benchmarks 5x that of similarly constituted peers. Another client in the industrial heartland supercharged their ability to maximize the value of their cash with cashVest in exceeding benchmarks by 400%. In addition, that same county-level entity realized more than $150,000 in savings utilizing another FinTech solution of three+one, rfpPrep, to streamline the process of acquiring investment services and using a digitally-smart, objective-scoring methodology to compare vendors and evaluate potential savings on banking fees.

And while three+one is being seen as a positive disruptor in the financial marketplace, the firm’s core value and promise to exceed expectations has it delivering more than welcomed news to public officials’ balance sheets.

It is also the tangible benefits, in addition to financial ones, that have financial administrators singing the praises of three+one. As Terri Ross, Treasurer of Allegany Co., NY put it simply, “We don’t have the staff to do this type of analysis; three+one became an extension of our team, and I think people will find cashVest is a permanent solution to some of the challenges within the banking industry.” She further added, “One of the biggest advantages is the communication we have that can in turn be shared with our Board and elected officials. By seeing the liquidity, the data, we are able to invest the way we do, and reduce fees for banking services. – I’ve worked for the County for thirty-nine years. This is a totally different way of doing things, and we’ve made it work for us.”

Highlighting the resolve of that very confidence and peace of mind, three+one was built for circumstances like the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the firm created the Pathway to Recovery® program that helped both public and higher Ed institutions develop and understand liquidity patterns and how they could best deal with the pandemic. The firm’s liquidity strategies helped entities in forecasting revenue patterns, locking in new income streams, and meeting funding gaps that otherwise may have gone unnoticed. The cashVest® liquidity platform was deemed an essential financial and technology tool by local, state, and federal government entities throughout the pandemic.

Growing up on a dairy farm in Western New York, Garrett Macdonald learned that vision and purpose were planted one seed at a time. That meant hard work, patience, and understanding that a drought, flood, or freeze could be right around the corner and you always need to have a contingency plan. And though he has traded the agrarian lifestyle for one of public service, it wasn’t business school or his MBA, but those early-learned principles that remain and guide him, the leadership, and the entire team at three+one to fulfill their promise of giving back, doing more, and ensuring their clients are in the best financial position possible.

Speaking about the continued evolution of three+one and how the technology and business sectors will view cashVest, Macdonald stressed, “Being recognized globally as the premier public sector and higher Ed financial data resource is an important benchmark, but more than anything we want to make a difference in each community and organization we serve. It is our goal to reach over $1.0 billion in new savings and income for these communities by the end of 2022, and over $10.0 billion by 2025.”

Meet one of the leaders

Garrett Macdonald, CTP, FPAC, is Senior Vice President of three+one, where he has served since 2015. He currently leads the client experience and acquisition teams as they help public entities generate measurable and sustained public value. Garrett is a frequent guest speaker and panelist for regional and national public treasury conferences.

“A dedicated team focused solely on enhancing your liquidity-management strategy as an objective.”

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