Wall Street veteran Sallie Krawcheck has faced decades of finance mansplaining.
In the tall buildings huddled together on the southern tip of Manhattan around a bronze bull, Krawcheck rose through the ranks to become one of the most powerful women in finance while hearing words like “outperform,” “beat the market,” and “pick the winner” repeated by the mostly male financial workforce.
That’s something she wants to change.
“We’re really on a mission,” Krawcheck told Mashable. “We’re about trying to make sure every woman in this country understands there’s been a gender investment gap and sees a path forward to change their own.”
The notion that men make for better investors was one of the many frustrations she uncovered within her several executive roles in the finance industry, as CEO of Citigroup’s Smith Barney and Sanford Bernstein in addition to Bank of America.
Ellevest, a digital investment platform, is one of Krawcheck’s solutions to encourage and help women invest in order to meet personal goals. The product, which has been in an invite-only beta test since May, launched publicly Monday.
“Our goal is to help women close their personal gender investment gap, which costs some women hundreds of thousands, sometimes even millions, throughout the course of their lives,” Krawcheck said.
It’s not about remedial financial education like telling someone not to buy a new pair shoes and instead to instead put money in the stock market, Krawcheck said. Rather, Ellevest creates a long-term plan and invests a deposit of your budget into a portfolio.
Anyone including men can sign up on the company’s website by filling out a profile that includes their name, location, age, education, marital status and income. They then share their goals and can choose between suggested monthly contributions and timelines to meet each one. The process takes about 15 minutes.
“Ellevest is really trying to address what women are looking for and the flip-side of it, what has kept them from investing?” Krawcheck said. “It’s how we can use investing as a means to an end where the end is starting our businesses, retiring well, having kids or buying a home.”
Ellevest tries to eliminate jargon out of the process. That’s one of the reasons women have avoided using robo-advisors or even investing in the past, Krawcheck found in her early research. During beta testing, only 3 percent of Ellevest users have asked to speak to a human representative.
Ellevest differs from other online advisors like Betterment and Wealthfront through its algorithms, which incorporate traits particular to women. For instance, when choosing portfolios, it considers that women live longer and earn less than men.
Ellevest raised $9 million in funding in September, adding to a $10 million Series A from the year prior, and included high-profile women like investment fund manager Mellody Hobson and professional tennis player Venus Williams along with woman-led venture capital firm Aspect Ventures.
“Ellevest is going to change the way women think about their money,” Theresia Gouw, cofounder and managing partner of Aspect Ventures, wrote to Mashable in an email. “The Ellevest team has worked very hard to understand their community and create a product that is really specific to the unique needs of women as they invest.”
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