A leading women’s rights campaigner and prominent female former executives from UBS and Goldman Sachs have joined forces to accelerate the growth of SmartPurse, a money coaching and learning start-up aimed at making financial education affordable and accessible to every woman.
Even more relevant in the face of a major economic downturn caused by coronavirus, SmartPurse is the brainchild of Jude Kelly CBE, founder of WOW – the Women of the World Festival, and Olga Miler, a leading advisor on women’s finances and former global program architect of UBS Wealth Management’s change programme for women.
The award-winning platform offers women access to a bespoke financial coaching and learning toolbox to help them take control of their financial future and achieve financial independence. The business is being backed with £500,000 in angel investment capital from prominent angel investor and former Goldman Sachs partner, Jacki Zehner and a consortium of early investors such as Jamie Broderick, former head of UBS Wealth Management UK, to help scale the business amongst global employers and consumers. This marks Jacki’s largest angel investment and carries even more significance among low business optimism in the face of the pandemic.
They have also assembled a high-profile advisory board to help steer the business, including Inga Beale, former CEO of Lloyds of London, Atalanti Moquette, Founder of Giving Women, entrepreneur and columnist Professor Heather McGregor and Ritu Banga, Co-Founder & Managing Director at Zoomdojo. Rick Haythornthwaite, Chairman of MasterCard Inc and Xynteo and Alastair Lukies CBE Founder and CEO of Pollinate also sit on the advisory board and are accelerating SmartPurse growth through their advisory and scaling practice, The Purl Partnership.
The launch of SmartPurse comes at a time when educational tools and advice aimed at women have taken on newfound importance, as the pandemic intensifies existing financial pressures and disproportionately affects women across their work, family and personal lives. For ess than the cost of a gym membership, SmartPurse delivers 16 educational modules, all co-created by women, on themes such as divorce, retirement, investment and saving.
Members also have access to a variety of in-person sessions and courses. It also offers a platform to more conveniently find and connect with credible financial advisors who understand women’s lives first-hand, and access to a growing, diverse community of women via forums and events. Members can tailor their SmartPurse experience to their individual needs and goals, customising which modules and other services they use. The ‘freemium’ model means educational resources are available free of charge for women who do not wish to sign-up to the full proposition.
With close to 1,000 members already, and successful pilot schemes running across large corporates, Jacki’s investment will enable the business to expand at pace. The coming year will see SmartPurse look to expand its current membership base and global operation beyond UK and Switzerland where it is active already today, while also scaling its licencing and partnership model for employers to become a key part of employee benefit packages.
Olga Miler, Co-founder of SmartPurse commented: “Managing finances is often a pain point for women. Most are time-poor, and don’t have the luxury to spend hours searching through tonnes of information that isn’t understandable or tailored enough for their personal and unique situations. With women expected to bear some of the biggest challenges brought on by the pandemic, helping women find financial independence is now more important than ever.
“We have created a model which makes accessing financial education as simple and as affordable as possible, understanding that all women have different goals, experiences and expectations. We believe that now more than ever, employers should recognise the importance of female-specific financial education as the workplace and associated benefits evolve with the external climate.”
Jude Kelly, Co-founder of SmartPurse commented: “The long-term effects of the pandemic are still unknown, but what we can be certain about is that it will be women who feel its impact most. The disproportionate weight of job losses, childcare and home-schooling over the last six months risks widening this gulf even further. “So far, this crisis affecting half of our population has been ignored by the government’s response to the pandemic. Women must now take control of their own future, with the first step being managing their money. SmartPurse is designed to help women do just that.”