Female Invest was founded in 2017, and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. Named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2020, and the recipient of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, Female Invest is an EdTech platform and community which, through subscription-based e-learning, empowers millennial and Gen Z women by increasing their understanding of personal finance and investing.
This International Women’s Day, The Fintech Times spoke to Female Invest co-founder & Partner, Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen, on how, and why, they’re working to close the gender investment gap.
What was the inspiration for creating Female Invest?
It started with an “a-ha!” moment when we all met for the first time and found that all three of us had experienced feeling alone in our discoveries of investing. We had all attended personal finance events at which women were largely absent and we had also struggled to find the necessary information to get started. This shared passion was the starting point for Female Invest and sparked the ambition to create a forum that makes investing easily accessible and manageable to join – an initiative that we ourselves were missing. We subsequently discovered the unaddressed gender disparity in investments and savings. 70% of stocks are owned by male investors (1 in 5 British women admitting to having never held stocks), and female workers are retiring with around £70,000 less in their pensions than men. This shocked us and made us want to take action.
How is Female Invest working to close the gender investment gap?
We’ve created an EdTech platform and community which, through approachable subscription-based e-learning, empowers millennial and Gen Z women by increasing their understanding of personal finance and investing. We are providing a safe space in which women can acquire the skills necessary to control their own capital and obtain financial independence. With our guidance and support, more women are getting into investing, resulting in the much-needed narrowing of the gender investment gap.
Why do you think it’s important to close this gap?
The rationale underpinning the platform is that internationally, women are falling further behind when it comes to building wealth. They are earning less, saving less and then – with what money they have – they are investing less. This imbalance is not right. Furthermore, it is important to reinvent the paradigm of how young women experience financial advice. When it comes to money-saving insights, the internet is filled with sites that advise young women on how to save money on beauty, clothes, food and going out. Yet, when it comes to making money, there is almost nothing on helping women make substantial investments. This, again, is not right.
What does Female Invest offer to consumers?
Above all, we offer a safe space for women to talk about money. For a subscription of £8 per month members gain access to an online universe of content, courses, webinars, video tutorials, articles, easy-explainers and live events. Approximately 50% of live events have external speakers, with guest contributors from the likes of Nasdaq, SaxoBank, and Maj Invest providing additional content and industry-specific expertise. To date, more than 45,000 women have attended live events staged by Female Invest (both in-person and online, in the wake of Covid-19) where women are taught how to invest with a starting fund of as little as £400.
What is “Getting your S.H.I.T. together”?
All of our content and events are designed to empower women to take control of their finances and are underpinned by our message of “Get your S.H.I.T. together – (salary, home, investments, taxes).” By having these four in order, you will gain greater control of your finances and therefore, your life.
Another example of a popular concept is the F*** U Fund, which is a savings account that we suggest our members set up. The F*** U Fund empowers women to be able to say F*** U to something that no longer serves them – such as a job they no longer want. It gives women the financial padding that they need when choosing to make a change.
What has been the reaction to Female Invest so far?
The reaction has been incredible! What started as a hobby, has now exceeded everyone’s expectations, with the support of thousands of women of different backgrounds, ages and locations. And it continues to do so. With members across 55 countries, we are Europe’s largest financial educator of its type for women, following financing from the Danish state investment fund in December 2020. Our priority for 2021 is to further expand our presence within the UK, with our British membership having grown 1,000%+ during 2020.
What are your aspirations for the future of Female Invest?
We wish to continue growing and helping more and more women make the most of their money by educating and empowering them through our e-learning universe. We look forward to being able to host our events in a live setting again and to continue to develop this avenue of our business. An important goal for us is that we wish for a by-product of the platform to contribute to the demystification of the world of investments, as the financial industry has traditionally been dominated by men. This is reflected in every aspect of it: from communication style to the corporate culture and product offerings. While this is not done with the intention to exclude women, it effectively does just that. Ultimately, Female Invest is fighting for financial equality and we aspire to change the landscape and the narrative around women in finance.
What advice would you give to women looking to start investing?
Do not listen to the common misconceptions about investing. You do not need a vast fortune, nor is it hugely time-consuming; it is not extremely boring, and women are not worse at investing than men. According to analysis by Warwick Business School, women who do take the plunge outperform men when it comes to investment returns, making the need for a company run by women, for women, that approaches finance in a fun and authentic way, all the more pertinent. Ultimately, nothing bad happens when women have more money!