Today, Ellevest announced a new round of funding, with new investors including Valerie Jarrett (!) and Pivotal Ventures, the company founded by Melinda Gates (!!!), along with a brilliant group of returning investors.
But you know press releases never tell the full story, right? So we’ve annotated ours to give you some backstory (with more to come about what it’s really like to raise venture money without a ... well, you know what I was going to say).
Click on the highlighted links to pop up color commentary and inside stories.
ELLEVEST RAISES $34.5 MILLION TO HELP WOMEN UNLEASH THEIR FINANCIAL POWER
Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, Valerie Jarrett, and PayPal join returning investors in the fast-growing digital investing platform with a mission to help women crush their money goals
NEW YORK, March 28, 2019 — Ellevest, the digital investment platform built by women, for women that launched publicly two years ago, announced today that it closed a $33 million funding round, led by Rethink Impact and PSP Growth. New investors include Pivotal Ventures, the investment and incubation company founded by Melinda Gates (yes, that Melinda Gates); PayPal; Elaine Wynn, co-founder of Wynn Resorts; Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Google and Alphabet; Valerie Jarrett (yes, that Valerie Jarrett); Gingerbread Capital (founded by Linnea Roberts); and Mastercard. Returning investors include Aspect Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Morningstar, Astia Angels, Creditease Fintech Investment Fund, and Ulu Ventures.
“Today, we bring in a group of rock star investors deeply aligned with our mission. And it’s no coincidence that many of them are unparalleled changemakers and advocates for women who understand that being under-invested can cost women a fortune over their lives,” said Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevest’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “And it can be life-changing money. Retire-like-an-Instagram-influencer money. Get-your-hand-off-my-leg money.”
“When the status quo isn’t meeting women’s needs, it deserves to be disrupted, and that’s what this platform created by women, for women aims to do,” said Melinda Gates, investor. “Women’s lives and realities are different than men’s, and I think we’ll see more and more of a demand for products designed to reflect that. This is an important market opportunity that Ellevest is well positioned to tap into.”
The funding comes on the heels of fast growth in several new product areas, including Ellevest Private Wealth Management, designed for high net worth clients — which hit the milestone of $100 million in assets under management — and Ellevest’s unique Premium service, which gives women access to a team of Executive Coaches and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ pros so they can take their career and money goals to the next level. Taken together, Ellevest’s services now serve women and allies across their stages of life through a combination of technology and personal service.
It’s been a pretty good week for women-led companies bringing the thunder: Glossier and Rent the Runway became “unicorn” companies valued at more than $1 billion after new rounds of funding. It’s also been a decent year: The Wing, ThirdLove, Billie, and Landit all announced funding rounds in the past three months. All of these companies have something in common with Ellevest: They came into being because the status quo didn’t fit women’s lives.
Jenny Abramson, founder and managing partner of Rethink Impact, says, “Since we invested in Ellevest’s last round nearly two years ago, Sallie and her team have achieved exponential growth and helped countless women to take hold of their financial futures. We’re thrilled to co-lead this round, and look forward to continuing to partner with the company and its stellar community of investors.”
“I’m so pleased to support Ellevest as it leads the way to help women become financially stronger and meet their money goals,” said Valerie Jarrett, co-chair of the United State of Women. “When women are stronger financially, that means a stronger economy and a stronger society. We need this change right now.”
Ellevest will use the capital to accelerate its growth — including investing in its technology, expanding into new product categories, and working with women to develop new, non-boring financial education.
The company will also double down on building its community. With so many women not talking about money — to the point that they’d rather talk about anything else — the company is unique among financial services companies for the community that it’s built over the two years since it launched.
“Ensuring that all women have robust financial tools to improve financial health and seize more opportunities is a societal imperative,” said Dan Schulman, president and CEO, PayPal. “We are proud to support Sallie and her team at Ellevest, who are helping to level the playing field by pioneering investment solutions tailored to women. The growth in Ellevest demonstrates that, even in a crowded market, there is always opportunity for customer-focused solutions to win.”
SOME INTERESTING ELLEVEST STATS
Clients in all 50 states (sorry, Canada, we hear you and maybe someday)
Clients’ ages: 18–85; average age: 34
#1 goal women are investing for with Ellevest: Build Wealth
#2 goal: Retirement
#3 goal: Emergency Fund
#4 goal: Buying a Home
74% identify as female
43% are people of color
50% identify as female
41% are people of color
Ellevest is a transformative financial technology company created to help women achieve their financial potential through modern, low-cost investing, with a beautifully designed digital platform backed by a unique investing approach. From a gender-smart investing algorithm for digital-only customers to bespoke portfolios for private wealth clients, Ellevest also provides the option to invest for impact and in other women. Ellevest is for those who believe that because women generally have longer lifespans and are typically paid less than men, the old approaches haven’t worked for everyone — and that when women thrive, everyone is better off. Ellevest is led by Sallie Krawcheck, called the “Last Honest Analyst” by Fortune Magazine, and was named one of NerdWallet’s Best Robo-Advisors in 2019 and 2018.
For Ellevest: Latoya Henry, 646.382.4511, firstname.lastname@example.org
You get it. Annotations will show in the pop-ups.
Yep, during Women’s History Month. That was intentional. (Coming in hot in the final few days of Women’s History Month? Not so intentional — fundraise deals are complex and always, always take more time than founders think. More on that in a later article ...)
We launched in November, 2016, one day before the election. On purpose. Because we were going to have a woman president. Yay.
This is Melinda’s company (aka not the Gates Foundation), which she’s using to “bet on diversity.” Some other things she’s invested in through Pivotal: the Female Founders Fund, woman-led VC firm Aspect Ventures (yes, also an investor in Ellevest), and Reboot Representation (to get more women of color in tech).
Philanthropist. Feminist. Billionaire. Co-founder of Wynn Resorts and led the push for real change there (you may have seen those headlines) when she was on the board.
WE STAN. That is all.
This one’s unusual for a financial services company. But at the end of the day, what women are able to invest is tied to their paycheck. Women we talked to told us they could use 1:1 career coaching. And no wonder, because women’s progress in the workplace? Pretty much totally stalled.
They make it look easy. It never is. After this round, I feel like I’m at the end of a marathon — one in which I threw up, hallucinated a giant rabbit running next to me for the final four miles, and broke my knee. And this press release is the media snapping a picture of me coming across the finish line while I try to smile. (And I’ll be sharing more about the whole thing soon, so stay tuned.)
Starting to feel like “another Tuesday, another woman-led company gets funded,” right?
If you don’t yet know Jenny, you should. She founded Rethink Impact to invest “in female leaders using technology to solve the world’s biggest problems,” and she’s one of the leaders in the fight to close the venture funding gap for women entrepreneurs.
Valerie’s been on fire in her post-government life. She co-founded the United State of Women conference, she’s also an investor in The Wing, and she has a new book, “Finding My Voice,” coming out next week.
Because if we see another “What's Your Money Style?” quiz, we’ll barf.
* waves *
Literally anything else, including:
The birds and the bees
How much they weigh
THEIR OWN DEATH. (So. Messed. Up.)
Ally. When Dan came to PayPal, he found and fixed the company’s gender pay gap. Immediately. He made headlines talking about it (again) just last week. So who thinks it’s a coincidence that he’s all about closing those gender money gaps ... and is also investing in Ellevest?? (Not us.)
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