Today, Ellevest announced that we’ve raised $53 million (!) in our Series B funding round. Cue the confetti and the balloons — and the snoozer of a corporate press release.
But there’s always the story behind the story, you know? So we’ve annotated our press release so you can hear it (with more to come about what it’s really like to face down that “Series B cliff” as a woman founder in fintech).
Click on the highlighted links to pop up color commentary and the inside scoop.
ELLEVEST RAISES $53M IN SERIES B FUNDING ROUND BACKED BY A POWERFUL ROSTER OF WOMEN INVESTORS
NEW YORK, April 6, 2022 — Ellevest, the financial company built by women for women, today announced a $53M Series B funding round. The round was co-led by BMO and Contour Venture Partners. It included investments from several new women-led investors, including Halogen Ventures, Cleo Capital, New York Ventures of Empire State Development, Stardust Equity, The Venture Collective, and Envestnet, as well as the LGBTQIA+ investment syndicate Gaingels.
Returning institutional investors include Melinda French Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, Astia Venture Fund, Khosla, Morningstar, AME Cloud Ventures, Rethink Impact SPV, Salesforce Ventures, PayPal Ventures, and Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, as well as individuals like Elaine Wynn and others.
Ellevest is the first financial company built by women to achieve this level of success, having grown to $1.44B total AUM as of 12/31/21. Ellevest was also named the #1 mission-driven investing offering by Bankrate.1
Ellevest will use the capital to deepen its offerings, providing personalized coaching, product solutions, and community to help women reach their money goals and furthering Ellevest’s mission to get more money in the hands of women.
“Ellevest was built by women, for women. It is also funded by women, with 360 women and underrepresented investors participating in this funding round. This group recognizes that women have been disproportionately losing financial ground, and that’s bad news for all of us. Ellevest has a key role to play in addressing this issue: to help women — and their families — rewrite their financial narratives and thrive,” said Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of Ellevest.
“Wonderful things happen when women support women in business. That’s why we are proud to stand behind a company that is focused on giving women the tools they need to thrive financially,” said Sarah Kunst, managing director at Cleo Capital.2
“There is a massive need for financial products that serve women,” said Caroline Lewis, managing partner of Rogue Women’s Fund. “Ellevest truly lives by its values, creating space for women and diverse-led firms to be part of its growth story. It’s an honor to be one of those firms.”2
BMO stands out among the large banks, with a board of directors that includes 50% women in independent board positions and a leadership team that is 40% women.
“Our investment in Ellevest is grounded in the same values that guide us at BMO,” said Shannon Kennedy, global president at BMO Family Office. “As a bank, we are committed to growing the good in business and life, supporting women entrepreneurs, and championing gender equality in the workplace and beyond. Investing in Ellevest, a company focused on equity and inclusion, has only furthered that mission, and we’re looking forward to supporting their journey.”2
Moelis & Company LLC and Cooley LLP advised Ellevest.
Ellevest is a financial company built by women, for women, providing solutions for all stages of women’s financial lives to help them build wealth. Ellevest’s offerings include digital investing tools, banking services, professional career and money coaching, and learning resources, as well as private wealth management for high net worth clients who want a personalized financial strategy that may include impact investing. Named best mission-oriented investing service by Bankrate,1 Ellevest has built an online community of more than 3 million women working toward financial equality. To learn more, visit ellevest.com.
For Ellevest: email@example.com.
Yep, exactly. Annotations will show in the pop-ups.
What we’ve got here is women investing, women investing in women, and women investing to help women invest.
Because, by the wealth gap’s latest measure, women overall own only 32 cents for every dollar a white man owns (just one cent for Black women and Latinas). And it’s been moving in the wrong direction.
Coming out of Women’s History Month, and heading into Financial Literacy Month. See what we did there?
The team and I will be over here icing our cheeks from smiling so much, because our chances of getting here, at the time of our founding, were low. Really low. Super low. Our VP of finance calculates it at 0.00019%; I calculate it at 0.002%. But you get the point.3
Fun fact: We’re the largest direct investment that New York Ventures has ever made. They invest in diverse founders solving large-scale problems.
We know. We know! 👑
Astia’s new fund has invested in five companies in the past year: all run by women, two by Black women.
They’ve been with us from our seed round. Love that.
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.
Think the list above is a lot of names? Well, it doesn’t even begin to capture the full picture. We’ve got literally hundreds of people in the mix this round. And the majority — 360, to be exact — are women and other underrepresented investors, like LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC people. (In fact, by my math, about two-thirds of the funds invested this round came to us from underrepresented investors.)
You bet we are.
Those smarties. 😉
Listen. Our all-women team of money and career coaches is incredible. The best of the best, IMHO. Their one-on-one work with our members literally changes lives.
Women’s #1 emotion around money is “overwhelmed.” And there can be loneliness (and shame) around it. But you all have brought 👏 it. 👏 You’ve been learning together, sharing, problem solving, and cheering each other on. Whether you’re investing your first dollar or your gazillionth. (Figuratively speaking on gazillionth, of course.)
Because — all together now — “Nothing bad happens when women have more money.” As in, literally nothing.
According to McKinsey, leadership teams in our industry are just 23% women and 11% people of color. Ellevest’s leadership team is 84% women and 50% people of color.4
I get the game on these raise announcements. I know what the narrative is “supposed” to be: that institutions were throwing money at us to invest in Ellevest.
What really happened: As we began our raise, we had dozens and dozens (and dozens) of meetings with potential investors, and they were going … fine. Fine to good, in fact.
And then … the women showed up.
Caroline Lewis, of Rogue Ventures, heard about our raise and contacted us. She offered to reach out to her community of women investors to form a group through what’s called a special purpose vehicle and invest in Ellevest together. Then, so did Jesse Draper at Halogen Ventures. And so did Jenny Abramson at Rethink Impact. And so did a number of others.
This opened up our funding round to these underrepresented investors — for them to support us (by funding the company), and, we hope, for us to support them (by working hard to deliver a strong return and build their track records).
I have to tell you: Once it started, it was a force of nature. An absolute force of nature: the support and interest and participation for what we’re doing.
Women supporting women. (Who says women need to be “empowered” when we have the power to direct our money to support businesses that are building the world we want?)
I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Anyone want their daughters, nieces, and younger sisters to have less wealth than their mothers did? Or less than their brothers will? Such that they get stuck in bad relationships or bad jobs? Because that’s where we are.
And the gender wealth gap isn’t going to fix itself.
And you’re already getting started: The number of people who worked with an Ellevest money or career coach jumped 273% (!) between 2020 and 2021.
Because if you don’t control your own money, you don’t control your own life, amiright?
Trailblazer. Out there getting sh*t done.
Like, actually serve women. Not just market to women. And not just be a pinkwashed version of your father’s financial advisor. In case you’re curious, here’s how we do it.
Remember that story I told above about the first woman to reach out about forming an SPV? This is her. 👆
And they’ve never seen anything like us — or how women came together for this raise — either.
OK, so this has got to be the most powerful group of women investors — from venture capitalists to people investing in their own futures, like you — to ever come together, right?
So if you’ve been waiting for a sign to join us, this is it. This is your sign.
© 2022 Ellevest, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
1. As of January 4, 2022, rating based on research and data collected by Bankrate between Oct. 4 and Nov. 30, 2021. Bankrate and Ellevest are not affiliated with one another and have no formal relationship. Bankrate is not compensated by Ellevest and Bankrate’s opinions are their own.
2. Endorsements provided by the individuals referenced above are presented with their permission and based on their equity investments in Ellevest, Inc. as of April 2022. The individuals presented may also be clients of Ellevest and were not compensated in connection with their statements; however, a conflict of interest exists because investors benefit from the success of their investment in Ellevest. The above content is provided for general informational purposes only. A testimonial or endorsement is not a guarantee of successful results.
3. As of March 2022. Estimate calculated based on third-party data of the percentage of startups that raise venture capital dollars, the percentage of venture capital dollars raised by fintech companies, the percentage of women entrepreneurs in fintech, and the percentage of startups that go from seed to Series B.
4. Industry data from McKinsey as of 9/27/2022. Ellevest team data as of 3/15/2022.
All opinions and views expressed by Ellevest are current as of the date of this writing, for informational purposes only, and do not constitute or imply an endorsement of any third party’s products or services.
Banking products and services are provided by Coastal Community Bank (“Coastal”), Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International. Your Ellevest Spend and Save Account deposits will be insured to the regulatory limits by the FDIC through Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC. Funds held in your Ellevest investment accounts are not FDIC insured, not guaranteed by Coastal, and may lose value. Ellevest does not guarantee investment performance.
Ellevest Membership fees are as follows: Ellevest Essential is $1 per month, Ellevest Plus is $5 per month, and Ellevest Executive is $9. Other fees as described in Ellevest’s Wrap Fee Program Brochure and the Ellevest Membership Terms and Conditions Agreement will continue to apply.