Taking care of your money is cool.
Cardi B has decreed it and thus, it shall be so.
But what about those of us whose day-to-day lifestyle is a little less $500,000 supercars, a little more perusing the yellow stickered section at Old Street Tesco?
Enter Vestpod, the company aimed at empowering women to take control of their money. Or as they put it, “Negotiate, raise your rates, build side hustles”.
An online and IRL community, Vestpod offers up weekly newsletters stuffed with independent, unbiased advice plus female-only workshops covering everything from investing to money mindfulness. As an incorrigible snooper, I’m a big fan of their blog series, What On Earth Are We Doing With Our Money?. An anonymous rundown of real women’s salaries and spending habits – trust me, it’s a voyeur’s dream.
Given our November content theme is championing ‘Women in Tech’, I knew I had to catch up with Founder Emilie Bellet. Here’s her story…
BREAKING THE TABOO
It’s a classic trope that Brits don’t enjoy talking about money. In fact, a University College London survey revealed we’re more likely to talk about our sex lives than our salary. With that in mind, I asked Emilie why she thinks finances have traditionally been off-limits for discussion, especially for women.
“Talking about money is very personal and taboo and most of us have not received any financial education. I couldn’t find anyone to talk to to get the right advice, other than really expensive professionals. I set up Vestpod to make personal finance relatable and inspiring, because I really think that having money is freedom.”
A massive part of making personal finance inspiring is actually getting people together to, you know, talk about it. If you haven’t hit up a Vestpod meetup at Huckletree yet, picture a room full of smart, funny, welcoming women all drawn together by their desire to get a better handle on their cashola. These aren’t show up-skill up-then-leave gatherings. Emilie is passionate about growing a community:
“The community is super diverse and that’s what I love most: where people come from, where they work, how much money they make, how much money they spend or invest – it doesn’t matter. I learn a lot from the community, the hopes, fears, dreams, questions, and that allows me to build Vestpod the way people want it.”
Those hopes, dreams, and fears all feed into the serious mission behind Vestpod, as Emilie reveals:
“I am trying to be always positive, but real: women have ⅕ pensions savings of men, we earn less (for now) and live longer. At the same time, we manage 75% of the discretionary spending worldwide.
It’s fundamental that we become financially independent and take a seat at the table.”
In an age where we’re more attuned than ever to the inequalities facing women, the wider world is taking serious notice of Vestpod. Just this week, Emilie announced the publication of her first book: the amazingly titled You’re Not Broke, You’re Pre-Rich. A guide to investing and setting money goals with bonus tips from FinTech entrepreneurs, it’s due to launch on 30th May 2019. Get that date in the diary…
Taking a seat at the table extends to the business world, too. Back in September, Huckletree launched our first major campaign, Fairer Funding Now. We discovered only 10% of female founders in the UK and Ireland believe they have access to the same funding opportunities as men. As a leading voice empowering women entrepreneurs, I wanted Emilie’s take on how we can encourage greater diversity in startups receiving funding:
“Of course, we need to bring more diversity to the investor club. And we are seeing this change slowly, but for it to be efficient, we need women to be able to make the investment decisions and that means for them to be able to also invest some money, which has not been the case historically.”
As a founder, Emilie advocates for greater visibility of female entrepreneurs doing their thing – and doing it well:
“I am surrounded by an amazing community of women building their businesses and it has been incredibly helpful. It’s amazing to start seeing women creating very successful businesses – because i) that will show VCs some great examples and ii) women will start making exits and money from it and be able to then become the investors of tomorrow.”
At Huckletree, one of the values we live by is ‘Be Renegade’. Sometimes you just have to follow your gut, fly in the face of popular wisdom and see if it works out… (or not!). The more we celebrate and encourage that attitude, the more we’ll see creative, left-field business decisions in action. For Emilie, her most renegade moment as a founder stemmed from experiencing discrimination first-hand:
“The idea came to me after a meeting I had with a financial advisor years ago.
We sat down in a stark-white meeting room and the very first thing he said to me was, “Where is your husband?” I walked away from that meeting feeling angry and annoyed, but at the same time, I felt inspired.
I knew that I could create something that would help empower women and their financial future. So the idea of Vestpod was born.”
FIND YOUR CREW
One tangible way of supporting female founders is shining a light on the valuable resources out there. Emilie had a few namechecks that should definitely end up on your check-this-out list:
- “Vestpod is part of (Huckletree Shoreditch members) The Family and Emilie Maret who works there wrote this super cool letter: “Dear female founders, where are you hiding?”
- I read the Femstreet weekly newsletter by Sarah Noeckel on all things VC and female entrepreneurship.
- The female founders office hours by All Raise.
- I love the initiative by SheEO’s Vicky Saunders and her Radical Generosity mission whereby she transforms how women-led startups receive funding with a new approach to crowdsourcing.”