Meet Eve and Anam, Co-Founders of Alinea Invest. Alinea Invest is a digital trading platform dedicated to financially empowering young women. They spoke to The Power Thread about the mission behind Alinea Invest, the importance of financial wellness, and what it means for them to be powerful.
Where are you from, and how did you both meet?
We both were students at Barnard College in New York City, and we met through a senior seminar. Going to an all-women’s college influenced our decision to create Alinea Invest. At Barnard, we were always surrounded by a strong community of women, and understood how important our initiative with Alinea Invest could be.
What did you study at Barnard? Do you feel like your studies influenced your path in entrepreneurship?
We both studied economics. It’s interesting because even though we were both econ majors, we still faced a hesitation to invest. Many of the classes we took were filled with students studying economics or math; yet we found that despite their studies, these women were still lacking the confidence to invest. That’s part of what propelled our interest to begin this. We were also pretty lucky because, in addition to all the inequalities and insights studying economics exposed us, we were both enrolled in an entrepreneurial program at Barnard that helped us to develop this idea.
What inspired the creation of Alinea Invest, and what is your mission?
Our primary mission for Alinea Invest is to empower women financially and take control of their financial futures. While in college, we had both interned in financial services for two summers. Every time we returned to campus in the fall, we noticed that all of our male friends at Columbia had been investing since the age of fifteen, whereas none of our female friends were or even knew the basics about investing and the stock market. Facing this realization ignited our desire to create a community around investing for women.
Can you talk about the process of developing this idea while still in college?
We began researching extensively and found there was a huge gap between women and men regarding investing. Women invest 40 percent less than men today, and we identified this to be the biggest problem we wanted to tackle. Alongside our research, we started an educational series related to investing, and then transformed that into our business. We went through accelerators and now are focused on building our product.
What will the Alinea Invest product look like?
Our product will be an app that is a digital trading platform. It will include a social network that will allow the user to get involved with friends, share what they are buying and selling, and ultimately engage in a conversation around investing. There will also be an educational component that will include resources, such as podcasts and articles, related to investing and the stock market. The app will be designed so that you can learn as you go; for example, if you aren’t familiar with a certain financial term, we want the app to be a ‘home base’ where you can go to feel comfortable learning. So many apps currently on the market aren’t marketed toward women our age, so our goal is really to create a platform where it is easy to engage in investing. There are so many inequalities that exist today, and we believe women should have access to wealth accumulation and investing.
How will users invest on the app?
One way we want to differentiate our product is to change the experience—historically, users would go to the app and figure out what to invest in, whereas our app will create a personalized portfolio for what you should buy and sell. For example, if you’re interested in sustainability, the app will match you to certain companies and investments you’ll find suitable. We find that by creating a customized experience, the user is investing in what they believe in, and this is the most empowering aspect. You are not only promoting yourself, but you are empowering your beliefs and you are acting on them. This is how we hope to redefine what financial empowerment means.
Why do you think there is a lack of confidence among women regarding financial terms and investing?
We think first and foremost, there exists this social behavior where women just don’t talk about finance and investing with each other. If you look at apps like Robin Hood, for example, they are more accessible for men because they are already talking about these concepts on their own within their own social network of other male friends. This is exactly why we wanted to create an educational component to our app that encourages women to discuss these matters, and provides space for them to do so.
This lack of conversation is so socially normative and deeply rooted in our culture. Women don’t feel comfortable talking about money, whereas older men seem to constantly talk about it. If you also look at the history of the stock market, you’ll find that it was founded and created by old white males. So, we are seeking to rewrite and re-explain some of these concepts in a newer and better way that is accessible for women. We believe that the first step in order to take control of our financial independence, as women, is to talk about it.
How can people get involved, and what are some next steps for Alinea Invest?
Our website is now live so you can join our community. We are now accepting people off of our waitlist, and our earliest joiners will receive access to our beta that they otherwise would be unable to access. We are also launching a weekly newsletter that will provide a financial news roundup, and we are also looking to expand to college campuses! We’re working to create an ambassador program so that we can spread awareness and education to young women within their college network.
What does it mean for you to be powerful?
We believe that having financial wellness is so crucial to having power, to being comfortable, to doing what you want to do, and to living a free life. Having power is about helping others to gain confidence and power. There’s also a quote that says with great power comes great responsibility. However, we believe it’s actually the opposite—power is about having responsibility, and our responsibility is to uplift others around us.