This Q&A is part of a series where I ask founders and employees of companies about their products and services and how they relate to the gender investing gap and other topics. I am either an affiliate, a customer or interested in becoming a customer with these companies. I may receive a commission for links posted, which helps me finance my blog and website. It is my hope that through these Q&As to bring these fintech companies closer to you and me and find the best ones that can help us increase our wealth while aligning with important values.
findependent is led by a passionate team on a mission to make investing so easy and understandable that even investment novices can invest with good feeling. findependent strives to make investing and the associated benefits accessible to all, so that everyone can benefit from economic success.
The idea came from Matthias Bryner, who founded the start up in June 2019. During his time at neon, the fastest growing digital bank in Switzerland, Matthias had experienced first-hand the excitement that user-friendly, digital and significantly cheaper bank accounts can generate. With the findependent investment app, he's now created a customer experience similar to what neon, Revolut and Viac have done for other areas of banking: digital, cheap, and at eye level with customers.
Nadine joined findependent in April 2020 as head of Customer Experience. Her motivation is to make investing accessible to those who previously thought they had too little prior knowledge or not enough funds. She counted herself among them for a long time. That's why at findependent, she puts a lot of effort into understanding the needs and hurdles of female customers and providing them with a great user experience.
> Why did you decide to work for findependent? What's your role at findependent and how does it match with your values?
I know Matthias Bryner, the founder of findependent since we were kids. And I have always been interested in entrepreneurship. That’s why I curiously followed Matthias’s first steps of founding and building findependent. When he eventually asked me to join the startup, I took the opportunity!
From the beginning on, I really liked findependent’s vision of making investing accessible to everyone. I always had the impression that investing is only for the more privileged people, typically the white, old man who already has a lot of money. The goal to change this by helping the broad masses to get invested, is what motivates me the most at findependent.
In my role as findependent’s customer experience manager I am responsible for many touch points customers have with findependent such as the website or emails. It is important to us that our customers learn more about investing step by step and gain the confidence to make the right decisions for their own financial well-being.
That's why we present all the information as clearly as possible – without any financial jargon and reduced to the essentials – and serve our customers “knowledge nuggets” from time to time throughout the whole customer journey. To get this right, it is also my job to have profound knowledge about our customers – their pains and gains as well as hurdles to start investing.
> How did you get into personal finance?
Well, to be honest, the subject didn't really interest me for a long time. As a student, I thought I would then deal with it later. But rather because I should and not because I would like to. I also felt like I didn't really know where to even start. The whole subject always seemed quite complex and tedious to me.
It was only thanks to Matthias that I started to deal with it. Then I quickly realized that the financial industry is currently undergoing major changes and that Swiss startups like Neon or Viac were already shedding new light on the topic of personal finance with their refreshing products.
> What does financial feminism mean to you? How do you structure findependent's user experience around that?
Being a feminist, I am concerned about equality between men and women in general and unfortunately, when it comes to the topic of personal finances, we know that there is still a lot of work to be done.
We at findependent strive for making investing accessible to everyone, because there are still a lot of women and men that believe investing isn’t for them, because they think they lack the knowledge or aren’t wealthy enough. By making investing so simple and understandable that even investment novices can invest with a good feeling, we want to encourage them to take care of their personal finance and with the help of investing reach more financial independence.
As mentioned before, we educate our customers throughout their journey with findependent and help them gain confidence. We believe that this encourages them to have more conversations about money in their own environment – something that is otherwise less the case especially with women.
> How does findependent bridge the gender investing gap?
Unfortunately, the gender gap is something we at findependent experience too. At the moment, approx. 25% of our customers are women.
In general, we are encouraging our customers to talk about finance in their personal environment and help their friends to gain trust and get stated with investing. To foster this, we also have an attractive referral programme. So far we got the feedback that many women joined us thanks to a personal recommendation. But of course we know that this is not enough to actually bridge the gender gap.
That's why we want to devote more energy in the future to specifically bringing more women on board. In summer, a young woman who has good knowledge of the issue will join our team and help us to concretise this plan.
> What is findependent's take on gender lens investing? Is this something that you are considering to include in your sustainability and impact investing options and if so, how?
At the moment, no. We offer three (soon four) different investment solutions with pre-selected ETFs.
It is important to us that the customers do not have to take many decisions at the beginning like selecting impact topics or investment vehicles in general. With that we want to avoid that they get the feeling that they need to have some foreknowledge or spend much time to get familiar with the various options.
However, we are thinking about further expanding our services and providing customers the possibility to personalise their investment solution. However, we will keep our passive buy-and-hold investment strategy with ETFs. It remains to be seen if in the future gender lens investing can be combined with our passive investment strategy.
> What's on the horizon for findependent? Can you share your roadmap with us?
Right now we are about to launch a new app version. It contains some nice new features that we have developed together with our community. At the same time, we are launching a fourth ETF investment solution with 98% stocks. This was also desired by many of our customers.
And people will certainly hear again from us in autumn – there is something pretty big coming up, but we keep it secret for now😉
Thank you, Nadine, for answering these questions! I am looking forward to following findependent's progress!
What did you think of this Q&A? Is there a different way I should structure these Q&As? What other questions could I ask that would be relevant to you? Let me know in the comments below.