This Company Is For People Who Know Nothing About Money, But Want To Learn

"We’re going to see financial services change a lot in the next 30 years and we can be at the forefront of that.”

So many of us are in the dark when it comes to our finances, and how to make big life decisions with our money. Millennials, in particular — many of whom graduated college with mountains of debt only to enter the workforce during or just after the Great Recession  —  may struggle if they weren't exposed to money management in school or at home. 

In an effort to empower people to take control of their finances, CEO Rebecca Liebman co-founded LearnLux with her brother Michael, a company created by millennials providing millennials free interactive tools to learn financial literacy.  

Now LearnLux is catching the attention of some major players. 

On March 10, Liebman pitched her company to the judges of Sound Ventures's PerfectPitch competition at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX. The competition awards $100,000 to an early stage entrepreneur with the best "game-changing and scalable business idea." Judges include Sound Ventures's founding partner Ashton Kutcher, as well as Matthew McConaughey and Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. 

Liebman not only won the competition, but received a double investment of $200,000 from Sound Ventures, and another $200,000 from Benioff, Venture Beat reports

Liebman tells A Plus that there were "a lot of little moments" that led her to create LearnLux. For starters, her dad lost his job in 2008. 

"It was the first time we talked about money, which became a very negative topic and I always wish we talked about it sooner," Liebman says. She also adds that she lived in Kenya in 2012, observing the differences in their financial system in comparison to America's. 

"Then in 2014 I was working in a lab at MIT and all of the PhD's in my lab were asking me how to open a retirement account," she says. She went on to write a thesis "about the idea that most people think they are bad at personal finance when in reality, financial services aren't made for society as it is today." 

"Personal finance is ubiquitous – we all have to make these decisions, but there's never a time in school or at work where we're taught what to do. It's usually just trial and error and many times we make decisions too late in life," Liebman tells A Plus. "Making financial decisions out of education instead of fear is game-changing for people on a personal level and our economy. We're going to see financial services change a lot in the next 30 years and we can be at the forefront of that." 

So far, Liebman says LearnLux has been receiving "amazing" feedback. It's helping users understand their finances and make better decisions in their lives. 

It's also exciting to see someone such as Liebman make strides in financial technology (FinTech), especially considering it's such a male-dominated industry. In 2017, Business Insider reported that in the UK, "women [represented] just 29 percent of staff in the sector." 

Liebman explains that when she first began in the industry, she would attend events where no one acknowledged her. 

"In meetings I thought differently than others. I thought I was going to have to assimilate to work in this space, but what I ended up realizing was that we were going to be successful because I had such a different perspective."

She also explains that most of the language surrounding financial products is geared towards men, but women talk about money differently. Knowing that, she built her team differently and created a product with different groups in mind. 

For example, Liebman says that many financial products use hyper-masculine language or even sports analogies. Additionally, "when men talk about money, it's generally looking at the upside, women tend to look at a full risk analysis."  

Woman make financial decisions with long-term plans in mind.  "They typically live longer and have to think about if they will have breaks in their career," she says. Liebman also points out that over the last 30 years, women have become 50 percent of the workforce and have 85 percent consumer purchasing power, and the average age to get married has increased about 10 years. "Women used to rely on their spouse to make decisions, but that's not the case anymore. Women are making decisions on their own and the industry has not caught up with product, language, or marketing in this space."

Liebman says she's most excited about creating more pattern recognition for women being successful in the FinTech space. 

And when it comes to LearnLux, Liebman says she hires her team with the understanding that there are many viewpoints on money. " ... Our product isn't just for women, but there are many things the industry overlooks when considering how people make decisions. We look at our own data to see what words people use and what variables are important when making a financial decision."

As for her recent win at the competition, Liebman tells us it was "amazing" to have the opportunity to present to the judges. 

"They are all leaders in their industries and I kept thinking what an amazing opportunity it will be to get feedback from them. I had no idea it would end the way it did."

We think it's safe to say that Liebman is quickly becoming an inspirational leader in her own field, too, and we look forward to seeing all that Liebman and her team create. Moreover, we hope that more and more millennials will use platforms and resources like these to feel empowered to manage their own finances. 

Disclosure: A Plus was founded by Ashton Kutcher in 2014.

Cover image via  pathdoc I Shutterstock

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