‘By women, for women’: Ellevest raises $53m led by women investors

11 Apr 2022

Sallie Krawcheck at a Fortune Most Powerful Women event in 2013. Image: Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Ellevest was founded by former Merrill Lynch exec Sallie Krawcheck, one of Wall Street’s most powerful women.

Ellevest, a New York-based fintech on a mission to close the gender wealth gap, has just raised $53m in funding backed by largely women-led investors.

The Series B investment was led by US wealth management firm BMO Family Office and VC firm Contour Venture Partners. BMO has a board of directors that is 50pc women, with 40pc of its leadership team consisting of women.

Founded by Sallie Krawcheck, the former Merrill Lynch exec considered one of the most powerful women on Wall Street, Ellevest is a financial services company combining digital and human financial advising.

Its platform aims to redefine personal finance and investing for women with a practical, goals-based approach to give women the tools they need to take financial control.

In March 2019, Ellevest raised $33m in a funding round that saw backing from big names including Melinda Gates, former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, and Wynn Resorts co-founder Elaine Wynn. It had raised $34.6m in a previous round in 2017.

Rewriting the narrative

The fresh funding will be used expand Ellevest’s current offerings, including personalised coaching for women to take charge of their financial wealth and building a community to help get more money in the hands of women.

CEO Krawcheck said that not only was Ellevest “built by women, for women”, but it is also largely funded by women – with 360 women and underrepresented investors participating in this latest funding round.

“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.”

According to the Asset Funders Network, single women in the US own only $0.32 for every dollar of wealth owned by single men, and the figure is even lower for black and Hispanic women.

Other backers of Ellevest’s recent round include many new women-led investors, including Halogen Ventures, Cleo Capital, New York Ventures of Empire State Development, Stardust Equity, The Venture Collective, Envestnet and LGBTQIA+ investment syndicate Gaingels.

“Wonderful things happen when women support women in business,” said Sarah Kunst, managing director at Cleo Capital. “That’s why we are proud to stand behind a company that is focused on giving women the tools they need to thrive financially.”

Sallie Krawcheck at a Fortune Most Powerful Women event in 2013. Image: Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic