Q&A with the founders of Stack by.me – winners of SHE Pitch 2022!
Stack by.me helps women get started with investing, especially the many women who to date have invested less than their male counterparts!
They believe that the capital market should be for everyone, and for that reason also have solutions that are adapted to all groups in society. Stack by.me pitched their startup at SHE Conference 2022 with 7 other startups – and after the panel judges opinion, they had the most outstanding business plan and pitch.
Let’s have a chat with the founders of Stack by.me, Christine Thorsen Kvaalen and Madeleine Bjørnestad Røed:
Q&A with Stack by.me
What inspired you and your partner to start Stackbyme?
The idea for Stack came to Madeleine when she started working in the fund business, after 6 years in investment banking. Even with 6 years of finance experience, she realized she knew very little about funds.
After some research, she realized that this was actually the situation for many women and that this could be a potential business opportunity to address. We spoke to several (>100!), and the problem for the women we have talked to seemed to be a lack of knowledge and network to ask for advice.
Most people who don’t invest, also do not see the ads explaining how important it is, so it seemed natural that the team needed a Chief Marketing Officer to reach this new market segment. And that’s when Christine came on board. With her background from Chanel, Gucci, and as a buyer for the largest cosmetics chain in Norway (Vita) she has worked on all aspects of branding, product, and marketing – always focusing on women.
Together we landed on the solution being an investment platform that feels like Instagram – this is where our customers like to hang out for hours every day! And by being able to connect to your friends it’s easier to build that network you need to get started.
Together we also documented our startup journey the first year, and hope we can inspire some other women to lean in and start their businesses as well through our podcast Startup by.Stack.
Why is learning about investment important, and why should we invest?
Money in your bank account is losing value through inflation. By investing for the long term in diversified portfolios you will- with a very high likelihood – grow your money.
This can give you the financial freedom to live the life you desire. – and maybe start your own business if that’s what you’d like! It gives you freedom of choice, even if you are not materialistic.
I know an old couple who have made millions in the stock market, and they don’t spend anything on themselves, but rather support all their grandchildren’s weddings, first apartments, etc. That’s the freedom they wanted.
If you have a long-term view on investing, average returns have been more than 10% p.a. over the past decade. This is a typical return on a stock fund. On a bank account, you receive less than 1%, if any returns at all.
In addition, you tax on income from bank interest every year, while stocks can just compile and be taxed when you take them out. It’s very simple – putting your money to work is on average much more profitable than leaving it passive. Plus, you can contribute to companies you admire or want to support.
What drives you as a team?
Madeleine is driven by a true passion for spreading the message. Only when women have equal pay and equal capital in their bank accounts will we truly see the same opportunities in society.
Christine is also passionate about the company’s mission, and how SoMe plays an important role in educating young and inexperienced people. We don’t learn much about personal finances in school, so it’s important to make this a topic in SoMe – where the target group spends hours every day.
Investing is not just for businessmen, it’s for everyone, and it’s actually really fun when you have it presented the right way!
Do you have a role model?
The CEO of Bumble, Whitney Herd, is such an inspiring lady. She co-founded Tinder, but after being sexually harassed and then pushed out of the company she founded her own dating app where women make the first move – Bumble. The company just went public at a valuation of USD 8.6 billion with her as the CEO.
What was the best thing about winning SHE Pitch?
Well for us there were a lot of potential clients in the audience, so I would probably say the exposure we got to a relevant audience at a very crucial time – entering our fundraising process.
We got a lot of new users and followers after the main stage pitch, and these people talk about us to their friends, right?
So, it’s not just the immediate effect, but also the long-term effects. Of course, winning awards going into a fundraising process also doesn’t hurt, so it was also great to be able to say that a committee of women (mostly in our target group) decided we should win this contest. We also believe that this is a strong validation of our concept.
What is the next step for Stack?
Our next step is Sweden. Our systems would work there quite easily, and we have a good network of people which is helpful to recruit a Swedish CEO and team. Thereafter we are targeting Europe. Our trading license, which we have applied for, can be passported across Europe, so it’s natural to target these markets as well.
Our ambition is to be the #1 investment app for women across Europe.
Three startups you look up to?
Bumble, HealthyEats here in Norway and Public.com
What do you have to say to the following year’s participants?
Be prepared! The pitch is so short, and there is always so much to say, so spend some time synthesizing. Also, be strategic about who you send on stage.
Personally, I found it a bit strange that male CEOs were presenting at the SHE Conference when there were female co-founders on the team. Maybe this is the one place where she should shine?
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