We are spotlighting this year's incredible cohort through the means of fun & quick interviews to gain further insight into their startup journeys, unveil their driving forces and expose what it REALLY takes to be an entrepreneur in 2022...
Name: Karolina Decker
Title: CEO & Founder
Kickstart Cohort: 2022
What was the inspiration behind fin:marie? 💭
After 13 years of working in the financial industry and recognizing the imbalance between male and female financial situations and securities, my co-founder [Leitha Matz] and I started 'Mind The Gap' in 2017, a non-profit organization specializing in financial education for our female clients and women in general. With over 80 women attending our workshops, we quickly understood the demand for financial education in this space, and fin:marie was born at the end of 2018 to reach even more women.
What are the challenges you identified that women are facing financially? 🚧
Women are still heavily underrepresented in terms of financial needs. Let’s look at the statistics - In Europe, investment and pension gaps affect more than 200 million women. only 11% of women in Europe invest money in the long term, in comparison to 40% of men. Women also have 60% less pension than men, not only in Europe but worldwide. On top of that, more than 85% of women feel misunderstood by their financial advisors or investment marketers, which is a big reason why they don’t get into investing. If you calculate the cumulative lifetime earnings for women vs. men, the gap equates to €1M. That’s €1M LESS that women receive at the end of their retirement compared to men.
From a corporate perspective, PwC ran a study that showed financial service firms are losing €700B in revenue opportunity each year, by not fully meeting the needs of female clients. Addressing this would be a huge economic opportunity for them.
You're currently raising €3M for your next funding round - what will the round be dedicated to? 📈
Since raising our €1.4M seed round, the team has generated revenue and publicity (Süddeutsche Zeitung, Handelsblatt, Cosmopolitan, etc.), launched the fin:marie beta app, and acquired insurance brokerage and real estate licensing. This next round will be dedicated to scaling our business and team for market entry into countries like Switzerland, Austria, and Luxembourg, as well as developing our operations and products.
One of our new features is implementing embedded insurance products in our portfolio. So we are not offering only the classical investment attached, but also insurance on top of that.
How has your experience been at Kickstart this year? 🚀
I love how the Kickstart team is involved and engaged each step of the way. You get the feeling that it isn’t just ‘work’ - it is also coming from the heart. It’s very natural how it’s done, and the team, partners, and community are the kind of people we like to work with. The fact that we all spend so much time at work, it’s important for there to be the right environment, so Kickstart has done this very well! Also of course the network of corporations and investors is very beneficial.
Finally, congratulations on your recent book launch! Can you tell us what readers can expect? 📕
Thank you! The idea behind the book, “Finanzen sind Weiblich” (Finance is Female) written by myself and my 2 co-founders [Leitha Matz & Rica Klitzke], is to encourage women to start thinking about and exploring investments, increase their awareness, and also increase their confidence in investing.
In the book, we present 5 different female personas, with varying lifestyles and varying wealth profiles. This allows female readers of all ages and backgrounds to relate to a persona and learn about various investment strategies specific to them. We are currently translating the book into English, and can’t wait to reach a global audience of female readers.
About fin:marie: fin:marie is working to improve the lives of millions of women across Europe to help them get on the path to financial independence, by offering the right tools and creating a combination of education, self-exploration, and support. We are refining solutions specifically aimed at the financial needs and motivations of women. We've successfully collaborated on 40+ partnerships with 1500+ participants and top companies like SAP, AirBnB, and Soundcloud, to bring financial education and wellness to their employees. This provides a B2B opportunity, but other collaborations with external partners like ING-DBA or Smartbroker are B2C, focused on bringing our users value through easy mobile and desktop solutions along their financial lifecycles.