After going to FinCon 18 and talking with some of the amazing people there, I got an idea for an awesome new interview series. What if I talked with women in fintech, and brought you their stories? As a woman in IT myself, who’s been part of the field for over fifteen years, I know there’s a common perception that there aren’t many women in the field.
Well, in corporate IT, I’ve met plenty of amazing women. And I know they’re out there in fintech, too! Today I’m honored to bring you the story of Erin Papworth, founder of Nav.it. Their goal is to help elevate the way women live and travel, and their app is entering beta soon – and YOU have a chance to help shape what the app will become!
Read about her time in sub-Saharan Africa, and how it helped shape the technology Erin founded. She’s passionate about women being in control of their money, and using fun and engaging technology to do so!
CMO Note – I don’t have a financial relationship with Nav.it. I just have an interest in helping share the stories of amazing women. 🙂
Lets meet her!
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Erin Papworth, I’m 37 years old and live in Seattle WA. I have a energetic 7 year-old son and I’m currently obsessed with podcasts. I spent 13 years of my life working, traveling and living overseas, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.
My defining experiences were working in humanitarian aid in some conflict zones. I also interned in Washington DC and completed a Masters of Public Health too. I then ran epidemiological and behavioral health programs for marginalized populations. In my public health work, I became very passionate about women’s development. Throughout the world, women’s access to health and education directly correlates to a country’s GDP. It is the bedrock for every country’s economic health.
How did you get started in fintech?
When I came back to the States in 2015, I started working in education but realized that the primary issues that will alter the feminine and societal experience for generations to come in the U.S. aren’t women’s access to health and education (though it’s not perfect). But really, they were the systemic issues that perpetuate limited financial literacy and wealth generation among women.
We are finally at a moment in our history where we have unprecedented access to our OWN personal finances. That creates an amazing opportunity for us to really define our personal experience, as well as how our society functions. Access to personal income means access to wealth generation, investment in topics, politicians, institutions we believe in, and the freedom to live our lives on our own terms. Money doesn’t have to be scary, it’s merely a tool to help us live the lives we want and invest in a society we want to live in.
The investor of the education company I was working for in 2015 was a personal relation with a finance background, and I pitched him the concept of a fintech app. It was designed to help demystify money, create relevant, practical conversations and a community around money, and thus help women achieve their lifestyle and their financial goals.
What made you decide to found Nav.it?
I am passionate about women’s access to freedom. I believe we are in the third wave of the feminist movement, built upon the accomplishments of our mothers and grandmothers and so on before us. The next step is for us to understand and be confident in our ability to make money, grow money, and use money to better society.
Forty percent of heads of households in this country are women. In twenty-nine percent of married couples, women are the head of the household. This is up from 16% in the 1980s. It accounts for roughly $7.6 trillion in personal income to which we have direct access! Again, that’s unprecedented in our collective history.
Because of that, I firmly believe society and financial institutions have never had to develop a feminine lexicon around financial wealth, or products that fit our reality and how we prioritize our investments. So I am on a mission to develop tools to help women discussion and manage their money.
Tell us about your product!
The Nav.it app supports women in achieving their lifestyle goals. At the same time it helps increase their financial savvyness and sets up the foundation for their financial success. We use practical conversations about lifestyle and costs, automated savings, and money management features to do that.
Our current lifestyle content focuses on travel goals. Why? Because we believe travel is a passion point that develops an immediate community of like-minded people and helps build resilience, grit, and confidence. We use articles and a community feed to help inform women about travel costs, lifestyle tips and financial hacks that help us all navigate life.
You don’t have to be an avid traveler to use the app, anyone can set up savings goals. We also have a premium version that helps women achieve their lifestyle goals while at the same time ensures they have the basics in place. Basics such as an emergency fund, pay-down-debt goals, and investment goals. We also know that people are more likely to achieve goals if they have a cheerleader supporting them. So we use nudges, education, and goal-sharing options to help them get to where they want to go.
Our philosophy is earn it, save it, spend it, and invest it. Money and personal financial management doesn’t have to be intimidating. Once you know the basics the world is truly yours for the taking.
What makes it unique?
We are really focused on a women’s experience in the world. It is just a fact that we are the practical spenders of a household – 85% of consumer purchases are made or influenced by women. We live longer than our partners. We have the most care-taking responsibility, and we make less than men for doing the same job. And we could potentially be out of the work force for a period of time while raising our children.
When we invest we are practical investors and tend to get better returns over time. BUT we don’t invest at the same rates as our male counterparts. This means our experience is unique, and we must start to openly discuss it as a community. We can demand more of our employers, financial products and politicians.
We have developed the app to directly address our demographics pain points, and help demystify money How? Through practical and relevant conversations about how money actual relates to real life. Our vision is for all women to have the financial confidence to live their lives on their own terms.
What else should we know?
Our approach is to use storytelling and lifestyle conversations, as well as technology and community, to create accessible, innovative and engaging financial and goal-setting products for women. We’ve soft launched the app to friends and family and will do a Beta launch in January. Our full launch is planned for April 2019.
We hope many interested women will sign up for the Beta launch so they can tell us what they like, what they want and what they would change about it! We are very transparent, and determined to create a product that works for women across different races, genders, socioeconomic groups and family relationships.
Where can readers learn more?
We welcome everyone to sign up for our Beta launch coming in January at: www.navit.io. And please follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at: @letsnavit. If you have any further questions please email me at: email@example.com.
CMO Here Again!
Thanks so much to Erin for stopping by to share her story! I love how the app is using travel to help engage women with their money in a new and interesting way.
Often personal finance can seem dull and boring to those of us that aren’t spreadsheet nerds, updating their net worth eagerly on a regular basis (like, uh, me). Travel makes it fun and exciting, and setting an engaging goal is a great way to get started with money. So be sure to sign up for the beta launch and help shape their future!
Be sure to leave Erin a comment below!
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