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  • A new crop of fintech apps want to make stock-trading and finance more accessible to women.
  • Startups like financial education platform Juno that were designed with women in mind.
  • Triin Hertmann, cofounder of investment app Grünfin, says women are “totally underserved” by fintech.

While technology startups in Europe experienced a banner fundraising year in 2021, it was mostly male founders who benefited.

Investors pumped $121 billion into the region’s startups, but just 1.1% of the cash went toward female-led companies, according to Atomico’s State of European Tech report.

This uneven distribution of funding may explain why fintech products — the continent’s biggest startup sector — may not always meet the needs of half the population.

Women tend to suffer when it comes to both financial access and literacy, per the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, which suggests a perceived lack of knowledge and confidence makes female consumers shy from participating in, for example, trading stocks.

And a study of 300 media articles by UK challenger bank Starling found that 65% of stories defined women as excessive spenders and 70% of articles defined making money as a masculine ideal.

"This is one of the biggest issues affecting women and it's something that will take a generational shift to change," said Alexia de Broglie, cofounder of female-oriented financial education platform Your Juno, alongside her sister Margot.

"Media tends to push women more towards saving and budgeting rather than investing, the perception is that investing is not for them, and it makes investing look like boy's club."

Grünfin cofounders Karin Nemec (CEO) and Triin Hertmann (COO).
Grünfin cofounders Karin Nemec (CEO) and Triin Hertmann (COO).Grünfin

A perceived "frat bro" culture around, for example, the GameStop day-trading saga and the fact that crypto and other investment apps are marketed by mostly male executives of companies like Robinhood doesn't help.

"Women are totally underserved as a segment in fintech, with most investing products marketed at young men," Triin Hertmann, an early employee at fintech Wise and now cofounder of sustainable investing app Grünfin told Insider.

"Events like GameStop suggest that investing is short-termist and greed-based," she added. "The larger trend for women is towards wanting education, community, impact, and data indicates that women are more loyal customers with better lifetime value who will buy more products."

De Broglie and Hertmann both told Insider that an improvement in the number of female founders, angel investors, CEOs, financial influencers, and a broader awareness from younger generations of these issues is making a difference to funding and expanding their startups.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more women invested in the stock market in the US. Nearly 67% of women are investing outside of retirement accounts now, up from 44% in 2018, and tend to outperform men while they're at it, according to Fidelity Investments' 2021 Women and Investing Study.

One other major change has been the rise of millennial and Gen Z investors, a key target market of Your Juno. These younger investors are increasingly getting their financial information from social media sources like TikTok and Instagram. They appear to make up the bulk of new sign-ups to investing apps, suggesting that information is flowing more readily for younger generations.

"I really strongly believe the generational shift and wealth shift is happening," Hertmann added. "I do feel that women are underserved in investing but believe that they are coming.

"We're not stupid, women just want different types of information or a different approach which drives better, more sustainable outcomes."

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