Priti Gupta's fintech startup Lxme creating a safe space for women to invest
By siliconindia | Wednesday, 14 June 2023, 11:19 IST
Priti Rathi Gupta had set up several businesses for the stock trading & financial services group Anand Rathi. During this period she noticed that women were not participating in financial markets. Even those at the top of their careers would leave financial decisions to the males in their family father, brother, husband. Priti, an alumnus of SP Jain Institute of Management and Research and Harvard Business School (HBS), believed that money meant power and women’s non-participation in financial markets and investments meant huge inequality between men and women. While studying at HBS in 2015-17, one exercise involved putting together the strategy for a new business. She pitched the idea of a womenonly investment platform. Everyone liked the idea. Three years after she returned to India, she founded Lxme, a financial platform for women.
While working on the concept, Priti met Ridhi Kanoria Doongursee, a computer science graduate from University of Warwick, England. Ridhi had experience of working in fintech and e-commerce and running her own startup, Credit Monk, a platform to rate payment habits of customers. She loved what Priti was building, and admired her skill-set, knowledge of financial and regulatory space, and experience of building on a large scale. Soon, she joined Lxme as a cofounder.
The first thing the team did was to meet women to understand their points of friction. After conversations with over 3,000 women, Priti says they realised women didn’t have a place to discuss money. “Women hesitated asking questions, thinking they’d be judged. They love to have peer-to-peer conversations. So, instead of just an investment firm, we set up a community,” she says.
Another big initial learning was that women need a simple and easy tonavigate app. They were not looking for the best fintech app. So, Priti and team couldn’t just replicate established apps. Even a little bit of complication meant users would drop off. Women’s conversations too were different from the assets and portfolio jargon that most apps are made for. Women needed a platform that was interactive, had a personal touch, was intuitive and had the option to pick a phone and speak with someone. “We had to build a human angle to money management on a tech platform,” says Priti. So they trained ateam of “money buddies” who make it easy and simple for women to get answers to their queries.
Priti and Ridhi received a big leg up when they were selected recently to the Google For Startups Accelerator for India Women Founders, a three-month programme focussed on women founders that includes curriculum and engagement opportunities, addressing areas like access to networks, access to capital, hiring challenges, and mentorship. The interaction with other women founders, listening to their stories and struggles, the sense of camaraderie formed, with each wanting everyone to succeed, made for a vital experience.
Lxme’s app has seen over 200,000 downloads. The venture has a 50,000-strong active community on Facebook. Priti and Ridhi say reckless growth is not always the best for business. They have not taken external funding, and that they say has given them a razor sharp focus, and enabled them to build a very efficient business.
“Whether planning for savings, investments or retirement, or taking out health insurance or budgeting to invest for a child’s education, the guiding ethos is simple – knowledge is power. We provide interactive online and offline courses, goal-based calculators, a community for open discussion and access to curated investment portfolios, and that enables women to take control of their lives,” says Priti.
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