How this entrepreneur is empowering women with her financial advice app
When it comes to managing finances, many women have been sidelined and made spectators. Because of this, they are often less informed about the way money works, and bear the brunt of the financial consequences, if life takes unexpected turns.
Aiming to make fundamental changes and educate women about finances, 32-year-old Hena Mehta launched Basis in 2018. Basis provides an app - that offers basic knowledge about money management and customised financial advice. The platform is powered by “highly targeted content” and encourages community engagement. Basis is currently angel-funded and is pre-revenue.
"With Basis, we want to give her all the tools - crisp, jargon free content, a powerful community to discuss money related matters, and guided investing so she can take charge of her own finances,” Hena says.
Basis targets working women in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities who are independent in thinking, but lack complete financial independence. These women are either salaried, freelancers, or entrepreneurs. The app covers various topics across financial education, and life situations that impact finances in a simple and friendly manner.
“Our customers have loved our learning modules on the basics of money management. They make full use of the Basis community which offers the perfect space to discuss life and money. The guided investments recommendation platform also provides personalised advice on how to invest,” Hena adds.
Since its launch, Basis has garnered over 3,000 users, and sees 60 percent active users every day. The app is currently available on the Google Play Store.
Women and finance
According to Hena, the challenges that women face with money are quite different compared to men. Although statistically, women live longer, have higher healthcare costs, tend to take more career breaks, and encounter gender pay gap, most financial services are designed for men, and offer very generic solutions that don't include the needs of women, she adds.
Hena also points out that very few women in India invest their money in equities, despite the abundant research that suggests women are better at investing.
“The fact that all financial products are defaulted to men, does not make it appealing to India's women investors.”
The road to entrepreneurship
Brought up in Bengaluru, Hena, pursued computer science at the University of Pennsylvania and spent the first five years of her career building technology products at Goldman Sachs.
In early 2014, intrigued by the buzzing startup ecosystem in Bengaluru, she decided to take a leap of faith, and sold all her belongings in New York, and booked a one-way ticket back home. Soon, she found a fit at Ezetap, then a series B funded startup, and spent 2 years working as a product manager.
While at Ezetap, Hena decided to pursue an MBA after she realised how much she still needed to learn about running a company. While pursuing her degree, Hena also worked as a product manager in San Francisco, where she built products in the lending space. After finishing her MBA, she returned to Bengaluru, and set foot into the world of entrepreneurship with Basis.
“Being an entrepreneur requires a ton of grit, tenacity and resilience, and I’ve been working on developing those qualities over the last several months. It also takes a village. Your support system is everything, both professionally and personally,” Hena adds.
And while entrepreneurship is a hard journey, she says it is extremely rewarding. She loves hearing positive feedback from Basis customers, and says it’s even better when she hears that they refer the platform to their friends. She adds that her eight-member team also make her love going to work every day.
For the past five years, Hena has also been heading the LeanIn Women Bengaluru chapter, which focuses on empowering women, as her passion project.
Hena envisions Basis becoming the one destination for women to rely on when it comes to anything finance-related: be it advice, a peer group, or guidance.
“I strongly believe we need to have a strong ecosystem that supports women entrepreneurs. We need many more women in VC. We also need to start enhancing the sisterhood culture among women. Let’s have each other’s backs, no matter what,” she adds.
And while spearheading projects as an entrepreneur is important, Hena also believes one needs to dedicate time to themselves.
To keep herself balanced, she also spends her time doing yoga, getting eight hours of sleep every day, and cherishing moments with her loved ones. “Without those three things,” Hena says, “I would definitely burn out.”
(Edited by Suman Singh)