Investment platform Ellevest raises $33M Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, Valerie Jarrett & PayPal

Ellevest, a digital investment platform specifically focused on helping women meet their financial goals, has raised an additional $33 million in a new round led by Rethink Impact and PSP Growth. The funding includes a handful of notable, new investors including Melinda Gates’s investment fund Pivotal Ventures; PayPal; Wynn Resorts co-founder Elaine Wynn; former Google and Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt; former top aide to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett; Gingerbread Capital, founded by Linnea Roberts; and Mastercard.

The startup was founded by former Citigroup CFO Sallie Krawcheck, and launched in May 2016 at TechCrunch Disrupt NY after having previously raised its $10 million in seed funding.

As Krawcheck explained at the time, women were in need of a financial platform that took into account specifics related to their lives – like the fact that their salary arc over a lifetime is different from men, because women typically live longer; or because there are salary differentials between women’s and men’s pay; as well as other factors that some women face – like choosing to take time off from a career to focus on children.

Women also have a different approach to investing, at times. Some may be more risk “aware,” then end up holding onto money as cash for longer – which isn’t always the best move in terms of creating wealth. Ellevest  speaks to women in terms they can relate to without “dumbing it down,” Krawcheck says.

Following its 2016 launch, Ellevest raised a $34.6 million Series A in 2017.

Today, the company says it has clients in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and their average age is 34. It didn’t disclose how many customers it has, however.

Ellevest also recently launched a new product, Ellevest Private Wealth Management, designed for high net worth clients, which now has $100 million in assets under management. Another newer feature is its Premium Service offering, which connects clients with executive coaches and certified financial planner pros.

Speaking in a TV interview with CNBC, Krawcheck said the company’s suite appeals to a range of women at different financial stages.

“The response to what we’re doing has been so great. We started with digital investing, then high net worth women said ‘I want in,'” and women who weren’t ready to invest said ‘I want in,'” she said. “So the more we can help women get in financial control, the stronger our mission, the stronger our economy.”

“When the status quo isn’t meeting women’s needs, it deserves to be disrupted, and that’s what this platform created by women for women aims to do,” said Melinda Gates, in a statement. “Women’s lives and realities are different than men’s, and I think we’ll see more and more of a demand for products designed to reflect that. This is an important market opportunity that Ellevest is well-positioned to tap into.”

Ellevest says it plans to use the capital to accelerate its growth by investing further into its technology, expanding its product categories, and its financial education offerings.

“I’m so pleased to support Ellevest as it leads the way to help women become financially stronger and meet their money goals,” said Valerie Jarrett, co-chair of the United State of Women, in a statement. “When women are stronger financially, that means a stronger economy and a stronger society. We need this change right now.”