At Invsta, we’re extremely proud to be a female-led company. We recently sat down with our CEO, Rachel Strevens, to get to know a bit more about her and to discuss how the fintech industry can celebrate and champion women investors and leaders. Having had a successful career in wealth management, her passion for improving the financial well-being for all investors is clearly evident in her vision and strategies behind Invsta.  

Q: I wanted to start Invsta because…

A: After working for a number of years as an Investment Adviser across a few different companies, I became quite frustrated with the lack of technology available to help with recurring, everyday challenges I was seeing across the industry. At the time I remember seeing some cool new innovative fintech solutions coming out in overseas markets such as the U.S., so I knew that what I was thinking was not totally off the radar. It got me thinking: instead of waiting for these types of products to come from overseas, why not develop it here to suit our local market? We have a lot of really innovative talent in New Zealand, so I knew it would be possible to develop these types of products locally. This is what made me take the leap and start something myself to help to address some of the challenges I could see here in New Zealand. 

Q: My background in the financial services world started…

A: After I left university, I saw a job listing to work at an investment advice company, which sounded really exciting. I loved being able to work with people and their investments, and seeing the positive changes that their investments were having on their lives. I particularly loved being able to empower customers to achieve their financial goals by educating and guiding them through their investment journey. Prior to starting Invsta, I worked for a combination of wealth divisions in banks as well as private wealth houses for about 10 years.

Q: Tell us about your experience with getting Invsta to where it is currently…

A: It’s been an absolute rollercoaster ride, filled with lots of ups and downs – but I wouldn’t change it for anything! It was a big leap of faith to leave behind a corporate job and dive headfirst into starting a fintech business, but it has been incredibly rewarding.  

The first hurdle was finding the right person to share this journey with. I had absolutely no technology or fintech background, so it was important to find a co-founder that could bring that to the table while sharing the same vision for the business.

When we started out, we wanted to test the boundaries and challenge the norms of the financial services industry here in New Zealand. While it has taken us longer than we initially thought to get us to our current point, we’re really happy with the solid groundwork we’ve put into our technology architecture. We’ve done all the hard work in developing these tools and engaging technology, and we’re excited about bringing it to the market. I love how our products will help not only our customers, but will also enable better financial outcomes and engagement for end investors too. 

I think one of the key factors in our journey has been our advisors and team members. We chose to surround ourselves with a group of really passionate people with successful track records so that we could draw knowledge and guidance from them. 

One of our biggest milestones was signing our first corporate customer. It really solidified our vision for Invsta, and signals that the industry trusts our technology and is primed for what we have to offer. From that point on, it’s been great to see other local Kiwi companies jumping on board. Signing our first Australian customer is another huge achievement for us, and we’re excited to see an increase in the number of international enquiries and leads coming through.  

Q: Your vision for the financial services industry is…

A: I would love to see a world where there is equal access to financial services and products across the board, no matter your level of income or wealth, gender, or what country you live in. In recent years there have been huge steps made in this area, and technology is really equalling the playing field and opening up the financial services sector to a much wider portion of the population. I think there is still a long way to go, particularly around education and financial literacy levels, and I’m excited to see how technology plays a role in this more so moving forward. 

This vision feeds into our strategy of running B2B model. We wanted our technology to have a big impact and make tangible positive change, and we saw that by providing our technology to other companies, that this would have a bigger amplifying effect. 

Q: The biggest issue facing female fintech entrepreneurs is…

A: I think the biggest issue facing female fintech entrepreneurs is the gender gap in venture capital investment. Data from Crunchbase reveals that “women-founded fintechs have raised a meager 1% of total fintech investment in the last 10 years.” This correlates with the fact that there is still a major gap in female top-level management in fintech. Representation is poor – only 19% of current C-suite executives are females. So I think that there needs to be a collective effort to promote and position women in higher management roles to break down some of these gender barriers.

For women, I think there can be more pressures and it can be quite challenging to balance work life and family life. The work from home (WFH) movement following Covid19 and the flexibility of the fintech model make it easier to juggle these roles. 

Q: The financial services industry can help empower women investors by…

A: Financial service providers need to start recognising that women have different needs and drivers when it comes to finances and wealth management. What they see as security and success is totally different from their male counterparts, and wealth providers need to start tailoring their offerings and services to support and empower women investors. 

The industry can also do more to promote and celebrate women leadership. We’ve made such amazing progress in terms of gender diversity, but there could definitely be more public support and celebration of women leaders. I believe that this type of company culture will also help motivate more female end investors to take control of their financial wellbeing. 

Q: The best piece of advice you’ve received when starting Invsta…

A: Always surround yourself with great people. Hire people that are smarter than you to help grow and push the company forward. 

Frankie Roberts

Frankie Roberts