This week, I am highlighting Ramona Ortega, a woman on a mission to close the wealth gap. She’s doing this with her company, “My Money My Future” which combines financial content and in-app financial tools on one platform to provide multicultural millennials with personalized financial guidance and unique action plans. In a recent feature in The New York Times, Ramona shared her tips for how to get started investing as well as what to avoid.
How/why did you get into tech?
I left a career as a corporate securities attorney because I was passionate about closing the racial wealth gap. I grew up in a working class family and no one in my family or community talked about money so I ended up making very costly money mistakes. As I looked around at the different personal finance apps in fintech, I didn’t find anything that spoke to me personally or addressed my specific cultural needs, so I decided that given my experience and my career trajectory, I could use tech to fill a very specific gap in the ecosystem. I started with a blog and media site and quickly realized we needed to provide an opportunity for people to take action and we did that by building out our personal finance platform.
What role do you play in the tech ecosystem?
We are squarely in fintech, although we are not a robo-advisor. We offer free financial guidance to an underserved market and see ourselves as a leader in financial inclusion.
What do you believe is the most exciting tech trend for 2019?
I think that early fintech was about “unbundling” the bank and other financial institutions and we had a proliferation of single feature apps (think budgeting, savings, robo advising, banking) and then there was a realization that users may not want 10 different apps to manage their money, so now we are seeing a move towards rebundling and an acknowledgment that users want more than just a feature, they want simplicity and even community. What is exciting for us is that there is a more awareness in tech generally of the importance of growing your user base as a community and that niche communities want greater personalization (think Ellevest, Girlboss, etc).
Who is a person in tech that inspires you? Why?
Arlan Hamilton, founder at Backstage Capital (full disclosure-we are part of the portfolio). Arlan said she was going to raise a fund for people of color and women in tech and, against all odds, did so and is now reaping the benefits despite so many obstacles. She is smart, humble and resilient-and a reflection of the future of tech.
What advice would you give for someone who wants to get into tech?
Solve a real problem. Tech gives innovators the opportunity to really move the needle because of the ability to scale and because of that, solving a real problem for people will have an immense impact and will be so much more rewarding. It also helps to be passionate about something when the going gets hard.