Crissi Cole of Penny Finance on growing a new wave of women investors
Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:
I am the Founder & CEO of Penny Finance, an early stage fintech startup taking on the wealth gap.
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
Meeting women doing big, bold things!
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I couldn’t stop thinking about a colleague of mine who was crying in a conference room with me at work because she had no idea how to do her taxes or invest her 401k.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I spent ten years working in wealth management at Goldman Sachs in New York City, where I invested ultra-high-net-worth portfolios and built trading & technology platforms.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Oh yes… my brother and I ran a lawn mowing business in middle school and then my mom bought an ice cream business while we were in high school. The rest is history.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Our launch was so uneventful. We built a small pilot email list and had a few hundred followers on Instagram. We got 1 subscription in the first month. You expect this big boom but that is not how it works!
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?
How to go fast and go slow all at the same time. How can you intentionally build your business and add new features (tech app) while listening and letting your product do its job in the market and world? This is still a struggle today, and the biggest lesson is to wait almost a few months for a new idea/approach/feature/strategy to sink it, but then look super closely at the data and talk to users to figure out where to go next. Don’t build in a bubble.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Reaching 4,000 women investors in 1 year!
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I could be better at this, but absolutely. Prioritize the things you love that help you recharge — exercise, family, bubble baths. And just make a rule that is easy to implement. Close the computer at 6pm.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
It takes 7-10 years to build a business. Plan accordingly.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Building version 3.0 of our financial app for women, and growing a new wave of self-taught women investors.