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Sallie Krawcheck lands $32.5M for female-focused robo

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Ellevest, the digital advice platform for women launched by Sallie Krawcheck, secured $32.5 million in funding, according to SEC filings.

It is the latest robo advisor to attract large sums of investor money, defying industry doubts about the viability of such platforms.

Betterment in July raised another $70 million in funding after a mammoth $100 million fundraising round last year. In August, Personal Capital announced it raised an additional $40 million.

Last September, Ellevest raised $9 million in venture capital, much of it from female investors including tennis great Venus Williams. According to the latest SEC filing, another $2.2 million in stock is still to be sold, so its latest round could end up higher.

Representatives for Ellevest did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

When Ellevest was founded in 2014 the company raised $19 million over two previous rounds from investors including Morningstar, Khosla Ventures, and Aspect Ventures. Williams, Ariel Investments’ Melody Hobson, and chief economic adviser at Allianz Mohamed El-Erian are also said to have contributed, according to CNBC.

The former Bank of America Merrill Lynch chief cofounded Ellevest in 2014 as a way to close the gender gap on investing. Krawcheck makes no bones about the challenges she sees women facing, especially in the workplace and when it comes to investing.

“Eighty-six percent of investment advisors are men, with an average age of 50+,” the Ellevest website says. “So the ‘gender neutral’ investment industry defaults to men’s salaries, career paths, preferences and lifespans.”

In a recent piece Krawcheck published on LinkedIn she discussed starting her own business. She also mentioned a time at Citi where she was told to “sit down and shut up” for fighting to reimburse client funds for losses on high risk products, highlighting the challenges women face in hyper-masculine environments such as finance and tech.

The expansion of hybrid platforms and bank digital advice promises big changes and fierce competition in automated wealth management.
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In starting her own business Krawcheck was aware that she had means other women do not. Her goal with Ellevest is to “help women reach their professional and financial goals…to get women more money by closing their gender investing gap and their other gender money gaps.”

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