Traditionally, conversations around financial planning and investing in India have been dominated by men with women having very little say in the family’s finances.
Why are women not engaging in this conversation? Why is this space still dominated by men? Is it because the finance industry is primarily talking to men, and addressing their financial goals to the extent that even the narratives are designed to appeal to men?
These are the questions that Priti Rathi, promoter Anand Rathi Group, asked herself and decided to launch LXME – a financial planning platform exclusively for women — in 2018.
“I come from a background where it is a given that you understand money, you understand investing and growing money. But I realized it is not the same out there, especially for women, not only in India but across the world. There is a huge gap, like a barrier that exists when it comes to talking about money, forget investing. And it was very important to understand the reason behind it,” she said.
Making women speak up
Also, the survey, conducted before launching LXME, revealed that the existing ecosystem is men talking to men. It did not speak to women and even when it spoke to them the decision making ability was not there. The decision lay in the hands of men, who were considered the primary consumer.
“If you look at all the online investing platforms, women are around 14 percent to 19 percent of the total members. They understand the need to invest but end up procrastinating or relying on men around them because they either find it too complicated or lack information or have an inherent fear regarding how to go about it,” adds Priti
“We identified the friction points and found a solution. What differentiates our platform from the plethora of others is that the conversation is driven by women, it talks to their needs while also educating them through simple learning modules,” she says.
“For me, there are three pillars to LXME, one is where women come together and talk about money – challenges, opportunities and everything that has to do with money. Second, content and online learning courses to improve literacy and awareness. We have seen that there’s a tremendous behavioral shift towards money if you’re able to understand and relate to it. Third giving a platform where they can seamlessly invest,” explains Priti.
For the women, by the women
LXME has been built by a group of young women for women. In order to ensure that the platform does not come across as too technical, LXME created a team comprising of women from diverse non-financial backgrounds, barring Priti who is the brain behind the financial portfolio and learning content.
“One thing I was very clear about from the beginning is that LXME had to be completely digital, seamless and very easy to navigate. And most importantly, it should have an investment platform. To me that was the most important piece that was missing in the fintech market,” she says.
In the last two years, LXME has engaged with over 50,000 women. They conducted financial fitness boot camps and realised that when women come together, interactive learning is incredible, which gave an impetus to introduce a more interactive platform.
LXME has a Facebook group – an online community of women who actively discuss all things money. This was created as a closed group and has organically grown to over 7000 women and counting.
“Going forward, we want to build a community based money app, like a neo-bank that offers an entire gamut of services to women, right from savings to investments.” It will continue to identify what appeals to women, such as safer investment options, investment in gold or identifying differential borrowing rates.
Today over 1,000 women are investing through their platform. “The journey from joining the community to understanding the nuances, and building the trust to invest via the platform is a much shorter journey compared to the traditional platforms that often rely on an aggressive sales pitch” says Priti.
LXMI will soon launch its mobile app. “Our larger vision is to empower more women, help them break stereotypes and enable them to take charge of financial decisions. When that community grows I think we can say we have made a mark.”