FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Co-Founder and COO, Allie Fleder
This resilient innovator believes in the power of startups and technology to achieve lasting impacts on social inclusion through education, policy, and financial services. The digitization of the world incentivized the creation of SimplyWise. As the Co-Founder and COO, Allie Fleder is motivated to help individuals take control of their finances through digitization.
Full name: Allie Fleder
Current job title: Co-Founder & COO
Current company: SimplyWise
Current location: New York City
“What excites me the most in FinTech today are the solutions being developed to better serve traditionally underserved populations. COVID-19 underscored the power that financial services have to minimize economic shocks for vulnerable populations. Yet historically, our industry has blown it on financial inclusion (to put it mildly). Through FinTech, we have the power to change that, and an opportunity to improve the accessibility and affordability of financial services for all.”
After receiving her BA from Columbia University and an MBA with a full scholarship from London Business School, Allie began her career working with entrepreneurs and tech companies to scale up their operations in Latin America after which she consulted for a number of VC-backed startups in London and NYC. Prior to co-founding SimplyWise, she founded and ran a British luggage delivery platform called Sherpa which was acquired in 2019.
At SimplyWise, Allie and her team are building better, simpler tools for modern retirement.
Their first product is an app that helps Americans seamlessly digitize and organize their paperwork to better track expenses and find savings. Most digital financial services products specifically cater to millennials and Gen Z, however, SimplyWise is geared towards Americans over 50 who, in fact, constitute the tech-savvy, fast-growing, wealthiest segment of the country’s population.
As COO, Allie focuses on a range of tasks, from supporting customers, working with engineers to quash bugs, to thinking/hacking around growth—from performance marketing to viral marketing to ideating around other more creative channels. “The most important thing I do at SimplyWise is talking to our users. One of our company values is “Bias for listening” because we are obsessed with building products our users love. I even text with some of our power users from my personal phone. There isn’t a feature that gets shipped or a design that we implement that we haven’t screenshot and run by our users. “
In her professional journey, Allie faced challenges when she first decided to come out in her career. At times, she doubted her decision to come out professionally but quickly realized that there is no power in staying silent. Ever since this realization, she has been unapologetically herself and has become a prominent advocate for empowering the LGBTQ+ community. “Things change when we speak up. Now when you’re queer, it doesn’t mean you come out once and you’re done; in fact, you have to come out again and again, and you’re not always comfortable or safe to do so—and that’s okay. But when you can, you do, because when you’re brave enough to be out and speak out, you empower the people around you to do the same. And that’s where change happens.”
Allie serves as a Board member of EUROUT, Europe’s largest LGBTQ+ business student conference. She is involved with Out in Tech—the world’s largest non-profit community of LGBTQ+ tech leaders—where she leads their Women’s Initiative and also sits on the leadership committee of Digital Corps, a group that builds websites for international LGBT nonprofits and entrepreneurs.
“I love what my friends at Daylight and First Boulevard are doing to, respectively, build better banking products for LGBTQ+ folks and for Black Americans. And of course, I am most excited by our team’s “silvertech” space, where the opportunity for growth and impact is massive.”
More on Allie
Where you currently live / quarantine: My wife and I moved back from London before the pandemic started (in fact, we still haven’t officially unpacked), so we have been on the move throughout the pandemic, from Colorado to different national parks in the US and now in Asbury Park, our favorite queer town in America.
Family at home: Just me, my wife, and our Great Dane puppy (which is a little like living with a pony that sits in your lap and drools on your keyboard). It’s certainly never quiet with our family; there’s almost always jazz playing too loud and a lampshade or ottoman on its side.
Hometown: Westfield, NJ
Favorite hobby: Gardening to opera. I could deadhead roses to Richard Tauber all day long. It’s my happy place.
Favorite part of your day: Checking in with my co-founders at the start of each day. I think starting up has to be one of the most exciting things you can do. Your idea lives or dies by the hustle you and your team bring every hour of every day. It’s incredibly exhilarating to huddle up with the people you build with, strategize, level-set, and make sure those hours are being spent right before you dive in.
Favorite show to binge: Any Korean drama. No matter how delicious or terrible it is, I’ve binged it and relished every moment. If you’re wondering where to begin, start at the start with “Mr. Sunshine”.
6:45 am: Wake up to my wife sleep-singing “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car”. (She wakes me up most mornings singing in her sleep). Fall back asleep.
7:00 am: Wake up to Doris, my Great Dane, standing over me on the bed drooling. It’s my turn to feed her breakfast, and then we’re off to play soccer on the beach.
8:30 am: Biweekly call with three other female co-founders I’ve met in the last year. We each talk through an issue we’re struggling with, then go around and share advice. By 9:00 am we’re off, energized, and ready to get a jump on the week
10:00 am: Sip on Coffee #2 and review the data from the weekend with my co-founders to determine any changes we want to make to the growth experiments we have planned for the coming week.
12:00 pm: Interview one of our users. We have a section in our app that invites people to jump on the phone with one of the app’s creators—which means we get to speak directly with our users every day. This user says the app has been helpful, but that for him to increase what he’s paying, he’ll need to see an additional feature. His feedback is awesome. I add it to our roadmap in Asana.
8:00 pm: Speak with a queer woman I met through Out in Tech who is at an all-male AI startup. She’s looking for help on SEO. We’ve all been there; I share with her everything I know.
9:15 pm: Interview one of our power users, who tells me our app changed her life. We speak about her dogs and her divorce, and I invite her to join a small community of our early users on Facebook who are helping to develop our app.
6:45 am: Wake up to Annie singing “Mele Kalikimaka” (that Hawaiian-themed Christmas song).
7:00 am: More Great Dane drool in the face. It’s clockwork. Doris finishes her breakfast in the usual 35 seconds and I throw on shades and we head to the dog beach.
8:00 am: Speak on the phone with a new user who has hit a bug in the app and is now concerned about using our product.
8:16 am: Our CTO is not just brilliant–he also prioritizes our users above ALL (even his breakfast!). He has already fixed the bug and even drafted some language for me to use to explain what happened. I call our user to tell them it’s resolved; they tell me they’ll be leaving us an app review later this morning for such amazing service. We celebrate our CTO.
10:00 am: Conduct a series of paid user interviews about a new referral flow we recently released that has underperformed. We realize after the first interview how confusing the language is.
2:00 pm: Join an amazing influencer, who runs a community called the Decluttering Club, for a Facebook live in which I demo the SimplyWise app.
3:00 pm: The event is over and I’m sweating. Time to reward myself; I sail through two boxes of Snow Caps, a special occasion treat.
3:15 pm: I hop on a program manager planning call for Out in Tech’s “Digital Corps” (the quarterly LGBTQ+ hackathon I help organize). Our hackathon is a week away, and my team has been assigned to build a website for an amazing entrepreneur who runs a compostable dog poop bag startup.
4:00 pm: My SimplyWise co-founders and I meet up in our team zoom to write up everything we’ve learned over the last week. (We’re pretty scientific [read: nerdy] about measuring and analyzing our data to make our next set of hypotheses).
7:00 pm: A bottle of champagne arrives at my door… my cofounder, knowing I was nervous for the FB live demo, sent it to me with a note that I killed it today. At our early stage, you have to celebrate every win (however small)—and most importantly surround yourself with people you enjoy who inspire you along the journey. I share the bottle with Mads Goldstein, one of my best friends and a fellow founder.
Reach out to Allie on LinkedIn.