FinTech Female Fridays: Ramona Ortega, CEO and Founder, My Money My Future
Why did you start My Money My Future almost 4 years ago? How have you seen the company grow since inception?
I went to law school specifically to learn more about corporate law and capital markets because I always knew that understanding money was powerful. After practicing securities litigation and having spent time working on corporate restructurings in Bankruptcy Court and hedge funds at the SEC, I started thinking about my own relationship with money. I asked myself what would I have told my 20-year-old self and a light bulb went off. I looked around and there was this huge white space in financial services and FinTech. No one was speaking to me, literally or figuratively, no company or CEO represented my experience, or even that of my community, so I decided to build the company I was looking for.
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. I started with a blog and quickly realized that people wanted more, they wanted advice and guidance to take action and so built the platform with a specific user in mind.
We have had to build the company and our first product, the Money Made Simple platform with a fraction of the resources we see being deployed in Fintech. By all measures, our RIO and grit should be rewarded with investment dollars but we face significant hurdles in raising venture capital, not unlike the specific hurdles our users face in building wealth. Given that, we have been able to grow organically and had the time to develop our clear road map to product market fit. We are very excited about what the future holds with our new B2B financial wellness platform and expanding our reach with Spanish language resources.
Why is the user base for your My Money My Future mostly concentrated in California and Pacific Northwest?
I often compare our road map to growth with a political campaign, if we take California, Texas, and the Southwest, we win, at least in terms of our target demographic. Most of these states are already minority majority and Latino. 43% of all millennials are multicultural and as a company that is targeting this demographic, we are tailoring our marketing to these geographic areas.
How were you able to find advisers for My Money My Future that aligned with your business model?
Our first Angel Investor and adviser, Mary Byron, we met on a panel at a conference. We clearly were aligned in our work, being on the same panel, and she was excited to be supportive of our mission and vision. Our other advisers we met at various industry events and from my attorney network. As we grow, we will need different kind of advisers that will be hands on and be more involved and we will identify those people through the start-up ecosystem.
What advice do you have for people are starting their own company within the FinTech space? What did you wish you knew then, that you know now?
While there is a lot of money deployed in Fintech and there is still a lot of opportunity, really developing a value proposition is so important. So many FinTech companies say they are helping people save or helping millennials, now you have to really define what that means. Which millennials? How are you different from the 10 other savings or budgeting apps out there?
Any advice to our members on how to build their brand to the fullest?
I am not sure I can be anything but authentic and I think that has been something that resonates with our users and has been invaluable in driving brand recognition. I have a story that reflects the experience of many people who have not seen themselves reflected in this market and people love that. I would also say- find your voice and have a specific point of view.
Reach out to Ramona on LinkedIn.