FintekNews Celebrates #WomenInFintech – Meet Heather Holmes of Genivity

Heather Holmes
We’re excited to continue our new feature series – “FintekNews Celebrates #WomenInFintech“!

Over the past year, the FintekNews team has observed that the financial technology category has a plethora of amazing & inspiring women in entrepreneurial and leadership roles.  So while just 6.4% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs, we daresay the percentage of women in C-suite positions in the burgeoning fintech category far surpasses that. This week, we’d like to introduce you, again, to Heather Holmes, CEO & Founder of Genivity, a Family Engagement Platform for Advisors providing roboadvice on health risks and care costs to help retain clients and their next generation heirs.  We previously featured Heather in our “3 Questions” series.

NAME:  Heather Holmes
TITLE: CEO & Founder
COMPANY:  Genivity

What does your financial technology firm offer?

Genivity helps advisors understand how health risks and care costs can impact a client’s financial plan. This is key for three reasons: 1) it helps advisors protect family assets based on health risks  2) it helps the advisor retain accounts by building relationships with both spouses  3) Genivity helps “young-down” an advisor’s book of business by getting the next generation engaged in family planning discussions

What was the personal motivation for you to launch your firm?

I wanted to build a solution that would speak a language my mother would understand about financial planning. Introducing a financial conversation around health risks & costs was a natural way to speak her language and bridge that gap since women are well known to be the CMO (Chief Medical Officer) of the family. Talking straight numbers doesn’t speak to the emotional reasons why we are planning and saving but everyone can agree on the importance of caring for a loved one’s health.

As a young female entrepreneur, do you feel any advantages or disadvantages in being female as you are seeking capital to grow & building your businesses?

The challenges of women founders and raising capital is a hot topic and an ongoing issue I don’t see changing for a long time. My advice for other female founders is to stay focused, stay scrappy, and don’t let anyone intimidate you. Oftentimes, these investors are not going to understand your vision and that’s okay, trust yourself and buckle down and don’t let anyone dull your sparkle when it gets tough. If I had listened to investors about Genivity, we’d never be what we are today and I’m glad I learned to trust my gut and ignore the noise.

Why do you feel there are (apparently) more women starting financial technology companies, than other technology sectors? 

In regards to my personal answer, The first thing I noticed at our Yodlee Cohort 3 Kick-off was that there were several badass women also in the room with me (which from a tech odds perspective is a rarity).  I’m not sure what was the secret sauce that drew us all there but I’m incredibly appreciative of Envestnet / Yodlee for recognizing and valuing our companies and helping us accelerate our potential.

Personally I was tired of seeing so many intelligent and highly competent women that I know feel like they aren’t smart enough to tackle their finances. For me that puts fire under my feet to find a way to transcend those mental barriers and demystify the financial world for all the amazing women I know.

Do you think the trend will continue for women in leadership roles in fintech (Yes/No) and why?  

The beauty of technology companies is that anyone who is motivated and determined can create something new. The key is your determination and grit. Women bring a unique gift to the technology world by bringing their intuitiveness to the table.