By Ryan Velez
Innovation can come from any source, but just because the minds that put together the tech that alters our lives are equal doesn’t mean the path to the top is as well. A recent Forbes article tells the story of Angel Rich, who is revolutionizing the way that we perceive financial literacy and working to lower the gap between those of wealth and those who have little. However, Rich is a Black woman, and the uneven playing field is on full display when it comes to her funding.
To be clear, Rich has a sizable record of success. Her Credit Stacker app is praised as fun, engaging, and accessible. Paid by government agencies and advertisers, the app is available for free in 40 countries and in four languages and has been downloaded 24,000 times. Credit Stacker uses modules that teach budgeting, saving, investing, credit management, banking, car financing, financial aid, taxes, real estate, entrepreneurship, academic planning, and career readiness. This goes without mentioning Rich’s own credentials, including winning a Goldman Sachs Portfolio Challenge in college and winning a job of her choice at Prudential by winning Prudential’s National Case competition, becoming a global research market analyst before striking out on her own.
To date, Rich and her company, The Wealth Factory Inc, have a massive list of accolades from industry stalwarts, the government, and institutions of higher learning. The problem is, it’s not reflected in the funding she is getting. “My competitor raised $75 million,” said Rich angrily. “I won best financial product and best learning game. My company raised only $200,000.” Venture capitalists have a bad record with women in general, but black women have it even worse. While Black women make up 18% of all women in the U.S. they represent only 4% of tech-led women startups.
Refusing to have white men pitch the company just to increase her chances, Rich is determined to prove that Black women can succeed in this arena, bringing qualified team members on like Courtney Keen, Wealthy Life’s co-founder and COO, who manages $1.4 billion in Navy contracts and Dominique Broadway, an award-winning personal finance expert as Chief Strategy Officer. Without much funding attention, she has also become creative in getting the money the company needs.
“We have established agreements with talent for stipends and stock shares,” she said in an article in the Washington Post. “At MTECH, we leverage their facilities, advisers, and two education technology professors. We also have an agreement with the law firm Fish & Richardson to assist with our intellectual property needs. A lot of our software is provided via our relationships with Microsoft and start-up rewards I’ve accumulated. Most importantly, we have now been vetted by most of the non-diluted funding available in D.C and Maryland.”