Verve Launches Ethical Investing Platform for Women
Within a span of five years, women-led superannuation fund Verve Super has amassed $270 million in funds under management (FUM). Now, the organisation is expanding its reach by introducing Verve Money, an ethical investing app, following a highly successful pre-Series A funding round.
Verve Super's recent $3 million funding round, which closed ahead of schedule, will be directed towards developing a goals-oriented ethical investing platform specifically tailored to meet the needs and aspirations of women investors.
However, Verve Money aims to foster inclusivity and welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds, including women, non-binary individuals, migrants, First Nations people, and other underrepresented groups in the investment landscape.
The app's investment strategy allocates 20% of its portfolio to climate solutions, while other sectors of interest include efficient transportation, recycling, education, healthcare, healthy food production, renewable energy, technology, social well-being, and gender diversity.
In contrast, Verve Super firmly commits to avoiding investments in companies involved in women's exclusion from leadership positions, labour rights abuses, environmental harm, offshore detention, tobacco, gambling, pornography, live animal exports, fossil fuels, or weapons and armaments, including nuclear and uranium.
Among the approved investments on Verve Money's list are the Artesian Green + Sustainable Bond Fund, Plenti renewable energy loans, the Australian Unity Specialist Disability Accommodation Fund, as well as globally listed companies like Vestas Wind Systems, Beyond Meat, and recycling group Umicore.
Christina Hobbs, Verve co-founder and CEO, reflects on the progress made, stating, "Two years ago, we highlighted the issues women face in financial services and the lack of adequate support. In this round of capital raising, we were able to demonstrate our strong membership base, exceptional Net Promoter Score (NPS), and the fact that most new super members join us through positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations, a rarity in the financial services industry."
Hobbs acknowledges that raising capital this year was predicted to be challenging but attributes their success to investors' passion for Verve's positive impact on women's lives. She adds, "We found that many investors were drawn to support us because they genuinely believed in our mission."
Verve has always taken an unconventional approach to supporting its members in financial services. The super fund provides its 25,000-plus members with resources to discuss maintaining superannuation payments during parental leave, access to external divorce and separation coaches, and career coaches at no additional cost.
The commitment to empowering women in wealth-building attracted impact-focused investors, including Alberts, an impact-focused family office that led the funding round. Kirsty Albert, Director of Alberts, praises Verve's ethos and emphasises their dedication to combating economic inequality faced by women, both at an individual and systemic level.
Given the significant wealth gap and investment disparity between men and women upon retirement, Hobbs sees an immense opportunity to support women throughout their wealth-building journey. The capital raised will primarily be utilised for the launch of a new investment app designed to help women build wealth beyond superannuation.
Hobbs expresses excitement about the forthcoming app, stating, "Launching an investment app is a natural progression for us, as our members have been requesting it since the inception of Verve Super. We're thrilled to explore ways in which we can partner with women in their wealth-building endeavours."
Source: Business News Australia