Company name: LearnLux
The gist: LearnLux offers online learning options that teach you how to take control of your personal finances and make informed decisions, whether it’s where to open your first credit card or how to diversify your investment portfolio (or have one in the first place).
Who will love the platform? Millennials either on the verge of graduating or one to two years out of college, who are receiving employee benefits for the first time and realizing they need to start making big financial decisions.
Who should not use the platform? People who have their basic banking, retirement planning, and insurance needs covered and are already too attached to their Mint app.
If you had to open an IRA tomorrow, would you know what to do? Sibling duo Rebecca and Michael Liebman are banking on “no.”
“I worked at three startups and at MIT,” Rebecca says. “I was surrounded by brilliant people who went to Sloan. And no one knew how to open an IRA.”
The two founded LearnLux to help answer those financial questions—and in terms the layperson could understand.
“I always thought finance companies had a terrible user experience,” says Michael, who’s currently studying finance at Bentley University and worked throughout high school as a bank teller. “That’s what the ‘UX’ in ‘Lux’ stands for—user experience.”
The startup strips the financial jargon from its lessons to minimize the intimidation factor. It’s intimidation that actually inspired Rebecca—recently named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30“—to launch LearnLux. Math “terrified” her, and financial literacy wasn’t a subject she found adequately covered at her alma mater, Clark University, or elsewhere.
“We’re on a mission to make financial literacy a priority,” Rebecca explains. “We’re empowering people to make decisions out of knowledge rather than fear.”
The team is currently running private pilots so they can determine the best use cases for LearnLux, but plan to launch publicly later this year. Although they couldn’t name names, they did say they are working with distribution partners who are interested in helping their communities develop personal finance skills. At the same time, they are creating interactive, online learning tools targeted toward millennials and, according to Rebecca, “connecting them to the resources they need to take action immediately.”
So far, the startup has met with success. LearnLux was a 2015 MassChallenge finalist and received $20,000 in December from student-run venture firm Dorm Room Fund. Rebecca acknowledges being in Boston has helped spur the company’s growth, given the city’s wealth of college students and supportive startup community.
“We’re building the product we wish we had,” Rebecca says. “A lot of people in financial technology aren’t millennials. But because we are the age we are, we are surrounded by our users and can do testing on a daily basis.”
As she noted, though, financial literacy isn’t just an issue facing recent college grads.
“No matter who you are,” Rebecca says, “you need to make financial decisions.”
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2016/03/09/learnlux/
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