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03.11.2017 Startups

Think Yellow Facilitates Gender Equality Through Investments

We cannot wait 100+ years to address gender inequality. Our time is now, therefore, Think Yellow is up and running!

“At the core of our belief system, we envision a world in which there are equal opportunities for all, irrespective of gender. In fact, we are system changers, and we aim to accelerate progress towards gender equality through the power of Gender Lens Investing.

We believe that investing is like voting and that through purposeful and responsible investment strategies we can drive forward economically and socially sustainable corporate behaviour.”

Think Yellow Founders, Karina Storingaard and Mette Rotbøll

 

Accelerating gender equality in the workplace is a key driver for change, and it serves as a sustainable investment strategy as well. Companies that are more “Gender-friendly” benefit from higher financial returns, better corporate governance, more consistent risk management, and have better decision making strategy.1 Therefore, it also makes sense to invest with this in mind and thus, Think Yellow is building an online investing platform to allow private individuals to invest in gender-friendly companies.

All our investment opportunities are dedicated to achieving long-term capital growth while making a difference. Our aim is to become a 1-stop shop for “Gender-Friendly” Investing. We want to make investments available for all, and therefore, our investment platform will be an easy to use and enjoyable platform as well as an engaging experience.

We are driven by values of transparency, integrity and impact. Hence, we are paying a lot of attention to customer relationship building, investment knowledge training and reporting.


What does Gender-friendly mean? 

Gender-friendly companies and organisations are institutions which are committed to improving the working lives of men and women alike. These are some of the examples of metrics used by gender-friendly companies to advance gender equality in the workplace:

 

Gender Balance in Leadership & Workforce in the organization’s:

  • Non-executive board
  • Executives
  • Senior Management
  • Workforce
  • Promotion & Career Development Opportunities

 

Equal Compensation & Work-Life Balance:

  • Equal Pay for Equal Work
  • Parental Leave
  • Flexible Work Options

 

Commitment to drafting and implementing Policies promoting Gender Equality.

Commitment to transparency & Accountability through an independent gender audit certification body. 

 

Activating this money makes sense from sociological and economic perspectives, yet we all must be mindful of the needs of the people holding their capital in cash.

“We deeply care about addressing the needs of our current and prospective clients while ensuring that the barriers they have when it comes to investing, are removed.”

Think Yellow Team

 

Why Yellow

Yellow is the colour of the sun, and the sun shines on us all equally. Besides being the colour of sunshine, yellow stands for freshness, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy and optimism and as we view the world as a place full of opportunities, what better name than Think Yellow?

Yellow also means something unique and different to each of the co-founders. For instance, to Karina, it is all about thinking out of the box — yellow represents creativity, new ideas, enthusiasm, all needed qualities for system changers. Yellow also happens to be her favorite color as a child. Her daughter’s first English word was yellow, too.

To co-founder Mette, yellow means attention and caution; stop up and Think. Investing is voting and questioning where our money goes is paramount. It is time that we collectively take responsibility; time is running out and new ways of investing. Digital technology is making responsible investing possible, not only for high net-worth/wealthy individuals.

 

How it all started

It was always about Purpose. Mette spent the past two decades working in the Swiss Financial Sector. Along the journey, from private banking relationship management to independent family wealth management, it was an imperative for her to find or add purpose to the investment equation.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the reiterated commitment to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals2 (SDGs) came as a gift to Mette. Now we have well-defined topics to delve into and 17 Goals we all must work toward.

A kick-in-the-butt with the words: ‘Follow the fire in your belly’ meant her purpose again became an important factor. At the beginning of 2017 a forgotten fellow Dane, Karina, reignited Mette’s passion and she decided to focus on the SDG closest to her heart: SDG5 – Gender Equality.

The fellow Dane is Karina, full of energy, ideas and determination to make a difference in the gender space. Karina is not a financial expert, nor is she a tech genius as most FinTech founders are. Instead, Karina is a purpose economist, who combines her entrepreneurial brain of looking for opportunities in every corner, hoping to find emerging trends or spot inspiration for new products and services, with her big heart for bringing about large scale societal change in the gender space.

When Karina came across the terminology Gender Lens Investing, she fell in love with the concept. Soon after, the idea to create a digital Gender Lens Investment platform for private individuals was born.

The business idea combines Karina’s passion and Zeitgeist of conscious leadership, purpose economy and women empowerment with the possibility for small startups to become system changers beyond their imagination. It was Karina reigniting with Mette what moved the idea away from the napkin and made it become a reality.

 

At Easter 2017 Mette and Karina decided to apply for the F10 accelerator and incubator program. 

In May 2017, Think Yellow was accepted as part of the F10 program and its world changed completely. The idea became real. Karina remembers feeling like having a positive pregnancy test in her hand: fear coupled with joy and commitment. The approval of F10 was the stamp of approval that made Mette and Karina resign from other commitments and finally follow the burning fire in both of their bellies.

The core team has now been extended with incredible team members, Tiia and Valentina. Tiia is a client experience expert coming from the financial industry who like Mette and Karina love customers. Valentina is specialist in Gender on the top of being an excellent communicator. She brings a fresh, forward thinking perspective to the table.

Besides the core team, Think Yellow has a handful of amazing advisors, coaches, mentors many of whom are from F10. This has allowed the team to wait with adding the classic FinTech competences, such as finance and development skills. As we speak these competences are being added.

Without these additions to the team, we could obviously not build Think Yellow. This was a very conscious decision to found the core of the start-up based on people who not only have long-term expertise in understanding customers, but also think, behave and feel like our target group.

 

Gender Lens Investing 

Gender lens investing is the practice of investing for financial return while also considering the benefits to women. The term was coined around 2009 and became an increasingly popular practice in mid-2010. Gender lens investing can include funding women-owned businesses, businesses with a strong track record of employing women, or companies that improve the lives of women and girls with their products and services.

 

“At the end of the day, this is what is going to set Think Yellow apart; our love for the people we serve.”

Think Yellow Team

 

Team Members

Tiia Mäkinen joined Think Yellow as an Experience Strategy Lead. She holds a PhD in sensory branding from the University of Zürich and has 15+ years of working experience and making real her passion for client experience and brand advocacy. Born in gender-progressive Finland, Tiia comes from a third-generation of working women in her family. She would like to continue to work towards closing the gender pay gap around the world and allow other women the choice of a career to reap the benefits of equal opportunity in the workplace.

Think Yellow hired Valentina S. Velandia as a gender and communications specialist. Karina and Valentina lead an Impact Hub Tribe called The Imperfect Circle, an innovative dialogic platform for new thinking and acting in the gender space. Ever since, they knew that their collaboration had to go beyond this circle.

Originally from Colombia, Valentina spent the past nine years working on the Gender Policy Analysis field, primarily through the UN system. Her social justice endeavours have their roots in her native Colombia and extend to her studies and field-work in gender and migration in the US, Asia Pacific and now Europe.

Mette was born in Denmark, but grew up in Australia. She continued studies back in Denmark, where she met her raison d’être.

In Switzerland, a combined Danish/Swiss MSc EBA opened many doors and provided the basis for 20+ years within the Global Financial Sector, including Bank of Copenhagen, Nordfinanz Bank , Société Genérale, Maerki Baumann and LGT Bank (Switzerland). She has advised entrepreneurs, families, owners and boards, and has been involved in several Private Placements. Mette is a strong believer in “Doing well, while doing good” and founded Vigil Wealth Management AG in 2002 to steer wealth towards messing up the world less. Often working with teams globally and sitting on multiple boards to deliver sustained alignment and heightened focus on the social and environmental side of investing, Mette is an agent for impactful action and change.

Karina grew up in Denmark as part of an entrepreneurial retail family, yet dreamt of an international career. Therefore, she went to live in the US, Hong Kong and moved to Switzerland in 2003 to work as an intern at INTERSPORT International with a MSc in Economics and Business Administration in her luggage. Five years later, she was Head of Marketing. Despite feeling empowered, she left that she missed having a larger impact on society. She stayed another 4 years in the consumer industry, experienced bankruptcy, consultant work, and becoming a mother.

In 2012 she moved to the digital world, started working for one of Europe’s most award winning digital mobile agencies, Shape. She then became the Managing Director of their Swiss office in 2015, and on the same year she became a mom for the second time. She also became a president of the Professional Women’s Group of Zurich and the chairwoman of the board of her family’s company. After years of intense learning, searching for sustainable business opportunities in the gender space, she found her calling in Gender Lens Investing and took the big jump — She decided to go back to her roots in entrepreneurship, following her passion of tackling large scale societal issues.

 

Gender Equality Backlash 

The latest Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum4 found that the global workplace gender gap appears to be widening at an alarming rate. According to its data, the gap between men and women in terms of economic participation and opportunity is now larger than it was back in 2008. In a more concerning note, it is estimated that this gap will not be closed for another 170 years — this is up from 117 years 12 months ago.

 


Sources

Hunt, Vivian, et al. Diversity Matters. McKinsey & Company, 2015, Diversity Matters.

United Nations sustainable development agenda. United Nations, www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda/.

Joseph Quinlan (Author), Jackie VanderBrug (Author). “Gender Lens Investing: Uncovering Opportunities for Growth, Returns, and Impact Kindle Edition.” Gender Lens Investing: Uncovering Opportunities for Growth, Returns, and Impact.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2016. The Global Gender Gap Report 2016. http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2016/

“Women. Fast forward.” EY – Global, www.ey.com/gl/en/issues/business-environment/women-fast-forward.

 

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