Personal finance site for women LearnVest has had a big year. Launched last fall at TechCrunch50, the startup raised its first round of funding from Accel Partners and seed investors a few months ago ($4.5 million to be exact).
LearnVest has a simple goal: to help women organize their finances and learn how to become financially savvy. It’s kind of like an online version of financial planner Suze Orman blended with personal finance site Mint.com.
Today, the startup is launching three online programs, called ‘bootcamps,’ to educate women on various financial subjects, including a Financial Basics Bootcamp, Cut Your Costs Bootcamp, and Investing Bootcamp. Instead of creating a book-like online experience, LearnVest is making email newsletters the foundation of the educational sessions.
For example, the Investing Bootcamp, which costs users $7.99, teaches women how to make smart investing decisions and properly allocate their portfolios. For three weeks, women will receive daily emails with advice and actionable items that they can perform on LearnVest, making the newsletter interactive. For example, for the Financial Basics bootcamp, one of the daily actionable items is ‘Get Your Credit Score.’ Cut Your Costs Bootcamp topic range from Bootcamp topics range from ways to save on energy bills to exactly how to negotiate a lower cable bill. Learnvest will incorporate all of the information users complete and input in bootcamps into their LearnVest account.
Alexa von Tobel, LearnVest’s CEO and founder, tells me that the idea is to encourage women to not only learn, but also motivate them to make actionable decisions about their accounts and finances at the same time. She chose a newsletter format because the ‘LearnVest woman’ simply doesn’t have time to read the same information in a book. Women are more inclined to read a daily tidbit in an email vs. sitting down with a book, says von Tobel.
LearnVest held a pilot bootcamp in January and saw impressive results—8,000 people signed up for the basic financial bootcamp. With the new additions LearnVest expects to sign up a total of 40,000 participants. LearnVest plans to launch additional bootcamps in the future, including sessions realted to how to get a mortgage for a home.
The integration between the bootcamp educational sessions and the user’s LearnVest profile is key to the success of the initiative. As we wrote in our initial review of LearnVest, the site will ask you a series of questions about your financial health (i.e. how much credit card debt do you have), you life stages (i.e. do you rent, are you planning a family soon, do you own a house) and your financial education level and will diagnose your financial health and give you a snapshot of what you need to learn and improve. LearnVest will create customized plans for you, depending on your goals, and allow you to chart off your improvements and achievements.
Von Tobel says that LearnVest is steadily adding more female users flock to its site and is currently seeing 500K uniques per month. The next step is to take the site mobile, says von Tobel, and help women access LearnVest on the go.