The Finances of Awesome Tech Entrepreneur Benedetta
“I saved for my MBA. Spending on education was the best financial choice I made as I believe that the education, the contacts and the experience of Business School have been absolutely valuable for my career.”
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have always imagined myself as an entrepreneur since I was a little girl. This is also because my dad used to take me to the office of his tech company and I would love to play with the first versions of the desktop computer on his desk. I spent the first few years in my career in Finance but soon realized that startups were the place for me and have now travelled over 8 cities across three continents to work for different startups before realizing that it was finally time to do things on my own.
What inspired you to launch Oval Money?
I was looking to find a solution to democratize finance, because after having studied it in school I realized that making investment decisions was hard, even for me. I was then contacted by my now co-founders with whom I collaborated before. They had come across the same problem and we decided to sit down to figure out how to solve this together. We decided that we needed to create an accessible and easy to use solution that would firstly facilitate the accumulation of initial capital that users would save, and then serve as a marketplace of solutions in which to direct these savings. This all needed to be easy to use and transparent with no huge documents and difficult to understand risks and costs that were hidden between the lines.
What’s your relationship like with money and personal finance?
I actually have been told that I am very frugal. I have always had jobs with a good salary but my independence was always more important than splurging on fancy clothes or shoes. I therefore saved to live through my MBA, to allow myself to leave a job I didn’t like or to change country easily. And sometimes I would splurge on travel, because experiences enrich me much more than goods.
What does financial independence mean to you?
I left home when I was 21 and have always felt that I was able to cope on my own. I am lucky to have a family that could help me if needed, but for me being able to take care of myself and to make my own life decisions was what represented financial independence. I also believe that as a single woman I want to always maintain this independence even when in a relationship or marriage. I also hope to have the opportunity to be a working mother to give an example to my future daughters that marriage is not the only way to achieve independence from the family (This is still a huge issue in Italy culturally with one of the lowest % in Europe of working woman, especially as soon as they become wives or mothers).
Budgeting - do you follow any guides, or are you more of a freewheeler?
I used to be terrible, I would never look at what was in my account but was able to not splurge and thus I would see my account savings grow. Oval Money has helped me a lot with visibility into my expenses and income, and the ability to actually save proactively, instead of saving just what is left at the end of the month. Thus I have now set up saving goals for the month and can see what week I have been better than others in setting some money aside.
What’s the one thing you indulge in?
For me, friends and family are most important things in my life. I indulge for them, through gifts, weekend getaways and travel. It has been 15 years that my sisters and I have lived in different places in the world, and we love to visit each other or find ourselves a meeting point somewhere halfway!
What is the best financial decision you have ever made?
I saved for my MBA. Spending on education was the best financial choice I made as I believe that the education, the contacts and the experience of Business School have been absolutely valuable for my career.
Own up. Have you made any major financial faux-pas?
I have not made huge financial mistakes, I decided to give some money to be managed by an investment fund without much research and have been disappointed by the results. This is why I decided that having a solution that would help me through the financial decisions I made would be of great help.
What are your plans with Oval for 2018?
We are very soon launching our investment marketplace with a few products but will add more as we grow. 2018 will be the year where we complete the product to be in line with our mission and we scale across Europe!
What is Vestpod for you?
An inspiring read.
Favourite book & podcast?
My favorite podcasts are the Ted Talks and How I built this on NPR. In terms of books, I do not have a favorite but love reading and will finish something like a book every week. I read novels and non-fiction usually at the same time, so you will always find one of each on my kindle.
Tech entrepreneur @OvalMoney, @Uber and @Zalora. Dreamer, Doer, and Daughter of an amazing entrepreneur! I started loving tech before I even knew it would shape my life!