Tori Dunlap, the founder of Seattle-based Her First $100K, is bringing her brand of financial feminism and education to a new platform, partnering with Treasury on an app to share her secrets to investing success.
Dunlap, who coined her company name after saving $100,000 by the age of 25, has been dispensing her wisdom through in-person and online classes since 2019. Her goal is to fight inequality and help women achieve financial independence.
She’s attracted a huge audience doing it, with a massive following on social media, a top-rated podcast, website, newsletter and first book in the works. Now Dunlap wants to help her community learn more and connect on Treasury, where for the first time they’ll be able to invest during one of her live, online workshops.
She said a lot of what gets attention in financial media and elsewhere is investing 301 or 401, and her first workshop on Treasury is Investing 101, aimed at women who are afraid to be judged in traditional financial circles.
“The number one thing we hear from our community is, ‘I want to start investing, but I’m too afraid or I’m too intimidated,’” Dunlap said. “We’re trying to create not only a community where they can come and ask questions, get education, participate in challenges … but also actually give them a place to invest.”
Dunlap, who runs a team of 10, is teaming with Treasury co-founders Elias Rothblatt and Ivar Vong, both Pacific Northwest natives who now run their company from New York City. Her First $100K is still a separate entity, but it’s partnering with Treasury to create the investing community and app.
“We found that we share this mission of building a more inclusive financial world,” Rothblatt said, adding that last year’s short-squeeze craziness around GameStop’s stock and amateur investing only cemented what he called “chauvinistic, male focused” conversations around investment education.
“We are we are here to provide a community where people can connect with each other and ask really good questions and not feel like they’re gonna have a finance bro in there who’s mansplaining what cryptocurrency is,” Dunlap said.
She’s been careful to point out that she is not a licensed financial advisor. She offers education primarily to women because she believes they are the people who need it most, but her community is open to everyone who is committed to “dismantling patriarchal, racist, ableist systems. … My podcast is called ‘Financial Feminist’ and if you identify as a feminist, it doesn’t matter your gender identity. But you need to be supportive of all of the things that we’re working towards.”
The new app will work by starting people with a $99 introductory workshop on the basics of investing. The hour-long online course will include 30 to 45 minutes of guidance from Dunlap and then users can make their first investment live in the workshop. Dunlap will also do a Q&A.
Rothblatt said the education keys on such things as: What is a stock? What’s a bond? Why would someone invest in the stock market? What are the things that I should look at when I’m evaluating a stock or a fund?
“It’s such a cool thing to be able to watch somebody go from ‘OK, I’m nervous, but I’m going to do it’ and then to actually see them hit the buy button and become first time investors,” Rothblatt said. “That transition is amazing.”
A beta version of the Treasury app has already generated $4.6 million in investments from users. Rothblatt said 100,000 people are on a waitlist and they will be let in slowly so as to not overwhelm the new platform.
Initially, users will gain limited access to the Treasury interface, to the Her First $100K community, and all the educational resources. Users will be able to interact in and create discussions around investing as well as see how other people are managing their portfolios.
Eventually the plan is move to a subscription model for access to future content.
Dunlap, who quit her corporate job in marketing to focus full time on Her First $100K — a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. — said she doesn’t really know what her business or her life would look like in a non-pandemic world.
True to her independent nature, she’s taken no outside money or investment to grow the company.
“I’m 100% owner and, excuse my language, I’m super f**king proud of that,” Dunlap said. “Really proud of it.”