In December, 2008, with the Dow plummeting and massive layoffs across the economy, Alexa von Tobel decided it was the perfect time to take a leave from Harvard Business School to start a company.
Even weirder: it paid off — last week her startup LearnVest closed on a $4.5 million funding round led by Accel Partners, bringing its total funds raised to date up to $5.6 million.
LearnVest is premised on the notion that the majority of the population is entering the workforce with little financial literacy.
LearnVest provides personal finance education and advice targeted to women via daily emails and a variety of tutorials, checklists, and interactive tools on its website. The company makes money through referrals and advertising.
Alexa came up with the idea as a senior at Harvard when she realised that despite her 18 years of education, and the job she had lined up as an analyst at Morgan Stanley, she had no idea how to manage her own money.
Accepting financial advice from someone who left HBS to start a company in the middle of an economic meltdown might seem crazy, but Alexa’s project has impressed a number of people who know their way around this space; former HuffPo CEO Betsy Morgan, former DailyCandy CEO Catherine Levene, and former Goldman Sachs partner Ann Kaplan are all signed on as advisers.
LearnVest will spend around 70% of the new funds on human capital, adding 6-10 more full-time employees over the next year.
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