Startup Profile: LearnLux Teaches Millenials About Finance
By Christian Arthur
“I studied environmental science in school, hated math, and made a lot of decisions based on the fact that I didn’t understand finance,” says Rebecca Liebman. While working in a lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology she realized that many of the postdocs “didn’t know anything about finance either.”
This inspired her to start up LearnLux, which aims to teach millennials about insurance, investing, and other issues that members of the next generation will encounter as they enter the workforce and begin to pay off student loans (and build savings).
“Ultimately, I’m building a product that I wish I had,” says Liebman, who last year made the Forbes 30 under 30 list in the category of education. She brings entrepreneurial experience to her venture, having previously built an educational company in Kenya.
[Tweet “”Ultimately, I’m building a product that I wish I had.” – @BestOfBecca”]
“[My co-founder] is the exact opposite of me,” says Liebman about her brother Michael, “he’s been trading since he was seventeen,”
The for-profit company LearnLux offers its educational services for free, and instead finds revenue through partnerships with financial institutions, including the U.S. Treasury. According to the LearnLux website, when users complete lessons, they earn money, which can then be spent after opening an account with one of the startup’s financial partners.
Sometime in the coming weeks LearnLux will make an announcement about the release of its product.
“Millennials are the largest generation to date. Millennials have the highest spending power and have the most potential for wealth transfer, but [they] trust financial services the least,” says Liebman, pointing out how many in the generation grew up during the economic recession.
This wariness, coupled with a unique relationship to technology, means that there is a lot of room for innovation with millennial focused financial services, which are traditionally accessible to “only rich white men.”
For example, one LearnLux lesson compares insurance to an iPhone case. Both are similar in concept, even though one protects a car, and the other protects social media apps. The iPhone analogy helps convey the fundamentals of insurance, before the user moves on to more advanced education modules.
Liebman says that there are four main areas that millennials can use LearnLux to pick up: Know how on refinancing student loans, building credit, setting up benefits at a new job (or rolling over benefits), and lastly, investing for the first time.
Although the company has national aspirations, it considers its Boston home to be a chief market, because one third of the population in the city is under thirty, and because of the proliferation of universities in the area.
Last year LearnLux received venture capital from the student operated firms Dorm Room Fund and Rough Draft Ventures. In terms of growth, Liebman says her company wants to expand its user base and work on making the best educational products possible.