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For too many Americans, high debts and expenses like cost of living coupled with low savings, wages and long hours means little time with your kids, a lack of decent healthcare, and an inability to pursue your dreams. I founded Goalsetter because I want this to change: I want to help bring about financial freedom for all.

At Goalsetter, we’re playing our part by offering affordable and accessible banking to young people that’s paired with engaging, entertaining and culturally relevant financial education. This empowers them with the understanding and tools they need to build wealth through savings and investing from their youth.

We realize, though, that to bring about society-wide change, we can’t do it alone. Collaboration, partnerships and investment are crucial in order to scale up our offering (which was awarded Best Personal Finance Product at the 2022 Fintech Breakthrough Awards) to as many young Americans as possible. And so, when the time came to open a second Goalsetter office, Boston, MA, was an obvious choice. It sits at the heart of Massachusetts’ thriving fintech ecosystem, home to over 350 fintechs, more than 400 financial services companies, as well as more than 100 leading educational institutions. The ecosystem’s entrepreneurial dynamism, deep pool of talent, and access to capital — each a key ingredient for scalability — is critical.

Our journey started with an introduction to the regional fintech ecosystem by MassChallenge, which facilitated initial relationships that helped us establish our footing in the Commonwealth. Having access to capital was also critical during our early stages. Blue Dun’s Jim Smith calculates that fintech startups in Greater Boston raised $3.8 billion last year, with $2.7 billion of that coming from venture capital and other private sources. We are delighted that leading Mass Fintech Hub members such as MassMutual and Citizens have invested in our startup. Seae Ventures, which invests in companies founded by diverse entrepreneurs, is another example of an investor based in the region that is helping propel Goalsetter forward.

Investments are important — resources in your coffers allow you to focus on your mission instead of constantly fundraising. What’s just as crucial is meaningful partnerships with established entities. One of the things I love about being a member of the Mass Fintech Hub is that it connects startups like Goalsetter with corporations whose commitments naturally align with ours. This allows us and other members to cement relationships with corporations and move the needle in terms of milestones and mentorship. When I go to raise my next round of funding, the investors I approach aren’t going to measure my success on how many checks I got the last time around; they’ll measure my success according to metrics like revenue growth and customer acquisition—metrics which meaningful partnerships can help deliver.

Examples of partnerships include working with financial institutions like Citizens as part of our Share the Future initiative through the Goalsetter Foundation. Together, we are working to provide financial empowerment and investment education to youth who need it the most. Developing healthy money habits while also learning the importance of investment and financial ownership is a key component of building generational wealth. To date, we have partnered with over 100 athletes, celebrities, philanthropists, business leaders, organizations and brands to make this goal a reality for children in the communities in which they serve or call home.

A community committed to change

Through my interactions with Mass Fintech Hub’s members, I’ve felt a genuine sense of community in Boston, and the commitment many stakeholders made to fintech means positive change, particularly with regards to advancing the goals of diversity, equity and inclusion.

If we want to develop financial solutions that solve problems effectively and empathetically, then attracting young, diverse talent who can bring their experiences to the table is a great place to start. I was delighted to speak to over 60 Black and Latinx graduates of Boston Public High Schools at Mass Fintech Hub’s inaugural Commonwealth Fintech Bootcamp in July 2021 about financial wellbeing and career opportunities in fintech.

In this business, relationships are everything, which is why I’m also heartened by the Mass Fintech Hub’s mentoring programs for students and entrepreneurs (with a focus on diverse talent) and hope that its Angel Education series, where diverse candidates learn about the benefits of angel investing and become enabled to take action. These types of initiatives make DEI more than mere rhetoric in the Massachusetts fintech ecosystem, but rather a set of actions catalyzing meaningful change.

Tanya Van Court is the Founder and CEO of Goalsetter.

How Massachusetts’ close-knit fintech community has set a young entrepreneur up for success

6th Sep 2022

How Massachusetts’ close-knit fintech community has set a young entrepreneur...