Hena Mehta, CEO and founder, BASIS, talks about the financial challenges women face in the contemporary era amidst the information boom and eco-emergencies like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Mehta, whilst expounding the monetary mysteries, also speaks about the basics of post-crisis entrepreneurial endeavours.
Q. What is BASIS all about? What has been the force and energy behind BASIS?
A. Women are controlling a greater share of the world’s wealth. However, we still lack the confidence to make sound decisions about the money. The key gaps are knowledge and trust. Financial services, globally, have defaulted to men. And we felt it’s time to do something about “the other 50%”. Women need financial services and advice— more than men do. We live longer than men, tend to take more career breaks, have higher healthcare costs, and face the gender pay gap. Women are largely underserved with the current set of financial services and financial content. Basis started when I realized my pain points about making money-related decisions, and validated that this is a widespread problem, after interacting with 1000+ women from top-tier metros in the country. I teamed up with my childhood friend and financial expert, Dipika Jaikishan, to create the first-of-its-kind platform with BASIS. Women are choosing to stay single for longer, ambitious about their careers, and realizing the value of being independent.
Q. Why then, should our money take a backseat?
A. Let’s expand upon the Omni-important 4Ds. For it’s crucial even more now, globally as there is an acute fear regarding finances & personal savings because of the pandemic.
Don’t wait for the 4Ds— divorce, death, debt, or a disaster—to force you to plan your financial life. These situations disproportionately impact women, and it’s important to stay on top of your money to alleviate the stress and turmoil that come with these dire life situations.
We are seeing a life lesson play out in real-time with the pandemic, and hopefully, this drives more people to ensure they have things such as an emergency fund and passive income to help them tide through challenging times.
Q. How does BASIS plan to impart and make ‘inancially independent 10 million women in 5 years through content & community? Can you enlighten our readers about the strategy?
A. We are treating money management as a journey that starts with educational content and safe spaces (communities) to discuss life and money, and not just a transactional experience. When women get together and consume/discuss relatable content, we’ve realized the barriers to asking questions, building knowledge, and gaining confidence go away. What will intrigue, delight, and drive highly-engaged users on Basis will be the ability to learn, share, discuss socially, then seamlessly act based on expert advice. We are making use of content and community to make the Basis proposition one of a membership, not just a product. BASIS is a digital platform— and our vision is to scale to 10 million women in the next 5 years. We are partnering with various women groups and women-centric companies. We are also reaching women across top tier metro cities via our efforts on Instagram and Facebook. Lastly, we recently launched a program called “Inner Circle Leaders” through which a selected group of evangelists are collaborating with us to expand the Basis community, and broaden our reach.
Q. How does BASIS differ from other financial apps. Wherein does your revenue stream lie?
A. We don’t treat money as a transaction. We intend to be a partner to each of our members as they navigate through their financial journey. Anything a woman may need when it comes to her money, she can find on BASIS. Advice, education, and a supportive network. We are currently pre-revenue and will be introducing a premium subscription plan, where we will offer personalized advice, content, and coaching to premium members.
Q. A five-pointer advice for a budding entrepreneur? Especially those who will be starting up with partnership??
Get comfortable with uncertainty. The entrepreneurial journey is full of ups and downs – and being comfortable with not knowing how things are going to play out is critical.
Always remember why you started your business. When times are tough, it’s important to keep in mind why you embarked on this journey in the first place – this will continue to keep you inspired and motivated to plow along.
Invest in relationships. With your team, your customers, your partners, and all your stakeholders. It’s a long game.
Be persistent, but also flexible. You will have to give certain strategies your best shot, but you should also be ok to pivot when needed. Take care of yourself, and create a support system. Make time for yoga, meditation, family, friends — this helps you recharge.