How Fintech Startup Goalsetter Grew Its User Base And List Of Investors By Focusing On Its Mission

Series Sponsor: Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab 

Key Insights: 

  • Since participating in Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab Goalsetter founder Tanya Van Court has gone on to gain several large investors
  • The company’s user base has grown to 250,000 users
  • The mission of the company to increase financial literacy among families of color aligns with the MCIL’s focus on founders of color 

This case study series was made possible by the Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab (MCIL). The Multicultural Innovation Lab – Morgan Stanley’s in-house accelerator program for women and multicultural entrepreneurs – helps technology and tech-enabled startups scale to the next level with connections, a curated 5-month curriculum, and $250,000 investment from Morgan Stanley. Learn more about the program here.

Goalsetter, a personal finance tool that helps families save and kids adopt healthy financial habits, went through the Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab in 2018 and has used the lessons of the accelerator to steadily track towards growth. Founder and CEO Tanya Van Court has been on a mission to help families since 2016 by creating a more equitable financial footing for families of color. 

This focus on financial literacy among communities that have historically been excluded from building wealth due to social inequity is a central tenant of Goalsetter. This ethos aligns with the MCIL and its emphasis on diverse founders.

“We are trying to bridge the knowledge gap so that we can bridge the wealth gap,” Van Court said in an interview with The New York Times. “It’s not fair that some kids get added to their parents’ American Express accounts and develop a fantastic credit score when they haven’t spent a dime.” 

Van Court hopes to level the playing field through an education-based platform, that utilizes tech-enabled savings tools and gives parents monitoring tools and control over their children’s finances to reach specific goals. 

In addition to serving customers with a B2C offering, Goalsetter is white labeling their offering for banks, insurance companies and wealth management companies. The company is also offering Goalsetter as an employee benefit to Fortune 1000 companies across the country.

The company hopes to create the next generation of savers and investors, and customers for financial institutions. 

“We are helping employers to provide their employees with a solid financial future for their families,” Van Court told The Plug

Goalsetter is offering investment capability starting this month for every member of the family. “We not only provide the ability for kids and teens to buy stocks and ETFs, or partial shares of each, with permission from their parents, but we also let adults begin trading too.”

To date, Goalsetter has amassed nearly $5 million in venture backing, the largest round came this past January led by large investors like Mastercard and Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures. Seed investors Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Robert F. Smith, US Bank and PNC Bank also contributed funding to the company. Upon completion of the MCIL in 2018, Morgan Stanley became one of the company’s first institutional investors. 

Van Court’s company was the lone fintech startup among the 2018 cohort. Working with a large investment firm like Morgan Stanley gave the company a direct advantage from the breadth of knowledge accelerator leaders like Carla Harris, Morgan Stanley’s Vice Chairman of Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor, brought to the experience. 

Continued success is a common theme of MCIL alums. So far, the 51 companies that have participated in MCIL have gone on to raise more than $80 million in venture backing.

What started as a way to help Van Court’s daughter figure out how to save for a birthday gift for her 9th birthday, has grown into a successful business helping 250,000 users set and reach financial goals. As the company has grown its user base, the business acumen of leading a fintech that helps people of color was gleaned in part from experiences like graduating from the MCIL. 

Series Sponsor: Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab 

This case study series was made possible by the Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab. 

Their in-house startup accelerator promotes financial inclusion and provides access to capital for early-stage technology and technology-enabled companies led by women and multicultural 

entrepreneurs. Learn more about the program here.

ThePLUG Staff

Our stories move beyond popular deficit narratives to show the substantive ways that Black people are affected by and engaged with the innovation economy, including analyses of modern technologies and the structures and cultures.