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Eve Halimi and Anam Lakhani Of Alinea On The Future Of Money and Banking

An Interview With David Liu

Our perfect communication feature for the Alinea app would be a money “therapist” — where you can share all your money qualms and receive advice on how to go about them.

The way we bank has changed dramatically over the last decade. It was not too long ago when you had to wait in line in a bank to deposit money. Today things are totally different. You can do your banking without ever walking into a bank. In addition, the whole concept of money has changed. In the recent past, money usually meant bills and coins. But today, the concept of money has expanded to include digital currency and NFTs. What other innovations should we expect to see in banking in the short and medium term?

To address this, we are talking to leaders in the banking, finance, and fintech worlds, to discuss the future of banking and money over the next few years. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eve Halimi and Anam Lakhani.

Anam Lakhani and Eve Halimi are the Co-Founders and Co-CEO’s of Alinea, the latest Y Combinator female founded FinTech startup that empowers the next generation of investors. Founders Anam Lakhani and Eve Halimi created Alinea to support Gen Z in growing their finances through impact-based investments. Backed by Goodwater, Harvard and other top tier investors, Alinea is an all-around inclusive app for investors of all social and economic levels to access the stock market and make informed, stress-free decisions to grow wealth through financial self-expression. Alinea redesigns the investing experience by creating an inclusive community catering towards the diverse generation and demographics who have been overlooked.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started in this industry?

We both interned on Wall Street and after coming back from the summer we were shocked to see that most of our female friends were scared to invest. They didn’t talk about money or personal finances while most of our male friends had been investing for years already (giving them a head start). This fueled the passion for creating Alinea (which means something new!)

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

We were rejected by over 1000 investors before we got into Y Combinator. After spending months pitching our story and trying to raise capital while in our full time jobs, no investor would actually invest in Alinea. It seemed like we were never going to make it. However, as soon as we got into Y Combinator, investors were flooding our emails. YC really helped us get off the ground and we wouldn’t be here without them today.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” — Jack Ma

This is exactly what running a startup feels like — you just have to keep going and doing better.

Ok wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell our readers about the most interesting projects you are working on now?

Alinea’s mission is to deliver an investing experience truly built for the next generation from social investing to fundamental financial education — our vision is to have investing as a form of self-expression. By offering short clip video content, highlighting creators and community, we will offer a brand new investing experience to open up doors for GenZs, first time investors, and those of who have been on the sidelines of financial wellness for too long.

Next up we have cards, rewards and more education coming soon to Alinea.

How do you think this might change the world?

Although the barrier to entry for financial services has been greatly reduced, many demographics including GenZs, women and minorities have been overlooked. We exist to give opportunity and confidence and with Alinea, our goal is to create an inclusive community to bring those who have been sidelined to the forefront.

What most excites you about the banking or payments industry as it is today? Can you explain what you mean?

The needs of our generation have evolved, and there’s a ton of room for innovation in the banking industry. Gen Z wants more transparency on how the financial system works and the way their money moves in the system. We also want everything to be faster — currently ACH transfers can take 1–3 business days — there’s definitely room for speed and efficiency.

What most concerns you about the banking or payments industry as it is today? What would you suggest needs to be done to address that?

As mentioned above, there is room for speed and efficiency. We’re also seeing the rise of banking for specific demographics such as freelancers and teens. The next generation wants banking and payment systems that are more personalized to their needs and fit into their day to day. We need to build new systems and experiences that solve pain points and cater to the most diverse generation.

How would you articulate how the concept of money has changed in recent times? Is it really a change? How is it still the same? Can you explain what you mean?

When it comes to payments, cash has been on the decline. In a study from 2020, called the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, the Federal Reserve asked 1,537 consumers which payment forms they tended to use. Debit cards were the most popular payment method followed by credit cards. Only 19% of transactions were completed with cash. We are seeing payments and transactions become more digitized, and with that we will need seamless and delightful experiences to compliment this digitization. Venmo was one of the first finance apps to touch on the social aspect with a feed. In the future, we will see a lot more social and personalization in our day to day financial experiences.

Based on your vantage point as an insider in the finance industry, what innovations should we expect to see in banking in the short and medium term?

We should expect to see more personalization, better customer service and more offerings which are tailored to different age groups and personas.

How has the pandemic changed the way banks interact and engage with their customers?

The pandemic has pushed banks to become more personalized and offer more chat bots services over real humans to interact with customers.

In your particular experience, how has the pandemic changed the way you interact with, and engage your customers?

The pandemic has made us more conscious about our community and making sure we keep an engaged and informed community at Alinea. The pandemic also made us realize the importance of providing and investing in financial services but also financial literacy for our community members.

In my work in the telecom space, I’m very interested in the importance of user experience. How much of your interactions have moved to digital such as chatbots, encrypted messaging apps, phone, or video calls? How has this shift impacted the user and customer experience? What challenges do these apps present when used as a customer engagement tool?

A lot! Our generation is used to short form content through visuals and videos. We interact more and more with chatbots and have more digital experiences over ones with humans. It allows us to rely more on technology to serve customers which provides more speed. With that said, there are challenges with relying on technology over human interactions.

If you could design the perfect communication feature or system to help your business, what would it be?

Our perfect communication feature for the Alinea app would be a money “therapist” — where you can share all your money qualms and receive advice on how to go about them.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The Modern Finance, Banking and Fintech industries?

  1. Hard working
  2. Persistence
  3. Innovation
  4. Build an incredibly strong team (quality > quantity)
  5. Community driven

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

We would definitely emphasize the movement around climate change — the environment and our planet impacts all of us and collective action is needed to address issues around climate change globally.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Join our Slack community

Blogs on the website and subscribe to our newsletter

Follow our socials — insta, tiktok, linkedin

Thank you so much for the time you spent doing this interview. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success.

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