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Tyler Gallagher
Aug 25 · 6 min read

I started a fintech company in college — I didn’t have experience at a big institution; I didn’t have time — I was taking classes; and I didn’t have money — I was in debt from going to a university. Everyone told me I should have more experience, more time, and more money. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to them because I could have made those excuses forever. You’ll never be ready to make a leap that big. In startups, there are a lot of decisions that have to be made with very few data points, so the theme of that quote continues to daily life now, as well.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca Liebman, the co-founder and CEO of LearnLux, a financial technology company that helps people learn personal finance skills through online learning tools and connects them to the resources they need to take action. The company’s last round of funding was from Ashton Kutcher’s fund, Sound Ventures and Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff. She is on the advisory board of HubSpot, a publicly traded company based in Boston and was on the 2016 Forbes “30 Under 30” list. Before starting LearnLux, Liebman lived in Kenya and studied microfinance in an informal economy and completed environmental research in Germany, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. She worked at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and founded Take Back the Tap at Clark University to reduce half a million plastic water bottles from landfill. Rebecca has a passion for startups, education, and the amazing things that happen when they are combined.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Banking/Finance field?

I moved to Kenya in 2012 to do environmental work, but when I was there the mobile payments company m-pesa was taking off and I was able to see how many financial technologies worked in Kenya because there was no stable banking infrastructure.

I was fascinated by the amount of ways people were creating access to financial services that haven’t worked in America. When I came back to The States I started working at a lab at MIT and was looking trends and tendencies in financial services. My lab at MIT was brilliant PhD’s, but nobody could figure out how to open a retirement account. I realized that we needed a better way to help people make the right financial decisions — and that’s when I started LearnLux.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far?

Everyday over the last couple of years has been pretty amusing. The time I almost missed my college graduation because I was at a pitch competition eight hours away was pretty funny.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’m the CEO of LearnLux — we’re a financial wellness company, helping employees navigate their biggest financial decisions. We have a comprehensive digital financial planning and education product that we distribute through employers for the 90% of Americans who don’t need or have a dedicated human advisor because the economics would never make sense for them. Every day we think about how to improve people’s relationship with money.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

As a startup in a space that has a lot of large incumbents, we can use our agility to really create the best experience for consumers. Banks are known to be too big to fail, but also too big to innovate. Since we started the company with the goal to improve people’s relationship with money, we get to do that in really creative ways that a large company wouldn’t be able to implement. We can consistently be aligned with consumers, which is very different from financial services, the only industry that doesn’t protect the consumer. Since our team looks and acts so differently than a typical bank, we are able to account for demographics of people who typically feel left out of the financial system.

For example, something as simple as the language that is used is created in a way that’s difficult to understand. It’s also very male-dominated, competitive language around financial decisions. We can look descriptive language around finance — how actual people tale and understand concepts and create wording that gives more people access to understanding what decisions they are making.

Wall Street and Finance used to be an “all white boys club”. This has changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?

It hasn’t changed enough — there still isn’t enough pattern recognition for women being successful in this industry.

Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. According to this report in CNBC, less than 17 percent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and /or c) society to support this movement going forward?

First, we need to change the language we use when talking about women in leadership positions. We use very different words to describe men and women.

https://hbr.org/2018/05/the-different-words-we-use-to-describe-male-and-female-leaders

https://hbr.org/2017/06/male-and-female-entrepreneurs-get-asked-different-questions-by-vcs-and-it-affects-how-much-funding-they-get

Second, we need to change the benchmark for what we’re measuring against.

Third, we need more pattern recognition of women in leadership positions.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My kindergarten teacher made us all learn sign language. It helped me understand at a young age we don’t all experience the world the same way. It’s helped me understand why so many industries need to be changed now.

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

“If you wait until you’re ready you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life.”

I started a fintech company in college — I didn’t have experience at a big institution; I didn’t have time — I was taking classes; and I didn’t have money — I was in debt from going to a university. Everyone told me I should have more experience, more time, and more money. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to them because I could have made those excuses forever. You’ll never be ready to make a leap that big. In startups, there are a lot of decisions that have to be made with very few data points, so the theme of that quote continues to daily life now, as well.

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

What I’m doing now — dedicating my life creating more access in consumer financial health.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

About The Author:

Tyler Gallagher is the CEO and Founder of Regal Assets, a “Bitcoin IRA” company. Regal Assets is an international alternative assets firm with offices in the United States, Canada, London and Dubai focused on helping private and institutional wealth procure alternative assets for their investment portfolios. Regal Assets is an Inc. 500 company and has been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Market Watch and Reuters. With offices in multiple countries, Regal Assets is uniquely positioned as an international leader in the alternative assets industry and was awarded the first ever crypto-commodities license by the DMCC in late 2017. Regal Assets is currently the only firm in the world that holds a license to legally buy and sell cryptos within the Middle East and works closely with the DMCC to help evolve and grow the understanding and application of blockchain technology. In addition to his role with Regal Assets, Tyler is a regular contributor to Forbes, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and Authority Magazine. Tyler has also been featured in many news publications and has been a guest expert on “The News with Ed Shultz”. Tyler is a proud member of the Forbes Finance Council a private invite only-group of hand-selected industry leaders.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Tyler Gallagher

Written by

CEO and Founder of Regal Assets

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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