This Woman Founder is Simplifying Wealth Management for Women
By: WE Staff
Anooshka Bathwal, Founder & CEO, Dhanvesttor is a finance expert and a social entrepreneur who aims to help women understand finance better. Her ‘for women & by women’ wealth management platform envisions establishing a women-inclusive financial ecosystem that encourages and empowers women to attain their financial dreams
Finance and wealth management is as much for women as it is for men believes Anooshka Bathwal. A finance whiz with an MSc. in Accounting and Finance (2019), MSc. in Global Management (2020), and MSc. in Strategy and International Business (2021) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), she is on a mission to make the rest of the world believe in her vision as well.
She does this through her woman-focused wealth management platform Dhanvesttor. It promotes women's empowerment not only through financial returns but also through co-learning experiences and community-building facilities.
Anooshka is known to break gender stereotypes, addressing the social cause of women's empowerment in patriarchal India comes to her organically. A ‘social entrepreneur’ has personal expertise in the finance domain. Her platform’s motive is to empower women to take control of their financial futures by not only maximizing their wealth opportunities but also holistically developing them into financially comfortable and financially confident individuals.
In a conversation with the Women Entrepreneur India team, Anooshka sheds light on her foray into the world of finance, entrepreneurship, and much more. We delve deep into her insights on Indian women’s complicated relationship with finance and how Dhanvesttor is enabling women to understand finance better.
Q. You have been a part of the finance industry in different capacities. What led you to foray into the Indian finance sector?
A. My entry into the Indian finance sector was a natural progression from my academic background, having completed my master's in Accounting and Finance at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Upon my return to India, I found myself deeply involved in managing my father's and father-in-law's offices.
As I navigated the finance industry, a noticeable pattern emerged. Whether it was discussions about options, products, or investment opportunities, the business was, for the most part, male-dominated. Despite my strong personality, I often felt intimidated in meetings where I was the only woman among ten men. This unease came to light when my business coach pointed out that it was rooted in gender dynamics, even though I was often one of the most knowledgeable people in the room.
This realization prompted me to take concrete steps to address the gender gap in the finance sector. I recognized that if I, with my experience and knowledge, felt hesitant within the sector, many other women likely did too. This awareness fueled the creation of Dhanvesttor—a wealth management platform designed by women for women. The driving force behind this initiative was the motivation to establish a financial space infused with compassion and empathy. I wanted to create an environment where women could seek financial guidance without feeling judged or overwhelmed. Dhanvesttor was thus founded as a solution to bridge the gender gap in the finance sector and provide a supportive platform for women.
Q. Take us through the genesis of the idea to create Dhanvesttor, a wealth management platform exclusively for women.
A. The idea behind Dhanvesttor originated from my motivation to quell the misconception that women weren't interested in finance. Some questioned the need for a platform like ours. Despite initial doubts, research and interviews revealed that many women wanted to invest, but didn't know where to start.
In these conversations, a common concern surfaced. Many women expressed a desire to trust their fund manager but felt uneasy about asking questions openly. There was a fear of seeming uninformed or "stupid" in financial discussions. Recognizing the need for a space where finance seamlessly meets empathy, the concept of Dhanvesttor took shape.
Unlike traditional services, we don't just offer Portfolio Management. We provide co-learning opportunities and personalized sessions for clients, explaining financial concepts like geopolitical situations and stock market trends with care and empathy.
Our clients appreciate this approach. For me, Dhanvesttor isn't just about profit; it's a social enterprise. We aim to make a positive impact in society by empowering women financially. Seeing how Dhanvesttor has shaped the lives of women reinforces my commitment to this mission. Dhanvesttor is not just about making money; it's about creating a social impact through women's empowerment.
Q. A majority of women in India were earlier indifferent about money matters. Even working women did not have the confidence to manage their finances. In your opinion what was the underlying factor behind Indian women’s complicated relationship with finance?
A. A while back, many women in India, even those working, didn't feel confident about handling money matters. The reason behind this complicated relationship with finance, in my view, is that finance is often made to seem more complicated than it is. The finance industry, in many ways, is still perceived as male-dominated, and this can make it feel unwelcoming and even a bit biased against women.
I often tell my clients that finance isn't as tough as it seems. Despite the suits and serious looks, we can simplify finance, making it open, simple, and understandable for everyone by building a supportive community.
Traditionally, many women have let the men in their families handle financial matters. But with things changing in the modern era, women now want to take control of their finances and be more independent in their lives. Notably, after COVID, there has been a significant increase in the number of women getting into the stock market, showing a shift in this trend.
Nowadays, there are more platforms like Dhanvesttor, that aim to make women feel confident about being part of the finance world. They're breaking the idea that finance is only for men. These platforms use simpler approaches and community support, making finance more accessible for women and helping them feel included and empowered in the financial space.
Q. Your work with Dhanvesttor must make you privy to women’s views and thoughts on finance. In your experience what are some key factors that deter women from mastering personal finance?
A. In my experience with Dhanvesttor, I've learned that several key factors hold women back from mastering personal finance. The biggest one is mindset. Many women believe finance is complicated and inherently difficult, creating a mental barrier. This mindset can often lead to imposter syndrome, where women feel they can't handle financial matters. If there's a shift in mindset, women can start taking charge of their finances.
Historically, the belief was that finance is for men, creating a significant lag in women actively engaging with it. Another factor is the lack of examples—women often don't see many role models in finance. Also, there's a scarcity of women-centric fund houses and organizations in a society that, at times, can be biased against women. These factors together make it more challenging for women to feel confident and capable of mastering personal finance. Changing this mindset and creating more examples of role models and women-centric spaces can make a big difference in empowering women in the personal finance sector.
Q. You list empowering women through financial returns as one of your primary missions. Can you tell us more about this thought?
A. Certainly! At Dhanvesttor, our mission is not just about making money; it's about making women feel strong and confident in the world of finance. Let me share a story to explain.
One of our clients attended our co-learning workshop, which primarily focuses on women and their long-term financial goals. After that, she could go home and chat about company analyses and stock market trends with her husband, who is the owner of a prominent listed manufacturing company in India. Before this experience, she never fully understood what he was talking about in terms of financial matters. But after our workshop, she could discuss finance with him on equal terms, for the first time in her 37 years of marriage. She felt empowered because now she could understand the topic and give her opinions. It's moments like these, where women feel confident and engaged in financial talks, that go beyond the regular returns. This kind of impact is what keeps our team at Dhanvestor motivated. Empowering women does include financial returns, but it doesn't end there. It's about capturing these moments of confidence, understanding, and empowerment that make a real difference in women's lives. That's the broader mission we're committed to at Dhanvestor.
Q. What is the thought process behind having co-learning experiences and community building as key tools in Dhanvesttor’s mission to empower women through financial knowledge?
At Dhanvesttor, our approach to empowering women through financial knowledge revolves around empathy, compassion, and the belief that knowledge is a powerful tool for empowerment. We achieve this through co-learning experiences and community building.
In our co-learning sessions, we deliberately keep the groups small. This creates an intimate setting where women feel comfortable in sharing their queries and learning. We emphasize that judgment has no place in these sessions, fostering a non-judgmental mindset at the sessions. Even though our clients are UHNI and HNI individuals, we understand that more than just monetary knowledge, it's the feeling of empowerment that truly matters to them. We conduct co-learning sessions both in groups and one-on-one, tailoring our approach to ensure that each woman feels at ease and can make the most of the session.
Community building is another essential aspect of our approach. We aim to create a supportive network where women can connect with like-minded individuals who share their vision. Our goal is to empower our clients with more than mere financial growth to achieve their higher goals through shared knowledge and shared values.
Q. Tell us about your vision for Dhanvesttor’s future. How do you intend to impact Indian women’s empowerment on a large scale through the company’s work?
A. Looking ahead to Dhanvesttor's future, I believe the sky is the limit, and the fast-paced nature of a startup only emphasizes this realization. Our focus is on scaling operations pan India to reach women in metros and tier 1,2 and 3 cities. While we've received various international queries from UAE and Europe, our current emphasis is on staying rooted in India and enhancing our growth here. Our plans include broadening our impact, catering to more than just UHNI & HNI women audiences, and eventually developing an app for the masses. This app would offer various options like SIPs and co-learning opportunities, with a potential foray into micro-financing down the line. For now, our priority is maintaining quality in our expansion efforts.
In a country like India, where women make up 50% of the population, progress requires both genders to be financially independent. Our vision is to make every woman financially confident and facilitate effective wealth growth through the capital markets. This empowerment extends not only to our clients but also to our employees, 90% of whom are women. We guide them in investing their savings. Our current target audience is a strategic starting point, with an eye on extending our demographic and impact in the long term.