How Losing $1 Million Inspired Van Court to Start Kids’ Personal Finance Platform Goalsetter

Tanya Van Court lost more than a million dollars in stocks during the bubble burst in 2001. At the time, she was working for a company in Silicon Valley. After losing practically everything, she swore that she would never allow a similar fate to befall her children.

She had her first daughter, Gabrielle, in 2005 and began teaching her financial literacy right after giving birth. When Gabrielle turned 9, she told her mother that she wanted two things for her birthday: enough to move to save for an investment account and a bicycle.

Her financial decision impressed her mother, who pondered the idea of ​​teaching other children to think like her daughter. Working for Nickelodeon, Discovery Education and ESPN, she also noticed that there was a huge gap in the market when it came to how people talk to kids about money.

This led her to establish the Goalsetter kids’ personal finance platform to help them establish healthy savings and smart spending habits early on. The company had extraordinary banks and investors, such as PNC Bank, US Bank and Mastercard. The company went on to raise almost $6 million in its seed round.

Van Court’s app essentially introduces kids to financial literacy through game-based quizzes, memes, and GIFs. It allows parents to “give assignments through the app and even pay their own specified amount for each quiz question the child answers right in the app. Plus, family and friends can give “goal cards” instead of gift cards, helping kids save for the things they really want in the future, according to Techcrunch.

The company has also launched a debit card for children and allows parents to control how the card is used. It even has a feature where parents can lock the card until their kids have passed the week’s financial literacy quiz.

“It’s one thing to put a debit card in the hands of a teenager,” Van Court told Techcrunch. “That’s great. That teaches them how to spend money. It’s another thing to teach kids the basics of building wealth, or knowing the difference between putting your money in an investment account or putting your money in a CD vs. mutual fund versus a savings account. We teach what interest rates are and what compound interest means. Our focus is on financial education because it’s not enough to teach kids how to spend.”

Van Court has said that although her app is for children, she hopes her work will help reduce the wealth gap between blacks and whites. “We are on a mission to make every family in America save. Because this is how we are going to save America, together,” says his website.

Amid the pandemic, Goalsetter continued to show resilience. While many businesses have collapsed as a result of the pandemic, Van Court raised $19.5 million in funding, Forbes reported last year.

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