Inspired when she saw how much her younger brother benefited from a financial literacy course, Kendall Flutey set about starting up Banqer – a financial education platformed aimed at children.
Recently the 31-year-old Christchurch resident had the opportunity to pitch her start-up company to investors at InvestHER a female-founder investment showcase held during Techweek.
Call it real life Shark Tank.
Flutey reveals the event was the first time she saw only women speak in a professional setting.
“It was so empowering seeing the spotlight completely on woman was amazing, but I can’t wait to not feel like that,” she admits.
Before Banqer, Flutey was originally an accountant at KPMG, one of the big four accounting organisations worldwide, but later down the line Flutey realised the accounting job wasn’t for her.
She then moved into software development which became her world. “It’s my magic,” she says.
The idea for Banqer started when Flutey had a conversation with her young brother, and he began talking to her about his interest in shares and taxes.
Her brother was attending a financial literacy programme and she realised how much it was changing him for the better.
With a history in the finance world and current work in software development, Flutey realised her knowledge could be used for something, such as teaching students like her younger brother about important financial decisions.
“I really wanted to know more about the programme, so I called his teacher up and met him up for coffee,” she says.
“I got to know him and realised he was running the programme across the country through a manual system.”
She says the course involved multiple prints of money that resulted in children going home and photocopying it – not the best financial practise for children to be learning she says but she saw the course had potential to be something bigger.
And so, she began to build Banqer which soon grew from being implemented in one school, to school’s across the country.
Despite not making money through Banqer at the time, Flutey decided to quit her software job and focus on building the platform as a solution to the problem of financial literacy across the world.
For primary, intermediate, and high schools, the course simulates real life occurrences where finance is involved, giving students a hands-on experience, such as having a pretend bank account, enrolling in a credit path, earning money through desired career paths, investing in the stock market, and even buying a house.
The programme was originally offered as a paid course in primary schools, but Banqer realised this was not helping to close the equity gap, resulting in a change of model for the company.
“Financial illiteracy is so pervasive in our society and is a societal issue, we need to be considering the impact of all people in New Zealand and their financial journey to get ahead,” she says.
Banqer currently runs on a partnership model, allowing the course to be free for primary and intermediate schools in New Zealand, meaning the children who really need it have access.
“There have been a lot of mistakes, but there is a lot of learning here,’ says Flutey. “People who are financially educated come from wealth, so we’re giving it to people who don’t have intergenerational learning.”
She adds that women and people from indigenous communities are more likely to be financially illiterate.
“The bigger picture is that we need to get ahead all together.”
Flutey says the financial literacy educational platform market is “cluttered”, but what makes Banqer unique is that they are digitally focused which elevates it above other platforms.
And that is only the beginning for Banqer.
“Five years is a really exciting horizon for us,” she says.
Flutey expects Banqer to have large coverage in Australia and she hopes to also expand from the school system into various pockets globally, continuing to close the equity gap.