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MYOB Women in Tech, part five: Sharesies co-founders Brooke Roberts and Sonya Williams on smashing ceilings

Idealog + MYOB

MYOB Women in Tech, part five: Sharesies co-founders Brooke Roberts and Sonya Williams on smashing ceilings

Forget the ingredients touted as necessary to make a little girl in the age-old nursery rhyme, What Are Little Boys Made Of? To be a woman business leader, you need to have more than a pinch of resilience and a dash of tenacity. This is because although the country has made big strides when it comes to inclusivity, there’s still work to do before true equality is reached. Take the recent 2019 MYOB Women In Tech Report, which found nearly half of the industry’s women leaders have personally experienced gender bias during their career, just a quarter of local technology businesses have equal representation in their leadership teams and only one in ten tech businesses work to actively address discrimination. Sharesies co-founders Brooke Roberts and Sonya Williams talk carving their career paths, overcoming personal challenges and finding grit.

Wellbeing Month

There’s a movement afoot globally to create more companies that balance purpose with profit and view business as a force for good. Called Certified B Corporations, companies that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability can become certified. As of April, Sharesies investment platform was the first financial company nationally to qualify for the B Corp certification, joining just 22 other New Zealand B Corp certified businesses. CEO Brooke Roberts talks us through the process, and the benefits for businesses in becoming certified.

Starting up

Hardy Michel is the operations manager at Sharesies, an online investment platform that is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing companies with over 40,000 customers. He has also previously worked with start-ups firsthand at Booktrack, Snowball Effect and Lightning Lab. Here, he shares four things those wanting to work for a start-up should look for in a company.

Most Innovative Companies

The winner of Idealog's Most Innovative Companies in Finance/Money is Sharesies. Bringing investment to the masses, Sharesies thinks different, acts different and looks different from your typical investment company. “At Sharesies, we don’t see a future where banks, ETFs or managed funds remain the primary wealth holding,” says Brooke Roberts, Sharesies CEO. “We see personalised, values-based portfolios created by people, community and algorithm. In New Zealand alone there is an opportunity worth over $1 billion for Sharesies.”

Most Creative People

The team at Sharesies was one of the People's Choice winners for Most Creative in money for Idealog and Accenture's Most Creative People. Sharesies is an online platform democratising investment and was founded by a team of 7 starting off with the typical start-up story of wanting to solve a founders problem. Sonya Williams was keen to invest in small chunks but had no way of getting started. She chatted to Leighton Roberts as he started an investment club when he was 17 and the team was formed to bring Sharesies to life. After working at a bank, Sharesies CEO Brooke Anderson, saw firsthand how bad Kiwis were with saving and how little people knew about investing so jumped at the opportunity to co-found a business that would help them with it – even if they only had a small amount of money to invest. Brooke recently won the Pitch Like A Girl at RISE conference in Hong Kong for Sharesies. Here, the team talk creativity, finding inspiration and the secret to resilience.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

As part of Idealog's Technology Month, we've picked the brains of some of the movers and shakers in the industry to find out their favourite tech-related things, their biggest fears for the future and what other companies and individuals inspire their work. Here's Sharesies co-founder Sonya Williams.

Technology Month, brought to you by Springload

A few weeks ago, some of the Sharesies team went to Hong Kong to attend the RISE conference. RISE is a massive conference that brings together people from all over the world to talk about tech. There are speakers from some of the world’s biggest companies, alongside really early stage start-ups. Co-founder Sonya Williams shares some key takeaways on diversity from the event.

Idealog + Kiwibank

The Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator, a 14-week business growth programme held at Wellington’s CreativeHQ and powered by startup accelerator brand Lightning Lab, held its Demo Day on May 19. We’re profiling the participants - starting with investment app, Sharesies.