How Alinea Invest Redefines Fintech with Community
By Nicole Casperson
Building a fintech company in today’s oversaturated market is no longer just about the promise of building wealth. Instead, it’s about creating an experience that resonates with consumers deeper, giving them a greater sense of purpose and connection.
That’s why it’s essential for any fintech company to invest in community building — because when done with the right intentions, it can be the key to unlocking market share. Plus, it’s what the next generation of wealth builders crave.
Take Gen Y and Gen Z, for example. Collectively, they represent 47% of the U.S. population, and it’s estimated that they already inherit $541 billion each year (30% of the wealth transferred today — and that percentage is projected only to grow), according to a report by Fidelity.
Generation Z is the most diverse generation yet, with 48% of 7- to 22-year-olds identifying as non-white, according to Fidelity’s report. This dynamic demographic desires to make money and is passionate about making a positive difference in the world (and those values are not mutually exclusive).
As such, the generation is coming together as a community to take action on the changes they wish to push forward, and digital financial services are one of the most effective tools they are using.
By embracing financial technology, Gen Zers can coordinate, collaborate, and take action more innovatively and efficiently. This is beneficial not only to their cause but also to the world at large.
One of the best examples I’ve seen of “community” as a core pillar when building in fintech is the startup Alinea Invest. The company taps into all six hallmarks of its target user, Gen Z:
- Life Path
- Mental Health
Community is the company’s cornerstone. It’s the first value proposition they deliver via their website. This means that instead of “traditional “marketing spending, they invest in sharing their story via content creation on TikTok. Instead of planning standard ads online, they host events that bring together their target consumer.
And the platform has grown fast for being only two years old. Between Instagram and TikTok alone, Alinea Invest’s community spans over 30,000. As for Alinea Invest’s user base, the platform is home to 55,000+ investors. Even more noteworthy, the platform’s users are 78% female, 72% first-time investors, and 60% Gen Z.
I’d be hard-pressed to find another fintech platform with those figures (outside of Ellevest for the female user base).
At 25 years old, fintech founders Anam Lakhani and Eve Halimi have already achieved a remarkable feat as the co-founders and co-CEOs of Alinea Invest, which they started as a school project that quickly grew into a full-fledged fintech. In 2021, they raised $2.1 million from Y Combinator and strategic investors.
Their success is even more impressive when you consider that female founders only make up less than 2% of those who are venture-backed. And as co-CEOs, Anam and Eve are part of less than 6% of female fintech CEOs.
The key to their success is authenticity. This has fostered a strong community of investors around the app, based on trust rather than simply being Alinea’s target consumer.
Gen Zers often prefer to learn about finance from friends and peers, making authenticity and community an invaluable asset for Anam and Eve in building their fintech startup. Rather than making grand claims about making millions, they’ve built a foundation on their personal stories around finance – something no other fintech can duplicate.
For example, Anam and Eve openly share their stories on TikTok, including how they grew up never talking, let alone learning, about investing.
“Gen Z is the most diverse generation,” Lakhani told me during an episode of Humans of Fintech. “A lot come from immigrant families, so we’re constantly talking to our community about a conversation we never had at home.”
And they’re using TikTok to have those conversations directly with their community, engaging with at least 15-20 people daily. “We’re obsessed with the people we’re serving,” Lakhani said. “We know what they like, don’t like, what they’re nervous about.”
By tapping into constant communication with their user, aka community, Anam and Eve are well versed in knowing precisely what features to build next. Now, Alinea Invest is working on launching auto-managed investing and educational content around the fund they’re managing for an annual fee.
Community In Practice
An example of Alinea’s community at work is the immediate response to the Roe v. Wade decision on the app, with investors quickly turning their attention to companies taking a stand for reproductive health care.
This reaction demonstrated that investors are not only looking to invest in companies connected to women’s health care but demanding that businesses take a stance on the matter.
Alinea Invest experienced a surge of activity prompted by one user who created a pro-abortion-rights playlist – a basket of stocks – in response to the Supreme Court’s decision.
It was a powerful statement that showed investors are passionate about this issue and want to use their money to support companies that share their values. And Alinea Invest was right there as a fintech tool for users to take action.
In short, your community should be built around trust, transparency, and shared values. Consumers want to feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves, so give them opportunities to connect through online forums, social media groups, or in-person events.
By providing resources that enable them to learn more about financial topics and engage with experts in the industry, you’ll be giving your community a greater sense of purpose and connection.
Finally, demonstrate how your company is making a positive impact by making tangible investments in social causes that resonate with your customers. Show them that you’re not just a digital financial tool but an active participant in creating a better future for all.
When your intentions are clear, and customers can see how you’re making a difference, they will likely remain loyal and engaged with your brand.
Community building only works when it is truly about making an impact, inspiring change, and bringing people together to support them on their way. If you’re only focused on creating a profit, your impact will be minimal, and community-focused fintechs will take over your market share.