Dani Pascarella is founder and CEO of Invibed, the go-to destination for millennials who want to build a secure financial future. She was an investment specialist at JPMorgan where she managed assets for high net worth individuals. She holds an MS in Journalism from Columbia University and an MA and BA in International Business from the University of Florida. Dani worked at CNBC on the show Mad Money, became a licensed financial advisor at 20, and is a certified financial planner.
Since establishing Invibed, the startup has thrived on a combination of risk and evidence-based decision-making. For example, you refused to build an app when everyone said you couldn’t survive without one, choosing instead to communicate with your market via text message. What drives your trial and error approach to learning?
Assumptions can be devastating to an entrepreneur. I’d much rather test something that is "good" and learn directly from my customer how I can make it "great" rather than assume I know what they want and deplete my resources based on my assumption.
While working on Wall Street as an investment manager you enrolled part time in a journalism program at Columbia University. Then you combined personal finance and communications skills to establish Invibed. Have you always had a clear vision about how education can be used to achieve your innovations?
I never want to look back with regret, and education is a powerful tool against your own excuses. Whenever I’ve felt that I couldn’t do something because I lacked the skills to execute it, I found myself back in a classroom. Even after earning two masters degrees, I enrolled at General Assembly to learn how to code so I could understand the technology we are building.
Some would say providing financial education and wealth coaching to 20- to 30-somethings is a noble venture. How do you see Invibed maintaining the attention and trust of your debt-saddled clients into maturity?
Eliminating debt is just the beginning. Our portal and progress tracking reports help our clients achieve their long-term goals even after their student loan and credit card debt is paid off. The relationship we have is very different than one you’d see at a traditional bank. We don’t just instruct our clients on what to do with their finances; we help them to understand why these decisions are smart. I believe our guidance is something they trust and will want to rely on for years to come as their financial situation evolves.
What technology trends do you think will have the most impact on millennials in the next decade?
We’ve only begun to see the implications of social media and being constantly connected. Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence have also officially entered our world and they will continue to infiltrate everyday life over the next decade.
Who are your literary heroes? Who inspires Dani Pascarella?
I’m a sucker for a strong female character who defies gender stereotypes. I could come up with an entire list of inspiring characters but I’ll stick with my favorite, Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged.
Who do you follow on Twitter?
Lately Instagram has stolen all of my attention because I’m sharing my weekly progress for all of my 2018 goals. My favorite follows are successful entrepreneurs who are also incredibly honest and don’t sugarcoat things. I always find @garyvee’s posts to be inspiring and I love following @sarablakely because she balances being a billionaire entrepreneur and a mom. As a fellow female founder, witnessing that balance is important to me.
Image: Dani Pascarella Courtesy of Dani Pascarella.