Women-only neobank Elas to launch in Brazil

via FinTech Futures

Elas, a Sao Paulo-based challenger bank specifically made for women, is laying the groundwork for a launch in Brazil.

The start-up is the sole creation of Dr Vanise Zimmer, an academic researcher who, for the last 20 years, has published findings on topics such as behavioural psychology in tech and gender in digital.

Her latest venture, named after the Portuguese word for “they”, will set out to be “an inclusive bank to promote women in the business world” by helping them get a leg up on the investment market ladder.

“Our speciality is to think in detail about the needs of women in different professional categories and create unique solutions,” the company says on its LinkedIn page.

Whilst the global average gender gap in financial services is shrinking according to the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Index, Brazil has been moving in the opposite direction.

Its gender gap stood slightly above the global average in 2018, having widened from six years earlier.

Former Goldman Sachs CEO in Brazil Maria Silvia Bastos told American Banker last year that investment banking “still has a [poor] image”, but that this is changing in part “because companies are understanding the value of diversity”.

This feeds into the ongoing global research which proves including women in the financial system is key to helping them secure more equal economic control to men in all areas of life, such as their health, education, and job choices.

In Brazil, moving routine cash transactions into digital accounts has proven to increase female account ownership according to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, making digital-only ventures such as Elas key drivers for financial inclusion.

Officially founded in January this year, Elas is still just a holding page with a waiting list sign up, and is yet to announce its launch date.