For the past six months, the team at StashUp has been quiet about our identities. This has been by design. With many handling full-time roles at other organizations, the StashUp team undertook the project as a nights-and-weekends endeavor out of deep respect for the project, the Vision, and our founder and CEO.
We’ve decided that now is the time to reveal the individual behind StashUp, our CEO, Gimbala Sankare. Gimbala is a diversity and talent acquisition leader with a decade of experience building high-performing teams in the fintech and technology industries. He has also served on numerous boards, including ProsperityME and Maine College of Art. Prior to his tenure in the corporate world, Gimbala worked in the US State Department and served in the United States Army.
His unique experience as an immigrant, Black American, and fintech expert makes him the ideal person to lead StashUp as we strive to make financial prosperity more accessible to those that have been excluded from wealth-building systems.
Gimbala sat down with us to share some of his experiences, thoughts, and objectives for StashUp.
What were the driving factors behind the creation of StashUp?
I created StashUp because I saw a huge opportunity to help folks like me: people who, for one reason or another, had been excluded from financial systems, wealth generation, and education. My parents didn’t know much about investments and good financial planning. Because of that, they weren’t able to teach me the fundamentals. I had to learn that myself, which was a challenge.
As a Black immigrant, I’m acutely aware of the growing savings and wealth gap between White and Black communities in the United States. At the core of this gap is a disparity in financial literacy and wealth generation. I wanted to build a tool that could help close that gap.
That said, this disparity is not unique to Black Americans. Older Americans and retirees, rural communities, and Millennials and Gen Zers all are subject to growing wealth inequalities. Those are the people I want to help with StashUp.
Describe the impact you want this company to have.
For our users, I want StashUp to be a core part of their daily financial decision-making process, not just a tool they check monthly to see if they hit their goals. I want us to be with them every step of the way, teaching them skills, intelligently reminding them of their goals, and guiding them to smart financial products. When thinking about how they improve their finances and grow their nest egg, no matter its size, I want them to think of StashUp first.
We want to be the bridge between our users and the wider community and the financial tools and literacy they need to succeed. We are seeking to partner with organizations that are committed to providing truly equitable access to tools and resources that underserved, and particularly underserved communities of color, deserve.
Our Vision is to demystify financial planning for everyone. Why is that Vision important to you as a founder?
As I said earlier, when I look at BIPOC communities, like the ones where I grew up, I have seen and experienced a generational knowledge gap that needs to be addressed. My parents didn’t have financial advisors, and they didn’t work with wealth management professionals to chart their financial paths. I grew up in the projects in the Bronx. My mom worked two jobs, and five of us shared a two-bedroom apartment. We didn’t talk about money at all, so I had to chart my own path as I became a professional.
Parents that have the tools and knowledge they need to succeed financially are far more likely to pass those skills on to their children, improving their chances at building financial security. The Vision of StashUp is to democratize that learning and enable better futures for people that look like me.
When I think about what I want to achieve with StashUp, I envision helping a new generation of professionals, like my brother and sister, gain the skills and knowledge they need to grow their wealth. I also think about the lobstermen and women in rural Maine that want to do more with their money but aren’t willing or able to risk their money in the stock market. How cool would it be if they had a simple app in their pocket that had their best interests in mind?
Those are the people I want to help with StashUp.