Such an honor to be selected as one of DC’s most innovative startups! 👏🏽🌺 @dcstartupweek
@v__bel: “Working as a nurse has really opened my eyes to how expensive it can be to get sick, even for those with great health insurance. 👩🏽⚕️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We think of illnesses as something that happens to other people, but they can literally happen to anybody. I see it everyday at the hospital. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There are so many out-of-pocket expenses that creep up on patients so I’ve realized how important it is to have money saved up. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I often think of my family while at work - if an emergency happened, would we be able to cover the expenses? With Stratus, saving for emergencies will be my priority. I want to ensure that I am in a good place to take care of my family if anything unexpected occurs.”
@jaymobills: “Family is everything to me. My mother and father have always been, and continue to be, my best friends. They did a great job raising my 3 brothers and I. I feel really fortunate for that. 👩👦👦👨👦👦 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Having such a positive experience growing up has definitely influenced my desire to become a father. I know without a doubt that the day I become a father will be the best day of my life. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ As I move into my 30s, what worries me most is being financially prepared to start a family. I also worry about saving for a home. Both of these milestones require a good amount of money so my wife and I really need to continue planning so we can support these two major goals. 🏡 ”
@danielapenalazaro “My parents worked so hard to get me to where I am today so I feel an immense responsibility to make them proud 👩🏻. But you know, growing up is hard. It's not like you get a map with all the stops charted out. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I feel there’s this pre-set expectation that becoming an adult also means magically learning how to make the best decisions for our lives and our money. In my experience it isn’t that way at all. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Most of us are attempting to balance living today with planning for the future -- and this can be challenging. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ That’s why I’m focused right now on learning how to manage my money. I want to continue reaching new levels, and that won’t be possible unless I continue putting in the work to improve.”
@elpa1sa “I never imagined switching careers so early on in my life, especially because I really loved my first profession: teaching history at the same high school I attended. 👨🏻🏫 I went back to school to get a master’s degree to transition into a career in international affairs. I’ve always been deeply interested in how the world works and what I can do to make it a better place. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Becoming a student again was very difficult. Like most people, I took on a heavy load of student loan debt to pay for my tuition but it was still not enough. I ended up picking up a job at a restaurant to cover my expenses. Full time master’s program, part time waiter, plus an unpaid internship. I always joke that I picked up a restaurant job to pay for my unpaid internship. Haha. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This experience has absolutely transformed me and I am so thankful for it. I am deeply passionate about my second career. I do however feel the debt I incurred with my new education. It’s hard to realize how it feels to owe a high amount in student loans before you actually owe it, so honestly it really hits you once you have to start paying it back. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The bottom line is this money is not going toward another life goal—yet. In the future, I want to proudly say: “I own a home.”
@helenyquerciavnzla: “There’s something really powerful about standing up for what you believe in. This is why I went to 🎓 for politics and government. I want to become a leader in my community one day. Not long ago, I realized how much more complex this path would be for me. I am proudly the first in my family to graduate from college in the U.S. so my parents and grandparents expect a lot from me to guide the family. Most recently, I was asked to step in to help with a property my dad bought many years ago. What I didn't immediately realize is how time consuming this would be. So much that I had to say no to renewing my contract at the organization of my dreams. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Right now, I’m thinking through my next step. Should I go back to school and get my MBA? How do I prioritize my future plans while still managing my day to day expenses? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This can be a lot on some days. I’m working hard to figure things out, for my future, and that of my family ❤️🤗.
Jason, CTO & Co-founder: Engineering always came very naturally to me. I wrote my first program when I was 12 after teaching myself with a library book! Needless to say, computer science was the obvious major for me when I started college. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’ve worked on a number of projects over the years, but Stratus has a special place in my heart because I know it can help so many people, starting with those who I care most about. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Many of my friends in their 30s haven’t yet reached goals they had hoped to achieve by this point in their lives. Understandably, financial goals like saving for retirement, buying a house, and paying off student loans are much more complex than they appear because they are competing against our daily priorities. Friends often tell me that if they could do their 20s over, they would do things differently and spend more time planning. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We use technology to solve many problems in our lives. However, up this point, we haven’t really had applications that make a major impact on our financial wellness. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ As an engineer, I understand why no one has fully solved the problem yet. What we’re building at Stratus is complex. We’re building more than just a tool where you categorize your transactions, or where you can do one great thing. We’re building a smart machine that can clearly highlight key trade-offs so that each person is empowered to make the best possible decision - every single time. 👍🏾
@daniellam1105: Daniella, Lead Product Designer: When I was little my mom would bring me to work to baby sit me. It was really funny because even back then I was super creative. I would spend my morning drawings, and my afternoons running a drawing shop out of my mom’s office. haha. • • On one occasion, a graphic designer begged my mom to steer me towards a career in design. I didn’t understand what that meant at the time, and didn’t get it for many years. I was stubborn. So when I got to college, I decided to study marketing and ended up getting a job as a marketing coordinator. I hated that job so much. I felt my creativity so stifled. • • One day, there was a problem that surfaced requiring creative skills. I asked to do it, and realized I really enjoyed it. That’s what got me thinking — what if I transition into design? No one would hire me at the time since I had no experience, so I decided to take a big risk. I left my job, got an internship as a designer, and moved back in with my parents. I was broke, but I put myself through that sacrifice to really make it as a designer. • • After a few months I was hired as a UX/UI designer, and have been doing it ever since.• • Stratus for me is very different than any other design job I’ve had. For the first time in my life, I believe with heart and soul in what I am doing, and the impact my designs can have in helping millions of people like me understand their finances. I half-jokingly pressure the team to move faster, because I need Stratus in my life, too. 🌍
Melissa, CPO & Co-founder: Building Stratus is very personal for me. I stumbled with my finances in my early 20’s despite working at a company providing financial literacy to millennials. I had a super difficult time keeping my own things organized, and I found it even harder to think about my future. So what did I do instead? I avoided thinking about it. The problem with this approach though, is that it always haunted me emotionally. I knew I should, and could, be doing better. • • Over the years I was fortunate to be exposed to mentoring and knowledge and begun to see the fruits of my labor. I started improving because my future mattered. I started thinking, what if I want a family one day? What if I lose my job? These questions really raised my alarm flags to prioritize financial management. • • As a product manager and tech geek, I deeply believe technology can enable better financial management for everyday people. You shouldn’t need a finance degree to understand how to manage your money.•
Jason, CEO: “It’s crazy to think that personal finance is still so difficult when such incredible technology exists – but it is. No good money management solution is available today. Sure, you have software for taxes, for keeping the change and for investments, but they’re all one-offs. Nothing truly connects the dots. Something better should be out there for everyone to use and I know we can build one together. • • I quit my corporate job to build Stratus full time because I believe everyone has the right to a better future.• • Great money management provides a peace-of-mind that is difficult to put into words. It enables you to live life on your own terms and do whatever it is you find meaningful. • • I am building Stratus because I want to make good financial advice universally accessible and useful to everyone. Not just the select few.