In 2016, Hena Mehta was admitted to The Wharton School’s MBA programme. After the initial elation of admission wore off, reality began to sink in. Hena realised she’d not only have to come up with the substantial tuition fees, cost of living, health insurance and travel, but she would also have to forego her regular salary. “It suddenly dawned on me: how was I going to pay for this whole thing? It was a massive financial goal – one I hadn’t planned for,” recalls Hena, who did her Bachelor’s in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania and has over 10 years of experience working in fintech.
After completing her MBA, returning to Bengaluru and speaking to over 500 women in various Indian cities, Hena realised she was not alone in facing challenges related to managing money. This led her to launch Basis, a community and content-driven financial services platform, which has so far impacted over 15,000 individuals since its launch in 2018.
A SEBI-licensed investment advisor, Basis has 40-odd corporate partners, and covers a wide gamut of content, community and services. The app is jargon-free and targets women and their specific needs using algorithms that analyze five years of data.
“Our vision is to build a platform that empowers women with all their money management needs: education, updated information, tailored advice and curated products. We aim to impact 10 million women over the next five years,” says the 33-year old, who co-founded Basis along with her school friend and financial expert Dipika Jaikishan.
Hena, who is also the founder of Lean In Bangalore (affiliated with and recognised by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In Foundation), narrates case studies of young women learning how to save wisely, build emergency funds, plan for early retirements, and even how to negotiate a salary equal to their male colleagues, all through Basis content and services.
“You cannot be independent without being financially independent. Think about it,” advises Hena. “To live a life truly on your own terms, you need to have complete autonomy of your money. Earning it, saving it, investing it, protecting it, and spending it. My advice to all women is to take complete ownership of your financial decisions. Outlining your goals and figuring out how to reach them is empowering and liberating. Chalk out as little as 30 minutes a week to educate yourself, and be in touch with your financial situation.”
She signs off with a quote from Jawaharlal Nehru, “To awaken the people, it is the women who must be awakened. Once she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, the nation moves.”
First published in eShe magazine