With Thanksgiving in the U.S. this week, I am using the opportunity to reflect on the past year, our journey at Stratyfy, and all that I am grateful for.
2021 brought massive growth and steps forward for Stratyfy: adding both forward-thinking customers and impactful new members to our growing team.
Personally, the greatest gift of 2021 is my son, Axel, now eight months old.
When I gave birth to Axel in March, we were in the middle of a fundraise. I signed a term sheet the day before going into the hospital. He was a big baby, and that combined with my age introduced new risks. But due to the Covid restrictions that kept so many of us isolated from one another, not too many people knew that I was pregnant—only the people who I chose to share this information with (including the very supportive investor behind our term sheet).
An unforeseen consequence of the pandemic was the ability to better protect my private life, which as a female founder is no small feat. It was tremendously empowering to decide who I wanted to tell about my pregnancy, and I’m so grateful for the amazing support I received from those “in the know.” So many women are not given this choice, and instead have to face the bias and whispers that arise when they are having a child.
“Will she still work as hard?” “Will she lose her edge?” or worse “Will she even want to work anymore?”
These phrases doubting working mothers are ones I’ve heard—and vocally disagreed with—throughout my career. It needs to stop. It is true: having children completely changes your life and your priorities. I had heard this stated nearly everywhere, but the truth of it has changed me in ways I didn’t anticipate. It has made me more motivated. Now I look at the world—and our future—in a completely different way as both a mother AND a founder.
Stratyfy was founded to help solve a specific and pervasive problem: unequal access to credit. Our goal is to utilize unique technology that brings the human element to AI. We are passionate about our mission, and becoming a mother introduced a new sense of urgency for me to drive this change. I look at my son and I think about the world I want him to live in—and how it differs from the world today.
Everyone wants more for their children. Everyone wants to make the world a better place for them. I am now even more inspired by what we are building at Stratyfy: AI-driven technology to create a more inclusive, fair and trustworthy financial system.
As we all know, AI will be a key component of so many of our experiences in the coming decades. It will inform how we interact with each other as well as the opportunities available to each of us. We must ensure that these experiences do not sacrifice the empathy, relationships, and questions that make us human—like being a mother. And we cannot encode the biases of the past in our future.
To do this, we must be able to understand and trust how the AI that drives our decisions is working.
We must be able to trust how and why it is providing a user with information.
We must be able to trust how and why it is recommending a product or service.
We must be able to trust how and why it communicates to a customer what they can or cannot afford.
These decisions impact the opportunities of individuals, families, and generations. We must use AI technology to proactively identify biases of the past so that we can do better in the future. It will take time to make this happen, so we must start now.
As a mother and a founder, I am grateful that increasing attention and resources are working to identify the biases in our financial system, and I am grateful that Stratyfy is leading efforts to address these issues. The potential impact is profound, but the effort requires more than just sophisticated technology. It requires empathy and collaboration.
Stratyfy was founded to lead at these crossroads: technology and humanity. As I reflect on the upcoming holiday, I am grateful for my family, for our team, for our investors, for our community—because I know together, we can shape the future for the better.