rainchq: Davinia Tomlinson
Name: Davinia Tomlinson
Company name: rainchq
Date launched: 05/11/2018
Which university did you attend? Aston University and Cass Business School
‘On a mission to promote greater financial inclusion for women by closing the gender investing gap,' Davinia Tomlinson, founder of rainchq, tells us all about her start-up that's giving the financial sector a much-needed shake-up.
Tell us what your business does:
rainchq is a new financial service concept designed exclusively for women. Our ambition is to help women take control of their financial futures by offering financial education, access to qualified and regulated financial advice and holistic wellness events of which financial wellbeing is an important part.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
The idea for rainchq came to me shortly after I started my career in the investment management industry more than a decade ago. I was shocked by the low numbers of women investing and couldn’t understand why.
With research showing that despite living longer than men women typically save up to 5 times less for later life, and a gender pension gap in the UK of 40% there’s a real opportunity to make a difference to how women plan for later life.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Through market research both from industry reports highlighting the scale of the problem with regard to the gap between men and women when it comes to investing, as well as primary research though which I surveyed hundreds of women and spoke to scores of others through focus groups and 1:1 interviews.
The overwhelming response was that there was a commercial opportunity for a business of this nature focused exclusively on women.
What were you doing before starting up?
I worked as a head of marketing within the investment management industry.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, I've had a long-held (and previously secret!) ambition to work for myself and build a business. Regardless of the venture, I really wanted to do something that would offer something valuable to the target audience and ultimately help them transform their lives and I think rainchq has the potential to do just that.
How did you raise the money?
We're yet to raise external funding, we are currently bootstrapping.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
rainchq operates on a simple subscription model currently with each customer paying an annual subscription for a fixed fee.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
As a bootstrapped business, financed through savings as well as support from family, one of the biggest challenges of course is funding.
Aside from funding, there was also a small minority of people who questioned the validity of a financial business service that focused exclusively on women. Some of the feedback I received during the research process, primarily from women, was that they were concerned that by creating a business focused solely on them, I was at risk of alienating or isolating them even further.
My response to this is that, for huge swathes of the population, the current approach to financial services, at least in the UK, excludes many women through poorly targeted communications, inaccessible services and a more masculine and aggressive approach overall and rainchq is here to solve that problem.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Convincing a financial adviser at one of the UK's leading wealth management companies to agree to work with rainchq. Delivery of financial advice to huge swathes of women who may not have received this in the past and who may therefore be unconvinced of its value is no easy feat.
I wanted to work with someone who exuded the empathy and warmth that would personally put me at ease in an adviser relationship. The person we are working with exudes these qualities and more.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Don't be afraid to start small and build up slowly – the best business don't spring up overnight.
If you can, try to run it in the early days as a side hustle so you can validate the idea in real time without worrying about losing your regular source of income.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
Having established rainchq as the leading provider of financial education and advice to women in the UK with plans to expand overseas.