Why we started FinAbility (Part 1)

CTO Asha Xu shares her motivations for starting FinAbility and vision for the future

Stacy Sawin, CEO (left) and Asha Xu, CTO (right)

By: Asha Xu; Originally published February 22nd, 2021

When I first started dating my ex in 2011, I was so swept off my feet. We were childhood friends, he was my first kiss in high school, and he was as charming as they come. Little did I know that over the course of seven years, he would become so violent I thought he would kill me. My life from the outside was full of the California sun and surf, but privately, I was struggling to cope with crippling fear at every turn. Thankfully, I’m now safe and living this crazy business school life, but I know that for so many women out there, this isn’t the case.

Fast forward six months from the date of my trial, I met Stacy at an event for London Business School admitted students. At a loud London pub (remember what that was like?) we bonded over our shared love of hiking, all things outdoors, and our passion for advocating for women. I later learned that Stacy was a stalking survivor, but instead of pretending to forget about her terrible ordeal, she turned her energy to raising funds for the Calvary Women’s Services, a non-profit empowering women who’ve experienced chronic homelessness. She inspired me to do something to help other survivors of domestic abuse.

During the first year of our MBA, Stacy worked with a FinTech company and came up with the idea to help survivors easily find financial resources. We know that financial abuse is one of the main reasons survivors are unable to leave their abuser. I know from personal experience that no matter how educated you are, how many resources you have, or how strong you pretend to be, abuse leaves you in such a state of shock and stress that you can’t think straight. We hope that FinAbility will make it easier to plan and improve your financial health. We hope that in a time of crisis, we can be there to help guide you to reputable, trustworthy resources that can help provide you with a way out.

Over the last few months, we’ve been interviewing advocates and survivors to get their feedback on the product. We’ve been building connections with domestic abuse and financial empowerment organizations and resources. We’ve been assembling a team to handle governance, marketing, fundraising, and the thousand other things it takes to pull something like this off. If you think you can help, we’d love to hear from you.

We hope that you join us on this journey to help survivors live financially independent lives, permanently away from abuse.

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