How losing $1 million inspired Van Court to start kids’ personal finance platform Goalsetter

Abu Mubarik May 28, 2022
Tanya Van Court is behind Goalsetter, a banking app that helps kids and families save. Photo: Goalsetter

Tanya Van Court lost more than $1 million in stock during the bubble burst in 2001. At the time, she was working for a company in Silicon Valley. After losing virtually everything, she vowed never to let a similar fate befall her children.

She had her first daughter, Gabrielle, in 2005 and began teaching her financial literacy right after she gave birth to her. When Gabrielle turned 9, she told her mother that she wanted two things as a birthday present: enough move to save for an investment account and a bike.

Her financial decision impressed her mother who mulled the idea of teaching other kids to think like her daughter. Working for Nickelodeon, Discovery Education and ESPN, she also noticed that there was a huge gap in the market when it comes to how people talk to kids about money.

This led her to establish the kids’ personal finance platform Goalsetter to help them to establish healthy savings and smart spending habits early. The company had extraordinary banks and investors come in, like PNC Bank, U.S. Bank and Mastercard. The company went on to raise almost $6 million in its seed round.

Van Court’s app essentially introduces kids to financial literacy through game-based quizzes, memes and GIFs. It allows parents to “give allowances through the app, and even pay out their own specified amount for every quiz question the kid gets right in the app. Plus, family and friends can give ‘goal cards’ instead of gift cards, helping kids save for the things they really want in the future, according to Techcrunch.

The company also launched a debit card for kids and allows parents to control the way the card is used. It even has a feature where parents can lock the card until their kids have passed the week’s financial literacy quiz.

“It’s one thing to put a debit card into your teenager’s hands,” said Van Court told Techcrunch. “That’s great. That teaches them how to spend money. It’s another thing to teach kids the core concepts about how to build wealth, or to know the difference between putting your money into an investment account or putting your money into a CD versus a mutual fund versus a savings account. We teach what interest rates are, and what compound interest means. Our focus is on financial education because it’s not enough to teach kids how to spend.”

Van Court has said that even though her app is for kids, she hopes her work will help to narrow the wealth gap between Blacks and Whites. “We’re on a mission to get every family in America saving. Because that’s how we are going to save America, together,” her website says.

Amidst the pandemic, Goalsetter continued to show resilience. While many businesses collapsed as a result of the pandemic, Van Court raised $19.5 million in funding, Forbes reported last year.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 27, 2022


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