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Economics graduate behind app encouraging sustainable investing

An economics graduate who first traded in the stock market as a schoolgirl is behind the development of an app to encourage sustainable investing.

Nikki Hawkes, 26, is the co-founder of Stratiphy, which has raised more than £440,000 in crowdfunding from 700 investors in 53 countries.

Nikki, who has worked in finance and has  featured in Women in Technology, a platform for showcasing female talent in the field, said: “We want to help people invest sustainably and safely by themselves.”

And she has first-hand experience after she invested a month’s wage as a 14-year-old lifeguard – and soon learned to manage risk and spread money across a range of shares.

She said: “I watched my hard-earned money lose value and quickly learned to analyse the market and have patience.”

Environmentally friendly investing

Stratiphy allows users to customise their preferences, so they can choose Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) options.

It introduces beginners to investing with an education in portfolio risk management. Users have control over their investment – without high fees of professional guidance.

With an economics and actuarial science degree from the University of Southampton, Nikki worked as an actuary at a life and pensions operations centre in Bristol.

It was here she saw the benefits of ESG investments and, following the successful sale of her sporting events company, decided to set up in this field.

Nikki, who has worked on projects to reduce carbon footprints both at home and abroad, met her business partner, Daniel Gold, on the start-up community platform Angel Co.

Reducing time, effort and risk

They joined forces to create an app which can create investment strategies according to risk profile, industry preferences and sustainability criteria.

Nikki said: “We couldn’t meet in person due to lockdown, but we clicked instantly. We are both keen to make investing accessible and sustainable.”

Nikki, who is part of HerJuno which strives to close the gender money gap by teaching all those who identify as women all they need to know about money and investing, said: “Investing doesn’t have to be daunting. We support seasoned investors and newcomers alike.

“We offer tools, guides and news to keep users up-to-date on changes in the market – greatly reducing the time, effort and risk otherwise involved.”

Stratiphy, which has a team of advisors from banking and fintech backgrounds, has already won a contract with Sustainalytics, the global leader in ESG research and data.

And the start-up, which came through the South West’s SETsquared accelerator programme, is growing its team and waiting list to use the app next year

Nikki said: “We can’t wait for the full version of the product to be live. Personalised, sustainable investing is the future and we’re here to make it easier.”

Sustainability projects

Nikki was part of a university team to come first worldwide in an academic and business sustainability project called Enactus. They developed a solar lighting project based in Kenya, which helped tackle kerosine pollution and provided affordable lighting.

She also took part in a university project in Indonesia to reduce carbon footprint and combat change.

Nikki takes part in various campaigning events – from swimming in the sea and picking up litter as part of ‘Ocean 8 challenge’ to dressing up as a giant plastic bottle and running 10 miles a day for 10 days for ‘no excuse for single use’ against plastic pollution campaign’.