In the latest episode of UnBossed, serial entrepreneur and financial tech connoisseur Sheena Allen gave listeners a deep dive into the challenges of banking while Black as well as what it takes to launch an app.
Allen created her very first app with little tech experience and has since developed into an app machine, with five apps under her belt to date. In 2016, Allen had the idea to create an app that organizes money and spending.
The app, CapWay now serves to guide people toward a prosperous financial future. Allen explained to UnBossed host Marquita Harris that the difference between CapWay and other banking apps is that it focuses on marginalized consumers every step of the way.
“The whole point of building this company was to build a full ecosystem for people who have been left on the outside of traditional banking,” she said.
The University of Southern Mississippi alumna studied Psychology and Film in school, but has always had an interest in better understanding money.
She said she is fortunate that her family exposed her to banking at a young age. She even got her first bank account around age 14.
However, the lifestyle her parents created for her and her brother was starkly different from her family members who had to depend on payday loans and other means to get by.
“I think a lot of people don’t really understand the psyche, the psychological mindset behind a lot what goes on when you’re part of that lower-income community,” Allen said.
“You might have my grandmother, who paid off a loan, and then at Christmastime, they’ll give her a personal phone call and say, ‘Hey Miss, we have $2500 waiting for you. We know it’s Christmastime. All you got to do is come down and get it.”
Allen’s sharp understanding of how financial institutions can negatively impact communities of color has shaped her work as an entrepreneur. The 30-year-old boss is on a mission to solve a major problem for people who are often left out of the picture when it comes to banking.
Allen is young but powerful. She cites in her interview that the largest Black bank in the U.S. has $700 million in assets compared to Wells Fargo’s $3 trillion in assets. “I want Mark Zuckerberg power,” she said.
To learn more about Sheena Allen’s journey and how she plans to empower our community, listen to the full episode of UnBossed below.