THE MNY SPOTLIGHT

Meet Alexa von Tobel, Founder and Managing Partner of Inspired Capital

Introduce yourself! 

I’m Alexa von Tobel—Founder and Managing Partner of Inspired Capital, Certified Financial Planner, New York Times bestselling author, host of Inc’s The Founders Project podcast, wife, and mama to three. 

Alexa von Tobel wears the Valentina Gown in Vintage Coral

Tell us more about your background and career trajectory. 

I am a serial entrepreneur and passionate about all things innovation. Before launching Inspired Capital in 2019, I dropped out of Harvard Business School to start LearnVest with the goal of making financial planning accessible to all. LearnVest was acquired by Northwestern Mutual in one of the largest fintech acquisitions of the decade, and I went on to become the company’s Chief Innovation Officer.

What inspired you to create LearnVest and Inspired Capital?

I’m incredibly passionate about helping people make sense of their money. When I started LearnVest, “fintech” was not a known category, so we built best-in-class technology to create a wholly new financial planning experience. 

Throughout my time at LearnVest, I found myself helping other entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. I decided to start Inspired Capital, along with my cofounder—former Sec. of Commerce Penny Pritzker—to build a multigenerational venture capital firm headquartered in New York. Throughout my career, I have been obsessed with the craft of early-stage company building, and I feel so lucky that I get to go to work every day to help founders realize their visions.

What has been your biggest career learning lesson to date?

We all know the cliche, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I’ve learned it’s the exact opposite. Do what you love, and you’ll work 24/7 with no boundaries, because you truly love it. It’s a privilege to find work that you care so deeply about, and I’m eternally grateful that I’ve discovered what makes me tick.

In addition to being a New York Times best-selling author and hosting ‘The Founders Project’ podcast, what other interests are you pursuing?

It’s hard to find extra minutes in the day (especially with three children under age 6!), but my other deep passion is for design. I’m an interior design enthusiast and find so much pleasure in designing both my home and the Inspired Capital office. On weekend mornings, you can usually find me devouring the latest issues of Architectural Digest and Elle Decor

Financially Forward: How to Use Today's Digital Tools to Earn More, Save Better, and Spend Smarter by Alexa von Tobel 

Do you have a special moment that stands out to you when building any business in particular?

It’s always about your users and customers. At LearnVest, I spent hours pouring over customer feedback and figuring out how to make our platform the best it could be. At Inspired, I’m focused on the founders we invest in. Any moment where I can work hand-in-hand with a founder, be a partner to them, and solve a complicated challenge together is immensely rewarding. 

Why is it important to you to empower women? 

I’ve had so many amazing mentors of all shapes and sizes throughout my career, and I care deeply about doing my best to empower the next generation of women throughout their journeys, too. 

2020 and 2021 has faced us all with many challenges. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned through it all?

I have always been a big planner (LearnVest was a financial planning company, after all!), and the ups and downs of the past two years has shown me that planning is still a valuable tool. We truly have no idea what the future holds, but doing the legwork of thinking through possible outcomes and trying your best to come up with a Plan A, B, C, D, etc. helps you weather the tough moments with a bit more grace and sanity.

What draws you to the Mestiza brand? How does your Mestiza piece make you feel?

I love the elegance and femininity of the brand. I absolutely love dressing up and sharing special moments with friends and family. We’ve been so limited in chances to do that over the past few years, that it makes these moments all the more fun. My Mestiza dress just feels like a celebration!

What is your best advice for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

When everyone zigs, zag. It’s not about following in anyone’s footsteps; it’s about running after your passions to the fullest extent, whatever they may be. When I dropped out of business school to start LearnVest, everyone thought it was a crazy thing to do, but I had a deep-seated belief that my vision was worth pursuing. Trust your gut and go for it.

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