Meet Patrizia Laeri, one of the most prominent figures in Switzerland, who is an accomplished economist and former business journalist who is deeply passionate about the intersection of women and finance.
Throughout her career, she has dedicated herself to addressing the disparity in wealth among females, challenging established norms through thought-provoking contributions to Swiss television, Ringier, NZZ, and various other publications.
Known for her ability to simplify intricate economic concepts, she is recognized as a vocal champion for equality within the realms of business and media.
In addition to co-founding editathon.ch, an initiative aimed at increasing female representation on Wikipedia, she has also taken the lead in spearheading Chance 50:50, the largest diversity project was undertaken by SRF.
I had the chance to interview Patrizia about her new crowdfunding record.
Regulatory Approaches Using Tokenized Shares for Voting Rights in Switzerland
Starting from February 1, 2021, Switzerland has enabled the issuance of registered securities in the form of digital shares.
These digital securities hold the same legal status as conventional shares and with this recent regulation, it is now possible to store company shares digitally on a blockchain and transfer them seamlessly between individuals, minimizing the need for extensive administrative procedures.
As transactions are recorded on the blockchain throughout the entire process, the trading and custody of digital assets become exceptionally secure.
“Digital shares can be issued in the form of shares with voting rights or participation certificates”
When it comes to shares with voting rights, investors have the opportunity to vote at general meetings, among other privileges.
Conversely, participation certificates represent silent shares where investors do not possess any voting rights nevertheless, in both scenarios, investors still share in the company’s success.
Recognizing the significance of community involvement as a core element of ElleXX, they made it a priority to grant them a voice and corresponding rights.
Establishing a new record in the crowdfunding space
“We sincerely hope that this European crowd investing record for female founders encourages and inspires many other female entrepreneurs to follow in our footsteps”
Behind the scenes, Patrizia describes how the entire team has been working tirelessly for weeks on this crowd-investing effort.
They felt a mix of excitement and nervousness as they understood the stark reality that only 1.9% of global venture capital funds are directed towards female founders.
This unfortunate statistic results in limited opportunities for women’s ideas, products, and businesses to grow and scale.
Additionally, there have been few instances of female-founded start-ups in Europe venturing into crowd-investing as a funding avenue, however, they recognized the need to be pioneers and forged ahead.
The team was genuinely overwhelmed when they reached the remarkable milestone of one million within three days therefore the influx of public statements from their new investors reinforced the fact that people are seeking more inclusive and sustainable financial solutions and products.
The investors wholeheartedly supported the team’s objective of bridging the gaps and providing a social impact-focused app.
Notably, over 1000 individuals contributed to the campaign, with women accounting for a significant 85% of the total.
“What was truly remarkable was that these new investors were not only financial supporters but also enthusiastic fans and loyal customers of the brand”
“The mainstream media and conservative websites continued to be sexist and negative”
The idea is to address the substantial income disparities between men and women has drawn critical attention, in this case, Patrizia’s team has faced the need to pursue legal action against certain blogs, resulting in a favourable outcome where the blogs were required to donate funds to women’s shelters.
Unfortunately, they have also encountered a significant number of detractors and Internet trolls, but, despite the challenges, Patrizia and her team remain steadfast in their belief that financial empowerment is the ultimate catalyst for achieving equality.
Initially, there were reservations regarding the acceptance of the wallet solution among potential female investors, given the fact that only 8% of women held cryptocurrencies at the time.
However, these concerns turned out to be unwarranted, as the wallet solution was met with a positive reception.
Furthermore, Patrizia emphasizes the importance of not underestimating the legal hurdles associated with crowd-investing and having Nadine Jürgensen as a co-founder, who also happens to be a lawyer, has proven to be a significant advantage for their startup.
“Nadine’s legal expertise has been instrumental in navigating the complexities and challenges of crowdinvesting, providing invaluable support to the team”
The Potential Impact of Tokenized Shares on the Financial Landscape and Investor-Corporation Dynamics
“Our crowd investing case has opened the path for the future of funding, particularly for start-ups that seek societal impact as well as financial reward” “Crowdinvesting with tokenized shares has enormous potential”
The level of women’s success in crowd-investing is still uncertain, but it presents a potential chance to narrow the gender funding disparity to some extent.
Moreover, studies suggest that placing a stronger focus on socially and environmentally responsible businesses could encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurial careers.
Disrupting gender inequality with ElleXX
“The financial world must finally move/ Many people feel excluded from the financial system – be it because of the aloof tone or the incomprehensible jargon”
The financial system is artificially inflated, resulting in its complexity, making it challenging for individuals to navigate and comprehend various financial instruments.
The overwhelming number of options and deliberately convoluted terminology often leave people feeling excluded and overwhelmed.
Consequently, Patrizia describes that individuals are deterred and intimidated, leading them to avoid engaging with financial matters and missing out on potential opportunities for their financial future.
As Patrizia emphasises, empowering individuals with comprehensible financial information enables them to take control of their finances, where the financial system should prioritize serving the people rather than solely catering to the financial industry.
“Mind the gaps, know the gaps and close the gaps. Get angry about the gaps and use this fire as a drive – That will take you far”
The gap gender situation in Switzerland and the factors that contribute to it
“In Switzerland, the second richest country of the world, the majority of women can’t support themselves financially” “In the German speaking part it’s 56%! Every morning, this shocking figure motivates me to get out of bed. This number holds women back”
ElleXX is driven by the mission to eliminate economic dependency on women and, ensure financial empowerment for all, where the main focus is to bridge those gaps and provide the necessary tools and knowledge.
“Notably, studies show that 92% of women value sustainable investing, demonstrating their wise and sustainable approach to financial decisions”
Therefore, achieving a balance of financial resources in the hands of both men and women becomes crucial, not just in the economic sphere.
Dealing with negative publicity and online trolls
Ironically, ElleXX and its partner, Allianz, collaborated to develop a legal protection insurance specifically tailored for the female founder company and this initiative recognizes the financial barrier associated with accessing legal services.
Subsequently, the platform utilized this insurance to file a lawsuit against the media platform responsible for publishing the series of sexist articles.
“We always called it our mission to defend yourself and your product and eventually had to use it ourselves”
Her contribution as a journalist spreading awareness
Patrizia and her team during a protest in Zurich
“Content, content, content. Content is queen – And interestingly enough, it wasn’t video content, but text that helped me raising awareness for these gender gaps”
Patrizia has been writing her column tirelessly every two weeks for three years, alongside her primary role as a business TV host, even during holidays and vacations.
Her columns focus on environmentally harmful and misogynistic mechanisms within the economy and business world.
However, she always makes a point to present solutions, use cases, or start-ups aiming to address these issues.
Furthermore, she refers to this approach as “constructive journalism” thus her work has resonated particularly well on LinkedIn, where she has been honoured as the LinkedIn Top Voice DACH on three separate occasions.
“The media industry is still very male dominated and led Especially in business journalism”
Throughout her life, Patrizia has predominantly worked alongside male colleagues, and on a spectrum, she observed that most written content in her field tends to focus on male perspectives.
Through this project, they discovered that only 12 % of the individuals explaining the economic world on their broadcasts were women.
This realization sparked a significant shift and prompted various changes where Patrizia emphasizes the importance of measuring a problem before taking steps to change it.
The Role of Editathon in the digital space combatting misinformation on Wikipedia
“The world belongs to the brave. Female biographies are a great driving force and source of inspiration for me”
The focus extends to addressing the #GenderContentGap on the Internet as well.
In fact, Patrizia highlights that a significant proportion of biographies on Wikipedia, approximately 82%, are about men.
Furthermore, she notes that female biographies tend to be shorter and emphasize their roles as mothers or wives rather than their achievements.
In response, she takes pleasure and gains confidence by writing about remarkable women, such as exceptional female quantum physicists or nursing specialists, and sharing their accomplishments on the platform.
The main drive behind her astonishing work
“We have a bible in our start-up elleXX, which is the book -The Double X Economy by Linda Scott, professor emerita at the University of Oxford”
Linda Scott showcases the immense untapped economic potential of women globally. The book she authored has gained recognition, referenced by the two Xs in elleXX.
Her dedicated mission revolves around generating women’s interest in active involvement in financial matters, which she considers her life’s work.
Notably, her efforts have yielded positive results as their financial hacking courses attract participants ranging from as young as 20 to as old as 60 years of age.