Team Leader

The founder of a financial-technology company comes up with innovative ideas for helping people manage their money.
By Tani Chambers
smiling face

Tani Chambers is the founder of RAVN, a financial-technology company, and its chief executive officer, or CEO. Raven helps people manage their money.

Chambers met with students at a Your Hot Job career event. Here’s what she had to say.

What does it mean to found a company? I developed the idea for RAVN. I brought a team together, people who also believed in this idea. As the company’s founder, my job is to keep the team focused on the company’s mission—why we’re doing what we’re doing, where we’re going, and what we want to become as a company. As the company’s CEO, I come up with ideas for apps, websites, and all other kinds of technology that helps people save money, make payments, keep track of their money, or invest or grow their money. That might be an app that helps people save money, or a website that makes it easier to pay bills online. 

I am a nontechnical founder. That means I’m the boss, but I don’t create the technology. I have a chief technology officer, or CTO, who’s in charge of the technology. I let her know what we would like to create and what problem we’d like to solve. Her job is to come up with the technical solutions to do that. And we have a team of talented people who help me turn those ideas into reality. You don’t have to be an engineer or a coder to be the founder of a technology company. Instead, you are the person who makes sure all the pieces of the puzzle come together.

One of the things I love about being a financial-technology—or fintech—founder is that I get to help people. It’s rewarding to know we’re making a positive impact on people’s lives. We are not only a financial-technology company: We also make a social impact. We help underserved people, or people who don’t typically have access to technology or financial services. I tell you that because being a founder of a tech startup means that you can actually help change the world. 

Problem Solver

Being a fintech founder isn’t always easy. I have to make sure our ideas are really good, that they’re really solving problems for our customers. Our apps and websites have to be user-friendly, and they have to keep people’s information safe. That’s super important. It can be a big responsibility. But it’s also exciting. If you’re interested in technology, and you like helping people, then being a financial technology founder might be a good career choice for you. 

I was always good at solving problems, figuring things out. When I was around 10 years old, my mom bought the family a computer. She wasn’t computer-savvy, but she thought that we needed this new thing called a computer at home. I was good at figuring things out, so she gave me the manual, and I learned how to use the computer.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve had a variety of jobs and acquired many skills along the way. I’ve worked in finance, where I learned problem-solving skills, helping people with their money. I worked in technical support, where I helped people in offices who had problems with their computers or software. I have worked in marketing and advertising, or what they call experiential marketing, which is a fancy word for event planning. This work enhanced my organizational skills. I learned how to manage budgets, lists, all kinds of things—even how to socialize. I had to be able to communicate with people: vendors, artists, talent, all kinds of people. I also owned a nail salon for five years. That taught me how to manage people, and keep inventory and budgets.

All of these experiences help me every day in my role as CEO of this company. It’s okay to go through different jobs and to try different things. You will take something from each of those experiences, and that will help you find the career that you love and excel at.

This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.