Women In Innovation Success Stories: Zara Ransley, MyPocketSkill, South East
Zara Ransley is empowering young people to be more financially capable through her innovative MyPocketSkill digital platform.
Zara, who holds an MBA from the London Business School, is motivated to help 13-22 year olds earn, save and learn about money. It was her own experience in coming to the UK as a teenager that taught her both the importance and scarcity of paid work experience for young people.
MyPocketSkill has a dual focus of both connecting young people to earning opportunities and supporting them as they learn about how to manage their money. The product was initially developed with the support of Coast 2 Capital Business Growth funding, and Zara secured a grant in May 2020 from Innovate UK, through funds dedicated to supporting innovations prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Zara joined Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation Programme in March 2021, MyPocketSkill was already growing thanks to a successful product launch. Her ambition through the programme was to extend the platform, embed financial education, and develop and pilot features to supercharge growth. Financial support from the programme was critical, enabling the company to progress further, faster.
Partnerships and growth
The company has achieved some impressive key milestones, which included establishing a partnership with Unipass, creating the infrastructure that enables teens to save money on the MyPocketSkill platform. They also introduced financial education behavioural nudges to enable teens to save towards their goals. Zara said: “In successfully partnering with UniPass, all teens who join are able to get an IBAN bank account. We were positively evaluated by the UK Gov’s Money & Pension Service for the efficacy of Earning, Saving & Learning behaviour of teens on MyPocketSkill, with those earning through the platform gaining increased understanding, motivation and confidence to save money.”
She added: “Continuing to scale our user numbers at 20% month-on-month and optimising our revenues were also key milestones. It has been important to demonstrate that we can execute on our big vision and ambitions for the business. Our growth has accelerated, and we now have over 15K users on our platform.. Our revenues have increased 15 times, with 40% growth in the last month alone.”
Zara has hired a further three people and they have won a global competition as a female-founder-led business, backed by Deutsche Bank, Google Cloud, Atos & Tech Quartier. This further cements their reputation as a fast-growing fintech firm and paves the way for future partnerships that should enable faster scaling.
Looking to the future
In the next 12 months, they are aiming to introduce digital and physical cards to enable teens to spend money earned via the platform and attract ‘pocket money’ from their family & friends. Zara hopes to reach 70,000 users on their platform and revenues of £70K.
She said: “In the next five years we expect to: become a household name for young people wanting to earn money and open bank accounts, internationalise MyPocketSkill looking particularly at the US market, grow to 1.5m users on our platform, and achieve revenues of £50m per annum.”
Personal growth and support
“I trust in my instincts and vision more, and as a female innovator, I am able to see gaps in the market ahead of others,” said Zara.
She particularly valued the dedicated Women in Innovation bootcamps and cohort support, as a means of bouncing thoughts and ideas off colleagues and Innovate UK EDGE’s Innovation Champions. Zara said: “Going forward, we are considering sharing an office space with one of the other cohort members, so the collaborative model is set to continue. More generally, it’s a non-judging supportive environment that really helps women innovators.”
“All I can say to potential Women in Innovation award winners is that amongst other things it is a great way to increase your profile and create connections with other female entrepreneurs, which is hugely valuable for fund-raising and advice,” said Zara. She added:“It was an excellent opportunity and I feel, we at MyPocketSkill, maximised every little bit of it. So thanks IUK,” she continued.”
Women in Innovation
Innovate UK’s Women In Innovation programme consists of funding competitions and events that enables brilliant women to fully achieve their visions and change the world, while championing and celebrating gender diversity throughout UK innovation.