Georgia Stewart

I studied Natural Sciences at University of Cambridge; and have experience from across the sustainable investment sector including equity investment analysis at Jupiter, cleantech venture capital at IP Group and Business & Biodiversity projects at Fauna and Flora International.

Whilst at Cambridge, alongside my co-founders I campaigned for the sustainable investment of our University’s £6 billion investment fund.  We influenced the University and their fund managers to vote for climate protection, gender equality and human rights at companies within their investment portfolio, this ultimately led to the creation of Tumelo, of which I am co-founder and CEO.

Tumelo recognises a global problem: millions of ordinary people contribute to our investment system through ISAs, workplace pensions, and other investments yet have no visibility over where their money is going and no voice at the companies they own through those investments. The result? A society that is disengaged and an investment system that is broken and unsustainable. At Tumelo we want to change this, our interface and APIs plug into investment platforms, connecting investors to the fund managers looking after their money to create an improved, social and values-aligned investment experience.

We’re a team of 25 based in London and Bristol, passionate about using sustainable investment, and specifically stewardship, to drive change on global, critical issues like climate change, gender equality, human rights and plastic.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Absolutely not! I love animals and desperately wanted to be a vet for most of my childhood (after I got over the jockey dream, that is!) Eventually I went for “Natural Sciences” – because I was struggling to choose between veterinary and human medicine. Whilst studying at university I recognised the essential role that finance would play in our collective ability – or inability – to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. First I looked to solve that problem through an NGO, then through working in asset management, then by starting my own financial technology firm. Definitely no plan involved!

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

I’m not sure what I would class as a challenge versus normal life. Problems are always flying at you and you just need to solve them as best you can… that’s what I love mostly about the start-up life but I’m sure it applies to any career to some degree.  I guess one thing we struggle with at Tumelo is the constant battle for talent, especially female talent since there are fewer women applying to many tech roles. We have an incredible team and I am so proud of the culture we have created, we are growing fast but as a start-up it can be hard to attract people whilst you’re still relatively unknown.  We’re doing everything we can though, things are fast paced here but we’re building a culture rooted in flexibility. We work on output not hours and we have a very autonomous, non-heirarchical structure that our team love – we have found that this helps us to get the balance between work and home life and in return we have a dedicated, passionate team who pull together and are genuinely willing to support each other.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Founding Tumelo & changing the way some of the most important and influential people in finance think about the voice of everyday savers. I’m genuinely proud every single day of what we have achieved so far as a team and I cannot wait to see what the future looks like for us.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I’ve been priviledged to grow up with an incredibly supportive family, full of entrepeneurial role-models, as well as an access to a brilliant education. I know plenty of entrepeneurs who have achieved so much more than I have without either of those things so I know these factors aren’t prerequisites for success…nevertheless I’m sure that they have been significant factors in my own journey.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – there are no stupid questions. And don’t be afraid to think big. Sometimes in the technology sector we become so obsessed with “agile” and “iteration” that we lose sight of the big picture and don’t demand as much change from the world (or ourselves or our team) as we should do.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

There are many, but it’s back to the point about problems again – there’s no choice but to overcome them if you want to move forward! Talk to others about your challenges and be open with your employers – and if those employers cannot or will not be flexible, there are many out there that will be (and they’re probably looking for you too!)

What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

Listen and take action, and I mean REALLY take action (not just list out benefits that look good on paper but nobody actually uses!). There is an enormous demand out there for talent, especially female talent, so we cannot assume that once we recruit someone they will stay. We need to provide the right challenge, the right working environment, and the right level of support. At Tumelo we are developing our culture every day. We will never profess to be perfect but all of the significant changes we’ve made around how we work have been done through talking to our team, listening to them and finding out what we can put in place to help us all work at our best. Whether that’s a 90% contract so they’re able to spend every school holiday with their children, or just taking a few days a month to volunteer or do something they’re really passionate about. We’re a start-up, so we ask a lot from people, the least we can do is help them to realise their passions both inside and outside of work.

There are currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Force every company to offer real flexibility to those who require it. I would rather have 80% of someone incredible who needs to spend a bit more time at home, than 100% of someone disengaged and unhappy.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

A lot of our female team members are members of women’s tech hub Bristol, and ladies that UX.  Find spaces where you’ll meet likeminded women who can support you.