Nov 14, 2016

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Vicki Zhou, Co-Founder of Wise Banyan


If you want to hear the story of a passionate entrepreneur in a highly competitive and fast-changing marketplace, then you must listen to this podcast with Vicki Zhou, the co-founder and co-CEO of Wise Banyan. Billed as “the world’s first free financial advisor,” WiseBanyan brings low-cost financial planning to the masses. In our conversation, Vicki shares how she went from getting patents on medical devices while in college to taking the leap to Wall Street and then to co-founding her current venture. She describes the differentiation strategy she is pursuing to stand out from the crowded field of robo-advisors. We also learn about the financial goals that her users set when they first sign up on her site and how they have fared at achieving them. Learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur in this fascinating corner of investing that will become the new paradigm for your students (and also get a lesson in trees too!) Enjoy!


  • 0:00~1:24 – Intro
  • 1:24~2:09 – Vicki’s background
  • 2:09~4:06 – Vicki’s invention and patent (hint: it’s not a financial product)
  • 4:06~5:20 -Her start in financial services
  • 5:20~6:36 – Spark of interest in money
  • 6:36~7:10 – Background in finance
  • 7:10~8:47 – Working in financial field
  • 8:47~11:11 – The idea behind WiseBanyan
  • 11:11~13:35  – The significance of the ‘WiseBanyan’ name
  • 13:35~16:02 – What types of goals do users set?
  • 16:02~17:51 – What happens after setting goals
  • 17:51~18:22 – A word from our sponsor, Next Gen Personal Finance
  • 18:22~19:52 – How is WiseBanyan free?
  • 19:52~21:15 – WiseBanyan’s business model
  • 21:15~24:32 – What the heck is tax loss harvesting?
  • 24:32~26:58 – Additional services they offer
  • 26:58~30:30 – How do they acquire customers?
  • 30:30~32:31 – The power of setting goals
  • 32:31~34:54 – Personalized investment strategies
  • 34:54~36:51 – Comparison to other robo-advisors
  • 36:51~38:22 – Relationship with CFSI
  • 38:22~41:20 – What’s it like being a female entrepreneur in field like financial services
  • 41:20~43:15 – Female users
  • 43:15~43:42 – Low cost financial planning to the masses
  • 43:42~45:44 – How would you teach high schoolers about investing in 45 minutes
  • 45:44~47:07 – Conclusion
Notable Quotes:
  • “Regardless of age, regardless of socio-economic backgrounds, regardless of gender, people have things they want to do. This idea has been really helpful for us to think about our product and to make it accessible to anybody.”
  • “I would use memes and GIFs in my classroom. The best way to learn when I was in the classroom is when people distilled difficult topics and ideas into something that I can relate to. It’s really difficult to do that and the best teachers do that. “

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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