Member Spotlight: Svvy
Integral to The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale’s mission is telling the stories behind the small businesses Scouted in each Volume. The story begins in print and continues online, after all. As you peruse Volume 3, we are thrilled to continue our story-telling mission with Member Spotlights.
Meet Svvy, the new-on-the-scene platform designed exclusively by women for women to connect with carefully vetted professionals. The brainchild of sisters Jenna Biancavilla and Janice Utke, Svvy exists to offer women fair and equitable access to financial opportunities and the resources they need to make informed financial decisions.
Thrilled to welcome a Valley-based tech company to The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale for the first time in our history, we chatted with the founders about their vision, mission, and — of course — the tech scene in Phoenix and Scottsdale.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Jenna, Janice thank you for making time for us. We’d love to start at the beginning. More specifically, your professional beginnings. Tell us about your respective professional journeys.
Jenna Biancavilla: My professional journey has been driven by a passion for empowering people and creating a better world. I spent seven years as a financial advisor at large institutions, which taught me the ropes of the industry. Seeking to better serve my clients, in 2015 I took a bold step to launch an independent financial services firm, Pearl Capital Management. Today,I personally manage over $150 million in client assets.
Janice Utke: I’ve spent my career in the tech industry, working in startups and high-growth organizations to deliver solutions for accounting, auditing, regulatory reporting, and online education services. More recently, my focus has been on forging partnerships with organizations dedicated to social impact investments that fund scholarship programs designed to increase diversity in tech through accessible training programs. Incidentally, I also have a passion for real estate and real property investment strategies for wealth building, so I’m also a licensed Realtor in Arizona.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: How did those career experiences lead you to Svvy?
Jenna Biancavilla: Through my work as a fiduciary financial planner, I unintentionally became known as a safe resource for women investors. This unexpected niche for Pearl Capital Management connected me with countless women who had fallen victim to financial crimes, experiences which, understandably, were paralyzing. As I dug into the problem, I discovered alarming statistics: not only does a staggering 94% of the female population carry the weight of their family’s finances at some point during their lifetime, but 1 in 4 women will fall prey to financial crimes. I could not sit idly by.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: How did the partnership evolve?
Jenna Biancavilla: I shared my findings with my sister, Janice, whose tech background complimented my financial expertise and experience. Together, we founded Svvy to revolutionize the financial services industry from the inside out and attack this problem at a national level.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: What is your hope for Svvy? And for the women it serves?
Janice Utke: We think of Svvy as more than just a platform. It’s a catalyst for empowering women to unlock their full potential. To connect women with trusted professionals that will empower them to thrive financially. Hence the tagline: Connect. Empower. Thrive.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Functionally, how does this work?
Janice Utke: Svvy is free and easy to use. Women will answer a few questions through our website, and our tech will match them with carefully screened experts equipped to help them meet their specific goals.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Can you speak to what sets Svvy apart from other fintech companies?
Janice Utke: It’s undoubtedly our commitment to and focus on serving women. As women take an increasingly vital role in managing finances, we recognize the positive impact they can have on families — and the community — through sound financial decision-making.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: What’s next for Svvy?
Jenna Biancavilla: As a growing company, we are continually exploring new expert services women need to build wealth. Currently, we’re recruiting the best of the best across new industries — think realtors, insurance agents, CPAs, and more — to join our network.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Startups are notoriously grueling. As you grow and scale Svvy, what keeps you motivated?
Jenna Biancavilla: Beyond our shared commitment to creating a new experience for women in the financial services industry, I think it’s a volunteer mindset. Volunteering has played a pivotal role in my journey, connecting me with mentors, role models, and mentees — all of which fuel my inspiration and motivation. In fact, I think it’s what really inspired Svvy.
WOMEN ARE COMMUNITY-MINDED, AND MORE LIKELY TO SHARE WEALTH AND KNOWLEDGE WITH CHILDREN, FAMILY, AND FRIENDS.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Speaking of inspiration, what inspires you?
Jenna Biancavilla: My work as a Maricopa County Court Appointed Special Advocate, which connects me with girls in the foster care system, inspires me to grow as a role model for young women.
Janice Utke: I’m so inspired by the resilience and accomplishments of remarkable women in today’s world. Their stories fuel my drive to empower and uplift women in all aspects of life.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Jenna Biancavilla: Witnessing the ripple effect of empowering women financially. Women are community-minded, and more likely to share wealth and knowledge with children, family, and friends. We see this firsthand when a third or fourth-tier contact reaches out to share the positive impact we’ve had on their circle of friends and family.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Your work with Svvy is, at its core, community-centric. Beyond Svvy do you support any local organizations?
Jenna Biancavilla: Of course! I’m an active volunteer at CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and on the board of several local organizations, including Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels, Social Ventures Partners (SVP Arizona), and (formerly) Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I also foster animals through the AZ Humane Society.
Janice Utke: My husband and I work with the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley. We like to volunteer for back-to-school and Christmas shopping with a child. This experience allows us to ensure the child has what they need to start the school year off right, but it’s also an opportunity to provide joy on a personal level, sharing toys or gifts for the family in need.
TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: It’s abundantly clear you are both deeply involved in our community. What do you love most about living and working here in the Valley?
Jenna Biancavilla: There’s so much to love! What I love most is being in the center of such a fun, lively part of town where neighbors are friendly, we can walk to favorite restaurants, and our dogs can play in the park.
Janice Utke: I love that Phoenix is in the center of everything! Whether you want to go hiking, to a lake, shopping, a quick drive to the mountains, or go out for a fabulous meal, whatever you’re in the mood for is only minutes away.
Visit besvvy.com to learn more about Svvy and get started on their platform, which connects women with trusted experts across the country. Don’t forget to tell them Scout sent you!