ESSENCE Network: A Startup Founder Shares How to Raise and Save Funds For Your Dreams


The CEO and "Chief Sower" of Sow, Tanya Van Court, spoke to Essence about helping young people save and invest, startup tips, and her daughter's request that led her to found Sow--which adds meaning to traditional gift-giving by allowing kids and their loved ones to "plant seeds" in three categories: saving towards future goals, sharing with those who are less fortunate, and spending on things that matter. - Tanya Van Court is part of the growing number of black women successfully launching startups in Silicon Valley and cities around the country. After realizing there was no known solution to her daughter’s birthday request to save for an investment account, she decided to put her professional experience to use and become the solution. Sow now allows young people to receive financial gifts for savings and fundraising efforts, in lieu of traditional material gifts. See how Van Court raised capital for her venture and her tips to being a successful CEO.

Name: Tanya Van Court

Age: 40s

Title: CEO, Sow

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Hometown: Oakland, CA

Twitter: @tvancourt and @isowfor


Instagram: @isowfor

The gig: I am the founder and CEO of Sow, Sow solves the universal problem of inefficient gift giving to young people.  In lieu of receiving troves of “stuff” for their birthdays, holidays, and gift-giving moments, parents and kids can sow for important goals like saving and fundraising. I love to see young people getting excited about saving and their goals.

The journey: My daughter shared with me that all she wanted for her 9th birthday was money to start an investment account and a new bike. I knew that she would likely receive a slew of gifts similar to those she already received from friends and family. I realized that the traditional process of gift giving was broken and that I could do something to fix it.  Prior to Sow, I served as senior vice president of partner marketing at Discovery Education and spent more than five years at Nickelodeon. I have two degrees in Engineering from Stanford and two degrees in Parenting from my children Gabrielle and Hendrix, preparing me for this task.

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