September 21, 2021

We Asked Daves About Dave, Marcus and Other First-Name Money Apps

Daves aren’t necessarily male. Davy Stevenson, the vice president of engineering at Hasura, which helps software developers more easily build applications using data, was an early neobank adopter herself. She experimented with the first versions of Simple, which no longer exists.

Today, she banks with her humble credit union. Though she pines a bit for the technical wizardry that her software developer brain knows the institution could deploy, she’s also happy with the way the people there treat her.

She also said she couldn’t help but notice all these guy names, especially when she contrasted them with voice assistants like Siri or Alexa: Men equal finance, strength, knowledge; women equal service. “It’s a mirror on our society and how we value things,” she said.

Some financial start-ups, like Bella, Ellevest and Lili, are indeed making a go of flipping the gender switch. Ms. Stevenson is not accusing any founders of sexism, and to her, at least, names alone are not a reason to shun any start-up (or to give the silent treatment to, say, Erica, Bank of America’s virtual digital assistant). Indeed, just over half of Dave’s roughly 10 million customers across all services are female, according to the company.

Still, branding matters, and this here Ron is rooting for these companies to keep dragging the industry out of the Dark Ages in every way. Perhaps the next one will find the workaround that allows me to transfer money from one institution’s account to another without being told that it could take five business days.

It could use a good name. One that evokes music and movement, grace and strength, even in the face of enormous pressure.

Call it Simone.

Davey Alba contributed reporting.

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