November 18, 2022

Fearless+ Raises $1m in Pre-Seed Round

Our team at Fearless+ has exciting news as we are officially announcing $1MM raised for our pre-seed funding round! See below for our press release sharing more about the big news.

Fearless+ reimagines career development for Gens Z and Alpha with college and career opportunities, elite mentors, and workshops to learn real-world skills outside the classroom. Eschewing the traditional "6 second" resume, Fearless+'s proprietary algorithm identifies and showcases the soft skills of students who have not yet entered the workforce, offering employers and recruiters the means to authentically engage with a new generation of talent.

During her 22-year tenure as executive recruiter with Korn Ferry and Heidrick & Struggles, Fearless+ co-founder and CEO Deepali Vyas reviewed over 100,000 resumes and interviewed over 40,000 executives. But the traditional resume just isn't working anymore.

"48% of high school students feel unprepared for the workforce," said Vyas. "Our youth need career readiness options beyond SAT scores or GPAs. They need to learn how to balance a budget and stand out in interviews. Fearless+ is the only platform offering students the tools, opportunities, and mentorship access they may be lacking, with an accessible digital format."

Fearless+ CTO and co-founder Mike Grushin added, "Soft skills are crucial to personal and professional success, but they're not typically taught in high schools. This is why Fearless+ needs to exist."

Wray Thorn led the investment round, along with financing from ex-Two Sigma Ventures (currently Clear Heights Capital). Angel investors include the Dimond Family Office, Linda Mintz, Sheila Baird, Mohit Daswani, Tom Grossman, Sandy Hausner, and Vlad Brodsky.

"Fearless+ is a super-exciting company led by two mission-driven and highly successful entrepreneurs," said Thorn. "I'm proud to support such an innovative organization democratizing future generations' access to personal and professional development."

Pre-seed funding will be used to bolster brand awareness and build additional platform features. The team is now moving into their seed round, and is actively interested in connecting with potential investors and partners.

Media Contacts
Candice Smith
Lead Publicist for Fearless+
Founder, French Press Public Relations
Email: candice@frenchpresspr.com

November 1, 2022

The Art of Choosing

Every child starts out having dreams about what they want to be when they grow up– an astronaut today, a doctor tomorrow, and an actor/actress a month later… Kids dream without bounds, but as young adults, we often start to realize that there is a gap between our dreams and our realities. For example, you might dream about becoming President of the United States, but unless you were born in this country this dream is unachievable. It sounds discouraging, but it’s not. In her book, The Art of Choosing, Dr. Sheena Iyengar explores this topic in greater detail. Here are a few questions that will get you one step closer to achieving your dreams.

First, think about your dream, a problem you truly wish you could solve, and write it down on paper. Most of the time, when we write down our dreams, we articulate them as goals– I want to be a President, I want to be a millionaire, etc. Goals are useful because they give us targets, but what really matters here is your underlying desire. Articulating our dream as a goal is how we get trapped in thinking our dream can only be achieved in one way. However, we all know that examining the problem from different angles allows us to uncover many possibilities.

       This brings us to the second step of our discovery process. Write down 3 reasons why you want to pursue this dream, and solve this particular problem. The key here is not to think why you SHOULD solve this problem (to save the environment, for example), but why you personally CARE to solve it, your selfish reasons for wanting to solve it (you want to be famous, you want to be rich, you want to feel like you made the difference, etc). Essentially, it's about how this dream makes you FEEL.

       Now you are ready to examine your options. Write down 3 options you want to learn about that would fulfill your reasons for wanting your dream.  Then seek out people you can talk to about those options; people who can tap into more insight. This is called Idea Networking and that is how you create optionality for achieving your dreams.

       Remember, the real power of choice does not come from our ability to go out into the world and simply look at all the options. The real power of choice comes from your ability to examine what you want and how to create your reality where it is possible. 

October 3, 2022

Top 5 Productivity Tools

One of the main skills differentiating successful individuals from less successful ones is productivity.  A highly successful individual gets more done by being efficient and precise in their actions. When you learn to use productivity tools to your advantage, you will get more done in every area of your life.

1. Google Drive

Google Drive is a free cloud-based storage service that enables you to store and access files online. The service syncs stored documents, photos, and more across all your devices, including mobile devices, tablets, and PCs. Google Drive integrates with the company's other services and systems, including Google Docs, Gmail, Android, Chrome, YouTube, Google Analytics, and Google+. The ability to share notes, slides and spreadsheets with team members who can edit and make their own contributions makes Drive a powerful tool at school, at work, and in personal life. 

2. Clockify

Clockify is a time-tracking app. If you have ever wondered, “Where does my time go?” then this is an app for you. When you see where your time goes, it is much easier to organize it and come up with a plan. You will be able to see if you are spending too much time on something unnecessary and if your time management skills need work.

Other than simply tracking your time, Clockify has a variety of useful features, such as a Pomodoro timer. This allows you to separate your study time into intervals and take regular breaks to help your mind stay fresh and efficient.

3. Todoist

Todoist allows you to take control of your day with a customizable to-do list and tasks. It helps you manage your responsibilities by allowing you to color-code tasks according to priority. It provides daily and weekly reports that provide insights into how efficient you have been at whatever tasks you set out to perform.

4. My Study Life

My Study Life is an organizational app for students that lets you put in all your classes and assignments so you are never caught off guard on a deadline. You can see everything in one place and track homework, projects, and exams. The app also allows you to track all personal obligations such as extracurricular activities, clubs, and anything else on your to-do list. It helps you manage your time more effectively and stay on top of obligations in all areas of your lives.

5. One Note

OneNote is a digital note-taking app where you can organize notes in notebooks. You can either type them out or write them by hand (on a tablet), as well as add photos, drawings, doodles and even record audio notes. It contains many useful options that make studying easier, such as a search bar, color coding options, and to-do lists. You can add tags, for example, to mark parts that you don’t understand or important things that will be on the exam. 

These are just some of the amazing tools available to you so you can get better organized and increasingly productive. Productivity is one of the main ingredients in the Fearless+ formula for success in every aspect of your life. 

We will share more amazing tools and tips in the upcoming posts, stay tuned!

September 6, 2022

Teaching Teens How To Budget Their Money 

Let me tell you a story. 

When I first got to college, intoxicated by the freedom of living on campus, away from my parents, and finally being in charge of my own life, I felt that I was mature and worldly. During the first few days on campus, there was a fair where vendors offered their services to newly minted college students. Among the vendors were representatives of credit card companies. I signed up for a few cards without a second thought given to the high-interest rate that they carried (close to 25% annually, if I remember correctly). In a very short time, paying only the monthly minimums on purchases that I shouldn’t have been making in the first place (because I couldn’t afford them), my interest was higher than my original spending, and it took me years to pay off the balance of those high-interest credit cards.

Remembering this experience, I always wondered why financial education, including such basics as to how credit cards actually work and how to budget in order to avoid financial debt, isn’t taught in high school. Now that my kids are teenagers, I want to make sure they learn how to avoid financial pitfalls once they’re living on their own. 

They probably don’t know it yet, but one of the greatest things about being a teen is the complete and total freedom from financial burden and stress. As teens, their biggest worries are more along the lines of ‘I better stop gaming to get started on my homework,’ or ‘Did I clean up my room after Mom or Dad asked?’ Most children are blissfully ignorant of real-life stressors such as getting the mortgage paid on time or having enough money saved for car repairs. 

There is no doubt that money will fluctuate in and out throughout their lifetime, but wouldn’t it be nice for them to be educated to make sound financial decisions earlier in life? Teaching your children about managing their money will not always be easy, but if you want your teen to be financially successful and independent in the future, it will be worth it. 

Here are some tips to give your teens the head start you wish you had and help set them up for a sound financial future.  

1. Give Compensations, Not Allowances

Teens need to know the difference between money given and money earned. Assigning chores around the house is a good way to achieve this. Together you can decide what they’re going to do, in what time frame, and for how much money. Make sure they deliver on what you agreed upon and hold them accountable. When they have to work for something, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and responsibility. If they become accustomed to earning money in exchange for their personal efforts, teens would be more careful with how they spend their money and much better prepared to make a living later in life.  

2. Stress the Importance of Having Savings

As adults, we are all too familiar with the unexpected expenses that seem to come up out of the blue. These adult expenses are usually pretty lofty and can deplete saving accounts very quickly. Teens do not get to feel these types of burdens at their age. They do, however, have their own set of priorities that require savings. The newest video game may be coming out soon, or the new pair of celebrity sneaker collab just released online. Whatever your teen finds important, stress the importance of having their own savings to pay for what they want rather than asking parents for money. Remind them that it takes time and discipline to save up for big-ticket items. 

3. Budget Planning

Something teens should know about budget planning is that a budget is a living thing. It is constantly changing with the various stages of their life, and they should not expect it to stay the same over time. Here is a great overview of

It’s important to teach your teens the three major components of managing a budget: 

1)    Saving - Set goals with your teens that encourage them to save money. Giving them something to work towards will motivate them to keep saving. Having a goal in mind will also introduce a time frame to accomplish that goal. 

2)   Spending - Show your teens the importance of managing their expenses and being aware of what they spend money on. Make sure to identify each expense category - food, clothes, car, school, etc. Emphasize the importance of sticking to that plan and not overspending.

3)   Sharing - You do not want your teens to become greedy with their money, so encourage the act of giving. They could start donating to local charities in their own community or to a charitable cause they personally care about. Giving will teach them the importance of sharing with those in need and using their own resources to help others. 

Here is a quick video to provide an overview and get you started (with a caveat that for teens the ratio of Spending vs Saving should probably be flipped to 20% Spending and 70% Saving, as most of their expenses are still being paid by parents).  A fun way to learn the three budgeting habits discussed above is by setting up money jars. Make individual jars for Saving, Spending, and Sharing. Be sure to label each one and use actual money. The money jars will help kids see the progress they are making and where the money is going.

4. Open Their Own Bank Account 

As your child becomes a teenager, it’s a good idea to open a bank account on their behalf, if they don’t already have one. Explain to them that having a bank account comes with responsibility. Have them be part of the process to learn how to open bank accounts on their own one day. 

 In doing something as simple as opening a bank account, your teens will learn about:  

  • Understanding monthly bank statements
  • Tracking expenses and savings 
  • Paying bills  
  • Managing a debit card 
  • Writing checks 

You, the parent, might even decide to contribute to the account for a long-term saving goal such as college tuition or a car when your teen is old enough to drive. 

5. Give Them Opportunities to Earn More 

We’ve already established that doing chores around the house is an excellent way for your kids to start earning some of their own money, but there are many other options that are available. 

Help them branch out of just doing household chores. Perhaps the neighbors need help mowing the lawn or shoveling their driveway during the winter. Maybe there are new parents in your network who could use help around the house. Encourage your teen to apply for a part-time job at a local store or a summer job at a local cafe, pool, or beach.

Whatever the options are to make more money, give your teens alternatives that play to their skill sets and unique personalities. By doing this, you are encouraging your teen to take the initiative in reaching their financial goals as well as teaching them to play to their strengths. These skills will be beneficial to them in countless future job opportunities.

Even for most adults sticking to a budget is hard.  Helping your child learn to manage their money is no easy task and takes a lot of effort on both of your parts. Besides money jars, there are multiple apps that could make the process more appealing to teens.  You will need to work together to align on goals and then make a realistic plan. Keep in mind that as children age, their priorities for their money change, so you will need to be diligent in making sure they are saving and spending appropriately over time. 

One last thought – and this is important – is that it’s crucial that parents lead by example. It may not seem like it at times, but your children are always observing what you do and mimicking your habits. When you practice what you preach, your teens are much more likely to internalize financial discipline and, as a result, have much better chances for a financially stable future.  

And what parent wouldn’t want that?!

June 14, 2022

Help Your Teen Build a Fearless Digital Profile 

You might have seen my recent post introducing Fearless+, our new social platform built with GenZ in mind where people can create their own multi-dimensional digital profiles that showcase their unique personalities, accomplishments, and aspirations. 

Why is this relevant? Having a Fearless digital profile will not only take the place of the boring traditional resume that your teen will eventually be required to create, but will also help them to stand out in any college, internship, or job application process, regardless of what future path they choose. And what makes Fearless so special? Our platform combines the necessary features and functionality of the traditional resume with the customization and individuality offered by social media, giving teens the power to tell their story in their own words. 

More and more recruiters and college admissions officers find themselves searching through a candidate’s social media profiles and past posts in hopes to gain a better picture of who the candidate really is. As such, it is becoming increasingly important for young people to be aware of and carefully curate their online presence from early on.

As parents, we know that most teens tend to procrastinate doing things they aren’t excited about, and many may not be clear on what particular path they’d like to take after high school or college. While we can’t make that decision for them, it’s our responsibility to provide support, guide them in the right direction, and give them access to tools and resources that will help them succeed on their own.

This is why we are urging you to help your teens create their own Fearless digital profile today!

Your teen’s profile doesn’t have to be completely filled out in the beginning and will evolve over time. You can help them begin by encouraging them to start by filling out the basics, keeping in mind that it will be that much easier and less stressful for them down the road when they need a “resume” for their college applications or when they are looking to find a part-time job at the last minute. As they continue to participate in new activities or advance through school their digital profile will expand and become more robust, but making this short time investment now will serve them through every step of their professional lives for years to come. 

Fearless is intended to be a safe space for your teen to be themselves with no judgments or pressure to be “perfect”. That’s a core underlying concept of our platform compared to other social platforms, where profiles and imagery are manufactured to appear flawless and focused on amassing external “likes” versus showing real substance and character. While teens are able and welcome to include links to their other social media accounts, their Fearless profile will serve as their “digital hub” - one platform for both personal and professional content, and one source of truth. We want to put the power in the teens’ hands by letting them provide an authentic and well-rounded view of themselves to their peers and their network, while also helping to take the guesswork and assumptions for the prospective colleges and employers. 

Littal About Me

So, parents, how can you help?

  • Do you have photos or videos of your teen on your cell phone or around the house? I’m sure you have countless clips from past sporting events, music performances, or other moments of your teen shining and feeling confident that you wanted to remember. Good candid shots when they are relaxed or doing something they love are perfect for their profile.
  • Help your teen create a simple introduction video. This video is their “elevator pitch”, a 30-60 second synopsis of who they are, their interests, passions, aspirations, and whatever else they want to share about themselves with the world. While this feature may seem overwhelming to some, it doesn’t have to be, and no one should worry about over-producing this. 

You can help by asking your teen some simple questions they can answer on camera: 

  • What is your name?
  • Where do you go to school?
  • What are you interested in or most passionate about?
  • How do you like to spend your free time?
  • What would you like to be when you grow up, or what are you interested in learning about? 

If your teen fancies themselves a TikTok pro, they may not need any help with this part. However, if they’re not already comfortable shooting selfie videos, you can help them pick a few questions they feel comfortable answering in a relaxed way. Authentic videos work best, but feel free to suggest they take a moment to script the video first. (And if that’s the case, you might want to consider using a teleprompter app, which is free and might make your teen more at ease in front of the camera.)

  • Help your teen think through past experiences they’ve had in school clubs, sports teams, past jobs, musical instruments they play, longtime hobbies, and any other experiences that could be highlighted on their profiles. Did they work part-time or on weekends to babysit, tutor, mow lawns, lifeguard, etc.? Nothing is too small or trivial if it is important to your teen and something they feel passionate about. Think about any experience that taught them some form of responsibility and emotional intelligence, which they’ll need for the rest of their lives!
  • Take our free personality test together! These assessments are fun to do, easy to take (my son and I both took ours in under 10 minutes), and provide you with immediate and helpful results. If you and your teen aren’t already familiar with your respective personality styles, you’ll likely learn something new that could lead to new ideas about what direction your teen could take in their professional lives, along with finding out which public leaders and popular influencers have the same style as you. (Who knows, maybe you can even learn something new about yourself too!) 

Now you are ready to help your teen start on their Fearless digital profile… so, what are you waiting for? 

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