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Emily in Paris’ actor Ashley Park’s money advice: ‘Ask more questions’—it’s OK to ‘not know exactly what to do’

Actor Ashley Park was never well versed in personal finance.

“We’re told in this generation you can do what you want and you can be who you want to be,” says the 31-year-old about being a millennial. But many young people aren’t given the financial tools to make that happen.

Park grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and started her career performing on and off Broadway. She earned a Tony Award nomination for her performance as Gretchen Wieners on Broadway’s “Mean Girls” in 2018 and, most recently, received a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for her performance as Mindy Chen on Netflix’s “Emily in Paris.”

As her career has grown, Park’s finances have become more complicated. “Half of my job is in Paris now,” she says. “I have to pay French taxes.”

Along with not knowing exactly how to manage her money, Park didn’t realize that she could get help. When it came to hiring a financial advisor, “I truly thought it was for big wigs, people with families,” she says.

Park recently got a financial advisor through Northwestern Mutual, which she also partnered with for its Great Realization campaign centered around millennials’ recent shift in priorities. The Great Realization refers to the moment when an individual gets clarity about their goals, prompting them to re-architect their lives. Park’s financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual has helped her, personally, get some of that clarity.

As she’s equipped herself with knowledge, here are two money lessons she’s learned.

1. Ask more questions
“I can’t tell you how many of my friends, we just don’t ask questions because we feel dumb that we don’t know answers in terms of finances,” Park says.

But as she’s learned more and worked with an expert, she’s realized asking questions is key to getting better with money.

“Ask more questions,” she says. “No question is silly and I’m not embarrassed anymore to ask how, what or why when it comes to finances, especially my own. It’s OK to not understand all financial jargon or not know exactly what to do.”

There are many tools for learning about personal finance, including free budgeting apps and spreadsheets, and sites that cover all of the basics.

It may also make sense to hire a professional who can offer tailored advice and create a comprehensive financial plan. Look for an advisor who is a fiduciary, which means they have a legal duty to act in your best interest.

And keep in mind the costs. It generally makes sense to look for a fee-only advisor who charges an hourly rate or flat fee, as opposed to one who earns income based on commissions.

For Park, working with a professional has been worthwhile. “There are misconceptions about needing XYZ amount of money to need a financial advisor when in reality, an advisor can help you navigate the financial waters ― calm or choppy, short-term or long-term.”

2. Make a long-term plan
Previously, it didn’t occur to Park that she could set major financial goals for herself.

“As an actor, I don’t know exactly what I’m doing next week, or next month, so I never thought I could make a long-term plan for myself,” she says. “But now I’ve realized how empowering it can be.”

Her No. 1 goal at the moment: owning a home.

“My main financial goal right now is to plant roots and having a home of my own that I can grow into in a more permanent way,” she says. She’s looking to buy her grandmother one, too.

“I don’t have a partner. I don’t have kids,” she says of this particular moment. But when it comes to buying her own place, “I am allowed to take a risk on myself.”

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Amid the AI hype, don’t forget about no-code

No-code startup Softr, which allows its customers to build apps from their existing data, announced Tuesday that it has added Google Sheets to its integration list.

Previously, Softr focused on Airtable databases. Its move to support data from Google’s spreadsheet product likely expands its potential customer pool. Even before that expansion, CEO Mariam Hakobyan told TechCrunch+ that her company grew its annual recurring revenue 3x from December 2021 to December 2022.


Softr’s quick revenue expansion is a good reminder that while the tech world seems completely consumed by all things AI, there’s quite a lot of work going on in other areas that are worth keeping an eye on.

That said, there is an interesting connection between AI and no-code worth writing down: Both are potentially great expanders of human capability. AI tooling could operate as a second brain of sorts for the digitally busy, and no-code services may allow nondevelopers to build the tools they need to complete their work. In both cases, the genres of new tech development have a shot at helping regular folks do a lot more, more quickly and often at a low cost.

Something else that modern AI tooling and no-code share is accessibility. Softr, for example, grew its base of signed-up users from 35,000 to 150,000 in 2022. That’s really quite a lot for a service that was, until recently, Airtable-specific. On the AI side, I don’t need to reiterate just how much market demand there is for modern LLM tooling.

Let’s dig into Softr’s progress since we last covered the company and chat about what we can learn about no-code progress as a method of building more accessible software.

Softr, no-code and empowering the regulars
Ask anyone who works at a company that builds software and isn’t part of the engineering or product orgs how long it will take them to get something built for their own needs. Without even making Jira ticket jokes, we all know what the answer will be. And to a degree, the standard situation makes sense: What nondeveloper employees need is often pretty basic software, and expensive engineers need to focus on the company’s core offering not internal tooling.

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Twitter’s legacy blue checkmark era is officially over

Twitter appears to have officially killed off its legacy blue checkmarks, one of the last remaining vestiges of the pre-Elon Musk owner era.

The legacy blue checks, which Twitter doled out to journalists, celebrities and other public officials for free to help curb impersonations and spam, were supposed to end April 1.

Musk took to Twitter on April 11 — days after the legacy checkmarks should have disappeared — to shift the end date to April 20 or 4/20. Yes, that’s the day when folks honor weed because Twitter is now owned by a middle schooler.

With the legacy checkmarks gone, Twitter will have verification marks only for paid users and businesses as well as government entities and officials. Now, if a user sees a blue checkmark and clicks on it, the label reads: “This account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number.”

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Autotech Ventures’ new $230M mobility fund adds fintech, circular economy to its investment strategy

Autotech Ventures will use its newly closed $230 million fund to expand beyond its foundation of early-stage ground transportation startups and invest in what the firm believes are the next big opportunities in automotive and mobility.

Fintech, logistics, supply chain and the circular economy are at the top of the list.

The $230 million fund, its third since launching in 2017, will be used to invest in seed through Series C mobility-related startups, according to the company. A mixture of financial and corporate LPs, including Allison Transmission, American Axle, Iochpe-Maxion and Shell participated in the fund.

“We’re still a ground transportation-focused firm and we have a very similar strategy [with this fund],” Alexei Andreev, Autotech Ventures managing director told TechCrunch. “On a high-level, it’s same as Fund 1 and Fund 2. However, one of the fastest areas of growth is SaaS-enabled fintech. Auto commerce is inefficient and there are large pockets of profit to capture.”

The firm is particularly interested in transportation-related fintech ventures that are poised to grow during a recession.

“We made a prediction that sooner or later there will be a recession and we identified areas that benefit when the economy softens, Andreev said, noting that this latest fund invested in Yendo, a Dallas-based startup (formerly known as Otto) that lets customers borrow against their vehicles at the same interest rate as standard credit cards.

Autotech Ventures’ previous fintech investments include U.K.-based buy now, pay later startup Bumper and Carpay, a buy here, pay here loan servicing SaaS platform for car dealers.

Andreev said the firm is also investigating investment opportunities in the circular economy, a nascent industry focused on finding ways to reuse materials and products. Circular economy startups have garnered an increasing amount of attention and investment as automakers transition away from gas-powered vehicles and towards EVs.

Autotech Ventures is also cautiously wading into generative AI, although Andreev was quick to note that the company has not made any investments in that area.

Autotech has more than $500 million under management and has invested in more than 40 companies.

Some of the firm’s investments include computer vision startup DeepScale (which was acquired by Tesla), Lyft, used vehicle marketplace operator Frontier Car Group, Drover, Outdoorsy, Swvl, parking app SpotHero and, which Apple acquired in January 2020. Five of those startups have gone public, including indie Semiconductor and Volta Charging.

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