A Chat With Siran Cao, Co-Founder and CEO of Mirza

TechRound spoke to Siran Cao, the co-founder and CEO of financial planning tool, Mirza

Mirza is the world’s first financial planning tool dedicated to supporting working parents as they plan for a family. Our goal is to make it a choice for moms to return to work by creating financial solutions that fund parenthood. Mirza guides its users through workplace parental leave policies, gender pay disparities, childcare and fertility costs – complex issues that are often overlooked. The tool takes salaries, budgets, work policies and schedules, and projects how those elements will shift after having a child. Mirza users gain access to the family financial planning app and a supportive community of like-minded working parents. While Mirza was built with all types of parents and paths to parenthood in mind, we understand the unique challenges working women face when deciding to start a family. 

From the time they start their careers, women are at a pay disadvantage compared to male counterparts, then that disadvantage grows massively with parenthood. This gender pay gap is even more felt and seen by women of colour. Progress on closing the gap is incremental and seriously set back by the pandemic. Women who “choose” to leave the workforce to start a family take a severe pay cut compared to working fathers. But with childcare so wildly expensive and inaccessible, is it actually a choice? We see Mirza as a viable solution for working families to plan for their career and family together and truly unlock choice with our future financial offerings. Mirza will be available to the public later this month.




How did you come up with the idea for the company?

After graduating with a degree in Gender Studies from Harvard, I thought I would go into nonprofit work or academia. A short stint in the private sector led to an unexpected passion for leadership, management, and operations. I moved to London to study Social Business & Entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics and eventually, my co-founder, Mel Faxon, and I started Mirza. It came out of a rant about the pay gap! Mirza blends all of our passions: women’s empowerment, structural change, and building a company for the future.

Before we launched Mirza, there was no real literature or ongoing conversation on how working parents, especially women, could plan for our careers alongside caring for our families. There’s this myth that “women can have it all” that’s circled around – a loving partner, a happy family, and a high-powered career. Women can absolutely have all of those things, but how are they balancing all of it? Mirza equips our users to not only balance their lives, but to make smarter, more informed family financial decisions.   



How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

During the pandemic, women were pushed out of the workforce in droves. Unfortunately, the majority of childcare, family, and household duties still fall on womens’ shoulders. The burnout of juggling a family and career forced working women in mid and senior-level roles to drop out of the workforce. Mirza evolved during this time to offer a solution for employers and human resource departments to support working parents. We know that the first five years as working parents are the most challenging. Employers can maximize their employee’s spending power, unlock affordable care, and retain top talent with Mirza. All it takes is supporting employee parental leave policies and empowering new parents as they return to work.


What can we hope to see from Mirza in the future?

We’re thrilled that our period of beta app testing and gathering feedback from friends and family will close in June. Our family financial planning tool will be available as a web app on our website for desktop and mobile users. Stay tuned for our financial solutions that actually work for working parents! In the meantime, we’ll continue to advocate for fair parental leave policies, work towards closing the gender pay gap, and create a supportive network of working parents and parents-to-be.


For more information, visit: https://www.heymirza.com/