Vivian Tu, the 28-year-old TikToker behind Your Rich BFF, knows how to explain private equity to her 2.2 million followers through a lens they can understand: Kim Kardashian.
“Kim K’s foray into private equity is going to make her a multi-billionaire all while using other people’s money,” Tu kicks off the video in her typical front-facing, fast-talking style. “Kim got regular rich through sponsorships, TV, et cetera. She then leveled up by building her own brand, and now she’s hitting boss level by investing in other people’s brands.”
Tu then launches into a quick and dirty crash course on private equity—general partners, limited partners, commissions, carried interest. The video clocks in at 59 seconds.
“I obviously cannot cover the dearth of information available on private equity in 60 seconds,” Tu tells Fortune in an interview. “But people can now digest the news better—read headlines better—because I’m able to help them.” It goes hand in hand with her bigger mission: helping people make smart financial decisions by opening their eyes to solutions they may never have thought about otherwise.
It’s this blend of pop culture and learning that makes Tu so popular on TikTok, where her humor and unpretentious authenticity creates an approachable rapport that reeled in hundreds of thousands of viewers within a week of her first video. Less than two years later, she runs the account full-time with a team of two other people and publishes a newsletter.
When I told her we’d be recording our Zoom, she asked for 10 seconds to change and was back in front of the camera a minute and a half later with a fresh shirt and a pair of earrings, laughing about how she must be unrecognizable.
But she’s more than recognizable to her millions of mostly young, female followers tuning in to her financial advice videos, which she releases nearly every day for an audience she has lovingly dubbed “the leftovers.”
The entire financial services industry, until now, “has been male, pale, and stale,” Tu says. She would know, having kicked off her career on Wall Street. In an industry where the total addressable market is everyone, she says, young women, the LGBTQ community, and low-income people have often been left out.
With that in mind, she devised the BFF moniker. “Suddenly, you have someone who doesn’t look like your dad’s financial advisor. You have somebody who looks like I could be anybody’s college best friend,” she explains. “…….