TFT exclusive on International Women’s Day: Interviews with fintech founders in VCs, real estate tokens and payments.
In the spirit of International Women’s Day we are highlighting three interviews from our newspaper. Our 2019 trendsetters are diverse and extraordinary in their own ways whether it be in VC space, tokenisation or payments sector. Our interviews with Susanne Chishti CEO of The Fintech Circle, Anna Tsyupko, CEO of Paybase and Teresa Grobecker, founder of Real Estate Consortia (REC) offer some insights on what it takes to rise to the top and build a successful fintech. The rise of the ‘female founder’ has made for not just good case studies in innovation but also proof that diversity can deliver.
According to a 2017 study by EY and Innovate Finance, women represent 29 percent of the workforce within the UK fintech sector, despite 47 percent of the workforce overall being female. As for women in leadership positions, the same study found that only 17 percent of senior roles within the sector are held by women. Believe it or not, it gets worse. Looking at the companies listed for the Fintech50, out of 124 founders, only 6 are women. That’s a sorry state of affairs. The reasons for this inherent lack of equality are varied, and often a complex web of intertwined barriers to entry.
Despite limited numbers it is clear women are running, and founding, successful companies, and yet, every woman we have spoken to about the unequal representation within the sector said that what we need is more visible role models, for our young women to take inspiration and direction from. Below are some of the interview highlights that give an insight into these female founder role models.
Susanne Chishti, CEO of The FINTECH Circle & The FINTECH Circle Institute and Co-Editor of the bestselling FINTECH Book Series.
TFT interviewed Chisti on the origins of The Fintech Circle and the motivations behind shaping it to the successful talent incubator it is today. Chisti is a founder, CEO, Editor, speaker, CNBC commentator, lecturer and mentor, with 14 years of experience in the finance industry, Susanne is a thought leader in the space.
Chisti’s summarises her recent achievements. ‘I decided to launch FINTECH Circle in 2014. I am also the CEO of the FINTECH Circle Institute, which is our learning platform where we provide in person and online fintech education courses to individuals and financial institutions worldwide. Additionally, I am the Co-Editor of the bestselling Fintech Book Series published by Wiley consisting of: The FINTECH Book, The InsurTECH Book and The WealthTECH Book.’ Her accomplishments make her one of the most successful Fintech entrepreneurs in London and beyond.
When asked about why there are fewer women in the industry and how we can improve the numbers Chisti replied, ‘Unfortunately, so far both the finance and the technology sectors are male dominated and women are in the minority. This has to change, and we have to empower our daughters and young women with financial literacy skills early on, and encourage them to save and invest for their futures. At the same time, we need many more women across all tech sectors, being able to code and develop artificial intelligence solutions and software for robots. We don’t want any unconscious biases being built into the software solutions, which could be the case if the development teams are not diverse at all. Diversity of thinking and of backgrounds always leads to better outcomes’.
Read her full interview here
Anna Tsyupko, CEO, Paybase.
Tsyupko spoke to TFT about her drive for enabling platform and crypto businesses to succeed through Paybase’s API-driven solution. She has a history of success in the payments field and has turned her drive to meet the markets need for flexible payment options.
Anna led the company through becoming FCA regulated, ‘I won’t sugar-coat it, the process is not an easy one. But this is not a complaint – it should be that way. There is a lot of regulation surrounding payments and rightly so, when dealing with money there can be no room for errors or weaknesses insecurities. Ultimately, it benefits you and your consumers, so whilst it is tough, it’s wise to embrace the regulation.’
Anna’s advice on facing challenges has been ‘Remaining calm and steady throughout the journey as a business. I believe the state of mind is the most important thing in successfully running a business as you need clarity and calm to think things through strategically. Sometimes you face unexpected setbacks, so that ability to remain cool is what will enable you to approach things from a different angle and find the best solutions moving forward’. This approach has led to the successful onboarding of 6 clients.
Read her full interview here
Teresa Grobecker, founder of Real Estate Consortia (REC) and Senior Vice President at US Capital Global.
When asked about her motivations and journey in starting REC, ‘Right out of business school I worked in financial services then started my digital real estate brokerage in 2012, which is still active today. While operating in the sector, I noticed that a lot of other fintech innovations were missing from the real estate industry and because I am passionate about improving the real estate experience for professionals and clients using technology. I started Real Estate Consortia, my third real-tech project. I’ve never worked on a project that had gained such traction with large industry players as quickly and at such scale as this project.’
Grobecker’s interview also gave some insight into the rise of her technologist career, ‘I think it’s essential to have the industry specific expertise to understand all aspects of real estate transactions as a broker and from the management and sales perspectives, and also as an owner of investment properties. REC’s innovative products come from solving pain points where improvements are massively overdue. I love feeling purposeful and helping fellow realtors do their jobs better and more efficiently, using technology.’
Read her full interview here