As The Fintech Times celebrates Women in Fintech this September, we take a moment to hear more from some of its leading females.
Sam Short is the CEO and co-founder of Moneyed, a fintech startup promoting workplace financial wellbeing. Moneyed are leveraging data science and tech to bridge the financial advice gap, which currently impacts over 20.8 million people in the UK alone.
Moneyed believe the best way to engage with people, and help them to plan for the future, is via their employer. They deliver remote workshops, to increase financial literacy, and have developed innovative fintech solutions to enable people to be in control of their current and future finances.
The company also provides access to the tools and knowledge needed to engage with our finances that have, until now, been locked away behind expensive paywalls with financial advisors.
Tell us a bit about your journey…
Throughout my academic and professional career, I’ve always worked in male-dominated fields. I studied Theoretical Physics at Durham University and subsequently completed a PhD in Particle Physics at Imperial College London. I then transitioned to data science, working at Boston Consulting Group as a Lead Data Scientist. I led multidisciplinary teams and worked with some of the world’s largest companies, helping them to innovate by implementing and deploying machine learning solutions at scale.
The move from management consulting to fintech in early 2020 was an obvious choice. In my spare time, I’m a core volunteer with DataKind, a charity that uses data science for social good; starting Moneyed presented an opportunity to work full-time to use fintech to positively impact society.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I was living and working at a research facility on the east coast of Japan during the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake. The earthquake cut off all power and water to the village, but thankfully caused no loss of life. The experience impacted my mental health and, as a result, I found it very difficult, for what felt like a long time, to do any work toward my PhD, amongst other things.
Whilst I’m proud of all of my achievements, I’m most proud that I was able to complete, with the support of those closest to me, my PhD on time and that my research contributed toward a world-first measurement that saw me and my colleagues be awarded the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. (The prize, dubbed the “Oscars of Science”, was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, et al. to recognise individuals who have made profound contributions to human knowledge.)
What are your thoughts on women in fintech?
As with any equality problem, the gender imbalance in fintech is likely the result of multiple different factors; the legacy of financial institutions being male-dominated, coupled with an entrenched societal assumption that women don’t want to work in high-stress, fast-paced environments.
The first step to tackling this problem is to increase the number of women in senior fintech positions. To create a more gender-balanced executive, it is not sufficient to simply promote more women into senior positions; if we do not work to create a more inclusive culture, we will still encounter retention issues.
Fintech should favour people who innovate, but instead often listens to those who talk the most and shout the loudest. We need to shift to a culture which celebrates results and collaboration, rather than ideas and self-promotion.
We must create a genuinely progressive working environment in fintech, allowing women to be working parents, removing the stigma around stay-at-home dads, and affording everyone a generous parental leave.
Fintech should foster a community culture, not one that is hypercompetitive, where women come together to help and support each other. As women, we experience first-hand the issues surrounding women in fintech. Working together is the best way to push for change.
What are you most looking forward to career-wise?
Moneyed is an early-stage startup – we have launched our app and are getting great feedback from both users and the companies we are already working with. I’m most looking forward to leading the company through our first funding round, helping to hire a diverse and inclusive team, and continuing to build a product that delivers value and promotes wellbeing.