It all started from Dubai last week, 3yrs before World Expo 2020, opening on Oct 20, 2020. I was invited to speak at a Fintech event – The Maginfintech7– at the Dubai Financial Center, next to the Fintech Hive accelerator and with Nektarios Lolios first on stage, as StartupBootcamp launched recently in Dubai its MENA presence with a SmartCity theme. I chose a theme (4months ago when I accepted the invitation) titled “Femtech in Fintech”.
The UAE is still associated in my mind, with a gender-related story from about 10yrs ago. While living in Montreal, Canada my husband was posted as the ambassador to ICAO (International Civil Aviation organization with 168 member countries) and he came home one day to tell me that the first woman joining the council of ICAO was a woman pilot from the UAE!. Captain Aysha Al Hamili was the pilot representing the UAE at ICAO. She is an active speaker advocating the role of women in aviation.
In Dubai, I spoke in more detail at the Magnifintech7 event, about the three main dimensions when thinking about females in Fintech (or tech in general)
- Workforce diversity
- Customer diversity
- Product design diversity
I will be sharing my Tedx style 40min talk once the recording becomes available.
Naturally, I referred to the global women’s market which is estimated around $17 trillion and to the stunning but still unleveraged fact that household decision making is made by women to the tune of over 60%-70%. Especially in Fintech, product-service designing has not taken advantage of this huge opportunity and neither have Fintech business models aimed at the female audience enough.
My talk was only about the opportunity and not at all about any evidence of the gender diversity problematic (from the rampant tech sexism to the exclusion from VC funding, pay gaps, etc.).
In this post, I will focus on one only aspect presented: a few current examples of women in Fintech leading ventures that are either hardcore tech (so, really outliers) or women leading ventures with services and design predominantly for women! Of course, this list is just a sample but I witnessed the effect my discourse had on the audience in Dubai. It resonated.
Hard Core Tech related to Fintech – Capital markets infrastructure & Supply chain
Elizabeth Stark from the US, is the CEO of Lightning, a blockchain venture addressing the crucial scalability issue of Bitcoin. She is in the midst of the blockchain hardcore community and out of academia. Her company is building a payments system on top of Bitcoin.
Leanne Kemp from the UK, is the founder and CEO of Everledger which provides an immutable ledger for diamond identification and transaction verification for various stakeholders, from insurance companies to claimants and law enforcement agencies. Leanne has been named Finalist for innovator of the year for the Women In IT Awards!
Blythe Masters from the US, is the founder and CEO of Digital Asset Holdings focused on disrupting the clearing and settlement processes of stock exchanges. Already with their first pilot completed with the Australian Stock exchange and working with multiple other partners worldwide. The capital markets infrastructure sector is not only a male-dominated market but also a very concentrated market with few large players and continued consolidation.
WealthTech – PFM & Investments
Mette Rotball and Karina Storinggaard co-founders of Think Yellow – out of the F10 accelerator in Zurich, Switzerland – focused on environmental and sustainable investing as a way to close the gender gap. Their motto is “Investing is voting” which is in effect a different approach to activism. They apply gender lens Investing filter to large publicly traded companies, that includes investing in: – Women-owned businesses – Companies whose product /services help advance Gender Equality – Businesses with strong track records in Gender Equality.
Sallie Krawcheck is the CEO and cofounder of Ellevest in the US, with a motto “Redefining investing for women”. She started out of a business network approach, focused on coaching women in business and then launched a robo-advisor which offers customized portfolios. Ellevest’s business model is not only serving fish for dinner but also teaching how to prepare fish for dinner. Investing is another kind of membership activity. We each belong to the shareholder group of the investment we select.
Gina Heng from Singapore is the founder of Miss Kaya. A different robo for women. Integrating spending, budgeting and investing. A natural approach you would think unless one plans and could invest on margin. Linking what “men” call PFM (as if “investing” is a higher order activity than Spending and Budgeting) with “Investing”, should be common sense for any household decision maker. Why do we call it “holistic” and not “common sense”?
McKenzie M. Slaughter is the founder of Beauty & the Bull from the US. Their motto is “Beauty & The Bull is more than a trading and saving platform for women investors but also a supportive ecosystem.” Taking online the fact the women’s investment clubs have consistently outperformed. An online investment community that shares more than legal documents and is not focused on which member’s performance is better than the others. A social wealth community and financial technology platform supporting female crypto investors, stock market investors, and financial wellness advocates.
Tokenized marketplaces with “Female” incentive designs
Lisa Gus is the CEO of Wishknish out of the US is a decentralized e-commerce marketplace which is based on community referrals. Imagine a female design of e-commerce on the blockchain, with gamification elements as the way to create and sustain an online community. Forget about expensive marketing campaigns and create a social marketplace where the customers become the central driving force for community growth, where the rewards for staying active can be recycled back into the ecosystem and fuel both purchases and more engagement, and where a product’s potential discoverability is limited only by the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” playing out across all social networks. Wishknish ICO is in progress.
Barbara Mellish is the CEO of the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance (CCEG), an independent Think Tank in the UK focussing on the movement of non-financial and social value. She is also the CEO of the Seratio platform through which the Seratio Blockchain ICO was launched in Q4 2017 (the first successful UK ICO). The Seratio tokens are being minted as we speak. They are the way that Blockchain technology is enabling us to trade non-financial values.
Christine Bamford Is the co-founder and chair of the Womens coin, soon to be launched on the Seratio blockchain. This coin will allow both men and women to integrate female values and trade them! It will not only leverage women’s purchasing and decision making power but it will boost financial inclusion, integrate educational offerings, small business support, ethical purchasing, “a supplier choice” standard, and much more. The Womens Coin It is a collaboration with UN women and the Seratio Blockchain.
Stay tuned for more on technology as an enabler for a meaningful cultural awakening.
Fintech with a purpose.
Creating purposeful, invisible finance should be a female led movement.
This is not only the dream, the vision but it is also the way to get there.
Efi Pylarinou is a Fintech thought-leader, consultant, and investor.
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