The statistics portal Statista shows that the total consumer spending of women worldwide in 2013 was 29 trillion U.S. dollars and forecasts for 2018 that women will spend globally about 40 trillion. A 37% increase over the past 5 years.
The existing gender gap in compensation, in funding and in team diversity, is at the same time a huge opportunity that is highlighted more often. From business media and from capital seeking undiscovered and undervalued investment opportunities.
This is the second monthly post on this broad topic that not only focuses on women in decision making positions in Fintech but also in the underserved womens market. The January list of ten is here.
This month, my picks are overweight in women-led ventures in financial advice, consumer and business needs. From savings to retirement, and AI for financial advice. From loans, mortgages, and charity. From small business banking to digital asset data for businesses.
Women all around the world designing financial services
Chandrima Das out of Singapore is the founder and CEO of Bento, a B2B and B2B2C advisor offering custom built portfolios at a low cost. The team is heavily focused on transparency and client education towards recognizing the so common investment biases that lead to suboptimal investment results.
Serena Torielli from Italy is the co-founder of Advise Only, a personal finance service that focuses on applying a risk management “secret sauce” to build and manage investments. In addition, they have integrated social and sharing features, to build a community around their services. Investment education, investment community building, powered by high tech risk management, is the unique approach.
Gemma Godfrey, out of the UK, founder of Moola, an online investment platform focused on saving and investing. Gemma’s venture is addressing the savings crisis problem and believes that the domination of men in finance is a problem that can only be solved by us women become raw models for others. The goal is to have more balanced teams, skills, and design thinking. Last year Gemma was chosen to join Arnie’ panel of advisers alongside Jessica Alba, Warren Buffett and YouTube celebrity Justine “iJustine” Ezarik.
Romina Saviva out of the UK, founder and CEO of PensionBee, an online manager for pension consolidation and management. The platform is a hybrid approach and has created the concept of Beekeepers, that are community members (not necessarily financial advisors) assisting other PensionBee customers.
Ramya Joseph out of NY, founder of Pefin, an AI financial tool that assists you in achieving your goals (e.g. buy a house, go to college, retirement, etc). A goal setting approach rather than a transaction based approach that is tailored to each person’s aspirations and needs. The trick is to put emotions and desires in the personal goals but taken them out of the way you achieve these goals (use AI in executing and managing the process).
Nora Apsel, co-founder of Morty, a mortgage marketplace that allows homebuyers to shop, compare — and close — any loan product from any lender, completely online. The mission is to make the home buying process less scary and intimidating that it is. Offer more options, more transparency and contribute to competition. Allow consumers to find what is right for them.
Yihan Fang, is CEO of Yirendai, a leading online P2P marketplace focusing on personal finance needs in China that was spun off from Credit Ease. It IPO’d in Dec 2015 on NYSE (YRD). Probably one of the few women in this P2P sub vertical, competing with Alibaba, Baidu, JD, Hexindai, China Rapid Finance. “Chapeau”.
Blockchain & Crypto
Natalia Vodianova, the Russian supermodel and philanthropist living in France, founded Elbi a platform to discover and support charities. A blockchain use case, that offers donors full transparency of their donations and educates prospects through gamification. Donors earn LoveCoin tokens, which can be spent to buy exclusive products from partner world-famous brands (e.g. Givenchy, Dior, Fendi, Christian Louboutin,etc).
Ambre Soubiran, out of the UK, founder of Kaiko, a company offering digital assets financial trading data, covering all major cryptocurrencies exchanges and all listed pairs. As crypto grows into an asset class, the need for historical and real-time data is also growing.
Arianna Simpson, out of California, is the MD of Autonomous Partners a fund focused on cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Her background is interesting as she worked at Facebook and BitGo before moving into early stage funding.
She is concerned about the number of new entrants in the crypto space who are raising purely speculative, HFT-style funds without a strong base of knowledge from trading traditional markets, and without a deep understanding of digital assets. She worries when we will see major losses due both to bad trading and poor security practices.
Reflections from the playlist
Women focus more on educating customers rather than simply executing for them or telling what to do. Women focus more on seemingly “small change” problems like saving and consolidating. Women focus more on dreams come true and goal setting, even though it may take longer to see the results. Women do find ways to have fun and have impact (luxury brands and charity combos). Women think differently about accuracy, safety, and risks.
A wonderful quote for “shy” women from Arianna Simpson:
“There’s a certain power that comes from being underestimated”
Women are fundamentally different to men and, when it comes to cybersecurity, one thing is certain…IF YOU’RE SHORT ON WOMEN YOU’RE LESS SAFE.
Jane is an MD at Cyber Security Capital, whose mission is to empower, train and mobilize a gender diverse cybersecurity workforce.
Stay tuned for more next month.
Efi Pylarinou is a Fintech thought-leader, consultant and investor.
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